2013 NBA Mock Draft: Highlighting the Sleepers and Busts of First Round

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIJune 1, 2013

The 2013 NBA draft is beginning to take shape, as reports and rumors swirl in regard to what every franchise may do when it comes to finding their dream prospect. While nothing is set in stone, scouts are beginning to over- and under-value specific players.

The question is, who might pan out as the sleepers and busts of the first round?

Labeling a player as a bust isn't always a sign of his talent, but instead the fact that teams are placing some of them too high on their draft boards. In that same breath, certain sleepers may pan out as quality role players, but they'll still end up as a player deserving of a pick higher than where they were selected.

So who might the busts and sleepers be in 2013?


Bust Underline
Sleeper Italics


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


According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, the Cleveland Cavaliers still view Nerlens Noel as their top option. Many fans and analysts have reacted to that piece of the report, thus labeling Noel as the clear pick.

Here's the other piece of information you need to know.

The playoff issue might be the biggest reason why the Cavs don't pick Noel, or anyone else for that matter, with the No. 1 pick. Sources say the Cavs have already begun to explore what they can get with the No. 1 pick. If they can get a young big or small forward in return, Gilbert will be pushing for them to trade the pick.

With just under a month remaining, that leaves Cleveland a lot of time to realize something: Otto Porter can be that small forward.

Porter is the most complete player in this draft, as he's fundamentally sound on both ends of the floor. Every prospect's game needs work, but if the Cavaliers truly believe they can make a postseason push in 2013-14—and it appears they do—Porter is the pick.

Consider him to be a player in the mold of Danny Granger—sound in every category and particularly lethal as a three-point shooter and on-ball defender.


2. Orlando Magic: 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


According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, the Orlando Magic are pursuing a trade that would swap current shooting guard Arron Afflalo for Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe. If the deal were made, the Magic would fill their point guard void and create an opening at the 2.

Enter Ben McLemore.

Even if Orlando doesn't execute the trade, it's clear that the Magic feel they can improve at the shooting guard position. Point guard is another need, but the Magic have nothing but slashers on offense, as it presently stands.

Finding a prospect that could potentially lead your team in scoring for years to come is something rare, and that's what McLemore provides.

McLemore is a dangerous three-point shooter that can attack off the bounce or work off screens. With a 6'8" wingspan and intriguing athleticism, McLemore also possesses elite defensive potential whether he's playing on-ball or jumping into passing lanes.

The star potential is debatable, albeit present, but the key here is that this is a safe enough pick where Orlando can feel comfortable moving forward with McLemore at the 2-spot.


3. Washington Wizards: 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 Washington Wizards only had two realistic options here, and they were Otto Porter and Nerlens Noel. Fortunately for the Wizards, Noel falls into their lap and they have thus been placed in the position to build on an already elite defense.

Stop talking about reputations and acknowledge facts—Washington was eighth in scoring defense and ninth in rebounding during the 2012-13 regular season.

With that being said, center Emeka Okafor and power forward Nene Hilario are both 30 years old. They're both effective, but big men tend to have a shorter peak than perimeter players.

Finding their potential replacement should be the key for a team that's set at both backcourt positions.

Nerlens Noel may have questions about his knee injury and weight, but that doesn't discredit his abilities. He's an elite athlete that stands at 7'0" with a 7'4" wingspan and thrives as a defender in every sense of the word.

You truly can't give Noel a better mentor than Okafor, who doesn't get enough credit for how infectious his defensive tenacity has been.

4. Charlotte Bobcats: 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, 0.8 BPG, 44.1% 3PT


The Charlotte Bobcats would have loved to land a shooter here, but Ben McLemore is off the board. Fortunately, Charlotte lands a gift in Victor Oladipo and thus creates one of the best collective motors in basketball with Oladipo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker.

If you want to turn your franchise around, finding upside-ridden players that give every ounce of their being on a nightly basis is the way to go.

Oladipo has legitimate superstar upside, as his extraordinary motor is matched by a dominant defensive presence and underrated offensive skills. Not only does he thrive as a finisher around the basket, but he's polished in catch-and-shoot situations.

