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2013 NBA Mock Draft: Excellent Landing Spots for Big College Stars

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2013 NBA Mock Draft: Excellent Landing Spots for Big College Stars
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The 2013 NBA draft is approaching, with just one month remaining until the world's top prospects realize their respective dreams and become rookies. As we approach draft day, however, we can't help but question what will happen when the teams are faced with their toughest decisions to date.

More specifically, where will college basketball's biggest stars end up?

While nothing is certain, there are signs to follow that point us in the direction of what will transpire. From teams pursuing a certain position to the possibility of a trade on draft day, we're evaluating every piece of information thrown our way.

When it's all said and done, here's where the big names will go.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky Wildcats

Position: Center

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'0", 206 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.09 PER, 10.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 4.4 BPG, 2.1 SPG

 

I've gone on record by saying that the Cleveland Cavaliers should target Otto Porter with the first overall draft choice. There has been fuel added to that fire with Michael Lee of the Washington Post reporting that Cleveland is considering Porter.

With that being said, fans cannot allow that report to skew reality—Cleveland is considering everyone right now.

Even if the Cavaliers should draft Porter, they're more likely to take Nerlens Noel at this stage of the game. Not only do they need a rim protector, but their top option at center is the injury-ravaged Anderson Varejao.

Varejao has missed at least 40 games in three straight seasons, and Cleveland has never had an issue drafting players that have a history of ailments (See: Irving, Kyrie).

Cleveland is still, at least, one season away from postseason contention, which suggests they can afford to wait for Noel to recover. Assuming he adds the necessary bulk—a risk considering that needs to be around the 40-pound mark—Noel could be the franchise center Cleveland needs.

There is more of a waiting period with Noel than other prospects, but patience is a virtue here—the former Kentucky Wildcat is a dominant defensive presence.


2. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines

Trey Burke Pro-Player Comparison

Position: Point Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'1", 187 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

29.76 PER, 18.6 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 SPG

 

The Orlando Magic have a variety of options here, as they could go with a player at either guard position. Victor Oladipo is rivaling Ben McLemore, at the moment, but the logical option for Orlando is to pursue a different route.

Selecting point guard Trey Burke is the road they pursue.

The Magic have three prospects that they can build around in Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic. With that being said, their point guard is the 31-year-old and injury-ridden Jameer Nelson.

Nelson played well in 2012-13, but the Magic would be foolish to ignore the need for a point guard of the future.

There's a possibility that better options at the point arise in 2014, but that's not a risk worth taking. Burke isn't fresh off of his national player of the year awards anymore, as the draft combine has stunted all college momentum.

Fortunately, he's the best player at the NBA's most in-demand position—this pick could go either way, but in the end, that's what makes Burke the choice.


3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, Georgetown Hoyas

Position: Small Forward

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'9", 198 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.88 PER, 16.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 42.2% 3PT

 

The Washington Wizards would love nothing more than to see Otto Porter fall to them, and in this scenario, he does. Not only is Porter the dynamic small forward that Washington can use to round out their promising perimeter, but he is the most complete player in this draft.

That statement applies to both ends of the floor.

Offensively, Porter has a strong handle and facilitates as well as most guards in this year's draft. Not only can he distribute, but Porter is lethal from beyond the arc off of the catch and finishes well in traffic.

With John Wall as his facilitator, Porter would certainly have opportunities to stroke it in his preferred manner.

On the defensive end, Porter will make his money, pairing a 6'9" frame with a 7'2" wingspan and a mature approach. Not only does he thrive in staying in front of his man, but Porter compensates for his less than stellar athleticism by maintaining a strong base with superb footwork.

Porter is the safest pick in this draft, and at the next level he could be a Danny Granger type of contributor.

 

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas Jayhawks

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'5", 189 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.24 PER, 15.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 42.0% 3PT

 

The Charlotte Bobcats could create the perimeter with the best collective motor by drafting Victor Oladipo. While I personally rank Oladipo well above Ben McLemore, I'd be allowing my personal bias to cloud reality if I made him the choice here.

Charlotte hasn't been able to shoot the ball in years, and McLemore is the draft's best all-around offensive player—the selection is clear.

The Bobcats were 27th in three-point field-goal percentage and three-point field goals made during the 2012-13 regular season. That marked the third consecutive season in which Charlotte has ranked 25th or worse in three-point field-goal percentage.

