2013 NBA Mock Draft: How Your Team Can Make the Most of Round 1 Pick

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2013 NBA Mock Draft: How Your Team Can Make the Most of Round 1 Pick
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA draft is less than three weeks away, which has the league in pandemonium as 30 franchises attempt to build their future with the addition of quality prospects. Unfortunately, three weeks limits flexibility and thus places a heavy burden on teams to make their decision as soon as possible.

The question is, how can teams make the most of their first round draft choices?

Certain teams would be best suited to take a gamble and invest their future in a player with upside. Others would be best to land safer prospects that can step in and contribute with little risk to the selection, altogether.

So how can each team win Round 1?

Note: Michael McNamara of ESPN TrueHoop's Bourbon Street Shots reports that Dario Saric has withdrawn from the 2013 NBA draft.

 

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, Georgetown Hoyas

Position: Small Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'9", 198 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.88 PER, 16.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 42.2% 3PT

 

The Cleveland Cavaliers have possessed a glaring need at small forward since LeBron James and they have been nothing short of hesitant to address it. Bitter fans can deny this all they'd like, but there's no chance at all that the Cavaliers pass over LeBron when he becomes a free agent in 2014.

Not if their organization is run by intelligent basketball minds—it appears as if that could be an option.

Take that with a huge grain of salt.

Even still, it points to the fact that the Cavaliers truly aren't going to be contending for a title any time soon. For that reason, their options come down to landing the top defensive player or the most complete prospect.

If Cleveland wants to win this draft, they'll stop tempting fate and add Porter—don't forget, LeBron can play power forward on a full-time basis.

 

 

2. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines

Position: Point Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'1", 187 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

29.76 PER, 18.6 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 38.4% 3PT

 

The Orlando Magic have a decision that likely won't be made until the day of the draft. While there may be countless options, the three players that this pick comes down to are point guard Trey Burke, shooting guard Ben McLemore and center Nerlens Noel.

In the end, it all comes down to Orlando's need for a point guard.

Burke may not be an elite athlete, but he's the type of player that can lead a franchise to contention. Not only is he a dynamic playmaker offensively, but he's one of the most respected leaders in the 2013 NBA draft.

Those are two traits that Orlando needs with a young core and an injury-ridden, 31-year-old point guard.

Burke is excellent in transition, compensation for his lack of elite speed by displaying extraordinary touch around the basket, with his jumper and as a passer. Perhaps most impressive is Burke's ability to throw bounce passes while on the fast break, thus opening the door for players such as Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris to shine.

There are other options, but you won't find many point guards better than Burke in the 2014 draft—act now and reap the benefits.

 

 

3. Washington Wizards: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky Wildcats

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Position: Power Forward

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'0", 206 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.09 PER, 10.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 4.4 BPG, 2.1 SPG

 

The Washington Wizards have quite a few options here, and both end up coming back to their need for a big man. The two players they must decide between are power forward Anthony Bennett and shot blocker Nerlens Noel.

When it comes down to it, both men have extraordinary upside, each fill a need, but only one makes sense—Noel.

Bennett certainly fits their need for a low post scorer, but the Wizards are a team that will succeed because of their defense. They were eighth in scoring defense and ninth in rebounding during the 2012-13 season, but center Emeka Okafor is 30.

Finding his long-term replacement is the key, and Noel would be the ideal fit.

Noel is the top defender in this draft, blocking shots and stepping out to defend the pick-and-roll with proficiency. While his build could offer concern, both Okafor and Nene Hilario are aging and Washington needs to think long-term.

Noel could miss the entire 2012-13 campaign, and Washington is a borderline postseason team, but the reward outweighs the risk here.

 

 

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas Jayhawks

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'5", 189 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.24 PER, 15.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 42.0% 3PT

 

The Charlotte Bobcats need scorers at almost every position on the floor. Kemba Walker is a borderline All-Star at point guard and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has supreme upside, but the Bobcats truly don't have anything at other positions.

It only makes sense that they'd land a shooting guard to bring it all together.

Ben McLemore experienced a tough NCAA Tournament, but he remains the best offensive player in this draft class. Not only is he an elite shooter, but McLemore can take it off of the bounce and has displayed elite athleticism while running in transition and working out at the scouting combine.

With defensive upside, McLemore has the potential to be a top tier shooting guard.

