With the 2013 NBA draft scouting combine taking the world by storm, countless fans and analysts are trying to analyze what every measurement and interview truly means. While some will overvalue the power of a high vertical or strong bench press, others will find the true meaning.
Regardless of what they do, every team is looking for the simple solution for their draft needs—so what are they?
Some teams enter the draft with specific needs, while others are simply looking for the player that can turn their organization around. In that same breath, there are a select few squads that are doing quite well but need to add youth or athleticism.
One way or another, the draft will do wonders to shape the next generation of the NBA.
1. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky Wildcats
The Orlando Magic can go in a variety of directions here, but it truly depends on how much they believe in Nikola Vucevic. Orlando's 22-year-old center was second in rebounding and third in double-doubles during the regular season, but he isn't quite the dominant defender Nerlens Noel projects to be.
Noel has a significantly higher upside, and Vucevic is one heck of a trade piece—I'm going out on a limb.
The Magic have two options here, as the versatile Vucevic could go out to play the 4 due to his ability to back an opponent down or step out for a mid-range J. Keep in mind, Vucevic shot a strong 43.3 percent from mid-range.
As a 22-year-old center.
If Vucevic is unable to play the 4, the Magic have a dominant interior presence in Noel to protect the rim. This not only creates a bright future defensively, but it also opens the door for the Magic to take advantage of one important truth.
Vucevic's trade value is phenomenal, and the Magic could construct quite the impressive package to acquire another early selection in a deep 2014 NBA draft.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas Jayhawks
The Charlotte Bobcats are a team with many holes, as Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist serve as their only true building blocks. With Nerlens Noel off of the board, this opens the door for Charlotte to create the trinity along the perimeter.
With Walker serving as a dynamic playmaker and Kidd-Gilchrist a defensive specialist, the Bobcats add a potentially elite scorer in Ben McLemore here.
McLemore could go first overall, as he is a creative scorer that can create his own shot and attack or work off of screens to shoot the three. Most importantly, McLemore is an exciting athlete that can score in transition and has high defensive potential.
Landing Noel would be the dream pick, but McLemore is hardly a poor fallback plan.
Keep in mind, the Bobcats were 27th in both three-point field goals made per game and three-point field goal percentage. In order to move forward in a positive manner, Charlotte must cure its shooting woes.
Ranking 26th in scoring offense offers a fair glimpse into what's wrong in Charlotte—well, part of it.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown Hoyas
Unless Nerlens Noel drops to the Cleveland Cavaliers, this pick will not change any time soon. Not only do the Cavaliers need a small forward, but they've needed one since LeBron James left the team.
Cleveland addresses that need by drafting the most well-rounded player in this year's draft class in Otto Porter out of Georgetown. Not only is Porter a dynamic offensive player, but he possesses extraordinary length and defensive prowess.
A strong comparison would be Indiana Pacers small forward Danny Granger.
Porter is a poised player who finished the 2012-13 season with averages of 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. He also shot 48.0 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Those numbers are a testament to what Porter can do—each of those skills is translatable, and his versatility could make him an instant starter.
4. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana Hoosiers
The Phoenix Suns enter this position with a variety of options, but it really comes down to shooting guard Victor Oladipo and power forward Anthony Bennett. With their best options at the 2 currently Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown, the decision has been made.
Victor Oladipo is the only rational option.
Phoenix has athleticism in Brown and polished fundamentals with Dudley, but no combination of the two. Fortunately, Oladipo has that rare combination, which makes him something that few are acknowledging: a potential All-Star.
Oladipo can defend at an elite level, smothering players at any of the three perimeter positions with his combination of length and explosive athleticism. Offensively, Oladipo is far more developed than the average fan gives him credit for.
Phoenix lands the player who, in terms of upside, is far above the rest.
5. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan Wolverines
The New Orleans Pelicans have multiple needs and a roster that management appears to be delusional about. Eric Gordon is a fan favorite without legitimate star power, Greivis Vasquez is a quality facilitator with no other skills, and Robin Lopez can only take this team so far at the 5.
In a point-guard-driven league, the target is clear.
Trey Burke is the best point guard available, and it goes well beyond skills and athleticism. Burke has the uncanny ability to make the right play, which cannot be valued enough at the next level.
