NBA Mock Draft 2013: Best Choices Your Team Should Make
While the NBA draft lottery is not a perfect system, it does finalize the order for the 30 selections in the first round each year. As it unfolded on Tuesday night, we got a little bit closer to determining how the 2013 draft will play out in late June.
It won't be official until draft night, but consider your team to be on the clock right now.
Who should Cleveland select with the No. 1 pick?
The revolving door of 2013 NBA mock drafts will commence heavily over the next month—you can't expect anything else with so many prospects to evaluate and with so many team needs factoring heavily into any decision that is made on draft night.
You can bet that all 30 teams will approach the draft with a focus on getting better in mind, though, and that leads to decisions that ultimately are under the microscope five years down the line.
Looking at the board, the players available and how needs factor into the picks, here's a fresh mock draft for your viewing pleasure, focused on the best talent your team should pick when the clock is ticking and futures are in make-or-break mode by the pick that is sent in.
*Note: The 2013 NBA draft order is official as of Tuesday night's lottery selections. This mock does not account for trade scenarios, rather it only accounts for the 30 picks in the first round and the best fits for each club.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Cleveland won the NBA draft lottery for the second time in three years on Tuesday night, and with it, there are a plethora of options on the table for owner Dan Gilbert and company. One of those options is trading the pick for an established veteran star, as reported by ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
If the Cavs do not trade the pick, though, they have the same choice that the rest of the field would have had in the same position with the No. 1 selection: Do you take Kentucky's Nerlens Noel or Kansas' Ben McLemore?
On the one hand, McLemore would add a spark at the guard position as someone who would thrive with Kyrie Irving's penetrating and kicking style. He's in the mold of Ray Allen, and he might end up being the best shooter in this draft when it's all said and done.
On the other hand, Noel is a proven shot-blocker who averaged 4.4 send-aways during his award-winning freshman season with Kentucky. A young core of Irving, Dion Waiters and Noel wouldn't be bad at all, and it would also give Cleveland the flexibility to send Anderson Varejao to another team in a potential trade.
Personally speaking, the Cavs do need to explore all options for the No. 1 pick. If they keep it, though, taking Noel and having him in the event of another Varejao injury seems to be the better move at this point in time.
2. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Missing out on Noel would hurt the Magic, and conventional wisdom would suggest that McLemore would be in blue pinstripes just after David Stern announced that the aforementioned center was joining the Cavs.
Upon closer look, though, the 2013 National Player of the Year makes a lot of sense for the Magic.
Jameer Nelson will be under contract for the 2013-14 season, but there's an $8 million team option looming for 2014-15, and having a point guard like Burke on the roster would make it easier for Orlando to avoid that cap hit.
Additionally, the Magic already like what Aaron Afflalo brings to the table at the shooting guard spot, and they also like having Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb providing depth there next season. Point guard is less friendly, and there won't be any Trey Burke's at the top of the 2014 draft pool, either.
Burke's size makes him a questionable No. 1 pick, much in the way Chris Paul's size made teams leery of drafting him high in 2005. At the No. 2 slot, though, the Magic can add depth to the roster behind Nelson and prepare for the future with a guard who improved significantly from Year 1 to Year 2 at Michigan and has the drive to do the same while sitting behind Nelson for just one season.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter Jr., SF, Georgetown
Washington was a trade candidate to move up and draft Porter at this spot before the lottery, but the basketball gods have made it possible for the Wizards to take the leftovers from the first two picks and still be very satisfied with the results.
Porter is a perfect fit for the Wizards next season.
Of course, the possibility also exists that Washington could now leverage this pick for an All-Star-caliber center with ties to the team's current starting point guard. ESPN's Bill Simmons had a trade proposal for the Wizards that might put the team over the hump next season:
Fake trade: what about Boogie Cousins to Washington for the 3rd pick? A reunion of buddies Wall + Cousins! @kysportsradio approves.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 22, 2013
If not, Porter is a stable pick for the Wiz.
One of the best perimeter defenders in the class, his length makes him a candidate to deflect passes and keep wings in front of him. He's also a threat on offense, as he averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds for Georgetown during his consensus First-Team All-American season for the Hoyas in 2012-13.
Washington is one of the big winners of the draft lottery, and they can really help improve their roster by either selecting Porter here or taking a look at trade options to better the franchise right now.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The McLemore "free-fall" ends right here with the Bobcats, who drop two spots from where their regular season record would indicate but still manage to get a player that many have ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in the draft.
A smooth-shooting guard who shot 49.5 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range during his stellar redshirt freshman season at Kansas, McLemore's shooting and potential are both off the charts.
