The 2013 NBA draft is rapidly approaching, meaning it's time to take yet another crack at predicting how the first round could shake out come June 27.
I’ll be taking a closer look at all the potential prospects in this article—ranging from those locked into the lottery to fringe selections fighting to land in the top-30.
Without further ado, here’s my latest mock draft.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
It was widely expected that unless the Cavs traded out of this spot, they would select Noel—a high-upside big man with great shot-blocking skills and a nonstop motor.
However, rumors are buzzing (via Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio) that the team is giving serious consideration to Ben McLemore, the sweet-shooting swingman from Kansas.
Unless a blockbuster trade goes down, it just doesn’t seem likely that anyone but Noel could logically be the pick here. Dion Waiters looks like the future at the off-guard spot, making McLemore a superfluous addition to the roster.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
The Magic are allegedly exploring the possibility of trading down from the No. 2 spot (as per Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel), opening the door for another team to swoop in and select Oladipo here.
Minnesota is reportedly—according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500—in love with the high-motor Hoosier and direly needs an effective 2 to install in the backcourt next to Ricky Rubio.
With the T-Wolves owning the No. 9 pick and a number of movable assets, don’t be surprised if a deal gets struck during or prior to the draft.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
The Wizards were arguably the biggest winners in the draft lottery, shooting up from No. 8 to No. 3 and now poised to select Porter—a sure thing who starred for two seasons with the nearby Hoyas.
Perhaps the only thing Porter can’t do on a consistent basis is create his own shot and shoulder the scoring load, but the Wizards do not need him to that with John Wall and Bradley Beal generating most of the points.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
McLemore could be No. 1 overall, but it’s more likely he falls down to No. 4 to the Bobcats here.
He has an excellent release on his jumper and is always a threat to nail a three-pointer, but he has to work on his consistency and staying mentally involved for the duration of a game.
5. Phoenix Suns: C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
For a team like the Suns, which has needs all over the court, McCollum is an excellent addition.
This long-range marksman may be the best scorer in the class when all is said and done, plus possesses the versatility to play either point guard or shooting guard, depending on the matchups and situation.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland
With Anthony Davis locking up the power forward spot for the long haul, the Pelicans can solidify their frontcourt by adding a perfect complement in Len.
This Terps star may not be uber-athletic like the Brow, but he’s a proven scorer with great height, a wider frame, nice rim-protecting skills and an immense ceiling a low-post scorer.
7. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Bennett is a steal here at No. 7, as he could go as high as No. 2 overall in this draft.
The Rebels star is a high-upside forward who can line up and defend both the 3 and 4, although he has to get tougher inside and work to polish his back-to-the-basket game if he’s to succeed despite being a bit undersized.
8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Burke would be a huge hit with the Detroit fans after his dazzling performance in the 2013 NCAA tournament—leading the in-state Wolverines to the championship before falling short.
His presence would bolster a roster that must improve in the backcourt to complement its blossoming tandem of bigs—Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
Brandon Knight has shown a lot of promise—even after getting destroyed by DeAndre Jordan—but would be better served as a shooting guard and playing off of a talented young scorer and facilitator like Burke.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
KCP is a all-around off-guard who can create his own shot, bomb away beyond the arc, get to the basket with ease, facilitate when needed and defend his position.
He has to work on his handle, but should be a nice option whl won’t need to dribble often with Rubio finding him in position to score.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Adams may be the long-term answer at the 5 in Portland, although it’s going to take a few years to develop his extremely raw offense.
He could soak minutes in his rookie season as a capable defender who could do more than just give fouls, but will need to spend hours in the gym polishing his limited scoring touch before he can become a starter.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana
At the combine, Zeller proved that he’s much more athletic than most people thought. That performance should land him squarely in the lottery, and he’d make a decent addition to the roster in Philly.
Right off the bat, this IU star could contribute by running the court like a deer and finishing with a soft touch around the rim. His ceiling may be low, but for a fringe playoff squad like the Sixers, his NBA-ready skills would be a huge help in 2013-14.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Rudy Gobert, C, France
Gobert is a high-risk, high-reward prospect who has a long path to the NBA ahead of him. Regardless, due to his immense size and wingspan, a team with nothing to lose by whiffing in this draft—such as the Thunder—could take a chance on the Frenchman.
If he doesn’t pan out, his rights could be used as a potential trading chip.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Dario Saric, F, Croatia
Saric is leaning towards opting out of this draft, which could be a huge mistake given the dearth of talent in this class.
He’s not ready to play in the NBA just yet, but there wasn’t much of a chance that the Mavs—or whichever team drafted him—would bring him over from Europe until he’s more prepared.
If he follows through, the questionable decision could severely hurt his chances of getting selected in the lottery in the future.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Carter-Williams is the top facilitator in this class and—at 6’6”—one of the best defenders at his position.