If you can defend, shoot and thrive in transition already, the sky is the limit.

Oladipo could be a better shooter off the bounce, but the ability is in place for that upside to be met. He's also a significantly better ball-handler than he's given credit for, but played in an up-tempo, ball movement oriented system at Indiana.

Oladipo has every tool to be the best player of this draft class and, in this scenario, lead Charlotte into the future.

5. Phoenix Suns: 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 Phoenix Suns are in an interesting predicament, as they have a young team with debatable upside and a new general manager. While the former statement may offer intrigue, the latter says something entirely different.

No one on this roster—not a single player—is or should be considered safe.

The question here is whether the Suns feel Alex Len or Anthony Bennett gives them the best building block. While Marcus and Markieff Morris are strong at power forward, and Marcin Gortat is a two-way center, there are reasonable question marks.

That makes Anthony Bennett the pick.

Bennett is a physically gifted player, standing in at 6'8" and 240 pounds with a 7'1" wingspan and explosive athleticism. Not only can he bruise down low, but Bennett can also step out for a three-point shot.

His NBA readiness is severely overstated, but Bennett has a star's upside.

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


The last time a point guard was taken at No. 6 overall, it worked out quite well. The New Orleans Pelicans look to duplicate that success here, taking consensus national player of the year and Michigan point guard Trey Burke.

A move that helps create an offensive identity for a team that has more stat-sheet stuffers than building blocks.

Anthony Davis has elite defensive upside and Ryan Anderson is one of the league's top three-point shooters. Eric Gordon is far from a star, but he's a quality scorer that thrives in a two-way capacity when he's focused.

Burke can be the player to bring it all together.

We can harp on his athleticism, but that's a pure non-factor due to Burke's style of play and skill set. Not only is he a respected leader, but Burke creates as well off the dribble as any player in recent memory.

Whether he's taking his own shot or finding a teammate, he's precise in everything he does—that alone makes Burke the easy fit here.

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 are under new management, and they will be looking for a franchise player. With no fitting prospect available, they'll instead turn their focus to the biggest void on their roster.

Sacramento has no direction on offense, and it all starts with its lack of a true facilitator.

A coaching change will help, as Sam Amick of USA Today Sports reports that Keith Smart will not be retained. A new coach will likely desire to find a point guard that he can work with to create a system offensively.

Michael Carter-Williams just so happens to be the draft's top facilitator and the best defender at his position—any comments about his jump shot are from those fishing for reasons to dislike him.

Carter-Williams stands at 6'6" with a 6'7" wingspan, which makes him a full nine inches taller than current point guard Isaiah Thomas. He also possesses the skill to be one of the top distributors in the league and the range to be amongst the best in steals per game.

Jump shooting is the most coachable trait of all, so why let that cloud your judgment?

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 would have loved to select Michael Carter-Williams, as he's the facilitator they so desperately need. With Carter-Williams off the board and no point guard being in the range of a top-10 pick, Detroit shifts its focus to another position of need.

Shooting guard.

The Pistons currently have two under-productive combo guards in Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight. Pistons fans have a love-hate relationship with Stuckey, but an off guard is expected to put up close to 20 points a night on a contender.

No one on Detroit's roster can even come close to that level of production.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could be that player, but even if he isn't, he's a significantly better two-way force than Stuckey and Knight. Not only can he shoot the three-ball with efficiency, but he's a strong on-ball defender that rebounds as well as any player at his position.

With the ability to take it off the bounce and facilitate, Caldwell-Pope's rise to draft stardom could lead to a lengthy career in Detroit.

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


The Minnesota Timberwolves' fanbase seems to like the idea of keeping Nikola Pekovic at center. The fact of the matter is, Pekovic is currently in his prime and he's a strong offensive force with limited value on the defensive end of the floor.

It's hard to believe Minnesota will ever contend for a title with the defensively lacking tandem of Kevin Love and Pekovic down low.