You can debate his upside, but when you see players such as George Hill and Mike Conley playing so well in late-game situations, Burke's niche is determined.
Burke's greatest strength is not his clutch scoring, which has many scouts and general managers drooling. Instead, it's his decision making, as Burke rarely turns the ball over, despite having such a high usage rate.
New Orleans has been a bottom-feeder since Chris Paul departed, and Burke is the perfect player to team with Anthony Davis for a turnaround.
6. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse Orange
The Sacramento Kings are deep in terms of talent but lack any form of chemistry or direction. Their new management should help in that regard, with one thing becoming perfectly clear.
Point guards are vital in the NBA, and the Kings need one more than any other team in the league.
The Kings lack any form of direction on the floor, often falling into isolation sets and damaging their odds of winning games. In order to cure that devastating woe, they target this year's top facilitating prospect: Michael Carter-Williams.
The 5'9" point guard Isaiah Thomas is a strong player, but Carter-Williams stands at 6'6" and has two-way potential. Not only was he third in the nation in assists, but he was sixth in steals per game.
He may not be able to shoot, but Carter-Williams is the best fit here.
7. Detroit Pistons: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA Bruins
The Detroit Pistons are in a pinch here, as they needed a point guard, but all rational options are off of the board. Their choices here are thus limited to a crop of players that one could make the case shouldn't be drafted this high.
For that reason, Detroit will look to trade down—unfortunately, no suitors present ideal value.
So the Pistons take a gamble here and pursue Shabazz Muhammad out of UCLA. Muhammad's stock is dropping, but Detroit has its interior of the future and needs a source of instant offense.
That's exactly what Muhammad provides, as the swingman attacks the basket with power and possesses strong defensive potential.
Muhammad may be a reach at No. 7, especially after a lackluster showing at the scouting combine, but Detroit is limited in options here. It's better to take Muhammad now and build towards the future than make a senseless trade.
Limited options make this choice pretty clear.
8. Washington Wizards: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV Rebels
The Washington Wizards are in the running to select Alex Len out of Maryland, as he's a local product and they need a long-term option at center. They're also in position to find a small or power forward.
Len is an option, but his inconsistency is concerning, and Anthony Bennett's upside is unquestioned—Washington lands the latter.
The Wizards are a strong, young team that thrives defensively, ranking eighth in scoring defense and ninth in rebounding. Len is a legitimate option, but Bennett is viewed as a potential star, and there's strong reason.
Bennett weighs in at 6'8" and 240 pounds with a 7'1" wingspan and explosive athleticism.
If that's not enough, Bennett is a nightly double-double threat when he's focused on the glass and avoiding big man iso-ball. With John Wall running the show and Bradley Beal at shooting guard, there are few situations as ideal for Bennett.
Having Nene Hilario and Emeka Okafor as mentors certainly isn't a bad way to go, either.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh Mountain Hawks
The Minnesota Timberwolves can go in multiple directions here, as center Nikola Pekovic is a free agent and the team simply cannot shoot the three-ball. For that reason, they take a fast-rising name in C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh, a combo guard that always appears to be in control of the game.
McCollum stands just over 6'3" but has a 6'6" wingspan and has one heck of a jump shot. Not only can he work off of screens and complement Ricky Rubio, but he can create his own shot.
Something the T-Wolves lacked in 2012-13.
Alexey Shved can attack, and Rubio is a dynamic playmaker, but the Timberwolves need a long-term replacement to J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour. By creating a three-man rotation of Shved, Rubio and McCollum at the guard spots, the T-Wolves would certainly have a bright future.
With a healthy Kevin Love and Pekovic potentially returning, Minnesota would have a bright future.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia Bulldogs
The Portland Trail Blazers have their starting lineup intact, whether J.J. Hickson returns at center or not. Meyers Leonard was a lottery pick in 2012, which suggests that Portland is set in their front court.
Where they're well below ideal, however, is on their bench.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a rangy shooter with the ability to take it to the basket off of the bounce and defend at a high level. For a Trail Blazers team that was dead last in second unit scoring, adding a scoring spark is the key.
Caldwell-Pope can provide just that.
Will Barton has high upside as an athletic slasher, averaging 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals in April. By pairing him with Caldwell-Pope along the perimeter, Portland could have a two-way tandem worth marveling off of the bench.
Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum need rest, and those two players can provide that to prevent another season of fatigue and overworking.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Alex Len, C, Maryland Terrapins
The Philadelphia 76ers need to create depth at center, regardless of what happens with Andrew Bynum during the upcoming offseason. For that reason, they take the best available big man in the upside-driven Alex Len.
Standing at 7'1" with a near 7'4" wingspan and a varied skill set, Len certainly offers intrigue.
Len's greatest strength is his offensive versatility, as he's capable both with his back to the basket and facing up. With a strong mid-range game and the ability to pass, that makes him one of the toughest players to defend in this draft.
As a quality shot-blocker, Len's risk is often overstated, although his star potential can be called into question. Fortunately, Philly needs a security blanket at the 5.
Len can be that player.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors): Cody Zeller, C, Indiana Hoosiers
The Oklahoma City Thunder need an offensive alternative down low, as they currently lack any form of a back-to-the-basket presence. Even if they do hold onto Kendrick Perkins as their defensive specialist, they need a scorer.
Enter Cody Zeller.
Zeller may not be a star, but he weighed in significantly bigger than we'd previously believed. After coming into the draft process at a believed 6'11" and 210 pounds, he weighed in at 7'0" and 230 pounds.
More importantly, he was the most explosive leaper at the combine.
Chad Ford @chadfordinsider
Cody Zeller's standing vert of 35.5" was highest ever recorded for player 6-9 or taller in last decade. #NBADraftCombine5/17/2013, 4:04:18 PM
Who saw that coming?
With a strong face-up game and an improving back-to-the-basket attack, Zeller is ideal here. For a Thunder team that doesn't need a star, this is as low-risk as it comes.
Zeller would be a very strong fit.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville Cardinals
The Dallas Mavericks won the 2011 NBA championship led by the tandem of power forward Dirk Nowitzki and center Tyson Chandler. That created a balance of elite offensive production and a strong rim protection.
Without Chandler, the Mavericks have been nothing close to that team.
By drafting Gorgui Dieng, they'd find a player with a similar, if not higher, upside to Chandler. Not only is he a powerful defender that protects the rim with his length, athleticism and anticipation, but he's also an underrated offensive product.
With an improving mid-range game and precise passing skills, Dieng is the perfect fit for a Mavericks team that needs an interior defender. In fact, Dieng is the dream selection for Dallas.
Defense wins championships, and Dieng certainly has the pedigree after leading the Louisville Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA Division I title.
14. Utah Jazz: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
The Utah Jazz have the opportunity to go in a variety of directions, including a step towards creating depth along the interior. With that being said, Utah's top void is its lack of perimeter playmakers that can create for others.
Enter Dario Saric.
Saric has extraordinary size for the position, standing at 6'10" with a 6'11" wingspan. Not only is he a capable facilitator, but he creates well off of the bounce and has the upside to be a threat from beyond the arc.
When his feet are set, he's already a strong option in that regard.
Saric would benefit from bulking up and could draw NBA comparisons to Jan Vesely. With that being said, Saric appears to have a more defined skill set that simply needs honing.
The upside is there for big things.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State Aztecs
The Milwaukee Bucks have the opportunity to trade down here, as they need to create depth on their thin roster that pairs inexperience with aging veterans. They do just that by adding one of the most intriguing athletes in this year's draft: Jamaal Franklin out of San Diego State.
Franklin stands just over 6'5", possessing a 6'11" wingspan and explosive leaping ability. Not only does he run the floor well, but he also attacks with power in the half court and rebounds as well, if not better than, any other perimeter player available.
For a Bucks team that could lose Monta Ellis, you couldn't think of a replacement that fits their needs quite as well as Franklin.
16. Boston Celtics: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas Jayhawks
The Boston Celtics have multiple options, as they need to find an interior defender that can protect the rim and must get more athletic. Boston can tackle one of those issues by drafting Jeff Withey.
The key here is the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mason Plumlee is the more ideal fit due to his athleticism, but Memphis has sent a statement during the postseason. Pairing Withey with Jared Sullinger would make, arguably, the least athletic frontcourt in the NBA, but here's the kicker.
Sullinger has powerful offensive upside, Withey could be an All-Defensive Team selection, and the two suddenly appear to be similar to Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in terms of playing style—a calculated risk.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke Blue Devils
Trading down here is a legitimate option, but the Atlanta Hawks need to add more players to their very thin roster. With back-to-back picks, they'll field offers, but take advantage of the fact that they can draft two strong players.
