NBA Mock Draft 2013: Ideal Destinations for 1st-Round Prospects
Looking over this NBA draft, it is clear that this class will yield some impact players and stars. However, which players will go on to fruitful careers is not as clear.
This draft is full of talent and question marks, and the development of the players from this class is crucial. A key ingredient to any player's development is being in the right environment.
Keeping in mind team needs, talent level and other typical mock concerns, I've mapped out this first-round mock that has each prospect landing in the best situation to aid his development.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Nerlens Noel needs massive work on the offensive end. However, he's already shown the ability to be a good defender in the NBA from day one.
He also has serious concerns regarding his knee injury, but he is a great fit for the frontcourt of the young Cavs. Cleveland cannot pass on him.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Magic lost out on the No. 1 overall selection in the lottery, but it wasn't the end of the world. With Noel widely viewed as the No. 1 pick, he didn't need to be No. 1 on the Magic's board.
With youth and talent in Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson in the Magic's frontcourt, this team needs to find a potential star on the perimeter. It sounds like the Magic have identified Ben McLemore as that guy.
Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy offers up this:
The Magic could also consider Michigan point guard Trey Burke here, but I like McLemore to be the guy. This is thanks in large part to his shooting.
McLemore's smooth stroke has seen him draw comparisons to Ray Allen. Combine his shooting with his solid athleticism, and he can be an elite shooting guard.
While he does need a lot of seasoning and to be more assertive, he will be able to get plenty of opportunities to play with the ball in his hands in Orlando and some solid looks on threes from kick-out passes.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Otto Porter has the speed to run with John Wall and Bradley Beal, and he doesn't need the ball in his hands to be effective.
This is a great fit and a no-brainer for the Wizards if Porter is still available.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Anthony Bennett will help the Bobcats increase their scoring from the frontcourt. He also will team with Kemba Walker to give a nice foundation for the pick-and-roll.
5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Victor Oladipo won't bring the needed perimeter shooting to the Suns, but this franchise is full of holes, and Oladipo brings everything else.
He is an outstanding starting point for the Suns to get back to playing quality basketball.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Point guard is not the biggest need for the Pelicans. They have point guard Greivis Vasquez, and the 26-year-old averaged 13.9 points and nine assists per game last year.
However, it is clear that Vasquez is limited at the point. He is slow, can't beat defenders off the dribble and has no hope of staying with quicker point guards. This isn't surprising since Vasquez is 6'6".
That size means Vasquez could handle playing shooting guard. While he doesn't bring the shooting you'd like, he would help keep the offense moving.
The Pelicans, according to The Times-Picayune's John Reid, are considering the switch. Of course, that note came in an article saying the Pelicans like Trey Burke.
Burke would give the Pelicans a more complete point guard. Most importantly, Burke can shoot and pass. This will make life on Anthony Davis awfully easy.
Burke doesn't have elite quickness, but he has a nice first step and the handles to beat defenders off the dribble. While Burke won't be an elite defender, he is a far better option to guard quick guards than Vasquez.
Burke's talent and potential are well worth the No. 6 pick, and this is a pairing that would work out for both sides.
7. Sacramento Kings: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Shabazz Muhammad's freshman year at UCLA revealed a player who has a natural ability to score but not much else. Muhammad must learn to better function in the offense.
Still, his scoring will be a nice addition to the Kings, who are still trying to find a small forward since the awful John Salmons trade.
8. Detroit Pistons: C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh
C.J. McCollum is a quality marksman with the passing and ball-handling to become an effective point guard.
The Pistons haven't fared so well in trying to find their point guard of the future by using combo guards. However, McCollum has elite tools and is worth the Pistons giving this strategy another try.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
Cody Zeller needs to add muscle, but he is a good athlete and has a nice offensive game. This will bring some lineup flexibility for the Timberwolves, as he would likely be teamed with bruising restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Alex Len needs to continue to improve his offensive game, but he's shown a nice acumen for rebounding and blocking shots. While the Blazers spent a first-round pick on Meyers Leonard last year, Len's interior presence is needed in Portland.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
As you may have noticed, this is the center portion of my mock draft, and the 76ers will keep that rolling.
Plumlee is limited by his lack of athleticism, but he will bring toughness and rebounding down low.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
The Oklahoma City Thunder make it four centers in a row in this mock draft by taking Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk's skill and shooting will be a nice piece on the Thunder bench to help solidify their offense.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Michael Carter-Williams has the potential to be a star. However, he has to improve his shooting and decision-making skills.
