Building a Big Board for Every 2013 NBA Draft Lottery Team

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 4, 2013

Building a Big Board for Every 2013 NBA Draft Lottery Team

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    During the 2013 NBA draft, every team will be working with a big board, as they all have different evaluations of each player eligible to be selected. Most teams will have Nerlens Noel in the top spot, but even that's not a guarantee. 

    Ideally, one of the players from the top of the board will still be around when a team is on the clock, but that's never going to be the situation for each organization. No matter what, teams are forced to reach down into the lower sections for a player.

    For the purposes of this article, each team's big board is also a different length. The Cleveland Cavaliers' board only contains one player because they're drafting at No. 1. 

    The Phoenix Suns' board, for example, has five players. They're the fifth team on the clock, so at worst, they'll have to reach down to the No. 5 player on their board.  That continues through the Utah Jazz, who have 14 players on their board. 

    Throughout the following slides, you'll see how the order changes based on team needs, and then the article will conclude with a mock draft of the lottery—one that operates under the assumption that each team is following its big board to a T. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

     

    There's no reason for the Cleveland Cavaliers to have more than one name on their board. After all, the team has the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft and thus controls its own fate. Trading down would produce a need for more names, but that's irrelevant at the moment. 

    Nerlens Noel has been the clear-cut favorite to stride across the stage first and shake David Stern's hand, and knocking him out of the top spot here would be illogical. Otto Porter might be a better fit for the Cavs, but he does not have enough value to be the first overall selection. 

    Despite his weight—although his frame indicates that he'll bulk up soon—and torn ACL, Noel is the only name worth having on Cleveland's big board. 

Orlando Magic

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

     

    You wouldn't know it from their record, but the Orlando Magic have talent at most positions. As such, they're in a position where they can draft more talent, regardless of need. 

    That's why the Magic's big board is the same as the top two spots on most overall boards. Noel is still the favorite to go No. 1—Orlando would snatch him up if the Cleveland Cavaliers decided not to take the risk—and Ben McLemore comes in at No. 2. 

    The Kansas Jayhawk has the offensive talent to make an immediate difference. He'll also be aided by the presence of Jameer Nelson, a veteran point guard capable of helping him create shots. 

    McLemore has Ray Allen-like potential and a shooting form to die for. Plus, his 42-inch vertical provides a mere inkling of his unbelievable athleticism. 

Washington Wizards

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    3. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

     

    If both Nerlens Noel and Otto Porter are available when the Washington Wizards have their turn on the clock, they will have a tough decision to make. 

    On one hand, Noel is the prospect with the highest upside and deserves to be listed at No. 1 on most big boards. But on the other hand, the Wizards need a small forward more than a center. 

    Washington is hoping to advance into the postseason as soon as this upcoming 2013-14 season, and the biggest hole in the lineup is at the 3. Otto Porter could immediately alleviate that concern with his well-rounded game and lanky arms. 

    Ben McLemore wouldn't be a bad selection here. He'd give the Wiz some backcourt depth, but it's unlikely Porter is taken off the board before he gets to Washington. 

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    4. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

     

    With Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo part of the long-term plans, the Charlotte Bobcats should be focusing on two positions here: shooting guard and power forward. 

    Nerlens Noel would be drafted if he somehow experienced a draft-day plummet out of the top three spots, but that's highly unlikely. 

    The biggest toss-up on this big board comes at the No. 3 and 4 spots. Anthony Bennett and Victor Oladipo are fairly even values, but the Bobcats need Bennett's offense more than Oladipo's defense. 

Phoenix Suns

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    4. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    5. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

     

    Victor Oladipo takes a jump up here because the Phoenix Suns need a shooting guard more than anything else.

    With Wesley Johnson hitting unrestricted free agency, the desert is devoid of a long-term 2-guard. Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley aren't part of the future anymore, although they're capable of coming off the bench to spell more talented players. 

    The rest of this big board is standard. With the Morris brothers and Marcin Gortat already on board, Phoenix doesn't need Nerlens Noel or Anthony Bennett, but both present nice values at No. 5. 

New Orleans Pelicans

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    3. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    4. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    5. Alex Len, C, Maryland

    6. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

     

    Thanks to the presences of Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis, Anthony Bennett is no longer an option. He drops off the New Orleans Pelicans' big board and is replaced by two new prospects: Alex Len and Trey Burke. 

    While Robin Lopez has been a capable center, you wouldn't write home about him. Alex Len could be that brand of center, although he'll take a bit of development. At worst, Len will grow into a second coming of Lopez, but he could also morph into an offensive powerhouse like Robin's brother, Brook Lopez. 

    Finishing up the Pelicans' big board is Trey Burke, the best point guard in this draft. Greivis Vasquez is one of the more underrated floor generals in the NBA, but Burke is too talented to pass up at No. 6 if the other five guys are off the board. 

Sacramento Kings

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    3. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    4. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    5. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

    6. C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

    7. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

     

    Especially if Vivek Ranadive and the new ownership group don't feel like bringing back Tyreke Evans, who's now a restricted free agent, the Sacramento Kings will be looking for offense in the backcourt. 

    Whether drafting a point guard or a shooting guard, the Kings should let their new first-round draftee play. Fortunately, they're dealing with a bunch of NBA-ready guards. 

    This is C.J. McCollum's first appearance on a big board, but the Lehigh superstar isn't likely to be taken at No. 7. Sacramento has a different set of needs than most teams appearing ahead in the order, so it'll be able to get its hands on one of the other guards. 

