The Perfect 2013 NBA Draft Prospect for Every Lottery Team
The perfect 2013 NBA draft prospect for each lottery team will be a guy who fits the current lineup and the organization's long-term plans.
Some teams need a specific type of player based on position. Others just need the guy with the most upside, whether he's a center or a shooting guard.
This isn't a mock draft. These are the best team-player matches without using the same guy twice.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
The Cavaliers need a wing, but an athletic rim protector with big-time upside would be a great building block to work with.
I'm sure many like Otto Porter as the best fit, and there's no argument against it. But Nerlens Noel really has the chance to be a game-changer.
Instead of having to overpay to retain Anderson Varejao when his contract expires, Cleveland can develop Noel into its center of the future.
The value of rim protectors seems to be rising by the day, thanks to the defensive impact guys like Roy Hibbert are making against superior offensive players.
I like Otto Porter, but I'm not sure he'd make a big enough splash. Noel could be the guy who helps change the direction of the ship.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Orlando has a good player at every position, but none that stand out.
Victor Oladipo stands out.
Though not the most talented offensive player, Oladipo is elite in the role he plays. He's an energy guy—the player that's going make things happen without having his number called. And he's great at it.
Orlando could use a guy whose core strengths are elite. The Magic don't need another "pretty good" scorer. Oladipo would give Orlando a guaranteed nightly contributor whether he's scoring the ball or not.
I like Oladipo as a better fit than Ben McLemore, who's been vulnerable to disappearing if his jumper isn't on.
If there's one thing Oladipo never does, it's disappear.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, Georgetown
Trevor Ariza and Jan Vesely just aren't going to cut it as the only small forwards on the roster.
Otto Porter would be the perfect fit in Washington. He'd give the Wizards a reliable scorer on the wing with a high basketball IQ.
The keywords and phrases here are "reliable" and "high IQ." John Wall needs a partner he can count on to go to battle with on a nightly basis. Porter is one of those guys who rarely makes a mistake, and even though he's not a takeover scorer, his on-court maturity will give Washington some added credibility.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Alex Len, Maryland
The Bobcats don't have any specific team needs. The only need they have is whoever is going to be the top player three to five years from now.
Alex Len has the chance to be that guy.
As an athletic 7'1'' center, Len would give the Bobcats a mismatch nine games out of 10. And they certainly don't have many of those.
He's also a productive interior defender who can protect the rim. Though it might take his offensive game a few years to come around, Len could still make an impact on defense as a rookie thanks to his size and length.
He has the upside to be the top offensive center in the class and a long-term starter in the NBA.
5. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, UNLV
Phoenix doesn't have any offensive mismatches. When a team lines up to play the Suns, there's nobody in particular it has to specifically game-plan for.
Cue Anthony Bennett.
He's got the chance to become one of the tougher offensive mismatches given his strength and explosiveness as a 4 and athleticism and agility as a 3.
The Suns don't get much athleticism or explosiveness from Luis Scola, P.J. Tucker or the Morris twins.
Bennett would give Phoenix a whole new dimension of offense, as well as a potential star if all goes to plan.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, Michigan
When the Pelicans are on the clock, the question everyone will be asking is whether or not the team will be willing to draft Trey Burke.
Greivis Vasquez dropped nine assists per game last year running the point, so some might feel their point-guard situation is already taken care of. But with Vasquez running the show, New Orleans only won 27 games.
You can't argue Burke's track record. He guided Michigan to a national championship appearance after making a countless number of big plays down the stretch.
Playing two point guards in a backcourt has been a growing trend amongst NBA teams. Considering Vasquez's size and scoring ability, having him play alongside Burke at the 2 might actually work in the team's favor.
Though there's a need at the 5 position, Burke is the ideal floor general that New Orleans should appoint as its starting point guard in 2013-14.
7. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
The Kings lack leadership, but most of all, they're missing a floor general who's capable of setting the table and tone.
With Isaiah Thomas, they get a 5'9'' scorer who can handle the ball. With Michael Carter-Williams, they get a 6'6'' natural point guard who can facilitate an offense and get the ball where it needs to go.