The Mavericks must try to identify some young stars and also their point guard of the future, which would make this a perfect fit.
14. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Dennis Schroeder is a raw and unproven prospect. Playing against lesser competition, it is hard to get a feel for how his game will translate to the the NBA. There is no doubt that he has the physical skills to be a star, though.
He is 6'2" with long arms and big hands. This is the basis for comparisons to Rajon Rondo. Those comparisons aren't all about size either.
Schroeder has great court vision, is an excellent passer and has the quickness to break down a defense. Also, like Rondo, he isn't going to impact a game by flying well above the rim.
Schroeder really boosted his stock with a great performance at the Nike Hoop Summit by hitting for 18 points and six assists.
Now, as NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper passes along, he is a virtual lock for the first round:
Dennis Schroeder said he has a workout with the Rockets in addition to Jazz and Bucks. Houston is 18. At this rate, he isn't around at 18.— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) May 17, 2013
Schroeder must add bulk, and, most importantly, he must hone his decision-making skills.
All of this said, his upside is through the roof, and the Jazz are desperate for backcourt help.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Dario Saric is a classic European pick. He is 6'10" but is in serious need of bulk. He has tremendous skill for his height, but the question looms if he will ever be able to handle the physicality of the NBA.
16. Boston Celtics: Giannis Antetokoumpo, SF, Greece
Giannis Antetokoumpo is in the same vein as Saric. He is 6'9" and too skinny. He is also a skilled athlete with nearly unlimited potential.
The Celtics have certainly been intrigued. Boston has been scouting him for months.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
The Hawks are in an interesting position. They face a ton of question marks this offseason, and they have back-to-back picks in the first round.
This allows them the luxury of taking a project pick like Gobert. The 7-footer is bursting with potential, but he needs bulk and polish.
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Jamaal Franklin is a nice pick to couple with Gobert. Sure, he needs serious help on his jumper, but he is also an athletic player with an NBA-ready body.
Franklin will bring energy and defense off the bench.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The Cavaliers finished 22nd in three-point percentage a year ago, via TeamRankings.com.
Allen Crabbe is not a complete player, and he will be a defensive liability, but the 6'6" player can shoot.
20. Chicago Bulls: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau loves players who can run and defend. So, it certainly seems reasonable that he would love Gorgui Dieng.
Dieng is not a complete player, but he can defend the paint and get up and down the court.
21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Jazz just need to stick with upgrading a lackluster backcourt with their second first-round pick.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will bring shooting to the Jazz backcourt. He may not have the athleticism to ever be a quality starter, but he can be a valuable bench piece.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
While Brook Lopez has blossomed into one of the league's best centers, he still is not a force in the paint on the glass or on defensive.
Withey will give the Nets a nice option off the bench to add a more physical presence down low.
23. Indiana Pacers: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas
Watching Tony Mitchell's highlights, he looks like a lottery pick. The problem is, his highlights are too few—especially considering the level of competition he was facing.
Mitchell has the athleticism to be a difference-maker, but he needs a more consistent shot and smarter game.
24. New York Knicks: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams' potential is off the charts. However, the 19-year-old from New Zealand needs massive work. He has no post moves or shot.
Still, he is 7'0" and already 250 pounds. He has quick feet and a high motor. Regardless of whether he ever figures out how to rebound, he will make an impact on the glass.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia
Sergey Karasev is a great shooter, and at 6'7" he can get his shot off with ease. He is also a talented passer.
He is limited athletically, and the 19-year-old is too light, but the Clippers will instantly benefit from his outside shooting.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies): Glen Rice Jr., SF, Rio Grande Valley
For someone who was seemingly born into the NBA, Glen Rice Jr. has taken a unique path to the draft.
He was excused from Georgia Tech and then went to the D-League. There, his game flourished, and his Rio Grande Vipers won the title.
27. Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
This mock returns to another familiar name, as the deep Denver Nuggets will look to add the shooting they so desperately need.
Tim Hardaway Jr. will have a hard time getting to the hole in the NBA, but he will always be able to shoot.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
The Spurs know how to develop players, and if they can develop the supremely athletic Archie Goodwin, they will wind up with the steal of this draft.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
At 5'11", Shane Larkin will always be limited by his lack of height. However, he has the speed, quickness and hops to help make up for it.
He also knows how to run an offense and could make a strong push to be Russell Westbrook's main backup.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat): Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State
Deshaun Thomas can heat up and take a game over. He lacks consistency, but the Suns must try to find some added offensive punch.
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