With the lottery behind us, the 2013 NBA draft has now gotten much clearer. This makes it easier to predict how the first round will shake out.
Teams know where they will be picking and will have a good idea which players are available at this stage. They will now do their best to find a prospect who fits the current roster and helps for the future as well.
While the general consensus is that there are no sure-fire superstars in this class, there are plenty of guys with high upside who could end up being very good players in the NBA. This makes it very important to pick the right person when the chance comes.
The draft is still a few weeks away, but here is a look at what each team will do in the first round.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
There are enough concerns that make Nerlens Noel far from a lock as the No. 1 pick. First, he is still recovering from a torn ACL and will not return until around Christmas, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:
Keith Langlois @Keith_Langlois
Nerlens Noel says hopes ready to go by Christmas. Says injury a blessing, working on other aspects. Will be a bettter player for it, he says2013-5-16 16:48:44
Additionally, he still needs a lot of work on his offensive game and to this point has not shown an ability to create his own shot.
On the other hand, you can be certain that he will be an elite shot-blocker. With his athleticism, he also will at least contribute on offense with dunks and put-backs.
This is a risky pick for the first overall selection, but Cleveland could use help on the defensive side of the ball. When Noel is healthy, he could make the Cavaliers a playoff team.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
There are a few directions Orlando can go with this pick. However, the best move would be to grab a player who can be a legitimate go-to scorer in the NBA.
Ben McLemore has loads of potential with his ability to get points in a number of ways. Adding him to a team that desperately needs perimeter help would make a huge difference right away.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
While the backcourt appears set in Washington between John Wall and Bradley Beal, the rest of the spots are up for grabs. This will allow the Wizards to grab the best available frontcourt player, which happens to be a local star in Otto Porter.
Porter is a very good defender and will help fill up the stat sheet in virtually every offensive category. While the team might need more size inside, it is hard to argue against this fit.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
The Bobcats need help virtually all over the floor, so it would be smart to grab arguably the most versatile player in the class.
Anthony Bennett has the skill to play inside, but he can also shoot the ball like a perimeter player. Either way, he is certain to be a strong offensive force and potentially a consistent threat on this struggling team.
5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Victor Oladipo is one of the safer picks in the draft thanks mostly to his elite ability to play on-ball defense. His length and athleticism will allow him to guard multiple positions in the NBA.
While he has not shown much offensively to allow people to think he will be a star, he knows how to create for himself and can hit shots when he is open. This is more than enough to justify the Suns grabbing the talented player with the fifth overall pick.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland
New Orleans drafted Anthony Davis last season with the intention to make him a center and a big-time rim protector. However, he was used mostly as a power forward and fared well in that spot.
This leaves an opening for a true center to provide an upgrade to Robin Lopez.
Alex Len has a lot of potential, especially on the offensive end. He has shown the ability to score with his back to the basket or with a face-up jumper. Although he is not a great shot-blocker, he will not need to be with Davis beside him in the frontcourt.
Len would give the squad more balance and make the entire team much better.
7. Sacramento Kings: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Although Shabazz Muhammad has started to fall down draft boards, the Kings are rarely afraid to take a risk on a player with red flags. DeMarcus Cousins, for one, has turned himself into one of the best centers in the league despite all the question marks surrounding him.
Muhammad has that potential if he is given a chance. The small forward is a natural scorer who can get points at the rim using his athleticism or from behind the arc with his good range.
With yet another player capable of creating for himself, the Kings could have a tough offense to defend next season.
8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Trey Burke has the talent to be taken as early as No. 2 in this draft, but lack of need and better fits will likely have him fall down to the Pistons.
Although this is bad for the point guard, it is great for Detroit to grab an elite player who will do whatever it takes to help his team win. He certainly showed plenty of leadership last season at Michigan.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh
C.J. McCollum probably has the ability to play point guard in the NBA, but he is better suited off the ball. This will allow him to utilize his skill as a shooter and a pure scorer.
With Ricky Rubio secure as the team's distributor, McCollum would be the perfect fit as someone who can put a lot of points on the scoreboard.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
The Trail Blazers have some talented players already in the post, but they can use someone with more size and athleticism. Cody Zeller is that person, and his stock is still on the rise after a strong display at the scouting combine.
He can run the floor well and will bring plenty of skill as early as next season, especially on the offensive end of the court.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
Whether or not the 76ers decide to bring back Andrew Bynum, there is still a need for frontcourt players. The inability to get points in the lane or defend inside destroyed the team's season.
Mason Plumlee is an excellent rebounder, and he can score consistently around the basket. He should play well alongside Jrue Holiday in Philadelphia.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Oklahoma City seemed fine as a championship contender, until it realized that there is too much reliance on Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to score points. There are few other players on the team who can create their own shot or even create for others.
The best addition the Thunder could find is a scoring big man to help bring some balance inside.
Kelly Olynyk is one of the best offensive players in the class with his ability to get points either around the basket or on the perimeter. He also is a good enough slasher to make him a threat from anywhere.
While he might not have enough strength to bang inside for 48 minutes, he will certainly be someone who can help the Thunder get a championship.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
No matter what happens this offseason, Dallas is in desperate need of a point guard. While Chris Paul is a possibility, it would be much cheaper to grab the talented Michael Carter-Williams in the draft.
