Nerlens Noel of Kentucky
The 2013 NBA draft lottery is officially in the books, as the Cleveland Cavaliers have won the rights to the first overall draft choice. The question, of course, is complex and nearly impossible to answer definitively.
Who are they going to pick, and how will it impact the rest of the draft?
Not only must Cleveland make that decision, but every other team involved in the lottery must choose their prospect and thus shape the draft in their own way. From potential reaches that shake everything up to safe picks that some saw coming, we're prepared to be unprepared.
The question is, how will the dominoes fall now that the lottery is set?
|No.||Team||Pre-Lottery Odds||Projected Pick|
|1.||Cleveland Cavaliers||15.6%||Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky|
|2.||Orlando Magic||25.0%||Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas|
|3.||Washington Wizards||2.8%||Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown|
|4.||Charlotte Bobcats||19.9%||Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana|
|5.||Phoenix Suns||11.9%||Alex Len, C, Maryland|
|6.||New Orleans Pelicans||8.8%||Trey Burke, PG, Michigan|
|7.||Sacramento Kings||6.3%||Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV|
|8.||Detroit Pistons||4.3%||Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse|
|9.||Minnesota Timberwolves||1.7%||C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh|
|10.||Portland Trail Blazers||1.1%||Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA|
|11.||Philadelphia 76ers||0.8%||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia|
|12.||Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors)||0.7%||Cody Zeller, C, Indiana|
|13.||Dallas Mavericks||0.6%||Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville|
|14.||Utah Jazz||0.5%||Dario Saric, SF, Croatia|
|15.||Milwaukee Bucks||N/A||Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State|
|16.||Boston Celtics||N/A||Mason Plumlee, C, Duke|
|17.||Atlanta Hawks||N/A||Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh|
|18.||Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets)||N/A||Glen Rice Jr., SG, NBA D-League|
|19.||Cleveland Cavaliers (via Suns, from Heat)||N/A||Allen Crabbe, SG, California|
|20.||Chicago Bulls||N/A||Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga|
|21.||Utah Jazz||N/A||Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany|
|22.||Brooklyn Nets||N/A||Rudy Gobert, PF, France|
|23.||Indiana Pacers||N/A||Shane Larkin, PG, Miami|
|24.||New York Knicks||N/A||Jeff Withey, C, Kansas|
|25.||Los Angeles Clippers||N/A||Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia|
|26.||Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies)||N/A||Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece|
|27.||Denver Nuggets||N/A||Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State|
|28.||San Antonio Spurs||N/A||Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil|
|29.||Oklahoma City Thunder||N/A||Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina|
|30.||Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, from Lakers)||N/A||Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan|
Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 1, 15.6% odds)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the clear winners here, as they walked away with the rights to the first overall draft choice. Not only does this give them the opportunity to land Nerlens Noel, but it does something even greater.
It gives them the flexibility.
Cleveland could fill their void at small forward with Otto Porter or pick Noel to protect the rim. They could take Ben McLemore to serve as their sharpshooter or trade down to a team that values this pick enough to offer significant compensation.
Regardless of what they do, Cleveland can now say something that no other team can—no other team can change what they plan to do.
The Orlando Magic may have lost out on the the rights to the first overall draft choice, but that doesn't mean everyone within their organization is upset. In fact, there's one man who's likely thrilled about this development.
Center Nikola Vucevic.
Had the Magic held onto the first-overall draft choice, there was a possibility that they drafted Nerlens Noel. If that were to be the case, then Vucevic's future would instantly become blurred by the fact that he and Noel project to play the same position.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, that no longer seems to be an issue.
Washington Wizards (No. 3, 2.8% odds)
No team improved their drafting position quite as much as the Washington Wizards, as they went from No. 8 to No. 3 overall. Most importantly, Washington entered the perfect position to pick.
With Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore and Trey Burke viewed as the top options to go first and second overall, we can't help but ask—did Washington have a need for any of those three to begin with?
John Wall is Washington's franchise point guard, and the Wizards choose shooting guard Bradley Beal in 2012, eliminating Burke and McLemore from consideration. Noel would have been a nice fit, but Washington is coming off of a season in which Nene battled injuries.
Selecting another player facing knee issues certainly doesn't seem ideal for a team that was 24-25 with Wall healthy and 5-28 without him.