The key here is that the Bobcats are coming off of a season in which they ranked 27th in three-point field goal percentage. While Kemba Walker can shoot, the Bobcats will only go as far as their scoring depth takes them.

Right now, they have none—McLemore can change that.

 

 

5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Hoosiers

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'4", 213 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

29.09 PER, 28.4 MPG, 13.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.2 SPG

 

The Phoenix Suns have seen a change at the general manager position, with Boston Celtics alum Ryan McDonough. For that reason, the Suns will be looking for the best player available and the fit most vital to their success.

It all starts at shooting guard with Victor Oladipo.

Oladipo is the top perimeter defender in this draft class, also boasting the highest motor and most explosive athleticism. Put that all together and you have the type of player that will be in the running for perennial All-Defensive Team selections.

You can ask the Memphis Grizzlies how valuable such a player can be.

Offensively, Oladipo is a terror in the open court, scoring well in transition and finishing in traffic. In the half court, Oladipo's ability to create his own shot is understated, as he's a significantly better ball handler than given credit for.

All in all, Oladipo has the upside to be the best player in this draft class.

 

 

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins

Position: Center

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'1", 225 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.04 PER, 26.4 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 2.1 BPG

 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, the New Orleans Pelicans have yet to give up on Austin Rivers as their point guard of the future. For that reason, it's more than likely that they pass over the likes of Michael Carter-Wiilliams and C.J. McCollum

A questionable decision, but one with a significant impact.

This team drafted Austin Rivers last year to be its point guard of the future and sources say that the team hasn't given up on Rivers, despite a miserable rookie season. With Greivis Vasquez also in the backcourt, point guard isn't a huge need if they're happy with Vasquez and Rivers.

That leaves the board wide open.

The selection here is Alex Len, as the Pelicans have the chance to create their interior tandem with he and Anthony Davis. It just so happens that Len has the opportunity to develop into an offensive anchor for the Pelicans as a back-to-the-basket presence.

This is a risk, but it's a chance worth taking for New Orleans.

 

 

7. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Position: Point Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'6", 184 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

21.25 PER, 11.9 PPG, 7.3 APG, 4.9 RPG, 2.8 SPG

 

The Sacramento Kings are under new management and have the harsh reality of seeing Tyreke Evans become a restricted free agent. While the management may have changed for the organization, the on-court direction remains a blur.

Michael Carter-Williams can be the player to change all of that.

New head coach Mike Malone has a history of making the most of his guards, and Carter-Williams could be the next in line. While his shooting ability is below average, the former Syracuse star has other traits of note.

He's the top facilitator in this draft, the best defender at his position and he stands at 6'6" with a 6'7" wingspan—that's what you call intriguing.

Carter-Williams has defensive range, which is something Malone can use to anchor his perimeter. He's also a superb distributor with excellent floor vision, which is exactly what the Kings need to bring their young players together.

It remains a building process for Sacramento, but Carter-Williams could be a key piece to their turnaround.

 

 

8. Philadelphia 76ers (via Pistons): Anthony Bennett, UNLV Rebels

76ers Receive: No. 8 Pick

Pistons Receive: No. 11 & No. 35 Pick

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'8", 240 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

28.24 PER, 27.1 MPG, 16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.2 BPG

 

The Philadelphia 76ers trade up here, addressing their offensive woes by landing one of the most versatile players in this draft class. After ranking dead last in scoring, it's certainly a welcome and necessary addition.

No player would reap the benefits more than point guard Jrue Holiday.

Holiday was an All-Star in 2013, pairing his scoring touch with borderline elite facilitating abilities. With the addition of Bennett, however, there would be a new dynamic to his game, as the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop would change everything for Philadelphia.

The fact that Bennett can take his man off of the bounce or score out of the post is an added benefit.

Truth be told, Bennett should be going higher than No. 8, as he is one of the few players with superstar upside. While there is a risk to this pick, the Sixers are nothing short of putrid offensively and they need to bolster their perimeter.

The mere idea of pairing Bennett with Andrew Bynum offers significant intrigue.

 

 

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia Bulldogs

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'6", 204 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.62 PER, 18.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 2.0 SPG, 37.3% 3PT

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a team with an abundance of point guards and a star offensive player in Kevin Love. What they lack, however, is a shooter that can consistently light up the scoreboard.

