2013 NBA Mock Draft: Latest Predictions for First-Round Selections
The NBA draft may be less than a month away, but question marks still abound. With a tightly packed group of players, there are countless variations for how this draft will play out.
This is less than ideal for the mock process. However, it won't keep me from trying to nail down how the first round will play out.
Here is my latest attempt, with a few picks given extra attention. Those will be marked in italics.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
I'm not convinced the Cavaliers don't know who they want at No. 1. However, if they do know, they certainly aren't tipping their hand.
Nerlens Noel seems to get the most hype for No. 1, and deservedly so. He's an elite talent and a big man who will be a force on defense instantly. He is also a great fit for the young Cavaliers. However, there are concerns with his knee, and that will make any team think twice.
Fox Sports' Sam Amico recently reported that the Cavaliers are exploring all options, and their exploring is currently centered on Ben McLemore. I find it hard to believe they would take McLemore over Noel considering they have Dion Waiters ready to start his second year.
The Cavaliers are doing their due diligence. While that is always smart, I believe they are milking the situation to try to convince a team to trade up. Ultimately, they won't get an offer with enough value and they'll select Noel.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
With a solid young frontcourt, but a need for backcourt help, the Orlando Magic will find the best fit for their franchise in Ben McLemore.
McLemore is a talented player whose smooth shooting stroke has earned him comparisons to Ray Allen.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
There is a lot to like about this pairing. Otto Porter is a tremendous athlete and a complete player. He will help the Wizards improve their defense and rebounding.
On offense, Porter is not going to be an elite scorer. He is more a player who will pick up points in the flow of the offense and in transition.
However, this also fits well with the Wizards. With a backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards don't need to bring in another wing player who will kill the flow of the offense by holding onto the ball.
That trio would also be deadly in transition, as all three players can finish and fly up and down the court.
Still, the Washington Post's Michael Lee tweeted that this selection is far from a certainty:
While the bright upside of Bennett is appealing, the Wizards can't pass on the safer pick of Porter.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
The Bobcats won't be complaining if the Wizards pass on Bennett. He is an excellent fit for Charlotte.
The Bobcats need increased frontcourt scoring. Bennett will be an instant upgrade, and a nice pick-and-roll option for Kemba Walker.
5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
The Suns have needs all over the court and simply need to focus on taking the best player available. That is the multi-talented and athletic Victor Oladipo in this case.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
The Pelicans will be in an interesting position if the draft plays out this way. Trey Burke is the best player available, but it can be argued that point guard Greivis Vasquez was the Pelicans' most reliable player last year.
He played in 78 games and averaged 13.9 points on 43.3 percent shooting. Also, his nine assists per game gave him the third-best mark in the league, and he is just 26.
Still, he is slow-footed and limited. Trey Burke is a far more dynamic option and carries a far higher ceiling.
Pelicans first draft workout will be next Friday June 14th and it is an individual...College basketball player of the year Trey Burke— Chris Miles (@mileswdsu) June 5, 2013
Also, according to Reid, the Pelicans are even considered moving Vasquez to shooting guard.
The switch is not out of the question. Vasquez is not a great shooter, but Burke is. And Burke is a bit undersized, while Vasquez is 6'6".
Burke is the smartest value for the Pelicans.
7. Sacramento Kings: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Shabazz Muhammad needs serious work to his overall game, but he can score. His ability to shoot and penetrate will help take attention off DeMarcus Cousins down low.
8. Detroit Pistons: C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh
The Pistons have been down this road before. That is latching onto a combo guard and hoping he can be their point guard of the future.
It's worked so well, they are still in need of point guard. C.J. McCollum is a good ball-handler and dynamic shooter. He's worth the risk for the Pistons.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
The ninth pick will begin a run on centers, and the centers in this group bring diverse talents. The Timberwolves will go with the athletic Cody Zeller and likely pair him with the bruising restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Blazers selected Meyers Leonard in the first round of last year's draft, but his modest beginning to his career leaves the Blazers looking for more interior help.
Alex Len is a strong rebounder and solid defensive presence. Leonard averaged just 3.7 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game last year.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
Mason Plumlee doesn't have the athleticism to be an overpowering presence. He does have good size and a nice feel around the rim for rebounds and blocks.
The 76ers are in desperate need of this kind of presence.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
With centers picked over, the Thunder will still find a nice fit. Kelly Olynyk can stretch a defense and pass. This will help open things up for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to take it to the rack.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
The Mavericks need to add some young athleticism. Michael Carter-Williams has athleticism and size. If he can improve his jumper, he will be a star.
14. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
With the run on centers behind us, the run on European players begins.
Intriguing point guard Dennis Schroeder is raw and needs to improve his decision-making, but he has the potential to be the best point guard from this draft.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
At 6'10" and skilled, Dario Saric has great potential. However, he is thin and there are legitimate concerns over his ability to handle the physical NBA.
16. Boston Celtics: Giannis Antetokoumpo, SF, Greece
The Celtics have had their eye on Giannis Antetokoumpo for a while. He is talented, skilled and 6'9". However, he also is in desperate need of bulk.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
Rudy Gobert has the size and athleticism to be a fantastic scorer. He could be a nice long-term piece for the Hawks as they embark on an offseason of question marks.
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
With a project pick at No. 17, the Hawks will turn to a player who can make more of an instant impact. Jamaal Franklin is a quality defender and will be a nice role player from Day 1.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Allen Crabbe is not a great athlete, and he will struggle on defense. However, he can shoot the rock and the Cavs could use a nice shooting option off the bench.
20. Chicago Bulls: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Gorgui Dieng should have no problem fitting in with the Bulls and defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau. Dieng is limited offensively, but he is a good athlete and can defend the rim.
21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
In this mock, the Jazz took a point guard at No. 14, but they could still use some backcourt help.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has a nice shot, and he will help the Jazz space the floor.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Brook Lopez has improved his rebounding, but he's still not a dominant interior presence. Jeff Withey will give the Nets more of a bruising option to bring off the bench.
23. Indiana Pacers: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas
Tony Mitchell is a great athlete. However, he has yet to put it all together. He has a high ceiling and the defense to crack the rotation.
24. New York Knicks: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams is raw, and he is an albatross on offense. However, he has fantastic size and brings a physical presence down low.
This 19-year-old carries a high ceiling and could wind up as the steal of this draft.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia
Sergey Karasev has good height at 6'7" and a nice shot to go with it. While he won't be able to defend anyone, he will be a nice piece to help the Clippers space the floor.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies): Glen Rice Jr., SF, Rio Grande Valley
Glen Rice Jr. went to the D-League after his departure from Georgia Tech. He was a double-double waiting to happen as he led his Rio Grande Vipers to the title.
27. Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
The Nuggets have depth and athleticism. However, they don't have a lot of shooting. Tim Hardaway Jr. certainly brings that.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
Archie Goodwin is raw, but athletic. He needs to go to a team with a strong veteran presence and a proven system. I think it's safe to say the Spurs fit this bill.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Shane Larkin is undersized, but he is a smooth point guard who can run an offense. The Thunder need a better insurance policy for Russell Westbrook.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat): Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State
Deshaun Thomas is a streaky scorer. When his shot is falling he is deadly. The Suns can definitely use someone who can come off the bench and score.
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