At No. 3, Washington can complete their perimeter by landing Otto Porter or simply take the wait-and-see approach. It's basic algebra, but we can't put it in any more fundamental terms.
Only two players will be off of the board for Washington at No. 3, as opposed to seven at No. 8.
Charlotte Bobcats (No. 4, 19.9% odds)
Even during the offseason, the Charlotte Hornets can't seem to win.
In 2012, the Hornets finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history and still failed to win the rights to the first overall draft choice. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is hardly a prospect to complain about receiving, but Charlotte's most glaring weakness continues to be their interior defense.
Or lack thereof.
Anthony Davis could have been their anchor, and so too could Nerlens Noel. Unfortunately, the Bobcats didn't just fail to win the rights to the first overall draft choice.
Instead, Charlotte fell from No. 2—a pick in which they could have landed either Noel or Ben McLemore—to No. 4—a place of uncertainty.
Hopefully their recent name change brings better luck on draft day.
Detroit Pistons (No. 8, 4.3% odds)
The Detroit Pistons may be an odd team to see on this list, as their move from No. 7 to No. 8 isn't too drastic. With that being said, the Pistons have needs along the perimeter and nowhere else.
The question is, who actually fits their needs at No. 8?
The only realistic options for Detroit appear to be point guard Michael Carter-Williams and shooting guard Victor Oladipo. With that being said, the Orlando Magic, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings all need a point guard.
The Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Bobcats, Magic and Kings also need shooting guards—so where does that leave Detroit?
In the scenario provided above, the Pistons land Carter-Williams and all is well. Should Burke, Oladipo and Carter-Williams all go in the top seven, however, Detroit is left in a befuddling predicament.
Do they bet it all on Shabazz Muhammad, as he plummets down draft boards? Do they invest in an undersized combo guard in C.J. McCollum or reach for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope?
Just one pick can be the difference between Detroit landing a building block and a question mark—moving down certainly doesn't help their cause.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Center, Kentucky Wildcats
It's hard to imagine that the team drafting first overall wouldn't have a major impact on the way this draft shapes up. After all, the first selection is what knocks the dominoes down in whichever direction they fall.
This year, it all starts with Nerlens Noel.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have alternatives, including small forward Otto Porter out of Georgetown, but they need a rim protector. Not only did Noel lead the nation in blocks during the 2012-13 college basketball season, but Cleveland was in the bottom half of the league in opponent points in the paint.
And thus the chips fall into place.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, Shooting Guard, Kansas Jayhawks
The Orlando Magic could shake the entire draft up and go with point guard Trey Burke of the Michigan Wolverines. That's not out of the question, but Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops reports that the Magic "covet" Ben McLemore.
They capitalize on the opportunity to draft him here.
McLemore is a lethal shooter, but more importantly, he opens the door for the shooting guards to come flying off of the board. Players such as Victor Oladipo, C.J. McCollum and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could all be in high-demand for teams in need of a swingman.
Two picks later, the direction of this draft becomes clear.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Victor Oladipo, Shooting Guard, Indiana Hoosiers
Here's where things get interesting, as the Charlotte Bobcats take Victor Oladipo with the fourth overall draft choice. Not only does this create a high-motor perimeter for Charlotte, but it completely alters drafting strategies throughout the draft.
Suddenly, the shooting guard position is looking thin down the line.
C.J. McCollum and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope see an instant rise in value, as teams need shooters that can create their own looks. For that reason, both players go within the top 11 and instantly alter the figures of supply and demand.
Players such as Glen Rice Jr., Allen Crabbe and Sergey Karasev become threats to go in the Top 20, as perimeter scorers aren't quite as abundant as some may have assumed. Borderline first-rounders such as Archie Goodwin, Alex Abrines and Tim Hardaway Jr. also get looks.
It gets no easier for general managers with mid-to-late first-round picks after the Phoenix Suns shake it up at No. 5.
5. Phoenix Suns: Alex Len, Center, Maryland Terrapins
You can defend Marcin Gortat if you'd like, but the Phoenix Suns are under a new general manager in Ryan McDonough. For that reason, it's only rational to believe that he'll be looking to build his own team with the personnel he sees fit.
Coming from the Boston Celtics, McDonough knows that it all starts inside.
