The outlook of the NBA draft is an ever-changing entity.
It seems like we just started processing the implications of the combine—not nearly as extravagant as the NFL's version, yet still important nonetheless—and now another critical event in the draft process is already in the books:
The ping pong balls proved to be ever in the favor of the Cleveland Cavaliers during last week's draft lottery, bringing us one step closer to the big night.
With the official order now solidified, let's take a look at how the entire first round now stands.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
The Cavs winning the lottery immediately brings Otto Porter into the conversation for No. 1.
But let's not get carried away. While the Cavs' biggest need is at the 3, there is little chance they pass on someone with Nerlens Noel's talent.
While his knee injury may scare some away, Cleveland is building towards the future and can afford to let the big man rehab for as long as he needs—especially because, when healthy, Noel is an elite rim-protector with gaudy athleticism and loads of potential on both sides of the ball.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
Don't weep for the Orlando Magic.
They had the best odds to get the No. 1 overall pick, but with Nikola Vucevic's emergence, didn't truly need a center. As such, their "consolation" prize might just net them who they wanted all along.
Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo will both get serious consideration here, but the Kansas sharpshooter has a beautiful stroke, explosive athleticism and can be an elite scorer at the next level.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
This becomes somewhat less of a lock then when the Cavaliers were at No. 3, but the Wizards are still going to find it difficult to pass on Otto Porter.
They have a need at small forward, and the All-American Porter is one of the most versatile, intelligent, ready-to-contribute athletes in this class.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
With Gerald Henderson potentially hitting free agency, the Bobcats were hoping to stay in the top three to land McLemore as a replacement.
But while the lottery was unkind to Michael Jordan's team, Victor Oladipo is a winner whom he should welcome with open arms.
The Indiana superstar has all the tools to suggest he is a future All-Star in this league.
He has dunk-contest athleticism.
He has an NBA-ready body (6'5" and a muscular 210 pounds).
He is a menace on the defensive end, where he has the length and intelligence to cause havoc in the pacing lanes, but also the motor and tireless work ethic to stick with his defender.
He has the intangibles, humility and passion for the game that you can't teach.
Throw in an offensive game that is far more efficient than most perceive, and Oladipo has a very high floor with room to turn into all-around superstar at the next level. It wouldn't be surprising if a team traded up to take him higher than No. 4.
5. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV
The Suns need an injection of energy into the franchise—someone with jaw-dropping athleticism and innate scoring ability.
Bennett is just the guy to give it to them.
He's a versatile, athletic freak of nature capable of backing down or shooting over smaller defenders while beating bigger ones off the dribble.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
While Greivis Vasquez established himself as an elite distributor (9.0 assists per game) during the 2012-13 season, his defense left much to be desired. According to 82games.com, the Pelicans gave up 4.1 points per 100 possessions more when he was on the court.
As a result, no one can agree on whether New Orleans must address the point guard position.
I'm on the side that likes Vasquez, but Burke is simply too talented to pass up if he slips this far.
He has out-of-the-gym range, can beat defenders to the hoop off the dribble or off the pick-and-roll and is an elite, efficient distributor.
There are questions about Burke's ability to defend stronger point guards, but when it comes down to it, he's an incredibly talented player willing to put in the work to get better.
7. Sacramento Kings: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Muhammad brings with him several question marks, but he is a fierce competitor with the mindset and physique to contribute right away.
While he still must work to become a better all-around playmaker, he is capable of scoring in bunches and has the talent to help the struggling Kings right away.
8. Detroit Pistons: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
The Pistons have lucked out on Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in two of the past three drafts. Now it's time to address the perimeter.
Just like another certain dynamic guard from a small school at this time last year, C.J. McCollum is soaring up draft boards.
The Pistons aren't dying for a point guard with Brandon Knight in town, but McCollum isn't a true distributor anyway. Instead, he's a deadly shooter with limitless range who has the ball-handling skills to embarrass defenders.
Simply put, he's going to be a big-time scorer at the next level.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Not only do the Timberwolves need a potential backup plan in case Nikola Vucevic leaves via free agency, but Len is terrific value at No. 9.
He is out for a significant amount of time with a shoulder injury, but is a center with true NBA size and impressive offensive skills.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
J.J. Hickson is hitting free agency, meaning the Blazers would be smart to add some frontcourt depth.
Zeller left an incredibly sour taste in everyone's mouth with his final collegiate performance against Syracuse, but this is still a 7-footer who can run the court and score efficiently from all over the court.
While he must work on his strength, there is no one way someone with his type of skill set slips out of the top 10.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder (From Toronto Raptors): Rudy Gobert, C, France
There are a heap of intriguing international players in this draft, and I've got Gobert at the top of the list. He's 7'1" (with an unreal wingspan of 7'9") and has impressive mobility.
The Thunder's biggest weakness is undoubtedly at the center position (hi, Kendrick Perkins), and Gobert would help solve that for the future.
12. Philadelphia 76ers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Sixers, who finished 26th in the NBA in offensive efficiency, need someone who can put the peach in the basket.
Caldwell-Pope, a terrific shooter and athlete with an NBA frame (6'6", 185 pounds), gives them just that.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Many will dismiss Kelly Olynyk simply because he played in the WCC, but you aren't going to find many better offensive options in this draft.
At 7'0", 238 pounds, he has a back-to-the-basket game, is efficient in the pick-and-roll, has range extending out to the college three-point line and can run the floor.
His defense leaves plenty to be desired, but his offensive versatility and efficiency (third in America in points per 40 minutes, fourth in points per shot) makes him a lottery pick.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
You won't find many prospects who are more polarizing than Michael Carter-Williams—and I'm not just talking about this year's draft.
On the positive side, he's an elite distributor (7.2 assists per game) with highlight-reel vision and has the size (6'6") and active hands (2.8 steals per game) to be a high-level defender.
On the not-so-fun side, he turned the ball over 3.4 times per contest, shot 29.4 percent from deep and consistently made some truly head-scratching decisions.
The Jazz need a point guard, though, and at this spot, he's worth it.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
There's a very real chance Milwaukee is going to need loads of help in the backcourt after free agency, and Schroeder serves as a logical choice just outside the lottery.
He was a relative unknown before tearing up the Nike Hoop Summit, but now that he's on the map, he is shooting up draft boards thanks to a crazy 6'7" wingspan and electric offensive game.
16. Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
There have been claims for a point guard with Rajon Rondo's future up in the air, but with Carter-Williams and Schroeder off the board, no one really makes sense here.
Instead, look for the Celtics to add some frontcourt depth with future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett mulling over the possibility of retirement (for what it's worth, I don't expect him to retire this summer, but the need for depth is still apparent).
Blessed with an intriguing combination of size (6'11" with a wingspan of 7'6", 245 pounds) and athleticism, Dieng has the look of an elite rim-protector at the next level.
With a solid mid-range jumper, an improving post game and underrated passing skills, he's not just a one-way player, though.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
The Hawks have a slew of frontcourt players hitting free agency this summer, but with Withey, they would be getting one of the best shot-blockers in the draft and someone who can help contribute right away.
18. Atlanta Hawks (From Houston Rockets): Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece
After getting a low-risk, low-ceiling player like Withey, the Hawks can afford to use this pick on the future.
There is perhaps no better pick for the future in this draft than Giannis Adetokunbo.
He's only 18 and is playing against a low level of competition in Greece, but his blend of size (6'9", 196 pounds), ball-handling, passing—which has many calling him a 6'9" point guard—and defense is something you almost never see.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (From Miami Heat, Swap With Los Angeles Lakers): Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
I originally had Mason Plumlee much higher than this, but after replacing him at one spot, he began to fall simply because of team need.
As such, this could turn out as a steal for the Cavs.
Plumlee doesn't have a high ceiling, and he's never going to be a star, but as an uber-athletic big man who can run the floor and rebound, he has the ability to immediately fill an important role off the bench.