Alex Len may not be the most revered interior defender, but he's a quality rebounder with intriguing shot-blocking skills. When he's rid of the passive mentality that has so many scouts scared, he may well turn into one of the better two-way centers in the NBA.

If not, he's the dynamic two-way player that any team would be happy to have coming off the bench.

There may be a risk to this pick, but Len's upside is that of a top-10 pick. For that reason, the Timberwolves would be foolish to let him slip any further than this.

Size and shot-blocking ability is valuable for every team, but Len's ability to create for others and score with both hands makes this a sure thing.

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 may be looking for a center, but they'd fail this draft if they fail to land a scorer. As for why, note that their postseason-caliber starting lineup fell victim to fatigue and thus lost 13 consecutive games to end the season.

That wasn't a result of their lack of depth in the frontcourt—it was the fact that they were dead last in second unit scoring.

C.J. McCollum could put an end to those concerns, as he has the ability to score in every manner conceivable. Not only does he thrive in taking his man off of the bounce, but McCollum has deep three-point range.

Regardless of where he shoots from, McCollum is extraordinarily efficient.

There's the belief floating around that he can play point guard, but that's mostly a product of his size. Paired with the fact that analysts simply want a reason to like him, the comparisons to Damian Lillard are inevitably arising.

The fact of the matter is, McCollum is a shooting guard that plays the angles well enough to overcome any size deficiencies.

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana Hoosiers

Position: Power Forward/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 Philadelphia 76ers need help in the frontcourt, regardless of whether Andrew Bynum is re-signed. Thaddeus Young is strong at the 4 and deserves to start, but he's also capable of playing the 3, which makes a flexibility pick the route to take.

Cody Zeller certainly fits the bill.

Zeller has quieted a lot of his critics, standing at 7'0" with 230 pounds and a 6'11" wingspan. He also possesses the most explosive leaping ability of any big man measured at the scouting combine. Paired with a diverse offensive skill set, there's much to like.

The risk is also minimal here as Zeller has a respected motor and the safety of a consistent rotational contributor.

Zeller's ability to score out of the post would help the Sixers thrive on offense, as their team has been designed in a manner that runs through their bigs. With or without Bynum, adding big men is the key, specifically for their offense.

Zeller's ability to put it on the floor or step out for a mid-range jump shot makes him all the more valuable.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors): Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Bruins

Position: Shooting Guard

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


If the Oklahoma City Thunder were to walk away from the 2013 NBA draft without a center, it would be viewed as nothing short of a failure. With that being said, the Thunder possess a lottery pick and thus have the luxury of looking for value.

Shabazz Muhammad is pure and utter value.

Some have Muhammad listed as a small forward, which he could be, but all signs point to his playing shooting guard. While Jeremy Lamb is rightfully viewed as an intriguing prospect, the Thunder felt James Harden's departure in a significant manner.

At the end of the day, Oklahoma City needs needs shot creators and Muhammad can be that player for the Thunder.

Muhammad may have questions about his game, but OKC can survive his jump-shooting woes early in his career. As for why, Muhammad is a southpaw ball-handler that thrives in attacking the basket and finishes around the rim with supreme efficiency.

Sound familiar?

13. Dallas Mavericks: Dario Saric, Croatia

Position: Small Forward

Age: 19

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

2012-13 Season Averages



The Dallas Mavericks have every reason to target a center here, as they are intent on making a return to the realm of the elite. With that being said, Dallas is also focused on signing Dwight Howard and drafting a player at his position isn't the best way to entice him to sign.

Fortunately, Dario Saric is still on the board.

Saric is a skilled swingman that stands at 6'10" and has a 6'11" wingspan. Shawn Marion remains one of the league's elite all-around defenders, but at 19, Saric is worth investing in for the long term, especially with Dirk Nowitzki as his mentor.

One way or another, Dallas should have no trouble making this pick work.

Saric can become Nowitzki's understudy and learn the art of the turnaround jump shot, which is a trait that could help him make the leap to elite. Not only is Saric massive for his position, but he handles the ball extremely well and shoots well when his feet are planted.