The Jazz possesses a plethora of bigs and hardly any guards who can pass the rock, making this a slam-dunk selection.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Olynyk is a poor athlete with limited defensive capabilities, but he could add another dimension to a Bucks frontcourt that struggles to produce points.
His three-point range and face-up game would make him an awesome change of pace in Milwaukee.
16. Boston Celtics: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
The Celtics are going to have to forge ahead without Paul Pierce sooner or later, creating a window of opportunity for Muhammad to come in and take over as the team’s top scorer.
This left-handed swingman may not have a high ceiling as anything other than a bucket-maker, but that’s what the C’s need most at this juncture.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Franklin has an incredible motor and insane athleticism, but his jump shot is a complete mess.
If an NBA shooting coach can develop it into something respectable, expect this Aztecs star to far exceed expectations for his draft position. The Hawks can afford to take a gamble on that happening here.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Dieng is older and has a lower ceiling compared to most of the big men in this draft, but he projects to have a solid career ahead of him.
As a backup playing 15-to-20 minutes per game, the national championship-winner can protect the rim, use his bulky frame to defend big men and pass extremely well from the low post.
His lack of offense is the only thing impeding his ability to become a starter, but Dieng would enable Al Horford to slide from the 5 to his natural 4 when he’s on the court.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Mitchell never panned out as the scorer many predicted he would become, but he did prove himself as a versatile forward who can defend both the 3 and 4, plus rebound extremely well despite being a tad undersized for a post player.
The Cavs will likely trade this selection—due to their sheer number of young players already on the roster and picks in this draft—but wouldn’t be making a bad decision if they stuck around and nabbed Mitchell.
20. Chicago Bulls: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
The Bulls need someone who can shoot threes and defend the off-guard in Derrick Rose’s backcourt.
Hardaway Jr. is the perfect prospect to fill this void, although he has a poor handle and questionable shot selection. The latter can easily be fixed, and Tom Thibodeau can coach his defense up.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Much like Dieng, Withey won’t ever wow anyone with his offense and projects as nothing more than a backup due to that deficiency.
However, he will be able to give the Jazz some good minutes off the bench by swatting anything that goes up near him and deterring penetrators from trying to put up shots in the paint.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
The Nets need a backup 4 who will help the team maintain a high energy level and strong work ethic when the starters are on the bench.
Plumlee isn’t ever going to become a star, but he’ll find a way to make an impact with his hustle, athleticism and nonstop motor.
23. Indiana Pacers: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Larkin shot up the big board after he proved to be an athletic freak at the combine.
The Pacers second-unit needs a guard who can fly up and down the court while maintaining a solid handle on the rock, a role this Hurricane was born to play.
24. New York Knicks: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
J.R. Smith opted out of his contract, creating an opportunity for a sharpshooter like Crabbe to come in and replace the Knickerbockers' second-leading scorer.
Although the Sixth Man of the Year is widely expected to return, Crabbe could get a few minutes spelling Smith and provide insurance in case of injury. If Smith ends up spurning New York, the Cal star could quickly be promoted to sixth man.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Schroeder is a high-upside point guard who is adept at penetrating into the lane and finishing at the rim.
He has to improve his passing, but he could help L.A. by making backup guard Eric Bledsoe expendable and creating an insurance option in case Chris Paul leaves in free agency.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Karasev is a sniper who has been knocking down treys at a professional level for some time now.
He’d fit right in on the T-Wolves, joining Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko as Russian expatriates on the roster.
27. Denver Nuggets: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece
The Greek Freak is polarizing among scouts at the Adidas Eurocamp. Some are calling his ceiling Kevin Durant-like, while others are thinking he’s five years away from even being able to arrive on American shores and make an impact.
With their depth, the Nuggets can afford to stash him overseas until he is actually ready. This squad is one superstar away from being a real contender to win the NBA Finals, so why not take a shot on someone who could be the next KD at No. 27 in a weak draft?
28. San Antonio Spurs: Glen Rice Jr., SG, D-League
Rice Jr. had some character issues, but he seems to have ironed them out during his stint with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
As a prospect, he’s a solid shooter, good rebounder and above-average passer, making him the perfect developmental piece for the NBA Finals-contending Spurs.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Nogueira mans the position the Thunder have the biggest need at and could eventually replace Kendrick Perkins as the team’s starting 5.
He has the raw physical talent, but he has yet to put it all together on the court. If that happens, this Brazilian could be a huge steal.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Tony Snell, G/F, New Mexico
Snell is a hyper-athletic swingman with deep range on his jumper. He’s a bit raw in other areas, but he certainly has the upside to be a complete player at the NBA level.
The Suns could certainly do much worse than give a prospect like this a guaranteed contract at No. 30.
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