NBA Mock Draft 2013: Picks Each Team Can Make to Win First Round

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NBA Mock Draft 2013: Picks Each Team Can Make to Win First Round
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With the 2013 NBA draft less than one month away, general managers, analysts and fans alike will be stuck contemplating which player will join their respective teams. While nothing is truly predictable at the draft, there are ways to project what every team will do.

Most specifically, we can determine what it would take for each team to win big at the draft.

Certain franchises are in position to draft the best player available, as their needs are not limited to one position. Other teams are hoping to find the players best suited for their needs, thus building their franchise for the future.

The question is, what will happen when the first 30 teams decide to land a franchise player?

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: 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 Cleveland Cavaliers hold the keys to the draft, as they pick first overall and will thus determine how the rest of the event pans out. Their decision instantly sends waves throughout the NBA, as they opt to pass over Kentucky Wildcats center Nerlens Noel.

It's all a matter of safety, need and upside.

Georgetown Hoyas small forward Otto Porter is the most complete player in this draft, possessing strong skills in ever phase of the game. From his offensive versatility to his defensive prowess, Porter is exactly what Cleveland needs at their greatest position of need.

Most importantly, he's a capable ball-handler, shooter and facilitator—something general manager Chris Grant loves as a product of Danny Ferry's San Antonio Spurs mentality.

Offensively, Porter can do it all, handling the ball as well as most guards and distributing the ball in a strong and intelligent manner. Furthermore, Porter is a superb defender that uses his 6'9" frame and 7'2" wingspan to contest shots and lock down his opponent when playing on-ball.

Noel remains a legitimate option, but Porter projects to be a player along the lines of a Danny Granger.


2. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky Wildcats

Position: Power Forward

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

 

The Orlando Magic can go in a variety of directions here, as the only player off of the board is the one they need not target. While selecting this player would have been ill-advised at No. 1, it's time Orlando acknowledges the facts.

Nerlens Noel projects to be a power forward and Orlando has a strong option with limited defensive prowess with Nikola Vucevic at the 5—do we really need to explain this more than we already have?

Andrew Nicholson may pan out and Glen Davis has been solid, but neither possess the upside of Noel. Not only can he be an elite shot-blocker at the next level, but Noel has the pure athleticism necessary to play power forward in the NBA.

Noel will need to add at least 30 pounds, regardless of which position he plays. With that being said, he has every physical tool necessary to dominate on defense, and that's the one area that Orlando's upside is limited.

Point guard is an option, but taking Noel at No. 2 is too much of a gift to pass over.


3. Washington Wizards: 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


What now?

The Washington Wizards saw their top two options fall off the board with Otto Porter and Nerlens Noel going first and second overall. In fact, the Wizards saw their only two options drop off of the board when Porter and Noel were selected.

It's now time to either trade down or take a gamble.

In a normal draft, there would be value worth trading up for, but that doesn't appear to be the case in 2012-13. While teams are falling in love with Victor Oladipo, Washington simply doesn't have the means to match a large contract.

For that reason, they side with power forward Anthony Bennett.

Bennett may not be the fan favorite in this draft, but scouts appear to love his combination of power and explosive athleticism. Not only is he a bruising 6'8" and 240 pounds with a 7'1" wingspan, but he shoots at a clip of 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.

There are options for trades, but Bennett does fit a need and has the upside to be one of the better players in this draft.


4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas Jayhawks

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

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 are one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA, and they have been for quite some time. In fact, they've ranked 25th or worse in three-point field-goal percentage in each of their past three seasons.

It's time to fix that glaring and debilitating void.

Ben McLemore is the best offensive player in the draft, as he pairs elite shooting ability with intriguing athleticism and the ability to create his own shot. For a Bobcats team that has two high-motor players with All-Star upside at point guard and small forward, it only makes sense to round it all out.

Kemba Walker's playmaking ability and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's defensive prowess would be the perfect complement to McLemore's sharpshooting.

The key here is that Charlotte recently hired Steve Clifford to be their next head coach. Clifford is a former assistant for the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets.

Without a superstar big man available, Clifford sides with landing the star off guard that Charlotte has long needed to make the leap.


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

 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, Indiana Hoosiers shooting guard Victor Oladipo is multiple general managers' favorite prospect. Oladipo has been the top prospect on my big board for quite some time.