C.J. McCollum may be the best available option in that regard, but let's be real—the last thing Minnesota needs is another undersized scoring guard.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope fits the bill here, as he's a two-way player with an excellent stroke from beyond the arc. Playing for a team that is flush with facilitators, the SEC Player of the Year should fit in well, working off of the ball and stroking it from beyond the arc.

The fact that he has defensive upside is just an added bonus.

Minnesota may struggle to place size on their perimeter, but Caldwell-Pope stands at 6'6" and 204 pounds with a 6'8" wingspan. His ability to play the passing lanes would make he and Ricky Rubio one of the better perimeter defensive tandems in the league.

Having upside and panning out are separate things, but Caldwell-Pope appears to be a safe pick.

 

 

10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Position: Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'3", 197 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

33.95 PER, 23.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 51.6% 3PT

 

The Portland Trail Blazers may have other things on their wish list, but their No. 1 focus needs to be on their absence of a second unit. They were dead last in second unit scoring and came in a full 6.2 points behind the 29th ranked Indiana Pacers.

They need scorers—now.

C.J. McCollum certainly fits the bill, as he's an exhilarating combo guard that handles the ball well and shoots at an unbelievably efficient clip. The key here is that McCollum can create his own shot, which gives him the potential to be anything from a high-quality sixth man to a starting off guard.

With Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews already on the roster, the addition would create one of the better guard trios in the league.

While he stands at 6'3", McCollum does possess a 6'6" wingspan and a strong frame. He's a physical player that uses his body well and knows how to play the angles, which suggests he will be able to overcome height deficiencies.

While his scoring may steal headlines, the key here is that the former Lehigh star is more than just a volume scorer—he's an efficient all-around player.

 

 

11. Detroit Pistons (via 76ers): Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Bruins

76ers Receive: No. 8 Pick

Pistons Receive: No. 11 & No. 35 Picks

Position: Guard/Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'6", 220 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

21.99 PER, 17.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 37.7% 3PT

 

The Detroit Pistons didn't have an option worth marveling at No. 8, which resulted in their decision to trade down and maximize value. As a result, they've pulled into position to land one of the most intriguing talents in this draft class.

UCLA Bruins small forward Shabazz Muhammad

The Pistons need shooters, but they're in dire need of play makers that can create for themselves and others. With no point guard warranting the No. 11 selection, the Pistons opt to go with Muhammad, who projects to be an offensive terror.

Whether or not his upside is tapped could be of issue, but the Pistons currently have a front court of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond—they need a dominant scorer to round it all out.

Muhammad's shooting ability is raw and must be polished, but the potential is there for him to be a consistent option from beyond the arc. Even if he is to struggle as a shooter, the Pistons currently lack a player that can consistently create their own shot.

Muhammad can be that player.

 

 

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors): Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils

Position: Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 7'0", 238 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

26.48 PER, 17.1 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.0 SPG

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a glaring need in the middle, as Kendrick Perkins remains effective defensively and a non-factor in all other phases of the game. While some may be hoping for a superstar selection, the Thunder are competing for a title right now.

It's all about fit with this pick.

Mason Plumlee may not be the best center in the draft, but he's an offensive force that thrives both in transition and in the half court. His ability to run the fast break exceeds that of Perkins, while his low-post skills are both developing and more advanced than the current center in town.

Like it or not, it's the best pick they can make at this stage.

Gorgui Dieng is another option, and perhaps the better one, but Plumlee is regarded as the higher-ranked prospect. While it's difficult to agree with that belief, the Thunder are in need of a low-post presence that can step up when the game is slowed down.

Plumlee certainly fits that bill.

 

 

13. Brooklyn Nets (via Mavericks): Cody Zeller, Indiana Hoosiers

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Mavericks Receive: No. 22 Pick, MarShon Brooks, Tyshawn Taylor, Cash

Nets Receive: No. 13 Pick, Vince Carter

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 7'0", 230 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

33.95 PER, 16.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG

 

With Cody Zeller slipping to No. 13 overall, the Brooklyn Nets act on their need for a stretch 4. The Dallas Mavericks, meanwhile, acknowledge their desire to free up cap space, thus facilitating the pursuit of Dwight Howard.

