With only the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs remaining in the NBA playoffs, the focus of most fanbases has shifted toward the upcoming draft. There is no surefire superstar in the 2013 class, but there are plenty of potentially great NBA players who can step in and contribute right away.
Many of the NBA's best current teams, including the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers, have been built almost exclusively through the draft over the past few years, so there are definitely some downtrodden teams with an opportunity to climb out of the doldrums thanks in part to this draft.
In addition to a full first-round mock draft, here is a complete analysis of the ideal selections for every team that will be selecting in the opening round this year.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
The Cavs would love to improve immediately, but they realize that they're still a couple years away, so they'll take Noel despite his injury issues and allow him ample time to heal before he returns.
2. Orlando Magic: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Orlando has some pretty good young talent at nearly every position, and even though the Magic are deep at small forward, Porter and Mo Harkless could eventually form one of the best wing tandems in the league.
3. Washington Wizards: Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Wizards have their backcourt situated with John Wall and Bradley Beal in place, so the next logical step is nabbing a high-ceiling center like Len to keep opposing defenses honest.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
For the second consecutive year, the NBA draft lottery was unkind to the Charlotte Bobcats. They were favored to nab the No. 1 overall pick last year, but they ended up with No. 2 and selected forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Bobcats had the second-best chance to secure the top pick this year, but once again luck was not on their side. Despite that, Charlotte is in position to pick up a player that could be a star for years to come.
The Bobcats are lacking pretty much everywhere, so they can't go wrong from a positional perspective. Charlotte's biggest need appears to be on the interior, though, as it has no power forward to speak of and relies on Byron Mullens at center. The Bobcats could realistically go in any number of directions, but according to Davis Williams of WFNZ CBS radio in Charlotte, ESPN's Chad Ford has the Bobcats selecting UNLV forward Anthony Bennett.
That doesn't guarantee anything; however, Bennett clearly makes a lot of sense for Charlotte. He plays a position of need and he is supremely athletic, so he should bring a new dimension to the team. The Bobcats simply need explosive and dangerous basketball players at this point, and Bennett definitely brings that to the table.
5. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
McLemore is considered by some to be the most talented prospect in the entire 2013 class, so the Suns likely wouldn't hesitate to pounce on him if he manages to fall to No. 5.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Most pundits figured that Muhammad's draft stock took a bit of a hit after a roller-coaster season at UCLA, but his skill set is simply too enticing for the Pelicans to pass up at this juncture.
7. Sacramento Kings: Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana
The Kings' best player is easily center DeMarcus Cousins, but with his future in Sacramento uncertain, the Kings would be wise to draft a guy like Zeller to either play alongside him or ultimately replace him.
8. Detroit Pistons: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
While the Pistons aren't picking as high as they might have liked, they could very well luck into an ideal situation, as Oladipo would be the perfect backcourt running mate for Brandon Knight.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
The Timberwolves will definitely be a threat to make the playoffs next season provided Kevin Love is healthy, but they need a competent 2-guard and McCollum should be able to fill that role nicely.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Portland drafted center Meyers Leonard last year, but the Blazers are severely lacking when it comes to frontcourt depth, so adding Olynyk to Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson would be a huge help.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
It is anyone's guess at this point whether or not the Sixers will re-sign center Andrew Bynum, but he has proved to be injury prone, so Philly needs an insurance policy like Adams regardless.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
The Thunder have a golden opportunity to add to an already great core with the No. 12 pick and they won't let it go by the wayside, as they'll strengthen their interior play with Dieng.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
As unlikely as it may seem, it's entirely possible that Burke could slip in the draft since very few teams in the top 10 need a point guard. If that happens, the Mavs will do everything in their power to secure him.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Perhaps no team in the NBA has a more dire guard situation than the Utah Jazz. While Utah barely missed the playoffs this past season, that can be attributed to the play of their bigs such as Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. It's impossible to reach the next level without competent guard play though, and the Jazz had very little of that.
Mo Williams and Randy Foye are solid bench players, but they shouldn't be a starting guard combination in the NBA. Utah has an opportunity to rectify that situation in this year's draft, but it will need a bit of luck in order for that to happen. It's very difficult to predict how the first round will play out, but Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld believes that Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams will be taken one pick ahead of Utah.
