With team workouts complete, and the 2013 NBA Draft a mere 17 days away, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings are making last-minute preparations heading into the offseason.
Each team is in a unique position in this year’s draft because of its roster makeup and draft position. The Cavs own the top pick, but are yet to settle on one specific player. Orlando, according to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, could be looking to trade out of the second overall selection (subscription required). Finally, Sacramento is rebuilding its franchise from the ground up, and may be looking to move DeMarcus Cousins for a higher pick.
To find what each team is looking for, the Cavs, Magic and Kings are three teams that should trade down to better prepare themselves for the future.
It is anyone’s guess who the Cavs will take with the No. 1 pick at this point. Nerlens Noel seems to be the consensus choice for the first player off the board, but Cleveland has not committed to the 7' center from Kentucky just yet. If the Cavs decide Noel’s health risks are not worthy of the top pick, they have options in the names of Georgetown’s Otto Porter, Maryland’s Alex Len and Indiana’s Cody Zeller.
Another option for the Cavs would be to trade out of the first overall pick. The big men the Cavs would logically target are undersized and need to “add strength,” according to Ford. Noel may not even be ready to play in 2013, and if he cannot, the Cavs must ask themselves if they are willing to use the No. 1 overall pick on a player that will redshirt his rookie season.
Similarly, Orlando finds itself in a bit of a quandary with the No. 2 pick. In his latest mock draft, Ford said,
According to sources, the Magic are still wide open. They say they have nine (gulp) players who they are considering. Michigan's Trey Burke was in this slot in Mock 3.0, but I'm hearing the Magic aren't sold on him as the second-best player in the draft. They might take him, but he's not an outright front-runner, despite the need.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Guy wrote today about the Magic’s young players. If Orlando is content with its youth, and is not happy with the available talent at the two-guard position, look for the Magic to make a move out of the top portion of the draft.
If it is unclear which direction the Magic and Cavs are headed in the draft, the future of the Kings may be equally hazy. Things could change significantly for Sacramento if it decides to move Cousins, which would be the decision of the Kings’ new general manager—whoever that is.
But if the Kings keep Cousins, trading down for the future makes sense. This is not a draft that would help Sacramento solve its problems with one player. Adding more picks gives the Kings the ability to build its team from the ground up without rushing the process.
My guess is that the Cavs become gun shy with Noel and end up taking Porter with the No.1 pick. Porter’s size, ball handling ability and defense should appeal to Cleveland. If he bulks up his current 198-pound frame, Porter could develop into a top talent.
The choices for the Magic and Kings, in my opinion, are less cut and dry. Should Orlando take Victor Oladipo or Trey Burke with the second pick, or trade for a point guard like Eric Bledsoe? Is there a player in the draft that can turn the Kings around? Should Sacramento sell now and play for later?
In just over two weeks, we will know the answer to these and other prevailing questions.