All in all, both teams improve, as Brooklyn adds Zeller, Dallas frees up cap space and players delegated to the bench are freed in a new location.

Zeller fits into the Nets' current picture quite well, as Brook Lopez dominates the interior but lacks a floor spacing partner in crime. It's no coincidence that Andray Blatche had a career year alongside Lopez, which suggests that Zeller could do the same.

With a reliable mid-range jump shot and three-point range that Zeller will prove in workouts, the Nets would instantly improve with this selection.

Outside of the fact that they'd add a shooter, the Nets would also create a front court with two 7'0" big men. Not only does this create an intimidating interior, but it gives Deron Williams options as he runs the pick-and-roll, as well as the pick-and-pop.

Zeller receives flack, but this pick is too good for Brooklyn to pass over.

 

 

14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin, Miami Hurricanes 

Position: Point Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'0", 171 pounds, 5'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

22.40 PER, 14.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.8 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 40.6% 3PT

 

Conventional wisdom tells us that this is a reach, as No. 14 is relatively high for a mid-round point guard prospect. The fact of the matter is, the Utah Jazz need a floor general and there really aren't any must-have players at this point.

Point guard really is the only option.

A strong majority is favoring Germany's Dennis Schroeder, but the Jazz need a player that can contribute sooner rather than later. More importantly, they need a point guard that can not only facilitate, but defend and shoot.

Shane Larkin possesses all three of those traits.

Larkin's greatest strength is his defensive ability, as he's more than capable of locking his man down. Offensively, he's similar to Trey Burke in the sense that he can create off of the bounce, has limitless range from beyond the arc and is very precise with his passes, specifically off of the pick-and-roll.

The difference? Larkin is one of the most explosive athletes in this draft class.

 

 

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State Aztecs

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'5", 191 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

According to Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel, Monta Ellis has turned down a three-year, $36 million contract extension offer from the Milwaukee Bucks. Per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Ellis is already targeting other teams as he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

It's time Milwaukee lands themselves a true shooting guard.

In order to make the most if this pick, it would behoove the Bucks to draft Jamaal Franklin out of San Diego State. Not only is Franklin one of the most exciting athletes in this year's draft, but he's one of the most well-rounded.

He led San Diego State in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals during their 2012-13 campaign.

Franklin would fit in well in Milwaukee, providing a transition scoring option and an upside-ridden defender. With his combination of length and general explosiveness, he could become one of the better defenders at his position.

That's the type of player Milwaukee needs to place along the perimeter as Larry Sanders patrols the paint.

 

 

16. Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville Cardinals

Position: Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

23.60 PER, 9.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.5 BPG, 1.3 SPG

 

The Boston Celtics have players that can carry them into the next generation with point guard Rajon Rondo, defensive specialist Avery Bradley and do-it-all forward Jeff Green. They also have two aging Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Regardless of what their veteran leaders choose to do, the Celtics have learned one thing via their presence—they need to get younger.

Both Pierce and Garnett remain effective players, as 'The Truth' deserved to be an All-Star and KG was named to the squad in 2013. With that being said, Pierce is 35 and Garnett is 37.

Boston found Pierce's long-term replacement with Green, now it's time to land KG's.

Gorgui Dieng certainly fits the bill, as he's an intimidating presence that blocks shots, rebounds and defends the pick-and-roll at an advanced level. Offensively, Dieng passes well out of the high post and possesses a strong mid-range jumper.

If any player can help Dieng round it out, Garnett is the one—why not take a chance on it all panning out?

 

 

17. Atlanta Hawks: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh Panthers

Position: Center

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'0", 255 pounds, 7'5" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

22.59 PER, 23.4 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG

 

The Atlanta Hawks have two first round draft choices and mountains of cap space, which means their options are limitless. The only area Atlanta doesn't need help is at power forward, where Al Horford is signed and ready to continue his elite level of play.

The first void Atlanta need to fill, however, is at the position next to Horford—center.

Steven Adams is a project player, but the Hawks can take that gamble as they entering the 2013 offseason with little certainty. What they do know, however, is that head coach Mike Budenholzer has a long history of success by working through his big men.

When you have a 19-year-old center that stands at 7'0" and 255 pounds with a 7'5" wingspan, you know that there's the potential for something special.

Adams has turned heads with his touch around the basket, but his greatest strengths can be found on defense. Not only is he an aggressive rebounder, but Adams is an impressive shot blocker that uses his power well.