Need we say more?

Not only is McLemore a lethal jump shooter, he's an explosive athlete that works well in transition. Alongside the defensive-minded Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and slashing point guard Kemba Walker, McLemore could serve as the offensive glue that helps to turn this team around.

Charlotte instantly improves their future with this one.

 

5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Hoosiers

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'4", 213 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

29.09 PER, 13.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.2 SPG, 44.1% 3PT

 

Throughout the course of the 2012-13 college basketball season, no player moved up draft boards in as dramatic a fashion as Victor Oladipo. From a previously unknown prospect to a lottery pick, Oladipo has come leaps and bounds.

The one thing that hasn't changed is the fact that he's the No. 1 prospect on my personal big board—in other words, I still view him as the best player in this draft.

Oladipo has the best motor in this draft, which alone makes him a player worth investing a first-round pick in. Paired with elite athleticism that few, if any, can match, Oladipo is one of the most intriguing prospects in recent memory.

Just check the numbers.

It doesn't end there.

So what has he put on the court?

Oladipo was one of the most efficient players in the nation, both offensively and defensively. Not only does he have a deadly jumper off of the catch, but Oladipo is a menace in transition and is severely underrated while working in the half court.

The key here is that Oladipo is what you would get if you combined Phoenix Suns shooting guard Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley. In other words, he has Browns' explosive athleticism and Dudley's polished fundamentals, which is the combination Phoenix has been searching for.

Why would they let him pass?


6. New Orleans Pelicans: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange

Position: Point Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'6", 184 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

21.25 PER, 11.9 PPG, 7.3 APG, 4.9 RPG, 2.8 SPG

 

The New Orleans Pelicans have a variety of options here, with their two most realistic options coming at point guard and center. When it comes right down to it, the Pelicans will ask themselves one very important question.

What's the difference between Greivis Vasquez and Michael Carter-Williams? One has elite defensive potential and the other doesn't.

That's literally it.

Both Carter-Williams and Vasquez are 6'6" point guards with elite facilitating abilities. Neither shoots particularly well from beyond the arc, but when they're on their game, each can be dangerous offensive players as they attack the basket and create their own shot.

The difference, as stated, is that Carter-Williams is a ball hawk with the potential to be a lockdown defender, while Vasquez is 26 and displaying no signs of defensive upside.

Alex Len is an option here, but there isn't much difference in the risk. In fact, all of the "boom or bust" talk surrounding Carter-Williams is disturbingly false.

If you have a point guard that stands at 6'6", facilitates better than any other prospect available and plays, arguably, the best defense for his position, what's the risk in a draft this weak?

 

7. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, UNLV Rebels

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'8", 240 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

28.24 PER, 27.1 MPG, 16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.2 BPG, 37.5% 3PT

 

The Sacramento Kings are under new ownership and thus will be looking to build a team that can contend in the near future. To do just that, the Kings take the approach that has made so many of this year's postseason contenders as successful as they have been.

They build their interior of the future.

DeMarcus Cousins is already one of the top 10 centers in the NBA, but he lacks the support necessary to make the Kings a playoff team. With a star power forward alongside him, however, that could all change.

Enter Anthony Bennett.

Bennett may or may not become a star, but he certainly has the body, athleticism and skill set to contribute in the NBA. He stands at 6'8" and 240 pounds with a 7'1" wingspan, all the while displaying the ability to shoot the three-ball.

If Bennett pans out, Sacramento could have the top offensive frontcourt in the league somewhere down the line.


8. Detroit Pistons: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia Bulldogs

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'6", 204 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.62 PER, 18.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 2.0 SPG, 37.3% 3PT

 

The Detroit Pistons are in a very tough predicament here, as they need help all along the perimeter. With the top two point guards off of the board, however, that puts them in line to land C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh.

After experiencing mediocre results with past combo guards—Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight come to mind—Detroit sides with a safer bet.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has excellent size for the 2, standing at 6'6" and 204 pounds with a 6'8" wingspan. Caldwell-Pope, the SEC Player of the Year, is also a lethal three-point shooter that rebounds at an elite level and plays tenacious defense.

He may or may not be an All-Star-caliber prospect, but he's exactly what Detroit needs.

If nothing else, Caldwell-Pope will boost Detroit's defense and provide the floor spacing shooter that can help Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond work down low. At best, Caldwell-Pope becomes one of the better two-way players at his position and helps lead Detroit back into playoff contention.