His current level of greatness is overstated by those who, for the most part, haven't truly watched him play, but Saric does have upside—enough for Dallas to invest this pick.


14. Utah Jazz: 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


If there's one thing you need to know about the Utah Jazz, it's that they have their interior set for the future—whether they re-sign Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. What they lack, however, is one very important thing.

Perimeter athleticism.

Jamaal Franklin's ability to shoot the ball will come into question, but his pure athleticism and two-way versatility is undeniable. Not only can he soar for dazzling dunks, but Franklin does it all for his team.

For evidence, note that Franklin led San Diego State in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals per game.

For a Utah team that currently lacks any form of elite athleticism on the perimeter, Franklin would be the perfect fit. Not only does he have the upside to be a very good defender, but Franklin can be the pace-pushing wing that every team needs.

The Jazz have a bright future with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter leading the charge, but without a stronger perimeter, they will not reach their full potential as a team.

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 need to find an answer at shooting guard, as Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick are both set to enter free agency. When it comes to what type of player they need, the description is simple, albeit rare.

A player that can defend his position, handle the ball and shoot the three—fortunately, Allen Crabbe does all of that.

Crabbe's has deep three-point range and the ability to take his man off of the bounce, creating space or attacking the rim. Defensively, he has a massive 6'11" wingspan that helps him to play the passing lanes or press his man along the perimeter.

Regardless of what he's used for, Crabbe fits into Milwaukee's plans.

Even if he isn't the star most teams look for at shooting guard, Crabbe's versatility is what Milwaukee needs moving forward. They've long lacked a true direction, depending upon isolation basketball to create baskets.

A player with the ability to work off of the ball and hit big shots could be the difference-maker offensively.

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 are going with a center here, and all theories of them selecting a point guard is premature and, quite frankly, outrageous. The idea that they find a point guard at No. 16 with upside within a far reach of Rajon Rondo is absurd.

The notion of Boston using this pick to land a backup is equally outrageous.

The Celtics need a center, regardless of what happens with Kevin Garnett. Jared Sullinger is a legitimate building block at the 4 and Jeff Green made his case for stardom at small forward, but it all starts in the middle.

Steven Adams is the best upside player at the center position, but Boston doesn't need a project player if it's holding onto KG—it needs a player who can come along sooner, rather than later.

Gorgui Dieng is one of the best interior defenders in this draft class, possessing elite shot-blocking abilities and a massive 7'4" wingspan. With explosive leaping ability and the lateral mobility to defend the pick-and-roll, Dieng is safe for a team that needs a defensive presence.

As for his underrated passing ability and progressing mid-range jump shot, there's no one better than Garnett than to help Dieng polish his skills.

17. Atlanta Hawks: 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


If there's one thing that we know about Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, it's that he's helped Gregg Popovich build teams from the inside out. Whether it was Tim Duncan and David Robinson or Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair, Budenholzer has made the most of his bigs.

Why not take a chance on a project player with as much upside as any other player in this draft?

Steven Adams has all of the physical gifts necessary to succeed, standing at 7'0" and 255 pounds with a 7'5" wingspan and powerful athleticism. As an aggressive player that crashes the boards well and blocks shots at a high level, the defensive upside is in place.

What impressed scouts most at the scouting combine was just how soft Adams' touch is around the basket.

Adams remains raw in terms of his fundamentals, but there is something worth molding. For the Hawks, that should make him their top target in the upcoming draft.

Adams may go as high as No. 9 to Minnesota, but if he does fall, there's no way Atlanta lets him slip past No. 17.


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 Season Averages



If there's one thing that we know about new Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, it's that he loves a two-way player. More specifically, Budenholzer—a legendary assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs—loves a quality defender that can shoot the three-ball.

Consider Glen Rice Jr. to be the perfect piece to Budenholzer's complex puzzle of depth and accountability.

Rice Jr. has a distinct advantage over the other prospects on the board, as he spent the 2012-13 season in the NBA D-League. In that time, Rice Jr. has gone from a shooting guard with prototypical size and elite athleticism to one with actual upside.

