2013 NBA Mock Draft: Ideal Choices for Each First Round Pick
Now that the lottery is over and the order of the 2013 NBA draft is set, it is time to officially unveil the latest first-round mock.
There’s been lots of movement across the big board in recent weeks, especially after the always-important scouting combine in Chicago. Some players shot up into the lottery and others hurt their chances of even getting selected within the top 30.
Let’s take a look at how the draft could shake out now that the picks are locked in and teams know where they stand in June’s event.
What will the Cavs do with No. 1?
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
The Cavs are going to look into a few other options here—especially Georgetown’s Otto Porter—but there’s little chance they decide on anyone else but Noel.
This team needs a young, huge-upside big to develop, especially to soak minutes when Anderson Varejao leaves via free agency or trade. With his shot-blocking and high ceiling, there’s no reason this Kentucky star slips past Cleveland.
2. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Orlando is in dire need of a point guard and it likely would have given Burke some serious consideration at No. 1. Now that they are tied into the No. 2 seed, expect the Magic to make this no-brain selection.
Burke is not only a major upgrade over Jameer Nelson, but he’ll also become an integral part of the youthful rebuilding effort in the Magic Kingdom. This squad could be talking playoffs in a year or two with the Michigan man at the helm.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Porter is a hometown hero that meshes perfectly with the superstar backcourt of Bradley Beal and John Wall.
He’s not an elite scorer, but won’t need to with those two shouldering the load. The Hoyas' product can instead concentrate on knocking down open treys, defending the top perimeter options, cleaning the glass and hustling hard on every possession.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Bobcats tumbled down the board in the lottery, but they can still grab the player that they need most at No. 4.
McLemore is a sweet-shooting off-guard that will add some real range and scoring chops to an offense that sorely lacks in both departments. He has to become more consistent, but this one-and-done Jayhawk may eventually develop into Charlotte’s top scoring option.
5. Phoenix Suns: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
That performance should vault the Hoosiers' big man back up into the lottery, and he’s even going in the top half to Phoenix in this scenario. The Suns need just about everything, so the high-motor seven-footer that can run the court and finish around the rim would be a great fit.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Muhammad can simply score the basketball. He’s not great at anything else, but with his left-handed shooting touch and big body that allows him to absorb contact when finishing around the rim, he can generate buckets in a hurry.
Expect the Pelicans, who are devoid of an elite perimeter weapon to compliment Eric Gordon, to roll the dice on this UCLA swingman.
7. Sacramento Kings: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
The Kings were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last year, meaning they need to select a player that can contribute on that end of the court in a significant manner.
Oladipo is the perfect pick, as the shooting guard is capable of locking his man down, hustling hard up and down the court on every possession and playing with an infectious energy. His presence would help change the culture around this slumping organization.
8. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Whether they use him at the 3 to stretch the defense and add some length to an already huge frontcourt, or play him at the 4 in small-ball situations, the Pistons cannot lose with Bennett.
The Rebels' star is a versatile tweener that has the skills to play both forward positions, as he’s agile enough to slash from the perimeter or fire up a three-pointer, while being strong enough to play down low and bang for boards.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
The T-Wolves need shooting and defense in this draft. They can address the former by selecting McCollum, a sniper out of Lehigh that can put the ball through the net from anywhere on the court.
This Mountain Hawk may be a bit undersized—especially if he can’t handle point guard duties—but the volume scorer will find a way to make a difference in Minnesota.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Portland is likely parting ways with J.J. Hickson this summer, leaving the franchise with a gaping hole at the center position.
This team will not only need to add a starter there, but also a serviceable backup in the offseason. Len could initially fill the former role, while he works to hone his low-post game and develop the skill set to transition to the starting lineup.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Adams is another big that did wonders for his stock at the combine.
General managers and scouts were able to see that this New Zealand native is capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time without falling over, and onlookers came away impressed by his hustle, conditioning and athleticism.
The Sixers definitely need a big after the Andrew Bynum fiasco during the 2012-13 campaign, opening the door for this Pittsburgh pivot to land in the City of Brotherly Love.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Rudy Gobert, C, France
The loaded Thunder have the luxury of assuming little risk on a boom-or-bust pick like this.
Gobert has a long ways to go in terms of everything but sheer size and wingspan, but he could eventually become a stalwart in the paint.
Don’t be surprised if GM Sam Presti makes this pick and stashes the big man in Europe. The team could use his rights as trade bait or—far down the line—bring him over if he’s ready.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Dario Saric, F, Croatia
Saric is the top international player in this class and could eventually become the heir to Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas.
It remains to be seen if the 19-year-old is even ready to make the leap to American shores, but the Mavs aren’t going to find a superstar stateside and need to roll the dice if they are to get back into championship form.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Carter-Williams is the ideal fit with Utah, as the pass-first guard is one of the best facilitators we’ve seen in years and utilizes his elite size to lock down his man.
At 6’6”, there aren’t many point guards in the league that MCW can’t match up with, although the prospect has to work on his handle and jumper before he can log big minutes in the NBA.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
There is a good chance the Bucks are without Monta Ellis next season, so the team brass will have to find a replacement for the shooting guard’s production with the No. 15 pick.
The no-brain selection would be KCP, as the Georgia product projects as a complete player. He can create his own shot, bomb away from the perimeter, slash to the rim, defend his position and more.
16. Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
With Kevin Garnett aging and Jared Sullinger a constant injury risk, the C’s need to bring in another rim protector to shore up the frontcourt.
Dieng is a bit older at age 23, but has the skills to lock down the paint and protect the rim. He’s a tall, athletic prospect with underrated passing skills out of the low-post, which should make him a contributor in Boston.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
The Hawks need a blue-collar energy guy that can bring his lunch pail to the court every day.
Plumlee is the ideal target this year; as the Blue Devils senior isn’t afraid to work hard on every possession, scrap for rebounds, dive for loose balls and more.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Glen Rice Jr., SG, D-League
Rice Jr. is an intriguing prospect that would become the first D-Leaguer taken in the first round of the NBA draft.
He’s had some character issues in the past, but seems to have turned his life around and looks to be ready to handle the rigors and mental taxation of a professional basketball lifestyle.
If the Hawks peel him off the board here, they’ll be getting an athletic swingman that can play either the 2 or 3 with equal skill, as he’s a sizable 6’6” with range on his jumper, rebounding skills and passing ability.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
The Cavs would be getting a high-upside big if they take Nogueira here, as the Brazilian excels in the low post with his elite rebounding ability.
While the rest of his game is raw and needs work, this young man should eventually become a serviceable rotation player in the Association.
20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The Bulls need to stick a quality 2 next to Derrick Rose in their backcourt. Crabbe is a lights-out shooter that can knock down treys from anywhere in the arena.
He’s also not a shabby athlete and has some length at 6’6”, which coach Tom Thibodeau will certainly put to work in his defensive scheme.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Tony Snell, G/F, New Mexico
At the combine, Snell proved that he’s not only one of the best shooters in this draft, but also one of the premier athletes.
Since the Jazz brought in a facilitator with no range on his jumper earlier in this mock, expect them to grab a prospect to balance that out. Snell is the top sniper on the board in this scenario.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Withey would be an ideal backup to Brook Lopez, as the Jayhawks big man could come in, swat some shots, defend his position and protect the rim whenever the starters hit the bench.
While it’s unlikely Withey ever develops any semblance of a serviceable offensive game, the Nets have been doing just fine with Reggie Evans—another offensively inept player—playing big minutes.
23. Indiana Pacers: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Larkin would make a great change-of-pace PG in Indy, as the uber-athletic prospect could run the second unit and get them up and down the floor in a hurry on the break.
His stock went flying up at the combine, after tests revealed that he’s one of the best leapers and quickest players in the class.
24. New York Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
J.R. Smith lost his mind in the playoffs and may have lost his job in New York due to it.
If the Knicks don’t keep the Sixth Man of the Year around for the upcoming campaign, as he can opt out of his current deal an unrestricted free agent, expect them to replace his production via the draft.
Hardaway Jr. could immediately come in and absorb some of Smith’s shots, as the Michigan sniper isn’t afraid to take—and make—three-pointers at an alarming rate.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
The Clippers have to invest in a point guard insurance policy in case Chris Paul leaves via free agency and Eric Bledsoe finds himself packaged into a trade.
Schroeder is the top point man on the board and could be a major steal for L.A. at No. 25. The German-born phenom lit up the Nike Hoops Summit a few weeks ago and proved he has the right stuff to transition to the NBA.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
With two other Russian players plying their trade in Minny—Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko—Karasev should feel right at home.
The long-range marksman’s upside is certainly worth the risk here at No. 26, as he could come off the pine for the T’Wolves and knock down some three-point shots as early as his rookie season.
27. Denver Nuggets: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Depending on who your asking, the Greek Freak could either be a lottery lock, late-first rounder, second-round prospect or undrafted bust.
He’s a great ball handler for his 6’9” size, but hasn’t been playing against top-notch competition overseas. Antetokounmpo is about as raw as a prospect can get, but this international man of mystery is definitely a worthwhile gamble for a deep team in a weak draft.
The Nuggets can keep him overseas for years, using his rights as a trading chip or eventually ship him to Denver when he’s physically ready to contribute.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
The Spurs are getting a major value in Franklin, a hyper-athletic 2-guard that can jump out of the gym and rebounds well above average for his position.
What do you think about this pick?
Much like Kawhi Leonard, the second-year star also out of San Diego State, the biggest concern with Franklin is his inability to shoot the basketball with any consistency.
San Antonio shooting specialist Chip Engelland has proven time and time again that he can get these young men to hone their jumper into something respectable.
If the Spurs select Franklin and give the Aztec star some reps with Engelland, they could unearth yet another diamond from the rough.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Olynyk is slipping down the big board after the combine revealed his wingspan is incredible short compared to his height—6’9” and to 7’0", respectively.
That, coupled with subpar athleticism and severely limited upside, has him slipping all the way down to the Thunder at No. 29.
Sam Presti loves to rescue players that scouts were high on all season and then abandoned just prior to the draft, as he did with Perry Jones III last season.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
The Suns are getting an ultra-athletic leaper that can defend both forward positions and bang for boards with anyone here at No. 30.
While Mitchell has been a sheer disappoint in terms of scoring, he’s great in other aspects and could eventually develop into the franchise bucket-generator some had pegged him as coming out of high school.
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