Atlanta's selections here will go a long way towards defining their future.
For starters, the Hawks address their greatest void, bringing in an athletic center in Mason Plumlee out of Duke. Not only is Plumlee one of the draft's top athletes, but he's a player that has improved in every season he's played.
With Plumlee, a walking alley-oop threat with solid interior fundamentals, the Hawks would find a safe pick at a low-risk draft spot.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Glen Rice Jr., SG, NBA D-League
The Atlanta Hawks can go value here, as they look to build their roster of the future with quality players at every position. They make an intriguing selection here, going with a defensive-minded swingman that would bring a sense of consistency to Atlanta's perimeter: the fast-rising Glen Rice Jr., formerly of the local Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Rice Jr. was dismissed from the Georgia Tech team during the 2011-12 season and spent this past season playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the Developmental League.
Rice Jr. weighed in at just under 6'6" with a 6'9" wingspan and enticing athleticism. Not only is he a legitimate deep threat that can space the floor at every turn, but Rice Jr. also thrives defensively and can lock down an NBA slasher or shooter.
For a Hawks team that appears to value the three-ball but lacks any form of perimeter defense—prior to free agency, of course—going local makes sense here, with Rice Jr. as the pick.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Suns, from Heat): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh Panthers
The Cleveland Cavaliers could trade up with their abundance of second-round draft choices, thus selecting Steven Adams in the early 20s. With that being said, few players were as impressive as Adams at the NBA scouting combine.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again—Adams is a future All-Star, and he will end up in the lottery before it's all said and done.
Adams weighed in at 7'0" and 254 pounds with a 7'4.5" wingspan and powerful athleticism. More importantly, he was making jump shots at the combine and was one of the most impressive players per 48 minutes during the college season.
In limited action, Adams put his abilities on display with quit telling statistics—7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 23.4 minutes of action.
20. Chicago Bulls: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Chicago Bulls are in dire need of depth at multiple positions, but none quite as significant as center. Joakim Noah has proven capable of playing through devastating injuries and topping 40 minutes, but Tom Thibodeau needs an alternative.
Consider Kelly Olynyk to be Thibodeau's new Omer Asik.
Much like Asik, Olynyk is an aggressive player that plays with passion, energy and an unquestioned motor. The difference here is that Olynyk's offensive upside is significantly higher than Asik's, as he finishes well around the basket both in transition and in the half court.
Chicago proved that they need depth this postseason, and Olynyk is a dream fit at No. 20.
21. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Dennis Schroeder is quite the physical specimen, weighing in at 6'2" with a near 6'8" wingspan. While he has a build like Rajon Rondo, Schroeder plays like Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson.
With his paralyzing stutter-step, blazing quickness and an uncanny ability to finish around the basket, the stage has been set for Schroeder to experience a strong NBA career.
For a Utah Jazz team that lacks playmakers, Schroeder is the ideal selection at No. 21. Not only is Schroeder's ability that of a starting NBA point guard, but his upside is on par with the top two point guards in this year's draft.
Schroeder is a safe gamble here for Utah.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
The Brooklyn Nets are a legitimate threat to trade down here, as they will not find very many value picks here that fit their needs. With that being said, Rudy Gobert is an intriguing player due to his 7'1" height and 7'9" wingspan.
Brooklyn needs a power forward, so why not invest in the future?
The Nets are strong enough at the 4 with Reggie Evans dominating the glass, but they need a future power forward. Gobert can be that player, as his raw game will take years of honing and his body is as intriguing as humanly possible.
Brooklyn takes a gamble, but one with little risk.
23. Indiana Pacers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia
The Indiana Pacers are a strong team through and through but lack the necessary depth to produce offensively. Danny Granger's potential return offers reason for intrigue, but Paul George is the team's small forward of the future, and Lance Stephenson keeps on getting better.
It's time for Indiana to find their sixth man.
Sergey Karasev has a strong offensive skill set, as he is more than capable of taking it off of the bounce and attacking the rim. Equally as importantly, Karasev can also step out for a three-point shot, which is something Indiana needs to improve.