Some might feel that this move would make Kemba Walker a bust, but from a positive standpoint, Walker can return to the bench in a sixth-man role while McLemore slides in alongside Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the wing in the Charlotte starting lineup.
It's not a short-term fix by any stretch, but McLemore is a good player who will thrive in a system that allows him to use his three-point stroke right away and develop the rest of his game slowly. Charlotte is a perfect fit because the Bobcats likely will be right back in the lottery mix in 2014.
5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG/SF, Indiana
Phoenix only moved down one spot from their pre-draft projection, and it might give them the freedom to officially make Oladipo the unquestioned pick right here in this spot.
Easily one of—if not the singular—most NBA-ready talent in this draft, Oladipo's poise, efficiency, defensive prowess, and his ability to hit big shots despite not being a huge offensive threat make him the perfect fit for the Suns next season.
He's also a proven winner, something that could be injected into the locker room right away in the desert.
While the Suns have an obvious need in the depth department down low and you could make the case that Anthony Bennett is an ideal fit here, too, they also need a lot of help at shooting guard. Oladipo's don't grow on trees, though, and this kid is set up to thrive in the NBA right away.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Len didn't exactly set the world on fire in his two years at Maryland, but he did get better from his freshman to sophomore season and wound up being an intriguing center prospect with loads of upside.
The Pelicans, suddenly ripe with backcourt talent after the emergence of Greivis Vasquez and a healthy half-season from Eric Gordon, can really add depth the frontcourt and form a fearsome rotation of big men that includes Len, Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson.
Many believe that the seven-footer will be the best-such athlete at his position when we revisit this draft in a few years, as his array of post moves and intelligent game suggest that he could rise above Noel and the rest of the centers in the 2013 draft.
The Pelicans look like a nice fit for his particular skill-set.
7. Sacramento Kings: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
The Kings are involved in the aforementioned fake trade with the Wizards, but if that fails to ever come to fruition, Sacramento might find a way to surprise us all with this pick in a way that benefits the club.
As mentioned with the New Orleans selection, having a rotation of big men is a necessity in today's NBA. Miami gets away with not having one because it has the best player on the planet in LeBron James, but teams like Memphis, Detroit and Utah have taken steps over the past few years to develop a "fearsome foursome" of sorts.
Zeller arriving in Sacramento would allow DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins to move to the power forward spot—a position where he could wreak havoc because of his sheer size, strength and talent around the rim.
Zeller is also a rim protector and one of the most athletic bigs in this draft—something Cousins lacks as a true center. Paired together, the duo could form an offensive-defensive tandem that would help the Kings stay relevant for longer than a month to open the season.
8. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV
There's no guarantee that Anthony Bennett will drop this far. In fact, I'd be surprised if a team doesn't trade up if he's still on the board at No. 7 when the Kings are making their selection.
However, small forward is a position that the Pistons would have no problem addressing with the current outlook of players on the board, and Bennett's versatility and playmaking ability is unmatched among guys who are SF/PF tweeners in this draft.
Averaging just over 16 points and eight rebounds per game in his one season with the Runnin' Rebels, Bennett is a playmaker and reminds this writer of Josh Smith in terms of his versatility. He can play with his back to the basket or stretch to the perimeter, where he hit 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts as a freshman.
Detroit has really built its team up in the draft over the past few seasons, and getting Bennett would make it four-straight drafts in which the Pistons have nabbed a starter. Just like Oklahoma City has done over the past few years, the Pistons might be primed for success very soon by taking a guy like Bennett.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
The Timberwolves recently parted ways with Brandon Roy for good, and that officially opens up the hole that Minnesota had in its lineup for most of the season—a consistent presence at the two-guard spot.
McCollum, who is listed at 6'3", isn't exactly the biggest guard on the planet, but he's a proven scorer who increased his scoring average in each of his four years at Lehigh. He finished by bringing home 23.9 points per game in 12 contests last season before his year was cut short by injury.
That kind of scoring punch could really help the T'Wolves—hck, having a shooting guard in general could help Minnesota.
McCollum is a proven scorer who might take a season or two to fully adapt his game to the next level, but he's an intriguing prospect, and he could provide depth in a place where Minnesota is dying for it alongside starting point guard Ricky Rubio.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: PG/SG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
Portland is set at point guard with 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, but shooting guard is a different story. Wesley Matthews is entrenched as the starter, but behind him, very little is settled on the Portland bench.
As a unit, the Trail Blazers finished dead-last in the NBA in 2012-13 in terms of bench scoring at 18.5 points per game.