Instead of being an athlete with nothing else to show for it, Rice Jr. has thrown some polish on his defensive fundamentals and created a lethal three-ball.

Rice Jr. should fit into Atlanta's system in an ideal manner, as he can be a legitimate building block for the Hawks' perimeter. Not only is he a strong enough defender to remain on the floor for long periods of time, but his ability to shoot the three makes him a weapon that can help space the floor for Al Horford.

It starts inside and ends with the three-ball—Rice fits the identity of this team to perfection. 

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

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages



The Cleveland Cavaliers landed the most complete player in the draft with their first overall draft choice, and now they take the biggest project player. While there may be risk involved, the value at No. 19 is too good to pass over.

A 7'2" big man with a 7'9" wingspan that thrives in blocking shots—the one area Cleveland struggles most—jumps off the page.

Gobert likely won't see much action during his early years in the NBA, as he's rather frail and lacks any defined skills. His athleticism has also been greatly overstated, although his length and height require minimal rise to make a difference.

To put it simply, Gobert has upside that we simply cannot compare due to his unparalleled combination of length and overrated, but still noteworthy, leaping ability.

This pick mostly works because of Anderson Varejao's presence, as Cleveland may as well see if he can remain healthy for a full season. If he can't, it's worth attempting to move Gobert to the center position and having him bulk up.

Gobert and Tristan Thompson would certainly provide some thrills.

20. Chicago Bulls: 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 Chicago Bulls may need a shooter, but they're better off filling that void via free agency. Instead, Chicago must use this pick to provide depth in the frontcourt, where Joakim Noah is an All-Star with limited support.

Drafting Kelly Olynyk could go a long way towards replacing Omer Asik and giving Noah a needed rest.

Olynyk is similar to Asik in the sense that he's an aggressive player with a high motor and a knack for coming up with loose balls. The difference here is that Olynyk is already a superior offensive player to Asik.

With a strong mid-range game and a skilled back-to-the-basket attack, Olynyk could be something special.

That's something worth finding out for the Bulls, as they simply will not survive the postseason with their current level of depth. By adding Olynyk, however, Noah can be provided with the 10-to-15 minutes of rest per evening that he requires.

A luxury Nazr Mohammed could not consistently provide in 2012-13.

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



Regardless of what happens in front of them, the Utah Jazz will not let Dennis Schroeder pass. In fact, the only way they would led Schroeder go by is if Michael Carter-Williams were available at No. 14 overall, when they picked first.

Since that's unlikely to happen, Schroeder falls into their laps at No. 21.

Mo Williams is beyond serviceable, as the former All-Star shoots the three-ball at an elite level and facilitates as well as you could ask of him. With that being said, Williams will turn 31 during the 2013-14 season and is coming off a campaign in which he missed 36 games due to injury.

You don't need Schroeder to start right away, as Williams can help lead this team to the playoffs, but grooming him for the future is an intriguing opportunity.

Schroeder excels as a ball-handler, attacking the basket and utilizing his paralyzing hesitation step to catch even the best defenders off guard. While his facilitating ability is raw, at the moment, there is upside for him to thrive as a drive-and-dish distributor.

As for his mediocre jump shot, Williams is the perfect mentor in that regard.

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 a complete team with All-Star-caliber starters and depth at virtually every position. With that being said, the Nets do have a rather noticeable void at power forward, where Reggie Evans is one of the league's elite rebounders but lacks an offensive presence.

Enter Mason Plumlee.

Plumlee is a walking alley-oop, standing at 7'0" and running the floor as well as most wing players. In the half court, Plumlee has worked hard on his back-to-the-basket attack and is significantly stronger than in previous seasons.

Brooklyn doesn't need interior scoring, but having a two-man attack would certainly make Brook Lopez's job easier.

The key here is that Plumlee is athletic enough to come off the pick-and-roll and dive for Deron Williams to make the perfect feed. Lopez is strong enough, but lacks the lateral mobility that Carlos Boozer provided for D-Will with the Utah Jazz.

Assuming Plumlee continues to bulk up, he could be a high-quality contributor and potential starter in Brooklyn.