Unfortunately, Oladipo won't go first overall—instead, he'll be Phoenix's best selection since Amar'e Stoudemire in 2002.

Oladipo is an elite defensive prospect with the best motor in all of college basketball. In case you've forgotten already, that made Michael Kidd-Gilchrist the second overall draft choice in the 2012 NBA draft.

The difference is that Oladipo has the offensive skills necessary to be a genuine star.

There's no better way to describe this pick than to say that Oladipo is what you would get if you combined current Phoenix shooting guards Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown. He's Brown's equal in terms of explosive athleticism and is just as fundamentally sound as Dudley.

That's what you call an intriguing prospect.


6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines

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, 38.4% 3PT

 

The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the few teams that lucked out by seeing their ideal fit fall into their laps. That player is none other than point guard and consensus national player of the year Trey Burke.

A player that can help turn this franchise around.

Greivis Vasquez is unfairly criticized, but Burke is a player with a skill set similar to former Pelican Chris Paul. The upside is debatable here, but Burke appears to be a safe player due to one transcending skill that all stars possess.

He makes the big plays when they're needed most.

Some will look to his clutch shooting from the NCAA Tournament, but Burke has been stepping up when it matters in a variety of ways. From deep three-pointers to precise assists, Burke has the rare trait of strong decision making.

Low risk, high reward is the name of the game in the draft and Burke embodies that phrase.


7. Sacramento Kings: 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 Sacramento Kings have an underrated point guard in Isaiah Thomas and a dynamic playmaker in Tyreke Evans. They also have a lack of size at the point guard position and simply do not possess the defensive anchor along the perimeter that playoff teams often have.

Michael Carter-Williams can cure both of those woes.

There's a false theory floating around that Michael Carter-Williams is a risky pick, which derives from his inability to shoot the three-ball. The truth of the matter is, Carter-Williams is the best facilitator and the point guard with the highest upside in this draft class.

Standing at 6'6" with a pass first mentality, the options are limitless for his NBA career.

Carter-Williams can step in and contribute from the start, running the pick-and-roll with DeMarcus Cousins and allowing Marcus Thornton to work off the ball. Defensively, he can be the ball hawk that Sacramento needs to create transition opportunities.

You can't find a better fit than this.


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

 

The Detroit Pistons felt their hearts drop into their stomachs when Michael Carter-Williams dropped off the board. Selecting C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh remains an option here, but let's be real about something all Pistons fans can agree upon.

It's time Detroit stops gambling on combo guards that haven't proved that they can run point—Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight, anyone?

Fortunately for the Pistons, there is another option here, as shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remains on the board. He stands at 6'6" and 204 pound with a 6'8" wingspan, which is an instant attention-grabber due to Detroit's need for size and length along the perimeter.

It's an additional bonus that Caldwell-Pope has the skills in place to be a high-quality contributor.

For starters, Caldwell-Pope has deep three-point range and the ability to create his own shot. For a Pistons team that ranked 21st in three-point field goals made per game, his ability to space the floor would be key for big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

The fact that Caldwell-Pope, the SEC Player of the Year, is a rangy defender that crashes the board as well as any at his position makes this pick even easier for Detroit to make.


9. Minnesota Timberwolves: 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

 

Nikola Pekovic may re-sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2013 period of free agency. If he does, the T-Wolves would continue to work with one of the better offensive frontcourts in the NBA by pairing Pekovic with Kevin Love.

Unfortunately, they would also be without a defensive presence to protect the rim—enter Alex Len.

Minnesota needs to place a dominant defensive presence down low if they're ever to make the leap to title contention. As a small-market team that doesn't quite have the draw necessary to pull in a player of Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum's prowess, the only rational approach is to use the draft to their benefit.

Keep in mind, Pekovic is 27—his prime is now and his defense is nowhere near where the Timberwolves need it to be.

Len may not be a dominant defender, but he is a high-quality shot-blocker that can take over a game when imposing his will. For a Timberwolves team that already has Kevin Love in place, finding a dynamic playmaker with high defensive potential is the key focus here.

Len could go higher than No. 9, but it's hard to imagine Minnesota letting him pass if he does drop this far.