Carter-Williams might be more of a luxury than a need—especially with finding some depth behind LaMarcus Aldridge being a key for Portland this offseason—but the Blazers have to find a way to score when the first unit isn't on the court.
MCW helps the Blazers accomplish that, as his 11.9-point and 7.3-assist averages from last season at Syracuse suggest. He's not efficient from the field yet, but he's a true playmaker who could help the Blazers get easy shots when Lillard is not in the game.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Kelly Olynyk, C/PF, Gonzaga
Philadelphia's ill-fated Andrew Bynum experiment looks completed, as the former All-Star center appears ready to test the free-agent market while the team appears ready to let him walk.
That means the Sixers are back in the market for a center.
Kelly Olynyk doesn't stand out as an uber-athletic prospect at the position, but he is an accomplished scorer who proved that he can handle a full-time load at either center or power forward during his time at Gonzaga.
In the right system, he'll be a valuable weapon as a center in a smaller lineup or as a starter at the power forward spot in a long-term scenario.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Oklahoma City continues to feel the effects of the Jeff Green trade every time it misses out on winning the NBA finals. Kendrick Perkins has been good, but he hasn't been great, and he's rarely on the floor during the fourth quarter for the Thunder.
OKC simply needs more from its center next season.
Gorgui Dieng is a player who can provide just that, as his 8.3-point, 7.9-rebound and 2.6-block per game stats would suggest from his time with the reigning national champion Louisville Cardinals. Dieng is a smart player with a high basketball IQ, and he would from the kind of inside punch with Serge Ibaka that would make Oklahoma City a dangerous frontcourt team.
This pick is really a luxury for the Thunder anyway, as it is a result of the James Harden trade prior to last season (the pick was obtained from Houston who originally obtained it from Toronto). The Thunder can draft for need (shooting guard depth, frontcourt depth) or choose to take the best player available.
They'll pick again at No. 29, and they already have talent stored away (Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III) that make the other 29 teams cringe when trying to equal OKC's prospect gathering dominance over the past few years.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Shabazz Muhammad, SG/SF, UCLA
Dallas has a choice to make with this pick, as it was reported by ESPN's Chad Ford late on Tuesday that the Mavericks would be trying to sell the No. 13 pick in order to create cap space for a run at Dwight Howard this summer.
The Mavs made a similar move last season, trading pick No. 17 to the Cavs for three picks in the same draft—No. 24 and two early second-rounders. The move allowed Dallas to create some cap space as a result of the seven-spot move down. This allowed them the salary it required to take Jared Cunningham along with second-rounders Jae Crowder and Bernard James, who were both rotation players last season.
This year, though, Dallas needs a playmaker to get back to the postseason.
Shabazz Muhammad is just that, even if concerns about his attitude and passing ability are there. O.J. Mayo took strides last year, but it's unlikely that the Mavs will give him a huge contract, as he was disappointing in crunch time with turnovers and missed shots.
Muhammad is a lot of things, but someone who is unwilling to shoulder the load isn't one of them. He wants the ball, and that's a characteristic the Mavs didn't have on offense last season after the departure of Jason Terry, the health concerns of Dirk Nowitzki and the infusion of other talent.
14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Utah will enter the draft without any guarantee of a point guard on its roster when the season opens up next year. Lucky for them, Shane Larkin is shooting up draft boards after his combine performance, and he should still be available at No. 14.
The catalyst for Miami's impressive season, Larkin is mentioned most as former MLB star Barry Larkin's son. He's his own player on the basketball court, though, and he is a playmaker in the open court when he runs the fast break.
One of college basketball's most improved players from his freshman to sophomore year, Larkin sneaks into the lottery here because point guard talent isn't a strong position in this draft. That won't bother the Jazz, though, who can't afford not to get a starter at the point with one of their two picks.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Tony Snell, SG/SF, New Mexico
The Bucks will likely lose either Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings this offseason, and the team has decisions to make on J.J. Redick and Mike Dunleavy with respect to their free agent standing.
Milwaukee can solve both of those question marks by drafting a shooting guard at No. 15, and Tony Snell of New Mexico is a guy who continues to rise up draft boards after an impressive season in the Mountain West.
He improved in each of his three seasons with the Lobos, and although his shooting percentages are a major concern, he's a good foul shooter and has the length to improve as a rebounder and defender.
Many compare him to San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, but he has a ways to go before being considered as NBA-ready as Leonard was two years ago. He does have the length (6'7") and skill-set to get there, though, and Milwaukee has a need in the wing department. It looks to be a fit for all sides.