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 have been extraordinary this postseason, taking down the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks and pushing the Miami Heat to their limit. With that being said, Indiana's extraordinary starting lineup is receiving little help from a thin bench.

Improving their second unit starts at the point guard position.

The loss of Darren Collison was felt more than expected, as Indiana no longer possesses the pace-pushing playmaker to provide help when George Hill is on the bench. D.J. Augustin is a quality player, but he simply hasn't fit into Indiana's schemes.

Shane Larkin, meanwhile, is the ideal Pacer.

Larkin is an explosive athlete with blazing quickness and explosive leaping ability. In terms of his skill set, he has a very smooth jump shot with three-point range and attacks the basket well off the bounce, finishing in the paint or finding his teammates.

As one of the best defenders at his position, it's hard to imagine Indiana finding a more ideal fit than Larkin.

24. New York Knicks: 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 New York Knicks need to get younger at point guard and center. In fact, the Knicks need to get young at every position.

When it comes right down to it, however, they also need one of the least athletic players available—shot blocking specialist Jeff Withey.

Tyson Chandler remains an All-Star and is just one year removed from winning Defensive Player of the Year, but he's also battled injuries. When push comes to shove, he's likely to fight through the pain, but New York needs a contingency plan.

More importantly, it needs depth.

Withey enters the draft as a fundamentally sound player that makes up for his lack of elite athleticism with superb footwork and excellent anticipation. This helps Withey to block shots at an elite rate and even step out to defend the pick-and-roll.

With strong back-to-the-basket skills and the maturity of an NBA player, Withey could help the Knicks from the opening tip.

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


Regardless of whether they re-sign Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers need to improve their half-court offense. In order to fill that void, the Clippers will need to acknowledge that their most glaring weakness is their lack of jump shooters.

A dangerous truth considering L.A. lives and dies by their ability to slash and shoot.

Drafting Mike Muscala to become their low-post presence is a legitimate option, but the Clippers need to improve their shooting. Their greatest strength is CP3's ability to facilitate, but they've virtually eliminated the effectiveness of the drive-and-dish with the absence of a three-point specialist.

Reggie Bullock can cure those woes.

Bullock steps in at 6'7" and 200 pounds with a 6'9" wingspan and a gorgeous stroke from beyond the arc. Not only does the former UNC Tar Heel work well without the ball in his hands, but he can shoot off the bounce, which adds a new half-court element.

With the upside to be a very good defender, as well as the possession of underrated passing and rebounding skills, Bullock could be one of the steals of this draft.

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



The Minnesota Timberwolves landed the center that could help anchor their defense, but they haven't filled all of their voids. Good health could have made Minnesota a postseason contender in 2012-13, but even then, we'd be remiss to ignore their void at the 2.

Alexey Shved did quite the job in that regard, but he's also more of a point guard with a shooting guard's size—it's time Minnesota brings in an actual 2.

Sergey Karasev fits for a variety of reasons, and it's not just because of the Russian nationality he shares with Shved and Andrei Kirilenko. Instead, Karasev makes sense because of his ability to create off of the bounce and thrive in the catch-and-shoot.

Karasev may not be an elite shooter—he shot 65.0 percent from beyond the arc in five EuroCup games, but 34.0 percent in 18 PBL games—but he's strong enough to contribute.

Karasev also has great size at 6'7" with a 6'9" wingspan. At 19, youth is on his side, so bulking up from 197 pounds shouldn't be an issue at all.

As for why he's labeled as a possible bust, it's not about Karasev's ability—it's the way fans perceive him as an elite three-point shooter, when his game is predicated on the ability to drive the lane.

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, 1.5 SPG, 37.0% 3PT


The Denver Nuggets need shooters, but whomever they draft at No. 27 overall is unlikely to see much playing time. For that reason, Denver's void will likely be filled through free agency, where players such as Kyle Korver and J.J. Redick will be available.

In the draft, Denver thinks long-term and drafts the point guard that could replace Andre Miller as the leader of their second unit—Isaiah Canaan.