Detroit Pistons

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    Big Board

    1. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    4. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

    5. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    6. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    7. C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

    8. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA 

     

    C.J. McCollum doesn't have to worry about dropping too far, because he's also right up there on the Detroit Pistons' big board. 

    Detroit is still in talent-acquisition mode, but it can be a little more selective. There's no need to draft a big man, as Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are both around for the long haul. Finding a prospect who fits in at either point guard, shooting guard or small forward is the top priority. 

    Brandon Knight can play either guard spot, so there's no need to worry about him during the drafting process. 

    Shabazz Muhammad also makes his first appearance in this article because the class of small forwards is weak at the top. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Big Board

    1. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    2. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    3. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    4. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

    5. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    6. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    7. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

    8. C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

    9. Alex Len, C, Maryland

     

    The Minnesota Timberwolves need help at the wing more than anything else. Ideally, that hypothetical wing player can shoot the ball well enough to spread the court and has size. After using undersized options to match up against opposing 2-guards, it's time for a change. 

    Assuming that the Wolves can re-sign Nikola Pekovic, who's now a restricted free agent, this need trumps everything else. That's why you see Nerlens Noel falling out of the No. 1 spot for the first time. 

    Minnesota has no need for another center at the moment. The team is solid enough that it's just trying to add the final pieces, which explains the abundance of shooting guards and small forwards at the top of the big board. 

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    4. Alex Len, C, Maryland

    5. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    6. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    7. Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

    8. Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

    9. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

    10. Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

     

    The Portland Trail Blazers are after two things above all else this offseason: depth across the board and a quality center after they let unrestricted free agent J.J. Hickson walk away. 

    Ideally, that depth comes at the wings, and the center is a defensive one but beggars can't be choosers. 

    With Damian Lillard, who played an inordinate number of minutes as a rookie, already on the squad, there's no need to focus on point guards here. Therefore, Trey Burke and C.J. McCollum have fallen out of the top 10 on the Blazers' big board. 

    Instead, the wing players, forwards and centers are on the rise. Especially the centers. 

    Alex Len would be the top choice, but he's likely to be long gone by the time Rip City is on the clock. Steven Adams is a more realistic target, with Cody Zeller and Kelly Olynyk not too far behind. 

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    4. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    5. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    6. Alex Len, C, Maryland

    7. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

    8. Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

    9. Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

    10. Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

    11. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

     

    This big board is about as standard as it gets, with one slight exception. Trey Burke has fallen down to No. 11, and C.J. McCollum is nowhere to be found. 

    With Jrue Holiday breaking out during the 2012-13 campaign, the Philadelphia 76ers have no need to focus on a point guard in this draft. They have many more pressing needs. Like...everything. 

    Thaddeus Young is the only other player worth keeping well into the future, and he can line up at either forward spot. You could make an argument for Evan Turner, but it would be difficult to do. 

    For that reason, Philly's big board essentially ranks the players from best to worst and takes out the point guards. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    4. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    5. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    6. Alex Len, C, Maryland

    7. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

    8. C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

    9. Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

    10. Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

    11. Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

    12. Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

     

    With Reggie Jackson impressing during the playoffs and Russell Westbrook set to return from his torn meniscus, the Oklahoma City Thunder don't need to target point guards in the 2013 NBA draft.

    Everything else is fair game, but big men are the priority. Kendrick Perkins isn't the answer, and OKC needs to find one in order to stay afloat in the perilous Western Conference. 

    If any of the early-lottery prospects fell to the Thunder, general manager Sam Presti would be happy to snatch them up, but reaching for a center is the more likely option at No. 12. 

    Gorgui Dieng is the new name on this Big Board, but the Thunder are unlikely to reach that low since not too many teams above them are focusing on big men. 

Dallas Mavericks

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    Big Board

    1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    4. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    5. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

    6. C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

    7. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    8. Alex Len, C, Maryland

    9. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

    10. Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

    11. Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

    12. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

    13. Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

     

    The Dallas Mavericks are another team that could use talent at just about every position. At the moment, Jared Cunningham and Jae Crowder have team options for the 2014-15 season, but every other member of this roster will be a free agent of some variety once the 2013-14 campaign is completed. 

    That said, point guard is the priority here. It always seems to work that way in Dallas. 

    Mark Cuban has been seeking the next franchise point guard ever since Steve Nash left town and moved out west, but it's been an ultimately unsuccessful search. Deron Williams was the target last year before he went to the Brooklyn Nets, and Chris Paul is likely to be the target this offseason. However, I foresee a similar level of success in that pursuit. 

    Right now, drafting a point guard is Dallas' best option, although the Mavs can't afford to let talent slide away if it drops. That's why this is a fairly standard big board with point guards shifted up a few slots. 

    Expect them to take Michael Carter-Williams and those lanky arms you see above. 

Utah Jazz

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    Big Board

    1.Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

    2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    4. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    5. C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

    6. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    7. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

    8. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    9. Alex Len, C, Maryland

    10. Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

    11. Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany

    12. Shane Larkin, PG, Miami

    13. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

    14. Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

     

    Our final big board is dominated by guards. Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, Alex Len and Cody Zeller are too talented to slip off the board entirely, but guards are the priority for the Utah Jazz. 

    Even with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap set to leave in unrestricted free agency, the frontcourt is solid. Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors are the big men of the future, and Gordon Hayward is highly thought of within Utah. 

    Alec Burks also has potential at shooting guard, but he's the weakest of the four players mentioned. That's why drafting a 2 is a possibility, although finding a 1 is a priority. 


How This Draft Would Unfold

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    1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

    2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

    4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

    5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

    6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland

    7. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

    8. Detroit Pistons: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

    9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

    10. Portland Trail Blazers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

    11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

    12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

    13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

    14. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany