Best and Worst-Case 2013 NBA Draft Scenarios for Top 10 Prospects
While some of these NBA prospects hope they don't slip, some of the teams will hope that they do. A worst-case scenario for a prospect might be the best-case scenario for a team.
Based on how the lottery is projected to play out, I've laid out a best-case and worst-case scenario for each top-10 prospect. The best-case scenario represents a team projected to draft closest to No. 1 that will consider selecting that particular prospect. The worst-case scenario represents the lowest landing spot that prospect would fall to.
10. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3'', PG/SG
Best-Case: No. 4 to Phoenix Suns
Worst-Case: No. 13 to Dallas Mavericks
C.J. McCollum has averaged at least 19 points in all four of his years at Lehigh. He's a combo guard—someone who can handle the ball, run the offense or light up the nets as a scoring weapon.
The Phoenix Suns don't have many scoring weapons. In Phoenix, he'd likely be used as a 2-guard. McCollum can generate offense with the ball in his hands or without it.
But some might consider him a tweener. At 6'3'', he's undersized for a 2 and lacks the instincts to play the 1 exclusively.
The Mavericks would likely have a tough time passing on him, given Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo's uncertain futures.
McCollum is fundamentally sound and should be expected to rise up boards once team workouts get underway. Chances are, the Mavericks won't have the opportunity to snag him.
9. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, 6'6'', PG
Best-Case: No. 6 to Sacramento Kings
Worst-Case: No. 14 to Utah Jazz
The first team to really consider Michael Carter-Williams will likely be the Sacramento Kings, who currently start an undersized scorer at point guard. Carter-Williams is a 6'6'' pure facilitator who excels at creating easy baskets for teammates.
Carter-Williams would help set the table for the team's scorers, and given his unique physical tools, he's got one of the higher ceilings in the field.
But point guards are always vulnerable to slipping, since teams who already have one are unlikely to draft another.
Worst-case scenario, he falls to the Utah Jazz, who are as desperate for a point guard as anyone in the draft.
Carter-Williams could also get a strong look from Dallas, who is considering replacing Darren Collison and letting him walk in free agency.
8. Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'5'', SG
Best-Case: No. 4 overall to Phoenix Suns
Worst-Case: No. 9 overall to Minnesota Timberwolves
A team like the Suns, who really just needs to add reliable long-term pieces, will undoubtedly consider Victor Oladipo at No. 4 overall. He offers minimal risk, with the guarantee he'll generate a positive reaction from fans and teammates as a draft selection.
But Oladipo is more of a complementary guy than one who's featured. Some teams might hesitate to use a pick that high on a role player. The Timberwolves certainly wouldn't hesitate; they could really use his athleticism and perimeter defense in the backcourt.
Minnesota needs a 2-guard, and Oladipo would be the top one left if still available at No. 9.
7. Cody Zeller, Indiana, 7'0'', PF/C
Best-Case: No. 4 overall to Phoenix Suns
Worst-Case: No. 11 overall to Philadelphia 76ers
Cody Zeller dominated the centers during the athletic testing at this year's combine. He also measured in at a legitimate seven-feet tall, eliminating questions teams might have previously asked.
The Suns need a lot, and an offensive-minded big man is one need. Based on his polished offensive game, Zeller is bound to impress during workouts and could ultimately bait a team like the Suns into taking him top four.
He did struggle at times throughout the year, primarily against more physical front lines. That could scare a number of GMs away. But he offers too good of value at No. 11 to Philadelphia.
Assuming the 76ers let Andrew Bynum walk in free agency, Zeller could be an alternative option for a much better price.
6. Alex Len, Maryland, 7'1'', C
Best-Case: No. 2 to Charlotte Bobcats
Worst-Case: No. 11 to Philadelphia 76ers
Alex Len has the upside to justify a top-three selection. At 7'1'', he's got an advanced offensive game, though he needs to polish it up so it can be used on a more routine basis.
The Bobcats don't have any threatening post scorers in the rotation, and since they aren't going anywhere anytime soon, they'd have the time to develop Len's skill set.
But like Nerlens Noel and Anthony Bennett, Len won't be available for workouts, after doctors found a stress fracture in his foot. This injury is slightly worrisome, as we've seen a number of big men's careers be held back due to foot problems.
With several excellent centers to choose from in this draft, Len could potentially slip later in the lottery, though it would be hard to imagine the 76ers passing at No. 11. Chances are Philly doesn't overpay to retain Andrew Bynum. This would be an opportunity to get a future starting center for a whole lot cheaper.
5. Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'7'', SF/PF
Best-Case: No. 2 Overall to Charlotte Bobcats
Worst-Case: No. 8 Overall to Washington Wizards
The idea that the Bobcats would consider Anthony Bennett at No. 2 overall is a distinct possibility. He possesses the upside to justify the pick, while he'd fill a need as a frontcourt athlete and potential offensive mismatch.
Bennett is one of the most explosive players in the draft and is one of the few who might have the star power to generate buzz in the stands.
However, he'll be entering the draft on the injured list and won't be able to work out for teams after undergoing surgery on his shoulder. It's possible some teams will shy away without being able to see him go head-to-head with some of the other candidates.
If big men start flying off the board early, Bennett could slip to the Wizards, who would be ecstatic to see him fall. Bennett's athleticism and mobility would go hand-in-hand with John Wall's strengths. He could be a guy Washington looks to trade up for as well.
4. Otto Porter, Georgetown, 6'8'', SF
Best-Case: No. 3 Overall to Cleveland Cavaliers
Worst-Case: No. 8 Overall to Washington Wizards
Otto Porter doesn't have the upside of a No. 1 pick, so chances are, the first team to give him a look will be the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 3.
This is a team that could really use a wing, particularly one like Porter who can help glue the lineup together. Porter can spread the floor, make plays for teammates, rebound and defend. He's about as safe of a pick as they come.
If teams aren't thrilled with the idea of using a top pick on a role player, Porter could slip down to Washington, which seems like a worst-case scenario him and a best-case scenario for the Wizards.
Washington is another team who could really use a two-way wing. Porter's on-court maturity and disciplined all-around game would give this lineup some added credibility.
3. Trey Burke, Michigan, 6'1'', PG
Best Case: No. 1 Overall to Orlando Magic
Worst Case: No. 6 Overall to Sacramento Kings
After measuring in at over 6'1'' at the combine, Orlando could be tempted to make a play on Trey Burke with the first pick in the draft.
The Magic need a point guard for the future, and Burke has the skill set and leadership qualities to run a team effectively.
Unfortunately, the problem with point guards is that teams who already have one are unlikely to double up. If Burke doesn't go to Orlando, chances are, he gets passed on by Charlotte, Cleveland and Phoenix—teams all set at the position.
New Orleans is a possibility, but the team might go big with a center or grab a wing.
There's no way the Sacramento Kings pass, who could really use a floor general and a high-character individual to represent the franchise. They'd be thrilled if Burke fell to No. 6.
2. Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6'5'', SG
Best Case: No. 1 to Orlando Magic
Worst Case: No. 4 to Phoenix Suns
In a draft without a standout, Ben McLemore is as close as you get. He wowed at the combine athletically, and based on what he showed at Kansas, he projects as an elite complementary scorer if he can reach his NBA ceiling.
The Magic aren't in a position to pass on talent to fill a specific need, so if they ranked McLemore as the top prospect on the board, chances are, that's who they're going to go with.
Of course, it's possible he slips a few spots, with some worried about his handle, shot creativity and disappearing act in the NCAA tournament.
The Suns are likely hoping this happens. They'd scoop up McLemore in a heartbeat at No. 4, given the few offensive weapons they currently have on the roster.
1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 6'11'', C
Best Case: No. 1 overall to Orlando Magic
Worst Case: No. 4 overall to Phoenix Suns
Based on his ceiling and a lack of competition, Nerlens Noel has a shot at going No. 1 overall to the Orlando Magic. He's incredibly athletic and fluid for a center, while his defensive instincts are second to none.
If the Magic, or whoever wins the lottery, are looking to make a splash and take a chance on a high-risk, high-reward prospect, Noel could be the guy.
However, his 206-pound frame is bound to frighten NBA general managers. It's possible the top three on the board could be looking to play it a little bit safer.
It would be hard to imagine the Suns passing on Noel, considering their lack of athleticism up front. Noel could be a value pick here at No. 4 overall.