As for the impact of this selection, a rather deep center position suddenly becomes one high in demand. Teams that may have felt comfortable waiting for a big man to fall into their lap could become active, thus resulting in the phone lines opening up.
Cody Zeller, Gorgui Dieng, Steven Adams, Mason Plumlee, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Withey are becoming quite the attractive prospects at this stage.
Outside of which centers are drafted, teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers may be hesitant to take a center. For that reason, they dip into the shooting guard pool and take Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
As the chips begin to fall, every position is shaken up because of two areas in specific—the 2 and the 5.
8. Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams, Point Guard, Syracuse Orange
Outside of Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams, the point guard position is viewed as relatively thin in this year's draft. Shane Larkin and Dennis Schroeder appear to be safe bets for the first round, but neither project to be lottery picks.
Then again, no one really knows where Michael Carter-Williams is going to go.
By selecting Carter-Williams at No. 8, the Detroit Pistons effectively raise the value of point guards across the board. Schroeder and Larkin become players that could go anywhere from 15 to 25, which opens the door for Isaiah Canaan, Erick Green and other borderline first-round point guards.
Canaan may be the only one who goes in this scenario, but don't discount the need for a floor general—teams trade up for that very reason.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Gorgui Dieng, Center, Louisville Cardinals
It's no secret that the Dallas Mavericks need a point guard and a center. Unfortunately, Dallas only has one pick to use here.
All eyes will be on this selection for that very reason.
Dallas reaches a bit, taking Gorgui Dieng out of Louisville to be their "two years later" replacement to Tyson Chandler. Dieng could thrive in that role, but the importance of this pick is not how he plays.
It's how this reach instantly puts other teams on notice—centers are dropping like flies, so you better get yours while you still can. Teams oblige.
14. Utah Jazz: Dario Saric, Small Forward, Croatia
One of the most momentous picks in any draft is when the first international prospect comes off of the board. This often opens the floodgates for general managers of other teams to land their draft-and-stash players.
More times than not, GMs will surprise us by landing European athletes that the average fan hasn't heard of.
For the Jazz, however, they're landing the best international player available in Dario Saric out of Croatia. By taking him in the lottery, they set the standard for the draft, thus letting others around the league know that the U.S. talent is too weak to push these international players into the second round.
Dennis Schroeder, Sergey Karasev, Rudy Gobert, Giannis Anteokounmpo and Lucas Nogueira are direct beneficiaries.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin, Shooting Guard, San Diego State Aztecs
Remember how we told you that the shooting guard position would be hectic in the mid-to-late first round? Well, it all starts here.
The Milwaukee Bucks select Jamaal Franklin out of San Diego State. Not only is Franklin an explosive athlete, but he's one of the most versatile players in the draft, which he proved by leading the Aztecs in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals.
More importantly, he's the catalyst for a flood of off guard selections.
Glen Rice Jr., Allen Crabbe, Sergey Karasev and Tim Hardaway Jr. are all coming off of the board from 18 to 30. Franklin, who could have slipped to No. 18 and pushed Rice Jr. back, instead proves how quickly an individual's value can change.
Every pick counts, folks.
21. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, Point Guard, Germany
After Michael Carter-Williams went No. 8 overall, the point guard market surprisingly closed. Thirteen picks later, however, the Utah Jazz open it back up by selecting Dennis Schroeder out of Germany.
Numerous point guards follow.
Shane Larkin is viewed as a first round lock, but he goes at No. 23 instead of dropping to No. 25 or lower. Isaiah Canaan also enters the first round discussion, while Erick Green and Pierre Jackson contend with him for the Denver Nuggets' pick at No. 27.
This also changes the way teams draft in the second round, as they see how quickly the top project point guards could be selected.
24. New York Knicks: Jeff Withey, Center, Kansas Jayhawks
It's no secret that the New York Knicks are lacking any form of depth behind Tyson Chandler at center. Kenyon Martin has been sensational in his limited appearances, but he's also 35.
The Knicks end the frantic search for a young player to help anchor the defense by landing shot-blocking guru Jeff Withey.
Not only is this helpful for the Knicks, but it officially changes the outlook of the draft for everyone else. Withey was the last first-round lock at the center position, which opens the door for other big men to sneak into the late first round or move up in the second.
One way or another, this pick is going to change the way teams approach the draft, making three positions the talk of the town—point guard, shooting guard and center.