There's risk here, but what are you looking for at No. 17?

 

 

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Glen Rice Jr., NBA D-League

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Guard/Forward

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'6", 211 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

With their first pick, the Atlanta Hawks invested in the long-term by drafting a project player at center. With their second selection, the Hawks select one of the most NBA-ready players available in swingman Glen Rice Jr.

Regardless of which position he ends up at, Rice Jr. has the athleticism, shooting ability and defensive prowess to contribute right away.

Rice Jr. stands at 6'6" and 211 pounds with a 6'9" wingspan, which suggests he has the size to thrive at shooting guard. Paired with elite athleticism and defensive range, it becomes clear that he can move to small forward full time.

For a Hawks team that is losing Josh Smith to free agency, adding a 3 is important moving forward.

Rice Jr. has drastically improved his jump shot during his time in the D-League, also answering questions about his character and on-court motor. For that reason, Rice Jr. has all the makings of a player that Budenholzer can mold into a starter.

With Jeff Teague, Lou Williams and Al Horford as his supporting cast, the Hawks certainly have a welcoming cast for a player of Rice Jr.'s build.

 

 

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Suns, from Heat): Rudy Gobert, France 

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 7'2", 238 pounds, 7'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Cleveland Cavaliers went with Georgetown Hoyas small forward Otto Porter with the No. 1 overall draft choice. With their second pick, they stray away from the side of caution and take a gamble on a player that's all about upside.

French power forward Rudy Gobert.

Gobert isn't quite as athletic as we'd previously believed, but he weighed in at 7'2" and 238 pounds with a 7'9" wingspan. That's not a typo, for those wondering, as Gobert's previously rumored length is indeed a massive 7'9".

Why not take a chance at No. 19?

The Cavaliers could go for a shooter, but they're more likely to target that type of player via free agency. That is, if they're willing to spend a dime as they save up for a run at 2014 free agent LeBron James.

Stocking up on prospects certainly sounds like a nice way to prove you're a team worth signing with.

 

 

20. Chicago Bulls: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga Bulldogs

Position: Power Forward

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 7'0", 234 pounds, 6'10" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

36.57 PER, 26.4 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 BPG

 

The Chicago Bulls need depth at virtually every position but point guard, where there are more players and injuries than we can afford to count. Perhaps no area provides as glaring a need as center, where Joakim Noah was backed up by Nazr Mohammed during the 2012-13 season.

While he may project more as a power forward, the addition of Kelly Olynyk could put an end to those concerns.

Olynyk is a skilled offensive player that shoots the ball well and finishes with both hands around the basket. He runs well in transition, has displayed a developing low-post game and could serve as a stretch four with interior versatility.

The key to all of this, however, is one word—energy.

Olynyk is one of the few players in college basketball that could rival Victor Oladipo's heralded motor. Not only does that enable Olynyk to make plays offensively, but it opens the door for a strong performance on the glass and effort on defense.

The Bulls clearly miss Omer Asik and Olynyk could be an upgrade if he pans out.

 

 

21. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Sergey Karasev, Russia

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'7", 197 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Utah Jazz added a potential franchise point guard at No. 14 in ACC standout Shane Larkin. While this may solve one guard issue, the Jazz must not allow one improvement to blind them from realizing how much help they need along the perimeter.

Utah may have been eighth in three-point field goal percentage, but they were just 23rd in three-point field goals made.

The three options here are Allen Crabbe out of California, Reggie Bullock out of North Carolina and Sergey Karasev of Russia. All three players provide intriguing options, but when it comes right down to it, Utah goes with upside.

With the pairing of size, skill and youth, Karasev is the selection.

The Jazz have a history of success with Russian players, as Andrei Kirilenko was a three-time All-Defensive Team selection in Utah. Karasev may not be the defensive prospect that Kirilenko was, but offensively, he's worth the risk.

A strong jump shot and the ability to put it on the floor makes this a calculated risk.

 

 

22. Dallas Mavericks (via Nets): Dennis Schroeder, Germany 

Mavericks Receive: No. 22 Pick, MarShon Brooks, Tyshawn Taylor, Cash

Nets Receive: No. 13 Pick, Vince Carter

Position: Point Guard

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'2", 165 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Dallas Mavericks traded down, and in the process, they freed up cap space to pursue a big name free agent. They also added building blocks at the guard spots with MarShon Brooks and Tyshawn Taylor.