 

10. Portland Trail Blazers: 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

 

The Portland Trail Blazers boasted one of the worst second units in NBA history last season. They were last in scoring, defensive efficiency and three-point field-goal percentage, converting 29.8 percent from beyond the arc as a second unit.

They can evaluate any position they want, but the only rational decision is this—Portland must address their need for a second-unit shot creator.

C.J. McCollum is being hyped as a potential point guard, but that's more a result of his ability to be an efficient playmaker. McCollum is truly a sixth man type of shooting guard, as he can create for himself and those around him.

For a Portland team that needs instant offense, selecting McCollum should come without second-guessing.

Not only is McCollum a lethal three-point shooter, but he thrives in attacking off the bounce and creating space for his own shot. Most importantly, he can run point in a pinch and thus provide Damian Lillard with a rare moment of rest.

For a Blazers team that has a postseason caliber starting five but nothing behind them, this is the type of pick that can push them into the playoffs.

 

11. Philadelphia 76ers: 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

 

The further he falls down draft boards, the more intrigued I am at the prospect of Shabazz Muhammad panning out, after all. Formerly in contention to go first overall, he's now in danger of falling out of the lottery.

If Muhammad uses this as motivation, we could be looking at a player that becomes one of the NBA's premier scorers.

Muhammad has the physical gifts, stepping in at 6'6" and 222 pounds with a 6'11" wingspan. While he appears more suited to play shooting guard than the 3, he has the length and strength to make an impact all along the perimeter.

The Philadelphia 76ers would give him the opportunity to prove his worth.

Philly needs shooters and Muhammad isn't too sound in that regard, which leads to questions in reference to the fit. What the Sixers need most, however, is a player that can create their own shot and thus alleviate the defensive pressure on Jrue Holiday.

Muhammad can be that player.

 

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 need a center that can work out of the post, run in transition and flat out score the basketball. They don't need a dominant force that will drop 25 points per game, but if OKC is to ever overcome the Miami Heat, they must find an alternative to jump shooting.

Enter Cody Zeller.

Zeller stands in at 7'0" and 230 pounds with the most explosive leaping ability of any player in this draft. More importantly, he works well out of the post, has a solid face-up game and can take his man off of the bounce.

Even if he is limited to 10.0 points per night throughout his career, that's all OKC needs with their current core.

In reference to fit, Zeller's greatest strength is his ability to run in transition and finish in stride. Not only does this bode well for a Thunder team that pushes the pace, but it offers a change of pace from what they currently have with Kendrick Perkins.

At No. 12, this is a safe and effective selection.


13. Dallas Mavericks: Dario Saric, Croatia

Position: Small Forward

Age: 19

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

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, the Dallas Mavericks are one of the teams displaying significant interest in Dario Saric. In fact, Dallas' desire to find a star of the future has them keen on making Saric their man.

In this scenario, that's what transpires.

The Mavs want a player with big upside, and both Carter-Williams and Saric have it. But I'm hearing the Mavs, who have historically been on the cutting edge of drafting international players, feel Saric could be a star someday -- especially if he has a year or two of mentoring from Dirk Nowitzki. 

Picking a center appears to be a more pressing need, but let's be real—who better to mentor Saric than Dirk Nowitzki?

Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, the Mavericks have a two-year plan to become the top team in the Western Conference. In order to do that, Dallas has set their sights on unrestricted free agents Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

Addressing their void at center seems to be more of a free agency ordeal—that makes Saric the rational selection.


14. Utah Jazz: 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 need a point guard, and even if they have to reach, they must be considering one at this stage. Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams are off the board, however, which leaves Shane Larkin and Dennis Schroeder as the rational options.

Expect Utah to go with the latter option.

Schroeder has the physical gifts to make an impact in the NBA, standing at 6'2" with a massive 6'8" wingspan. Not only is Schroeder built like Rajon Rondo, but the German product has blazing speed in the open court and a paralyzing hesitation move.

His jump shot must improve, but it's rare that you find a player as physically gifted as this.

Schroeder's upside is debatable, and the fact that he's a European product has many overvaluing traits that can be found in other players. With that being said, he shined at the Nike Hoop Summit and possesses many translatable abilities.

Larkin appears to be the better fit, but Schroeder's size and speed offer Utah the opportunity to push the pace and still maintain their half court prowess.