They could be more inclined to land a college prospect such as Allen Crabbe, but Karasev is legitimate, and the Pacers will take that chance.
24. New York Knicks: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami Hurricanes
The New York Knicks need interior depth, but there just aren't enough qualified big men to make it work here. Instead, the Knicks will acknowledge what has proven to be the key to their success and the reason for their failure.
New York lives and dies by their point guard play, and two of their top floor generals are older than 35.
In order to cure those aging woes, they land one of the best point guards available in Shane Larkin out of Miami. Larkin doesn't have size on his side, but he's a fierce defender that racks up steals and locks down his man.
With dynamic playmaking ability and strong defensive abilities, Larkin gives the Knicks a clear cut choice at No. 24.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Allen Crabbe, SG, California Golden Bears
The Los Angeles Clippers could go in multiple directions here, but it all ties back to the shooting guard position. They need to improve in the offensive half court, as they possess few players that can create their own shot or hit the three-ball with consistency.
Fortunately for L.A., Allen Crabbe possesses both of those traits and more.
Crabbe, a member of the California Golden Bears, has deep three-point range and a tight handle. He often played as a combo guard at Cal, which displays his ability to step up as a facilitator on top of being able to score.
The clincher here, however, is that Crabbe stands at 6'6" with a 6'11" wingspan and possesses a strong skill set with defensive upside—why pass up on this golden opportunity to land a local product with high two-way upside?
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies): Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Giannis Antetokounmpo is an enticing prospect, as he is a 6'9" point guard. With that being said, most fans and analysts that are jumping on his bandwagon are basing their evaluation off of YouTube clips and size.
Antetokounmpo is still a major risk, but not enough to fall any further than this.
Antetokounmpo could go in the lottery, albeit questionably, and thus help transform the image of a team. With that being said, it's the Timberwolves that appear most likely to gamble on a European prospect.
Not only is that a part of their identity, but they won't find much better value at No. 26 than this young man.
27. Denver Nuggets: Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State Racers
The Denver Nuggets are an elite offensive team, ranking first in scoring offense and third in assists per game. With that being said, Denver has a 37-year-old backup point guard and cannot shoot the three-ball.
It's time to address both of those needs.
Canaan stands at 6'0", but he has a wingspan just under 6'5" and shoots with range and consistency. He's strong, physical, quick and explodes off of screens both as a scorer and facilitator, which fits perfectly into what Denver needs in the half court.
Canaan is the type of player you'll be hearing a lot about as he develops into a fine NBA point guard.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky Wildcats
The San Antonio Spurs are a team with depth at every position, but they have an undeniable need to get younger and more athletic. Kawhi Leonard is a legitimate building block for the future, while Danny Green is a very strong defender with consistent three-point shooting ability.
With Manu Ginobili aging, however, the Spurs need to find a slasher to take his place in the long-term—Archie Goodwin can be that player.
Goodwin stands at 6'5" with a 6'9" wingspan and possesses the type of slashing athleticism necessary to thrive at the next level. His jump shot is less than consistent, but the Spurs have a long history of turning poor shooters—Leonard, for example—into strong ones.
Goodwin has very high upside and would be a very good fit in San Antonio.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina Tar Heels
The Oklahoma City Thunder have quality players at virtually every position, especially after they found their offensive center. With that being said, OKC still has a significant void that they must address at this point of the draft.
Their bench can't score when Kevin Martin's shot isn't falling.
Reggie Jackson has upside, and Martin is a sharpshooter, while Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III are young with potential. Even with that being known, however, the Thunder must find shooters if they're to continue living by the jump shot.
Reggie Bullock just so happens to be one of, if not the, best pure shooter in the draft.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, from Lakers): Tony Snell, SF, New Mexico Lobos
The options are limitless here, as the Phoenix Suns can either choose the best value or go for a player that fits a need, Conveniently, the Suns will be able to do both of those things at once by landing Tony Snell out of New Mexico, an athletic dynamo with consistent three-point shooting ability.
I'd rather see Phoenix go with Deshaun Thomas, as he has the upside to be a starting small forward at the next level. With that being said, the Suns were 28th in three-point field goal percentage during the 2012-13 regular season.
Snell's athleticism and three-point marksmanship are just too much to pass over, especially after he measured at 6'7" with a 6'11" wingspan, thus displaying defensive upside.
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