Carter-Williams finished the season third in the country in assists. He thrives at creating easier opportunities for teammates and putting them in position to score.
With long-term upside, Carter-Williams has the chance to be the point guard of the future in Sacramento.
8. Detroit Pistons: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
With Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, Detroit has built its frontcourt with size and athleticism. But after dealing Tayshaun Prince, there's nobody to man the wing.
Whether you're a fan of Shabazz Muhammad's or not, he'd fit right in as the team's new starting small forward. Muhammad is a long athlete who can spread the floor as a shooter and put points on the board inside the arc thanks to his top-notch scoring instincts.
He may not be the prize of the draft we all thought he'd be, but when you consider Kyle Singler has been starting at the 3, Muhammad would be an immediate upgrade.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Ben McLemore, Kansas
The Minnesota Timberwolves lack size, athleticism and a shooting touch on the wing, which happen to be three of Ben McLemore's strengths.
At 6'5'', he's a top-flight athlete with a lethal outside stroke. He'd be perfect alongside Ricky Rubio, who excels at breaking down defenses and finding open scorers.
McLemore also projects as a defensive asset—something Minnesota doesn't have with Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved sharing time.
Flip Saunders has already expressed his desire to add athleticism and shooters. If I'm Minnesota, I'm doing everything in my power to trade up with Orlando.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
Portland's leading scorer off the bench is Meyers Leonard at 5.5 points per game. That pretty much sums up the team's needs.
While the Blazers have a capable player at each position in the starting lineup, their bench stinks.
C.J. McCollum's game is built for the combo-guard position, which usually translates to a sixth-man role. He was second in the country in scoring before breaking his foot in January. McCollum can put points on the board in volume as a go-to guy or back up Damian Lillard as the second unit's point guard.
Portland could use depth at every position, but McCollum's scoring prowess will be too tough to pass on at No. 10 overall.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana
The Sixers are too one-dimensional offensively. They just don't have any threatening options to go to in the half court.
Cody Zeller would immediately improve the team's frontcourt and lineup balance given his ability to score in the post as a 7'0'' big man.
We're also finding out teams likely view him as a 4. He tested as the top athlete amongst all the bigs at the combine and has been showing scouts a jumper he wasn't given the freedom to take at Indiana.
The LaMarcus Aldridge comparison is looking more accurate by the day.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mason Plumlee, Duke, 7'0'', C
If there's one thing the Oklahoma City Thunder's offense doesn't get, it's an above-the-rim presence from their frontcourt.
Kendrick Perkins isn't capable of getting easy buckets. Mason Plumlee is going to make a living getting them.
If Plumlee never develops another skill for the rest of his career, he'll still be able to contribute offensively. His size, athleticism, leaping ability and coordination contribute to a couple of dunks per game that nobody is capable of contesting.
Consider Plumlee to be someone like DeAndre Jordan or Larry Sanders—guys who aren't the most talented offensive players but still get buckets making plays as finishers.
Plumlee is also a go-getter rebounder who averaged 10 a game his senior year. He'd give Oklahoma City a presence it'd normally have to pay for in free agency.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Dallas doesn't even have a center under contract for next season. Not only would Kelly Olynyk offer solid value at the back end of the lottery, but he'd fill a need in Dallas' lineup.
He's also one of the more NBA-ready bigs in the class. Olynyk's scoring instincts and offensive versatility should help carry him through the early portion of his career.
Without knowing how Dallas' lineup will look until free agency ends, it's tough to say who the perfect draft prospect would be for the Mavericks. But Olynyk is a good bet to make the transition, and his talent should be worthy of a starting spot once he settles into the league.
14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin, Miami
With all due respect, Utah has to have the most uninspiring backcourt the NBA has to offer. There's just nothing to build with at the point guard position given the stage that Jamaal Tinsley and Mo Williams are at in their careers.
The Jazz need some type of spark in the lineup, which is exactly what Larkin could provide without jeopardizing the integrity of the position.
Larkin could be a pass-first point guard and is someone capable of leading a team and making plays with the game on the line.
He tested as the top athlete in the class. He'd provide Utah with a whole new dimension of playmaking.