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 entering an offseason of uncertainty, as both Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick become unrestricted free agents. After both experienced lackluster results with the team, there's reason to believe that they will be signing elsewhere.

In turn, Milwaukee must turn their attention to the off guard position.

Allen Crabbe projects to be an excellent fit in Milwaukee, as he possesses the size and shooting ability that they possess. He stands at 6'6" with a 6'11" wingspan and shoots at a high clip from beyond the arc.

While his 2012-13 three-point shooting percentage suggests mediocrity, Crabbe often created his own shot off of the bounce—expect that number to hover closer to 40.0 percent if he has a quality facilitator.

The pairing of Crabbe and Brandon Jennings offers intrigue, as both can handle and work off the ball. The key to this selection, however, is that Crabbe is a high-quality defender that rebounds at a high rate.

All in all, Crabbe is the perfect fit at shooting guard for the Bucks.


16. Boston Celtics: 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

 

The Boston Celtics have multiple options here, and each is tied into which direction they follow as a franchise. With Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce still under contract, however, we'll move forward with the assumption that Boston is hoping to contend in the near future.

That makes Gorgui Dieng the selection here.

At worst, Dieng is a long, athletic interior defender that thrives as a shot-blocker and can step out to defend the pick-and-roll. At best, his jump shot continues to improve and his passing ability makes him a potential starter in the NBA.

For a Celtics team that needs to get more athletic and add a rim protector, the fit couldn't be any better.

Dieng would be able to contribute early, as his experience under Rick Pitino suggests he is NBA ready. With Kevin Garnett as his mentor, there couldn't be a situation better for the former Louisville star to enter the NBA and maximize his potential.

Even if they are attempting to rebuild, Dieng is a quality piece to add.


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

 

The Atlanta Hawks made one of the best moves in recent memory, naming Mike Budenholzer as their new head coach. Budenholzer, a long-time assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, knows what it takes to win titles and build a contender.

He'll start that process by selecting the most skilled man available.

Kelly Olynyk has a strong build at 7'0" and 234 pounds, all the while displaying the ability to run and finish in transition. More importantly, Olynyk is capable of playing in the half court and scoring with either hand around the basket.

With a solid face-up game, Olynyk is the type of player that Budenholzer could mold into something special.

If Olynyk fails to pan out as a star, he would still enter a situation where he plays the role of second fiddle to All-Star power forward Al Horford. Seeing as Horford has needed a skilled big man to expedite his return to power forward, that makes Olynyk the easy choice here.

The Budenholzer era projects to be one of extraordinary measures, and this selection is a great way to start.


18. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): 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, 0.8 BPG

 

The Atlanta Hawks have a variety of options here, including the selection of a point guard that coach Budenholzer can build around. With that being said, Jeff Teague appears to be a better player than any point guard available at this stage.

Instead, Budenholzer and general manager Danny Ferry go with a player from a school that they're familiar with—Jamaal Franklin of the San Diego State Aztecs.

Franklin is one of the most well-rounded players in the nation, which is especially evident in his production. Franklin led San Diego State, an NCAA Tournament team, in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals per game.

That's the type of versatility that any coach would love to have on their team.

As for Franklin's less than ideal jump shooting, Budenholzer has a long history of helping players improve in that regard. Kawhi Leonard was an equally as putrid shooter coming out of San Diego State, but shot 37.5 percent from beyond the arc in two years under Budenholzer.

Franklin's explosive athleticism and two-way versatility is too intriguing to pass over here.


19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Suns, from Heat): 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

 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider (subscription required), NBA general managers expect Steven Adams to go between No. 9 and No. 14. That's a genuine possibility, but this draft is panning out in a way that's pushing centers all over the board.

Adams is one of the victims of this truth, as he falls to Cleveland at No. 19.

All year, teams feared that Adams didn't have the skill or the mental makeup to be a lottery pick. By Friday, virtually every executive in the NBA was predicting Adams would go somewhere between No. 9 and No. 14 and that he had moved ahead of Kelly Olynyk and Gorgui Dieng on their draft boards.

The Cavaliers should rejoice.

Adams steps in at 7'0" and 255 pounds with a massive 7'5" wingspan and explosive leaping ability. At Pittsburgh, he put his raw abilities on display, blocking shots with ease and crashing the boards with tenacity.