Canaan is a dynamic, and most importantly, efficient playmaker with a 6'5" wingspan. Not only does he facilitate at a quality rate, but he's an excellent three-point shooter that is absolutely lethal when given space.

When a defense isn't sagging off, Canaan can make them pay by attacking with his dribble and finishing in the paint.

The key for Denver is that Canaan is a strong and physical player that has upside on defense. Not only does he rack up steals, but his length and power permit the upside to play a top brand of on-ball defense.

A shooter is a legitimate option, but finding a point guard to replace Miller is the most ideal move—especially if that player can shoot as well as Canaan.

28. San Antonio Spurs: 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


Manu Ginobili is finally seeing his age catch up to him, with his availability in the regular season becoming more and more limited. For that reason, it's imperative that the San Antonio Spurs continue to get more athletic along the perimeter as they create collective depth to overcome his occasional absence.

Tim Hardaway Jr. certainly fits the bill for what the Spurs would see as an ideal fit.

Hardaway proved to be a strong ball-handler who is more than comfortable facilitating in pinch situations. Hardaway Jr. can also be a very good defender when he's focused and remaining in front of his man with his 6'6" frame and 6'7" wingspan.

With all of that being said, we'd be remiss to ignore his greatest strength—this young man can flat-out score.

Whether he's running in transition and finishing at the basket or spotting up for a three, Hardaway Jr. has a nose for the rim. For a Spurs team that thrives on the availability of two-way players, Hardaway Jr. certainly fits the bill.

There's no rationale in labeling Hardaway Jr. as Ginobili's heir apparent—the Argentinian is a potential Hall of Famer—but he could certainly help Danny Green fill in as high-quality contributors.


29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mike Muscala, Bucknell Bison

Position: Center

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

36.34 PER, 18.7 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.4 BPG


In terms of centers that thrive on the offensive end of the floor, you could make a case that Mike Muscala is at the top of this class. Alex Len has upside, while Nerlens Noel and Jeff Withey are dominant shot-blockers, but only Cody Zeller and Kelly Olynyk are as established offensively.

Seeing as the Thunder have the league's leading shot-blocker at power forward, taking a gamble on Muscala panning out defensively doesn't seem so bad.

The Thunder don't need a star at center, but instead a player that can step in and provide the interior baskets that this team needs to avoid jump shooting slumps. For a team that currently lacks any form of a low-post presence, Muscala certainly fits what they need.

For those unfamiliar, here's what Chad Ford of ESPN Insider had to say about his NBA draft scouting combine workout.

His workout on Friday was extraordinary. It's no exaggeration to say that he missed two shots the entire workout. His skill set both around the basket (with an impressive jump hook) and facing the basket (especially from mid-range out to the college 3-point line) was terrific. He has perfect form on his jump shot and a nice touch. 

He showed the same shooting ability at the NBA draft combine last week, when he led all players with a 76 percent shooting percentage. Clearly he and Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk are the most skilled big men in the draft and their college PERs back it up. Olynyk was ranked first and Muscala second in the nation in PER. 

An interior presence that can step out for a jump shot? That sounds like Oklahoma City's dream center.

Don't be fooled by potential words of hyperbole—he is.


30. Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, from Lakers): Lucas Nogueira, Brazil

Position: Center

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages



When you're picking at No. 30 overall, it's all about finding the best value available. That doesn't always mean the best player on the board, but instead the prospect that best fits the direction of your team, all the while maintaining the desire for future building blocks.

Lucas Nogueira certainly fits that approach for the Phoenix Suns.

Nogueira is an explosive athlete that stands at 6'11" with a 7'6" wingspan and a respected motor. While he's raw offensively and will need to bulk up, the Suns are in rebuild mode and finding a project player with Nogueira's upside is more than helpful as they carve out a team identity.

If nothing else, Nogueira can be a shot-blocker that rebounds at a high rate and runs well in transition. At best, Nogueira can develop his offensive skills and be one of the better players to emerge from this draft.

It's low-risk, high-reward at No. 30.


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