There isn't much risk here, and that's what Detroit needs to help their inconsistent backcourt stay afloat.


9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Bruins

Position: Small Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'6", 222 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

21.99 PER, 17.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 37.7% 3PT

 

There is a strong possibility that Shabazz Muhammad drops out of the top 10, but this scenario works out too well for that to happen. Not only do the Minnesota Timberwolves need a player that can create his own shot, but they lack any form of offensive consistency along the perimeter.

His efficiency may be debatable, but if there's one thing to know about Shabazz Muhammad, it's that he's always in attack mode.

For all of the questions about his shooting, Muhammad still stands at 6'6" and 222 pounds with a 6'11" wingspan. As a 20-year-old prospect, that makes Muhammad one of the most NBA-ready players from a physical perspective.

We need not forget that Muhammad helped a poor UCLA squad into the NCAA Tournament by shouldering the scoring load.

Muhammad may not be a consistent three-point shooter, but he's capable with his feet set and is a menace off the bounce. Not only is he a powerful player, but he finishes well in transition and is one of the better rebounders at his position.

Minnesota needs a complementary scorer for Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, and Muhammad certainly fits the bill.


10. Portland Trail Blazers: Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins

Position: Center

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'1", 225 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.04 PER, 26.4 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 2.1 BPG

 

The Portland Trail Blazers need to create depth by acquiring a scoring guard here, but they appear to be focused elsewhere. Despite seeing their season end with a 13-game losing streak due to the fatigue created by their lack of depth, Portland wants a big man.

Alex Len is the ideal fit for that reason.

Even if it's not what they should do, it appears as if this is the most likely move.

Len would fit in rather nicely for the Blazers, as he works well out of the post and has a strong face-up game. Not only can he score with both hands, but Len passes as well as any big man available and could help set up Portland's three-point shooters.

The truth of the matter is, this pick is predicated on defensive value.

Len is a shot-blocker that has improved his defensive footwork in a significant manner since his freshman year. While his game is far from a finished product, Len is the best center available after Nerlens Noel.

One can't help but wonder what this means for Meyers Leonard's future.

 

11. Philadelphia 76ers: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Position: Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'3", 197 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

33.95 PER, 23.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 51.6% 3PT

 

Many have been quick to label C.J. McCollum as 2013's Damian Lillard, as they both come from small schools. With that being said, McCollum isn't the point guard that many project him to be, but instead a combo guard with a complete offensive game.

Seeing as the Philadelphia 76ers need to improve their outside shooting, McCollum is the pick here.

The 76ers may target a center here as they attempt to land an insurance policy with Andrew Bynum's future in doubt. With that being said, Philly needs much more than just a center in order to make the leap to the postseason.

They need to develop some form of consistency on offense, and that all starts with shooting the ball.

McCollum is a supremely efficient offensive player that can create his own shot or work off screens to find open looks. With the ball in his hands, McCollum is more than capable of creating shots for his teammates, thus taking pressure off Jrue Holiday.

For a Sixers team with little certainty moving forward, finding a player that breathes efficiency is a nice start to the rebuilding process.

 

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors): Cody Zeller, Indiana Hoosiers

Position: Center

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 7'0", 230 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

30.93 PER, 16.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder still need an offensive-minded center that can score out of the post. Fortunately for the Thunder, this draft pans out in the perfect manner, as Cody Zeller is still on the board at No. 12.

He may not be a franchise player, but Zeller has proven just how safe of a selection he will be.

Zeller proved to be an explosive athlete at the 2013 NBA draft scouting combine. More importantly, he weighed in at 7'0" and 230 pounds, which was taller and heavier than he had been reported as during the college basketball season.

In other words, Zeller is physically built to play at the next level.

The key here is that OKC needs an interior scoring presence and Zeller finishes well with both hands. Not only can he score out of the post and with his jump shot, but Zeller can take his man off of the bounce.

OKC needs to add a new dynamic offensively, and Zeller is the perfect player for that purpose.


13. Dallas Mavericks: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville Cardinals

Position: Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

23.60 PER, 9.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.5 BPG, 1.3 SPG


Regardless of which player they choose, the Dallas Mavericks need a center to step in and contribute defensively. At this stage, their top two options are Steven Adams and 23-year-old Gorgui Dieng.