20. Chicago Bulls: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Jimmy Butler has emerged as a clear-cut starter for Chicago, but Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli could both be out the door when free agency hits.
Not only does Franklin add backcourt depth, but he's a versatile athlete (led San Diego State in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game, and was second in blocks) who can be a great defender at the next level.
21. Utah Jazz (From Golden State Warriors): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams is undoubtedly a project (he played just 23.4 minutes per game with Pittsburgh), but he is a good rebounder, strong defender and has the potential to be a legitimate factor on offense.
The Jazz already have lots of depth in the frontcourt, but Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are both set to hit free agency.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
The Nets have next to nothing (Jerry Stackhouse, Andray Blatche) scheduled to come off the books for the 2013-14 season, so expect this pick to be used on an international player who likely won't take up a roster spot right away.
Dario Saric is made in the mold of the modern NBA small forward (tall, long, can handle the ball), but at 19, he could use another year of seasoning overseas or in the D-league.
23. Indiana Pacers: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Yes, Shane Larkin is undersized.
But he's an electric, athletic playmaker who makes those around him better, shoots a deadly percentage from three (40.6 percent) and plays stingy defense (2.0 steals per game).
The Pacers will need a replacement for D.J. Augustin should he leave this summer, and Larkin is the perfect fit for Indiana's tough makeup.
24. New York Knicks: Glen Rice Jr., SG, Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Remember Glen Rice Jr.? The guy who had burgeoning talent but was awfully inconsistent at Georgia Tech?
Well, he's back—and playing at a dangerously high level.
Against NBA-level talent and former elite collegiate players, Rice averaged 13.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks in just 23.7 minutes per game with the D-League Vipers.
In the playoffs, he exploded to the tune of 25.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks. Those are some staggering averages.
The Knicks could stand to add youth at any position, and Rice's recent production—against better competition than anyone else in this draft has faced, mind you—has his stock soaring.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Tony Mitchell has a lot of work to do to reverse his dreadful season at North Texas, but pre-draft individual workouts will cater to his impressive physical traits.
The former 5-star recruit is one of the most impressive athletes in this class, and with the right coaching and direction, he has the talent to make this pick look like a steal.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (From Memphis Grizzlies): Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
After landing Alex Len with their first pick, the Timberwolves can address their other major position of need: shooting guard.
Hardaway was slightly inconsistent at the collegiate level, but he was impressive at the combine and has an intriguing mix of athleticism and shooting ability.
27. Denver Nuggets: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The Nuggets, who finished the season as the league's fifth-worst three-point shooting team, seriously need someone who can consistently knock down the open shot.
They could fill that role via free agency, but Allen Crabbe would serve as a cheaper fix.
Crabbe took a step back this season and shot just 34.8 percent from beyond the arc, but that came after two straight 40-percent seasons. Don't let his junior numbers fool you—he is a dangerous shooter with extremely deep range.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
It certainly wouldn't be outside of San Antonio's wheelhouse to select an international player, and Karasev is another one who impressed at the Nike Hoop Summit.
The Russian small forward can be absolutely deadly from the outside, and even at 19, he has shown a good feel for the game and impressive maturity. If that doesn't sound like a classic late-first-round Spurs pick, I'm not sure what does.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Erick Green, PG/SG, Virginia Tech
There aren't many players with the skill set to better fill the role of Kevin Martin, who is hitting free agency this summer.
Erick Green was part of an atrocious Virginia Tech squad that gave him little help this year, yet he still managed to lead America in scoring with 25.0 points per game. He can shoot (47.5 percent from the field, 1.9 treys made per game), and he can take defenders off the dribble (8.3 free-throw attempts per game).
Bring him off the bench for an explosive Thunder squad, and he should have little trouble making a similar impact.
30. Phoenix Suns (From Los Angeles Lakers): Ricardo Ledo, SG, Providence
After getting Anthony Bennett, the Suns will shift their focus to shooting guard, where they will continue to look to improve their offensive and athleticism.
Ricky Ledo played precisely zero games at the collegiate level because of academic problems, but he remains one of the most naturally talented scorers in this draft.
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