The Syracuse star has great size for his position at 6'6", and he uses his length to excel on both ends of the court.
14. Utah Jazz: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Utah missed the postseason this year, and a weak backcourt was the main problem. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was not the most consistent player last season, but he has the pure skill to become a big-time player in the NBA.
With athleticism and a nice shooting stroke, he has what it takes to lift the Jazz up a few notches.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Dario Saric is one of the biggest mysteries in the draft. He has a very high ceiling, but also has a low floor of someone who could be a total bust.
Milwaukee is a team that is close to success but still needs a lot of help to be a true contender. Drafting Saric might be worth the risk if it means getting a potential All-Star small forward.
16. Boston Celtics: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Although the Celtics might get another year or two out of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, it is still time to start looking toward the future.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a long way from being ready to perform in the NBA, but Boston can draft him and give him time to work on his game until he is ready to contribute at the next level.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
Rudy Gobert's length is what will allow him to be drafted in the first round. He stands at 7'2" and has a wingspan of over 7'8" (via ESPN). When he stands up straight, he can almost touch the rim with a reach of 9'7".
It might take some time for the French prospect to become more of a well-rounded player, but the Hawks should be willing to wait on this kind of potential.
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
After adding a risky frontcourt player with the first pick, Atlanta would be smart to go in the opposite direction and add a safer player immediately following.
Jamaal Franklin is not a good shooter, which will keep him out of the lottery. Still, he knows how to score in other ways and plays much bigger than his size would indicate. This will take him far in the next level.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Glen Rice Jr., SF, Rio Grande Valley
If the Cavaliers do grab Nerlens Noel with the top pick, they will need to address the hole at small forward with their second selection.
Glen Rice Jr. had a strong season in the D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and his pure skill is tough to deny. He has character concerns after being kicked off the team at Georgia Tech, but he is worth the chance at this stage in the draft.
20. Chicago Bulls: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams has moved up draft boards since the combine, where he displayed great athleticism to go with his size. However, I am still not sold.
The New Zealand native is incredibly raw on the offensive end and will struggle to contribute for a few years. At least with Chicago, he will not be forced onto the floor with a number of solid players already on the depth chart. He can learn from the best and eventually become a serviceable starter.
21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
While Shane Larkin was one of the smallest players at the combine, he certainly impressed in the athletic portion of the event.
The point guard had the best max vertical jump of any participant (44") as well as the fastest time in the three-quarter court sprint (via ESPN).
His quickness was on display all last season as he led Miami to one of its best seasons in school history. He showed an ability to create opportunities for teammates as well as himself on a consistent basis.
The Jazz need a point guard of the future, and they would be making a smart choice by grabbing Larkin in the second half of the first round.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Brooklyn is looking to improve right away, and there is no one available at this stage of the draft who will help as much as Jeff Withey. The big man is one of the best interior defenders in the class and has the ability to contribute right away.
While he is unlikely to ever be more than a backup in the rotation, this should be more than enough to help the Nets next season.
23. Indiana Pacers: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The Pacers have shown this postseason that they have plenty of skill at each position. Still, the team could use another shooter to spread the floor and help improve the overall offense.
Allen Crabbe has great range and should be able to help this contending squad immediately.
24. New York Knicks: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Gorgui Dieng is the best of both worlds for New York. His defensive ability will help the team right away as it looks to contend for a championship next season.
Meanwhile, he also has shown plenty of raw talent on the offensive end and could be a quality contributor down the line. This makes him a good selection late in the first round for the Knicks.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia
One thing that the Clippers need to add this offseason is a shooter who can take the pressure off the talent up front. Sergey Karasev might have the most consistent shot in the class and should make an instant impact in Los Angeles.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies): Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina
The Timberwolves desperately need players with the ability to spread the floor. Most of the offense last season consisted of attempting to score around the basket, but it was too crowded to work.
Reggie Bullock is one of the best pure shooters in the class, and he has the size to get shots off without issue at the next level. This will allow Ricky Rubio and others more space to drive in the lane, which will lead to more overall offensive success.
Additionally, the North Carolina product has the strength and agility necessary to play strong defense at the wing position. He might never be a starter, but he could immediately enter the rotation and help Minnesota take that next step to the playoffs.
27. Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
Denver has a lot of depth at virtually every position. Still, it could always use an experienced player who can get points in a fast-paced offense.
Tim Hardaway Jr. will not be asked to do too much on the Nuggets, and he can simply relax and hit jumpers all day long.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
Archie Goodwin was the focal point of a struggling Kentucky attack last season. However, he also displayed great quickness with the ability to get into the lane whenever he wanted.
The Spurs need youth and speed in the backcourt, and Goodwin could end up being yet another steal for this consistent organization.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Oklahoma City needs a backup point guard who can be a true distributor instead of just a scorer. Without much demand for the position, Dennis Schroeder could end up falling to the Thunder at the end of the first round.
The German is raw, but he has shown plenty of ability in workouts to believe he can be a solid NBA player.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
The Suns are in the position that risk is not necessarily a bad thing, especially at the end of the first round. They certainly need to add talent, wherever they can find it.
Tony Mitchell is coming off a terrible year at North Texas, but the forward has the athleticism to potentially be a big-time player in the league. If he can find his shooting stroke, Phoenix will be getting a steal with this pick.