Even still, the Mavericks need a franchise point guard.

Dennis Schroeder certainly fits the bill, as he pairs a 6'2" frame with a 6'8" wingspan and paralyzing change of direction skills. Both in transition and the half court, Schroeder uses his strong ball handling to attack the basket and finish in traffic.

It doesn't hurt that Schroeder and Dirk Nowitzki are both of German descent.

While it's rational to believe that there's no value to that truth, but for a rookie, having a mentor is the key. For an international player, joining a squad with a player from their home country makes the transition as close to seamless as one could ask for.

The fact that Nowitzki is a Hall of Famer with a wealth of knowledge doesn't hurt.

 

 

23. Indiana Pacers: Allen Crabbe, California Golden Bears

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'6", 197 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

23.07 PER, 18.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG

 

It's no secret that the Indiana Pacers need help on their second unit, as their elite starting five ran out of gas during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. This comes after a season in which Indiana was 29th in second unit scoring.

Adding shooters is a great way to improve their bench.

Point guard is an option here, but the Pacers are more likely to pursue a free agent to provide an instant impact. Fortunately, there is an abundance of shooters at this stage of the draft, and Allen Crabbe is one of them.

At 6'6" with a 6'11" wingspan, Crabbe certainly has the size to play in the NBA.

Outside of his physical gifts, Crabbe is a crafty scorer that can shoot from all over the floor and attack off of the bounce. With deep three-point range and the ability to facilitate, Crabbe could be the sixth man Indiana needs to contend in future seasons.

As a quality defender that rebounds well for his position, Crabbe fits Indiana's team identity.

 

 

24. New York Knicks: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State Racers

Position: Point Guard

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'0", 188 pounds, 6'5" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.28 PER, 21.8 PPG, 4.3 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 37.0% 3PT

 

The New York Knicks may be targeting big men, but there will come a time in which they realize point guard is their greatest position of need. Raymond Felton remains a strong option, but Jason Kidd retired and Pablo Prigioni is a restricted free agent.

The Knicks find a player who seems tailor made for their organization in Murray State star Isaiah Canaan.

Canaan stands at 6'0", but the 22-year-old floor general boasts a 6'5" wingspan. He uses every inch of that build to out-muscle point guards and play a physical brand of defense.

Paired with his lethal three-point shooting, Canaan has every trait the Knicks seem to look for—the difference is, he's 22 and not bordering on 40.

At worst, Canaan is a quality player that handles the ball and shoots with efficiency. At best, he pans out and helps take over the reigns as the point guard in New York, scoring at a high clip and facilitating in a respectable manner.

Had Murray State experienced greatest team success, Canaan likely would have been a lottery pick.

 

 

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Jeff Withey, Kansas

Position: Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 7'0", 222 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.23 PER, 13.7 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.9 BPG

 

The Los Angeles Clippers are a team that struggles in the half court and seems to boast more athletes than fundamentally sound big men. After Lamar Odom struggled to provide the defensive presence L.A. expected of him, the Clippers were sent back to the drawing board.

Enter Jeff Withey.

The Clippers are an elite defensive unit, ranking fourth in scoring defense and ninth in opponent field goal percentage. With that being said, depth in the front court was a major issue for L.A. during the 2012-13 season.

Withey can help cure those woes.

Withey is being drafted for his advanced shot blocking abilities, as he plays the angles and uses his length to alter attempts. With quality offensive skills, including an improved hook shot, Withey would help L.A. improve their interior from the opening tip.

It's not a flashy pick, but Lob City needs to slow things down, from time to time.

 

 

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies): Lucas Nogueira, Brazil

Position: Center

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'11", 218 pounds, 7'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves added a quality shooter with their first draft choice, and while the void has yet to be filled, shooting can take a back seat at No. 26. At this point, the T-Wolves must address the absence of a two-way center.

Nikola Pekovic is a strong offensive player that Timberwolves fans rightfully believe in, but he's also 27—his defense can only improve by so much from here on out.

It may be a gamble to take Lucas Nogueira, but the upside is present and Minnesota needs to think of the long-term. Most importantly, Nogueira is a center that blocks shots and rebounds in an aggressive manner.