16. Boston Celtics: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
The Celtics will likely enter the 2013-14 season with a healthy Rajon Rondo, but there's little doubt that having depth behind the unquestioned All-Star will be a point of emphasis in either the draft or free agency.
ESPN's Chad Ford tweeted that word around NBA circles is that Schroeder will be a lock as a first-round pick. Boston would be an obvious choice for his services with the frontcourt already full for next season (Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green).
Schroeder is lightning-quick, has a flair for the open court and can really learn from Rondo during his rookie year with one of the NBA's most professional franchises.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Mason Plumlee, C/PF, Duke
The Hawks have more players entering free agency than they actually have on the roster for next season, meaning that literally all five positions are fair game for management with these next two picks.
Mason Plumlee is a nice value pick here after dropping out of the lottery, and he's a high-energy player with a solid face-up game after getting the ball in the post.
Duke hasn't been the best school for producing post men over the past few years, with Shelden Williams and Josh McRoberts being prime examples of guys who are more NBA role players than starters with their respective teams.
However, Plumlee would be valuable as a role player for the Hawks, and he would allow Al Horford to slide to the four-spot next season if he cracked the starting lineup—the consensus goal for the Hawks with these two picks.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
KCP is a prospect hovering in the middle part of the first round, and with so many shooting guards doing the same, it's hard to tell which team will take a chance on him first.
Atlanta could be the team to do so.
As mentioned, the Hawks have needs to fill at nearly every position.
One such position is shooting guard, where John Jenkins figures to see more time in 2013-14 but the Hawks are anywhere but settled when it comes to a rotation setup. Caldwell-Pope averaged 18.5 points in the SEC, led the conference in three-point shooting percentage and got to the line 135 times during his sophomore season.
Drawing comparisons to former New Jersey Net Kerry Kittles by NBADraft.net, the upside for Caldwell-Pope is there and his athleticism is a plus, too.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Another player with a first-round promise (from Ford's previously mentioned tweet), Giannis Antetokounmpo is a player who scouts are salivating over because of his athleticism, ball-handling ability at 6'10" and overall intrigue surrounding his NBA status.
A point guard in Greece, this young man dribbles like a guard, has the size of Kevin Durant and defends the basket like a center, as evidenced by his place in the middle of the zone for his team in film study.
After nabbing a center with its top pick, Cleveland has some room for leeway with this pick. Nabbing a player who has the upside and athleticism to contribute down the road isn't a bad deal for a team with some holes in the small forward department.
20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Chicago will be expecting the return of Derrick Rose at the start of next season, but it will not likely be graced with the ones of Nate Robinson or Marco Belinelli, who made some serious cash in free agency after signing one-year deals with the Bulls last offseason.
Jimmy Butler looks like the rugged two-guard who can shoot the three that Chicago needs, but what about off the bench? Rip Hamilton showed flashes against Miami that he can still contribute, but he's an oft-injured player and his career is winding down.
A better option would be to either draft a backup center for Joakim Noah here or take a shooting guard who could step in in the event of another injury-ravaged season. Crabbe fits the bill, and this young man is a knock-down shooter who has plenty of room to grow.
He averaged double-figures in each of his three seasons with California, was second in the Pac-12 in points in 2012-13 and shot 38.2 percent from outside in college. Chicago needs some scoring punch off the bench, and Crabbe is a guy who can provide that punch.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): Rudy Gobert, C, France
After grabbing some point guard help with Larkin, the Jazz can address another imminent need with pick No. 21, which originally belonged to the Golden State Warriors.
Rudy Gobert is a huge prospect from France. His wingspan is off the charts at 7'9", and according to Ford, his standing reach places him just five inches below the basket height at 9'7". Combine that with his 7'2" listed height, and teams will be ready to add this kid to their roster in the middle of the first round.
The Jazz, of course, will likely lose one of their two frontcourt starters between Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. That loss would pave the way for Derrick Favors or Enes Kanter to start, but a hole would still remain in the frontcourt rotation.
Gobert could be the piece that fills that role, and his raw game makes for an interesting projection for a team needing inside help.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Saric is a teenage wonder from Croatia who handles the ball like a point guard and can get separation in the offense like a small forward.
He handled the rock for his team this season, and did so well enough to earn lottery looks from teams in a position to add depth to the small forward position in the NBA next season.
He reminds me of Danilo Gallinari on tape, and he can really separate from his defender well, both on his way to the basket and in isolation sets. An intriguing prospect who has a high IQ, Saric would help the Nets prepare for the departure of Gerald Wallace in the next couple of years and provide a playmaking threat at the position around the other talent on the roster.