For a team that opted to go with Otto Porter at No. 1, finding a player of this size and caliber is a gift.


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

 

The Chicago Bulls have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA, with or without Derrick Rose in the rotation. With that being said, Chicago has one of the thinnest second units in the league and no void is quite as apparent as the one left at center.

To fill that hole, Chicago takes shot-blocking specialist Jeff Withey.

Mason Plumlee is a superior athlete with high upside, but Chicago is a team that works out of the half court. As a team that prefers to slow it down, it's imperative that they put players down low that can protect the rim.

Joakim Noah is proven in that regard, but in order for him to be effective, Chicago must add a center that can take minutes off of Noah's legs.

Withey can step in as a defensive anchor for the second unit, blocking shots and boxing out his man to keep them off of the offensive glass. For a team that needs a player to see spot minutes, Withey certainly fits the bill for a player that can provide quality playing time.

Finding a three-point shooter is an option, but doing so via the draft is hardly the route worth exploring when you need an instant contributor on offense.


21. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils

Position: 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 Utah Jazz landed their point guard of the future at No. 14, but their needs are not quite eliminated just yet. While their front court pairing of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter displays promise, depth could be an issue.

Drafting Mason Plumlee puts an end to those concerns.

Plumlee is an athletically gifted big man that runs well in transition and finishes strong around the basket. Plumlee is also a quality rebounder that works well out of the post and has a reliable mid-range jump shot.

At No. 21, you won't find much better value than this.

Utah could look for a shooter to bolster their perimeter, specifically targeting Glen Rice Jr. Due to Plumlee's value at this stage, however, Utah would be none too wise to allow the former Duke star to drop any further.

Plumlee's ability to play either interior position makes him the ideal backup in Utah moving forward.

 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Rudy Gobert, France

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Brooklyn Nets are a team with minimal holes, as they boast one of the better starting lineups in the NBA and a deep bench. While their first round exit in the 2013 NBA playoffs may suggest they have significant holes, chemistry was a major factor.

With all of this being established, it's imperative that Brooklyn finds a power forward of the future to provide an offensive spark.

Reggie Evans is one of the game's elite rebounders and provides a quality defensive presence. With that being said, Evans is 33 and a virtual non-factor on the offensive end of the floor.

Rudy Gobert can be the long-term replacement Brooklyn is searching for.

Gobert has unparalleled physical gifts, standing at 7'2" with an obscene 7'9" wingspan. While his skills aren't yet polished, the 20-year-old French power forward has as much upside as any big man in the draft.

At No. 22, Brooklyn has one of the safest gambles imaginable.


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 continue to impress with their ferocious starting lineup and tenacious defense. Unfortunately, the Pacers are also being exposed for how thin their rotation is, as their second unit lacks any form of consistent offense.

Miami Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin is the ultimate cure-all.

Larkin is a creative playmaker that thrives in transition but can slow it down and facilitate out of the half court. Not only can Larkin create off of the dribble, but he does an excellent job of coming off high screens and making accurate passes and long jump shots.

Shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc and racking up 2.0 steals per game provide the statistical evidence that Larkin is the perfect fit in Indiana.

Larkin, an explosive leaper with blazing lateral quickness, is a terror defensively, playing the passing lanes and latching onto his man. Offensively, he's lethal from beyond the arc and is more than capable of creating his own shot.

George Hill is the starter in Indiana, but the only way for Indiana to survive in the postseason is to improve their offensive depth.


24. New York Knicks: 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, 1.5 SPG, 37.0% 3PT

 

The New York Knicks are in need of interior depth, but that's far from the only issue at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are a point guard driven team that are at their best when their distributors are avoiding isolation sets.

Unfortunately, two of New York's point guards are older than 35.

For a team that has been known to play three point guards at the same time, that simply is not acceptable moving forward. The Knicks need to get younger in their backcourt, specifically as they address their need for distributors.

Enter Isaiah Canaan.

Not only is Canaan a strong ball-handler, but he creates well for his teammates and shoots at a high clip from beyond the arc. Not only can the efficient guard step in as a primary ball-handler, but Canaan is capable of working off the ball.

For a Knicks team that runs with multiple point guards that pair defensive prowess with a dangerous three-ball, Canaan fits in to perfection.