It all comes down to Dallas' two-year plan.

Adams may emerge as the better player, but Dallas is thinking of a two-year turnaround in which they reclaim the top seed in the Western Conference. In order to achieve that, they're likely to be more inclined to select the center that is eerily similar to Tyson Chandler.

That's Dieng, and Chandler is the center that helped lead Dallas to the 2011 NBA championship.

Dieng played for Rick Pitino in college, which suggests he could make an easy transition to the NBA as a defensive-minded big man. For a Dallas team that has an elite power forward in Dirk Nowitzki, the addition of a shot-blocker certainly appears to be what separates them from the playoffs.

There are other options, but if Dallas wants to win now, Dieng is the most logical selection.


14. Utah Jazz: Dario Saric, Croatia

Position: Small Forward

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'10", 223 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Utah Jazz need help at every position but power forward and center, where Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are present. While the addition of a point guard is a legitimate option at this stage, there's a playmaker worth evaluating that doesn't run point.

Croatian small forward Dario Saric.

Saric is a 6'10" small forward with a 6'11" wingspan and a finesse right hand dribble. He sees the floor well, keeps his head up in transition and always seems to be a step ahead of his defender when the ball is in his hands.

When his feet are set, Saric is also a dangerous three-point shooter.

Saric won't make his money as a jump shooter, nor should he attempt to with the skills that he has in place. Instead, he'll be able to score in various ways, specifically as he develops a back-to-the-basket attack.

Drafting an international player this high is always a risk, but Saric appears to be worth the gamble.


15. Milwaukee Bucks: Allen Crabbe, California Golden Bears

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'6", 197 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

23.07 PER, 18.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG

 

The Milwaukee Bucks are going to go shooting guard here, it truly just depends on which player they choose. Jamaal Franklin's athleticism could be a key here, but they need something more than leaping ability.

Milwaukee needs a shooter, and that's why Allen Crabbe is the pick here.

Crabbe possesses deep NBA range and should see a three-point field-goal percentage close to 40.0 percent if he's allowed to work off the ball. Should the ball find his hands, however, Crabbe is more than capable of attacking the basket or facilitating.

All in all, he's a safe pick with the potential to be a high-quality offensive player.

The key here is that Crabbe is about more than offense, as he's also a quality defender. At 6'6" with a 6'11" wingspan, Crabbe utilizes his length and agility to remain in front of his man and make plays in the passing lane.

Crabbe can shoot, handle the ball and defend—three traits that Milwaukee needs in their backcourt.

 

16. Boston Celtics: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh Panthers

Position: Center

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'0", 255 pounds, 7'5" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

22.59 PER, 23.4 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG

 

The Boston Celtics are in need of athleticism, an interior presence and a player that they can build around. It just so happens that they're in position to land all three of those traits with one prospect at No. 16.

Steven Adams is the real deal, and Boston will find out it's worth the potential wait.

Adams has the perfect build to play center in the NBA, stepping in at 7'0" and 255 pounds with a 7'5" wingspan. Not only is he built in a powerful manner, but Adams runs the floor well and explodes off the floor for rebounds and blocks.

Those two statistical categories are both areas in which the Celtics are desperate for help.

The most important factor in this selection is that Adams proved to be a significantly better offensive producer than we had previously believed while attending the scouting combine. Not only was he able to make shots with ease, but he appeared comfortable with the ball in his hands.

With Kevin Garnett as his mentor and Jared Sullinger his frontcourt partner, Adams would fit in quite nicely as a Celtics.

 

17. Atlanta Hawks: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga Bulldogs

Position: Center

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 7'0", 234 pounds, 6'10" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

36.57 PER, 26.4 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 BPG, 62.9% FG

 

The Atlanta Hawks need a center that they can place alongside Al Horford and thus build their team from the interior out. It just so happens that they're in position to land one of the most efficient and rapidly developing players available.

Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk.

Olynyk has gone from a bench warmer to a premier prospect in the course of one season. Much of that has to do with his non-stop motor, but the truth of the matter is, Olynyk is far more skilled than he's given credit for.

Whether it's his ability to run in transition, face-up for a jump shot or finish around the basket with both hands, Olynyk has it all on offense—a powerful work ethic makes him all the more intriguing.