23. Indiana Pacers: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
No matter how much Danny Granger supporters try to tell you over the next few weeks that he would make the Pacers a better team, understand that Paul George does more for the team at the three than Granger can still do.
Paul George is the small forward of the present and the future for the Pacers.
As such, the team needs depth at both guard positions.
Jamaal Franklin is a guy who gets to the free-throw line, is an improving jump shooter and has athleticism beyond his years. He would help the Pacers' depth situation, both behind Lance Stephenson and in competition with the current starter, and he is a nice fit for both sides at this point.
24. New York Knicks: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
J.R. Smith will be a free agent this summer, meaning shooting guard is once again a wide-open position for the Knicks if he chooses to cash his paycheck elsewhere next season.
Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni are also getting up there in years, and although talented, I'm not sure Iman Shumpert is a true starting two-guard in the NBA with the Knicks over the long-term.
Archie Goodwin led the SEC in free-throw attempts with a staggering 212, averaged 14.1 points per game under John Calipari and is still a top prospect despite a poor shooting percentage during his freshman season.
With a couple of years to adapt to the NBA shooting game and to use his athleticism to offset Carmelo Anthony's on-ball dominance, Goodwin's style of play could be a nice fit in New York once this current crop of old talent begins to fade away.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Adams is a raw prospect who saw his time fluctuate during his freshman season at Pitt, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have potential or isn't capable of contributing in a long-term manner with an NBA team.
That team could be the Clippers, who need depth at both center and shooting guard heading into next season. Depending upon what happens with Chris Paul's free agency, this could be a very different team, but having a center who can back up DeAndre Jordan would be nice for the Clippers fans.
Like Jordan, he struggles from the free-throw line, but Adams can learn from his new teammates and continue to adapt his body to the NBA game quickly. He's built to last in the NBA, if he develops in the way some feel he will.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Glen Rice, Jr., SF, Georgia Tech/Rio Grande Valley (NBA D-League)
The interesting young career of Glen Rice, Jr. has taken the son of one of the NBA's most feared shooters to the NBA Developmental League, where he was a member of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2012-13.
He really came on during the D-League playoffs this year, picking up honors from the league for his performance and helping the Vipers to the D-League championship at the conclusion of the postseason.
Minnesota is in the market for an impact small forward, too, and Rice, Jr. fits the bill. He's overcome his college struggles and will make a nice addition to any roster as he uses his father's NBA advice and hard work to improve his game at the next level.
27. Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Michigan
The Nuggets have more "tweeners" than anyone in the NBA, as evidenced by starting a small forward at shooting guard for most of the regular season and employing an undersized power forward to match up with the league's best.
Whatever Denver is doing is working.
One concern for the Nuggets will be in the shooting guard department, where Andre Iguodala and Corey Brewer can both move on and Wilson Chandler didn't do enough to grab the starting job during his stint with the team this season.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. would be a nice, athletic pickup for the Nuggets. He defended well in the NCAA tournament, is a lights-out shooter and has true size to play the position at the next level.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
A sweet-shooting lefty from Russia, Sergey Karasev is an accomplished passer, a nice mid-range jump-shooter and a player with the IQ you need to succeed in San Antonio.
Remind you of any lefty on the San Antonio roster right now?
If you said Manu Ginobili, you'd be correct. Though slightly bigger than Manu and not as polished as the star shooting guard was when he came over from Argentina, Karasev has the same sort of attributes that San Antonio is looking for in an international player.
The Spurs' overseas exploits are well-documented, and taking Karasev here would further cement that San Antonio does its homework better than any other team looking to add international talent.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State
The Thunder have the luxury of taking literally any player they want here, and Deshaun Thomas isn't a bad value pick/bench scorer for a team with one of the best small forwards in the game right now.
Kevin Durant is the heart and soul of the Thunder, but when he needs to rest up, who will the Thunder turn to? Thomas could be that guy, and he has the scoring prowess to be a player who comes in and gives the team a quick five points when they need it.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
After addressing the backcourt with Oladipo, the Suns have this pick from the Heat to play with toward a rebuilding effort, as well.
Kansas' Jeff Withey is an impressive rim defender and a capable scorer around the basket when he gets the ball in close and can overpower defenders. He's not a true offensive threat, but in Phoenix, he wouldn't have to be.
Marcin Gortat will be a free agent next summer, and Withey might be the center-in-waiting if the Suns make him the final pick of the first round. Averaging over 3.6 blocks in each of his final two seasons at Kansas, Withey will be a nice addition to the bench and a 15-minute-per-game guy during his rookie season.
Follow Bleacher Report FC Ethan Grant on Twitter:
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?