It's entirely possible that Kennedy's prediction will come to fruition, but if Burke slides as I expect him to, Carter-Williams should be on the board for Utah. While Carter-Williams is different from former Jazz point guard Deron Williams, he is the type of dynamic playmaker this team desperately needs. If he is available, the Jazz shouldn't think twice about taking him.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Rudy Gobert, C, France
Although the Bucks could use some immediate help, Gobert is easily the best player on the board at No. 15 and is worth stashing overseas for a year or two until he is ready for the NBA.
16. Boston Celtics: Glen Rice Jr., SG, D-League
The Celtics really struggled at times offensively this past season with Ray Allen no longer in the fold, so taking a potentially dynamic shooting guard like Rice would be an intelligent maneuver.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Atlanta should be able to add a great deal of depth with two mid-first-round picks in a row, and Plumlee will likely be able to help on the defensive end from day one if nothing else.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
After addressing their frontcourt deficiency at No. 17, the Hawks ought to nab a promising shooting guard like Caldwell-Pope in order to groom a future replacement for the departed Joe Johnson.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Dario Saric, F, Croatia
The Cavs already took a player who will miss some time at No. 1, so they may be compelled to take a guy who can contribute immediately, but talent should rule the day, as they can stash Saric and bring him over down the road.
20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Chicago has had a hole at shooting guard for the past few years, and while Crabbe won't be able to fill it immediately, he has the tools necessary to become a quality starter in the near future.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
The Jazz already grabbed their point guard of the future at No. 14, but their guard depth is so pathetic that they can afford to take a do-everything shooting guard such as Franklin at No. 21 as well.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Center isn't a big need for Brooklyn, as Brook Lopez is one of the best in the game, but he isn't an elite rebounder, so Withey makes a lot of sense, as he can spell Lopez defensively or possibly even form a dangerous duo alongside him.
23. Indiana Pacers: Reggie Bullock, SG, North Carolina
The Indiana Pacers fell just one game short of reaching the NBA Finals, and while they are likely disappointed, their accomplishments shouldn't be shortchanged. The Pacers pushed the Miami Heat to the brink of elimination without a star player on their roster. Roy Hibbert and Paul George are approaching superstar status, but they certainly haven't reached it yet.
Indiana has a chance to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals next season, particularly if forward Danny Granger comes back healthy. In addition to Granger, however, the Pacers need to add some backcourt depth. One potential fit is North Carolina shooting guard Reggie Bullock. The Tar Heel has worked out for some teams, and the Denver Nuggets were especially complimentary, according to Denver Post Sports.
The Nuggets select at No. 27, so the Pacers can have him if they want him. While there isn't much speculation linking Bullock to the Pacers, the marriage would make sense. Indiana leaned heavily on Lance Stephenson this season, and although he did some good things, he was very erratic. The Pacers could also use some outside shooting and Bullock may be the best long-range gunner in the draft, so Indiana really can't go wrong with him.
24. New York Knicks: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (Fla.)
With Jason Kidd officially announcing his retirement after 19 NBA seasons, the Knicks desperately need another point guard to pair with Raymond Felton, and Larkin definitely fits the bill.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
The Clippers have a great deal of depth despite their early exit from the playoffs, so they can afford to take a high-upside foreign player like Karasev and wait for him to develop overseas.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Minnesota has shown a definite affinity for European players over the past few years, and it certainly wouldn't be a surprise if they took a guy like Antetokounmpo and stashed him in Greece for a few years.
27. Denver Nuggets: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Since the Nuggets don't have much room for rookies on their roster during the upcoming season, it would behoove them to take a flier on someone like Nogueira, as he won't be ready for a while.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Few teams have had more success with foreign draftees than the Spurs, so they won't hesitate to select Schroeder and groom him as Tony Parker's eventual replacement.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lorenzo Brown, PG, NC State
The Thunder were a noticeably different team without Russell Westbrook in the playoffs, and although nobody can replace him, Brown does play a similar defensive game.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Phoenix is already ecstatic with the McLemore selection from earlier in the first round, but taking Mitchell is like icing on the cake, as he can step in a play a small role in their big-man rotation right away.
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