Defensively, Olynyk rebounded well and protected the rim at a higher level than his block totals suggest. The truth of the matter is, three numbers are what tell you the story about the player that could pan out as one of the better players from this class.

In 26.4 minutes, Olynyk averaged 17.8 points on 62.9 percent shooting from the field—that is efficiency.

 

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Glen Rice Jr., NBA D-League

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'6", 211 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 D-League Averages

23.7 MPG, 13.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 38.5% 3PT

 

The Atlanta Hawks landed the center that they so desperately need, which enables them to opt for value here. It just so happens that the value pick here is the same one that addresses one of their biggest needs.

Atlanta adds a potential lockdown defender that shoots well from beyond the arc in Glen Rice Jr.

Rice Jr. has the luxury of spending a year in the D-League, thus competing against former and current NBA players. He's also the son of a former NBA player and three-time All-Star Glen Rice, who led the league in three-point field-goal percentage in 2000.

Having a father that was one of the game's great scorers is a nice way to make your entry into the NBA.

As for what Rice Jr. brings to the table, his defensive presence should be enough to help him carve out a lengthy NBA career. He has strong size at 6'6" and 211 pounds with a 6'9" wingspan, but the key is his range and athleticism.

The question is, can his jump shooting be enough to make him a legitimate two-way threat? Atlanta will use this pick to find out.

 

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Suns, from Heat): Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State Aztecs

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'5", 191 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

23.87 PER, 17.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.6 SPG

 

The Cleveland Cavaliers could go in other directions here, but there aren't many players that jump off the board with this pick. Having already landed a center, the Cavaliers' only logical step is to go for value here.

Shooting guard Jamaal Franklin is the choice, for that reason.

Sergey Karasev is another option, but it's rare that teams choose international players over college prospects at this stage of the draft. Seeing as Franklin is one of the most well-rounded players in the draft, it certainly makes sense to go in this direction.

For evidence on how diverse his game is, Franklin led San Diego State—an NCAA Tournament team—in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals per game.

Franklin struggles with his jump shot, which is something Cleveland can ill afford to hear, but his overall abilities are too strong to deny. Not only is he an explosive athlete, but Franklin could play the 3 if he were to bulk up.

There are other options, but none as value-driven as this.

 

20. Chicago Bulls: Jeff Withey, Kansas Jayhawks

Position: Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 7'0", 222 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.23 PER, 13.7 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.9 BPG, 58.2% FG

 

The Chicago Bulls have multiple options, but the rational selection here is the addition of a center. There are other needs for Chicago to address, but the absence of depth behind Joakim Noah proved to be a major reason for the Bulls' ultimate undoing.

Selecting center Jeff Withey could put an end to those concerns.

Withey is an experienced player that stands at 7'0" with a 7'2" wingspan. While some players may be more athletic, no one in this draft uses their size and body quite as well as Withey does on the defensive end of the floor.

Whether he's setting up shop down low or stepping out to contest a jump shot, Withey will contest any shot that's sent his way.

The key for the Bulls is that Withey is an elite shot blocker that is comfortable scoring out of the post. This two-way ability is what makes him such a safe pick, as Withey's skills are in line with the type of big men that are around for more than 10 seasons.

For a Bulls team that thrives on defense but lacks any form of depth, Withey is the safest bet to step in from day one and contribute.

 

21. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Dennis Schroeder, Germany

Position: Point Guard

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'2", 165 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Utah Jazz landed a dynamic play maker in Dario Saric, which would help to transform their perimeter into one of significantly greater diversity. With that being said, the Jazz remain without a franchise point guard.

What's the harm in taking a gamble on German floor general Dennis Schroeder at No. 21?

Schroeder has the build to intrigue general managers at 6'2" with a 6'8" wingspan. While his pure ability remains relatively unproven, Schroeder does possess a paralyzing hesitation move and attacks the basket in a finesse manner.

When in the paint, Schroeder is more than capable of finishing with contact.

As a facilitator, Schroeder should be able to run the pick-and-roll, as he has the size and court vision to make passes over and around blitzing defenders. With Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter on the receiving end, Schroeder would have the teammates necessary to aid in his progression.

There's some risk here, but at No. 21, it's all about value.

 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils

Position: Power Forward/Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 7'0", 238 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

26.48 PER, 17.1 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.0 SPG

 

The Brooklyn Nets have All-Stars at every position but power forward, where world-class rebounder Reggie Evans resides. With that being said, Evans is a virtual non-factor offensively and Brooklyn needs a scorer to complement Brook Lopez.

Mason Plumlee, a walking alley-oop, is the perfect player at a way too low position of No. 22.

Plumlee is more than capable of running in transition, possessing the foot speed and explosiveness to finish off of feeds from Deron Williams. In the half court, Plumlee has a strong face-up game and has significantly improved his back-to-the-basket attack.

As a double-digit rebounder, Plumlee projects to be a quality NBA player, at worst.

Plumlee could end up playing as more of a center, but he's athletic enough to hold his own at the 4. For a team that needs depth more than an instant contributor, however, the transition shouldn't be an issue for the former Duke Blue Devil.

Brooklyn has many options here, but passing over Plumlee at No. 22 is senseless.

 

23. Indiana Pacers: Shane Larkin, Miami Hurricanes

Position: Point Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'0", 171 pounds, 5'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

22.40 PER, 14.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.8 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 40.6% 3PT

 

The Indiana Pacers are a defensive-minded team that have the personnel in place to contend for the Eastern Conference crown. What the Pacers lack, however, is the necessary depth and offensive firepower to truly contend for an NBA championship.

Miami Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin is exactly what they need.

Larkin is a dynamic playmaker that pushes the pace and makes precise passes in transition and runs the pick-and-roll with efficiency. When he's not distributing, Larkin is comfortable calling his own number and attacking the basket or stepping back for a three-pointer.

The clincher here is that Larkin is an explosive athlete with high defensive potential.

Larkin was an All-ACC All-Defensive Team selection in 2013, as his average of 2.0 steals and his ferocious on-ball defense earned him mountains of respect via his peers. Not only was Larkin a terror in the passing lanes, but he routinely stepped up on players with significantly greater size.

For a Pacers team that thrive on being tenacious defensively, there aren't very many fits better than Larkin.

 

24. New York Knicks: Rudy Gobert, France

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 7'2", 238 pounds, 7'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The New York Knicks would likely prefer a more instant fix for their lack of youth and athleticism, but few players drafted No. 24 overall will start during their first season. For that reason, the selection of project player Rudy Gobert comes with great confidence.

Not only does New York employ a system that would welcome Gobert's presence, but they're drafting at a spot in which value trumps all else.

Gobert's physical gifts are well documented, as he stands in at 7'2" and 238 pounds with a massive 7'9" wingspan. Not only is Gobert gifted in terms of his physical makeup, however, but he's an explosive leaper.

All in all, Gobert's body speaks louder than most prospect's body of work.

Again, the Knicks may be better off drafting a player that can step in from day one, but those players are few and far in between at this stage. For that reason, the Knicks land a potential building block for the future here.

Something they haven't done via the draft in quite some time.

 

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock, North Carolina Tar Heels

Position: Small Forward

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'7", 200 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.13 PER, 13.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 43.6% 3PT

 

The Los Angeles Clippers are an elite defensive team that thrives in transition. As we learned in the 2013 NBA playoffs, however, the Clippers are rendered helpless in the half court, proving incapable of converting jump shots or working it out of the low-post.

Without a big man available to select here, the Clippers go with Reggie Bullock to improve their perimeter shooting.

Bullock is an elite jump shooter that converted 43.6 percent from beyond the arc in 2012-13. Standing at 6'7" with a 6'9" wingspan, Bullock also possesses the physical gifts necessary to be a quality contributor on defense.

For a Clippers team that could stand to get younger at small forward, Bullock is certainly an intriguing possibility.

The clinching factor here is that Bullock can crash the boards from the 2 or 3 spots along the perimeter. Not only can he utilize his length, but Bullock is strong enough to box out a bigger player and work his way onto the glass.

With all of this being noted, L.A. needs a three-point shooter and, on the off chance that Bullock pans out as nothing more than that, the Clippers would still have made a strong selection.

 

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies): Sergey Karasev, Russia

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'7", 197 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

One of the most well-documented facts about the NBA is that the Minnesota Timberwolves favor international prospects. Even with David Kahn out of office, their propensity to favor system-oriented players is likely to continue.

There are few better, in that regard, than Sergey Karasev out of Russia.

Karasev is the type of guard that Minnesota prefers, as he can handle the ball and create shots for his teammates. The difference between Karasev and Minnesota's current crop of guards, however, is that he stands at 6'7" and has an intriguing stroke from beyond the arc.

It just so happens that size and three-point shooting are two of Minnesota's most glaring weaknesses.

Karasev would fit in well in Minnesota, as his playing style matches what the T-Wolves like to do offensively. Not only does he use his size and length to his advantage, but Karasev is always in attack mode, finding openings and entering the paint.

With fellow Russian players Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko, one can't help but imagine that Karasev would have his easiest transition to the NBA if drafted by Minnesota.

 

27. Denver Nuggets: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State Racers

Position: Point Guard

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'0", 188 pounds, 6'5" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.28 PER, 21.8 PPG, 4.3 APG, 3.5 RPG, 

 

The Denver Nuggets are an explosive offensive team that thrive in transition and often overpower opponents with their ability to push the pace. Even without a consistent shooter or low-post presence, Denver has been able to score at virtual will.

Until the postseason, that is.

If Denver is to make a run through the playoffs, the Nuggets will need to improve their three-point shooting and defensive presence. With Andre Miller nearing 40 years old, they're also in line to find a second-unit point guard of the future.

Enter Isaiah Canaan.

Canaan is lethal from beyond the arc, whether he's creating his own shot or working off of screens. More importantly, Canaan plays quality on-ball defense and could provide the second unit leadership that the Nuggets will need moving forward.

There aren't many sure things this late in the draft, but Canaan appears to be a safe bet to become a quality NBA point guard

 

28. San Antonio Spurs: Lucas Nogueira, Brazil

Position: Center

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'11", 218 pounds, 7'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

There's a strong possibility that the San Antonio Spurs pick a player that you believe is better suited for a pick significantly lower than this. After all, this is the Spurs we're talking about, and they routinely find the diamonds in the rough.

If we have to attempt a prediction, however, it's that the Spurs will get younger along the interior and bring in one of the top big men available.

Lucas Nogueira out of Brazil stands at 6'11" and 218 pounds, boasting an insane 7'6" wingspan. Bulking up is an issue and improving his offensive fundamentals could be listed as another, but there is upside here.

Significant upside.

Nogueira has improved in countless ways since the 2012 NBA draft, becoming a more polished defender that thrives as a shot blocking and rebounding presence. After previously receiving questions about his motor, Nogueira has also developed one of the better motors on the international scene.

As for the lack of offensive skills, who better than Tim Duncan to guide him through his early seasons?

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tony Snell, New Mexico Lobos

Position: Small Forward

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'7", 198 pounds, 7'0" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

17.16 PER, 12.5 PPG, 2.9 APG, 2.5 RPG, 39.0% 3PT

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder may not have many holes, but that doesn't mean their weaknesses need to go without being addressed. After landing the interior presence that can push them over the edge, that opens the door for another issue to be touched upon.

Oklahoma City needs shooters—desperately.

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are two of the top 10 players in the NBA, while Serge Ibaka is a dominant defensive presence. Even if OKC is to re-sign Kevin Martin, however, they are rather thin on three-point marksmen.

As a team that lives and dies by the jump shot, that's not the ideal way to build your roster.

Tony Snell is an explosive athlete with a lethal three-point stroke, which makes him the pick here. Not only can he help improve the athleticism of an aging second unit, but Snell can step in as a catch-and-shoot option from day one.

For a team that relies so heavily on jump shooting, the only logical option here is to add more shooters.

 

30. Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, from Lakers): Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan Wolverines

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'6", 199 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

18.05 PER, 14.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 37.4% 3PT

 

The Phoenix Suns lucked out by landing Victor Oladipo with their first pick, thus finding their franchise player. With that being said, Phoenix still has an overwhelming weakness along the perimeter, as they simply cannot shoot the three-ball.

Ranking 28th in three-point field-goal percentage should prove that.

Fortunately for Phoenix, former Michigan Wolverines star Tim Hardaway Jr. is available at No. 30. Not only can Hardaway shoot the ball, but he's capable at creating his own shot and can be a strong defender.

Standing at 6'6" with a 6'7" wingspan, he certainly has the size necessary to play the 2.

Should Hardaway pan out, Phoenix would have the opportunity to make deals at the 2014 trade deadline with a two-man rotation set at shooting guard. With new management, moving out the old and building around the new is certain to be on the agenda.

Complementing Oladipo with Hardaway Jr. is a great way to start.

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