25. Los Angeles Clippers: Glen Rice Jr., NBA D-League

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 22

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

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

Glen Rice Jr. is a better player than some players going before him, but this is just how the draft plays out. Fortunately for Rice Jr., he couldn't be joining a team that needs him more than the Los Angeles Clippers.

With or without Chris Paul, this is a dream fit for both sides.

Rice Jr. is an elite athlete that stands at 6'6" and 211 pounds with a 6'9" wingspan. Not only can he run in transition , but Rice Jr. is an elite defender that would fit into L.A.'s top-five defense.

The key here, however, is Rice Jr.'s offensive contributions.

The Clippers fall apart in the half court, running isolation sets and trusting mediocre jump shooters to provide the three-point scoring spark. Rice Jr., however, is a consistent option from beyond the arc who thrives in catch-and-shoot situations.

Rice Jr. couldn't find many situations more ideal than this.

 

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

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves addressed their need for a rim protector earlier in the draft and will now target a perimeter scorer. While Sergey Karasev's three-point shooting prowess has been overstated, he's a dynamic scorer that can slash and spread the floor.

Most importantly, he stands at 6'7" with a 6'9" wingspan.

Minnesota has an abundance of point guards with Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved, J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour. What they lack, however, is a true shooting guard that can provide size and scoring prowess at the 2.

Karasev can fill that void.

Outside of the fact that he fits in with countrymen Shved and Andrei Kirilenko, Karasev's skill set fits Minnesota's design well. He can attack the basket off of the bounce, but he's also dangerous as a catch-and-shoot scorer.

Minnesota won't cure their shooting woes with this pick, but they may find their starting shooting guard of the future.

 

27. Denver Nuggets: Erick Green, Virginia Tech Hokies

Position: Point Guard

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'3", 178 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

31.48 PER, 25.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 38.9% 3PT

 

The Denver Nuggets can't shoot the three-ball and have a 37-year-old as their second-unit point guard. At some point, both of those needs are going to be addressed, as they both hinder Denver moving into the future.

Why not kill two birds with one stone by drafting Erick Green out of Virginia Tech?

Green led the nation in scoring by averaging 25.0 points per game on a stunningly efficient slash line of .475/.389/.816. This comes after a season in which Green was keyed in on by all of the ACC's top defensive units.

For perspective, Green dropped 28 points and seven rebounds against Marcus Smart and 30 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc against Shane Larkin.

Green is the scoring guard that Denver needs to lead their second unit, as his ability to facilitate is complemented by the fact that he can call his own number. Most importantly, Green has the length and shooting prowess to work off of the ball and play alongside Ty Lawson.

Andre Miller appears to have quite a bit left in the tank, but Green is the perfect long-term replacement that can contribute sooner than expected.


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

 

The San Antonio Spurs have two major holes to address, as Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan aren't getting any younger. With Danny Green stepping up as a lockdown defender and three-point marksman, however, the Spurs can wait another year to address the 2.

Finding Tim Duncan's long-term replacement, however, is another topic of conversation.

San Antonio finds a player with undeniable upside with Lucas Nogueira out of Brazil. The 6'11" center must bulk up, but he's an explosive athlete with a 7'6" wingspan.

With a significantly improved motor and work ethic, the 20-year-old has the upside to make a true impact in the NBA.

Nogueira is an aggressive player, thriving as a shot blocker and rebounder. His offensive fundamentals are raw, but who could be better to mentor him than Duncan?

The Spurs are back in the NBA Finals, but getting more athletic is the only way to continue making trips.


29. Oklahoma City Thunder: 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 Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA, despite the fact that they live by the jump shot. Oddly enough, their efficiency is a result of the presence of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka.

Beyond those four, OKC couldn't buy a basket.

There are players that can shoot, but the Thunder need to find players that specialize in shooting the three. Not many teams have more than four key scorers, but OKC relies upon Durant, Westbrook, Martin and Ibaka accounting for at least 75 points a night.

That's all fine and well, but here's the issue. Should one of those players struggle, the Thunder don't have the next in line that can step up when needed.

For instance, Miami may be led by the Big Three and Ray Allen, but they trust Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Shane Battier and an abundance of role players to step up when they're given the opportunity to shoot—

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