At 6'11" with a 7'6" wingspan, the physical tools are certainly in place.

Nogueira could use a veteran mentor, and Minnesota is short on those type of players, but head coach Rick Adelman is the ideal leader to turn a prospect into a genuine pro. Alongside Kevin Love, Nogueira could be the defensive presence Minnesota needs to become a legitimate postseason team.

This is a project pick, but when you're up at No. 26, the value is thin.

 

 

27. Denver Nuggets: Reggie Bullock, North Carolina Tar Heels

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Position: Guard/Forward

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'7", 200 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.13 PER, 13.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 43.6% 3PT

 

There is nothing the Denver Nuggets need more than a shooting guard to light it up from beyond the arc. It just so happens that former North Carolina star Reggie Bullock has dropped right into Denver's laps at No. 27.

There's no rational reason to pass over Bullock at this stage.

Denver may have a high-powered offense, but they were just 25th in three-point field goal percentage during the 2012-13 regular season. They were also 20th in three-point field goals made, which is a major reason for their struggles when games slow down.

In order to prevent that from happening again, the Nuggets must add shooters.

Bullock is an ideal fit, as he provides size and length at 6'7" with a 6'9" wingspan to a deep perimeter. What will earn Bullock minutes is the fact that he can shoot from all over the floor, and most importantly, hits the three with efficiency.

That's something Denver doesn't receive from their current cast.

 

28. San Antonio Spurs: Alex Abrines, Spain

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'5" & 195 pounds

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

For the average franchise, picking at No. 28 overall would be a spot in which they select a player that may never start a game. For the San Antonio Spurs, however, every single pick counts, as a star could appear at any point of the draft.

Keep in mind, the Spurs have drafted at No. 28 in five seasons since 2001—they landed Tony Parker, Leandro Barbosa, Beno Udrih, Ian Mahinmi and Tiago Splitter with those selections.

With that trend in mind, it's safe to assume that the Spurs will be looking to go international once again. If that proves to be the case, the perfect fit for San Antonio is Spanish shooting guard Alex Abrines.

With Manu Ginobili aging and seeing his availability limited during the regular season, finding a long-term replacement should be a key focus.

Abrines is a very good shooter that can attack off of the bounce, but is somewhat unproven thus far. With that being said, the Spurs have no time time to waste when it comes to finding Ginobili's heir apparent.

With a similar skill set and body type, Abrines could find himself under a Hall of Famer's wing.

 

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Ricardo Ledo, Providence Friars

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'6", 197 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The belief that the Oklahoma City Thunder need a backup point guard is grossly overstated. Russell Westbrook is an elite player in the starter slot, while Reggie Jackson proved his chops as a backup during the 2013 NBA playoffs.

So why would they draft Ricardo Ledo, a player that's supposed to be a point guard? Well, try the fact that he's actually a 2.

Ledo played point guard in high school and was thus labeled as one when he committed to Providence. Unfortunately, he was never ruled eligible for the 2012-13 college basketball season and we never had the chance to learn what he can do.

Well, if there's one thing you need to know, it's this—the kid can score.

Ledo has all the tools necessary to play as a shooting guard, as his size is complemented by powerful ball handling skills, a strong jump shot and elite finishing ability around the basket. Shot selection could be an issue for Ledo, as he has the hero ball mentality, but let's be honest.

The Thunder miss James Harden and they now have the opportunity to bring in an off guard that can score the basketball and facilitate—does that sound familiar to you?

 

 

30. Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, from Lakers): Mike Muscala, Bucknell Bison

Position: Center

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

36.34 PER, 18.7 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.4 BPG

 

The Phoenix Suns have a quality center in 29-year-old Marcin Gortat. They also have a new general manager and a lack of depth behind Gortat, which suggests that center could be a target on draft day.

It just so happens that Mike Muscala is on the board and possesses a similar skill set to Gortat.

Offensively, Muscala can score from anywhere in any type of design. He's strong coming off of high screens, has three-point range on his jump shot and finishes well with both hands out of the post.

Defensively, Muscala will make his money as a rebounder with the ability to protect the rim. While he won't be the top shot blocker in the NBA, he'll serve his purpose by altering attempts in the paint.

No pick is too attractive at this stage, but Muscala's as good as you'll find at the center position.

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