NBA Mock Draft 2013: Predicting Where Every Prospect Will Land in First-Round
The 2013 NBA draft is quickly approaching, which means we'll soon get to find out where college basketball's top stars will be calling home at the beginning of their professional careers.
From phenomenal one-year talents like Ben McLemore to established veterans of the college game like Victor Oladipo, there's plenty of recognizable names that will be picked up in the first round.
Here's a look at the most likely selections for the first round.
Note: Picks in italics represent best player-to-team fits.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: C Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Yes, there is considerable risk for the Cavs taking Noel. Georgetown small forward Otto Porter would likely be the safer pick and a better fit on the roster.
But history has shown that teams are likely to swing for the fences when presented the opportunity grab a franchise quality big man. Kwame, Brown, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bogut and Greg Oden were far from safe picks, yet their upside won out as teams took their chances with varying degrees of success.
With ESPN reporting that Noel's rehab from surgery is going well, there may be less risk involved.
Here the Cavs should feel like they're in a position to go for it. While no one wants to miss with the No. 1 selection, Cleveland already has a promising young lineup and the No. 19 pick in the draft as well.
With a superstar in Kyrie Irving on the roster, the Cavs go for the upside and take Noel.
2. Orlando Magic: SG Ben McLemore, Kansas
The Magic are in need of help just about everywhere. Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Porter would also make sense as McLemore isn't head and shoulders above either of them. However, Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld feels that McLemore is who the Magic like and it's hard to argue with the pick.
McLemore is the most likely among the elite prospects to carry an offense and that's just what the Magic need. They were 24th in scoring last season at just 94.1 points per game.
McLemore averaged 15.9 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting last season.
3. Washington Wizards: SF/PF Anthony Bennett, UNLV
The Wizards were surprisingly good on the defensive end of the floor last season. They ranked eighth in points allowed per game. What they seriously lacked was scoring at just 93.2 points per game.
Bradley Beal and John Wall should eventually be an excellent one-two combination on the perimeter, but Bennett would give them a player that can score down low. The versatile big man isn't a traditional power forward, but he would give them one of the most athletic young trios in the league.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: C Alex Len, Maryland
This is a pick that would probably shock many, but it makes sense for the Bobcats given their current roster. Jason McIntyre of Big Lead Sports reports that the Bobcats are fond of the seven-footer from Maryland.
A few NBA writers have mentioned it, but I've heard the Bobcats really, really like Alex Len. (Me too.) But will Jordan sign off on that?— Jason McIntyre (@TheBigLead) June 4, 2013
The Bobcats currently have Byron Mullens at center but he hasn't proven that he can stay healthy or develop anything resembling offensive skills.
5. Phoenix Suns: SG Victor Oladipo, Indiana
The Suns have never been known as a franchise that loves to play defense, but Oladipo could change that. He's the best player available on the board and a gritty on-ball defender.
Goran Dragic was forced to do it all for the Suns in the back court last year. Oladipo is a smart player that takes good shots and should help out on the offensive end of the floor. He shot nearly 60 percent from the floor and 44 percent beyond the arc for the Hoosiers last season.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: SF Otto Porter, Georgetown
This would be considered a pretty big slide for Porter. There's an argument to be made he should be Cleveland's choice at No. 1 overall. However, in this scenario he winds up with a team that could desperately use his skills on the perimeter.
The Pelicans played Al-Farouq Amino at small forward for much of the season last year and Porter should be an upgrade over him immediately. He's best known for his great defense, but he's a highly versatile forward that can do a little bit of everything.
He averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in his last season with the Hoyas. His athleticism makes him one of the can't-miss prospects of the draft.
7. Sacramento Kings: PG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas have each shown their fair share of promise as point guards. However, there's a reason that the Kings are picking this high—they didn't commit on the defensive end of the floor (over 100 points allowed per game) and had zero ball movement (25th in assists per game).
Evans and Thomas had their chance to lead and it's time for a change. Carter-Williams is a big (6'6", 184 pounds) point guard that will bring a dedication to defense and change the culture in Sacramento. It also helps that he can move over to the two when the Kings want to get Thomas on the floor.
8. Detroit Pistons: PG Trey Burke, Michigan
Burke won't have to move far from Ann Arbor in this scenario—the Pistons will be more than happy to scoop up the local favorite at No. 8. He's probably the best point guard in the draft depending on what a team is looking for.
As ESPN the Magazine tweets, Burke projects somewhere between Kemba Walker and Mike Conley, not bad company to be associated with.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: SF Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
The Timberwolves have a great foundation set in place. A healthy Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic could be among the most dominant front courts in the league. Ricky Rubio is an exciting playmaker with Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea adding veteran depth behind him.
What they don't have is a scorer. Which is exactly what Muhammad can be.
He isn't the most efficient threat—he shot 44 percent at UCLA—but he averaged 17.9 points per game and is an excellent slasher.
Playing with one of the league's better distributors in Rubio would be a perfect pairing for Muhammad.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: PG/SG C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
Center is a big need for the Trail Blazers, but snatching up any of the prospects on the board would be a reach here. In this scenario the Blazers address another need that they have—a scorer to play shooting guard.
The Blazers went with an explosive small school guard last season by taking Damian Lillard, They go to the well once more with the C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh.
He's a bit of a tweener at 6'3" and played point guard throughout his collegiate career, but he's capable of lighting up the scoreboard. He shot over 51 percent from three point range.
The dynamics between McCollum and Lillard may take a while to figure out, but Golden State's pairing of Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack may provide a blueprint.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: PF Cody Zeller, Indiana
The Sixers had practically no post presence last season. Counting on Andrew Bynum to re-sign and change that seems unlikely. Zeller averaged 16.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a Hoosier last year. He could help bolster the frontcourt right away.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
The Thunder are clearly in win-now mode, just one year removed from an NBA Finals appearance, so they'll be looking to find a guy that can give them valuable minutes right away. That's Caldwell-Pope. He averaged 18.5 points per game in his final season at Georgia.
He also showed a penchant for collecting steals with two per game.
13. Dallas Mavericks: PG Dennis Schroeder, Germany
The Mavericks have made it clear they want to trade this pick, per ESPN's Chad Ford. According to the report, they don't want to use valuable cap space on a rookie player. If they aren't able to find a trade partner they will be forced to take the best international prospect available so they can stash him away until next season.
With Dario Saric reportedly opting to forego the draft, that's Schroeder. He's a bit of an undersized point guard, but the last time the Mavericks acquired a player from Germany it turned out to be an alright move.
14. Utah Jazz: PG Shane Larkin, Miami
The Jazz are set in the frontcourt with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap as long as they can retain them. Perimeter scoring is also a need, but the team will never take the next step with Mo Williams and Randy Foye running the point. Larkin's quickness and athleticism will help out the guys on the perimeter while giving them a more promising option at the point.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: SG Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
With Monta Ellis reportedly turning down an extension with the Bucks per Sports Illustrated, it looks like they may be in need of a new scoring guard. Franklin has averaged over 17 points per game over his last two seasons with the Aztecs.
16. Boston Celtics: C Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Where should Steven Adams be drafted?
The Cetlics really need a center of the future. Steven Adams is a potential top-10 pick that could slide under the right circumstances. Hand, meet glove.
Adams didn't put up the greatest numbers as a freshman at Pitt, but his athleticism makes him a good candidate to develop beyond his college production. He averaged 2.0 blocks per game as a Panther so he should be able to contribute on the defensive end right away.
He's just 19 years old so there's plenty of time to develop an offensive repertoire. .
17. Atlanta Hawks: SG/SF Sergey Karasev, Russia
The Hawks get back-to-back selections and really don't have any guaranteed commodities coming back for sure except for Al Horford at center. Here they add an international prospect with great upside on the wing.
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston via Brooklyn): PF Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Mitchell is a 6'8", 220 pound power forward with superb athleticism who can block shots. Sounds an awful lot like a young Josh Smith, who the Hawks could be looking to replace according to Jeff Schultz and Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Constitution-Journal.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles): SG/SF Glenn Rice, Jr., NBA D-League
Unlike the Noel, Rice Jr. could be plugged into the lineup right away. The Cavs are desperate for perimeter scoring to pair with Kyrie Irving and Rice Jr. fits the bill. His year in D-league added some much needed polish to his game.
He averaged 25 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals per game in the D-league playoffs.
20. Chicago Bulls: C Mason Plumlee, Duke
There couldn't be a better destination for the former Duke star. Chicago needs someone that can play behind Joakim Noah at center and Plumlee has the body to play down low in the NBA. With a high motor and rebounding ability Plumlee has the makeup of the typical Bulls role player.
21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State via Brooklyn): C Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Even if the Jazz can bring both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap back next season, they could afford to take a post player for depth here. Olynyk is an offensively skilled big man that would give them some flexibility in their rotations.
22. Brooklyn Nets: PF Rudy Gobert, France
At 7'2" with good athleticism, Gobert would be a formidable power forward to play alongside Brook Lopez. Even if it took him a while to be ready to play in the league, the Nets already have a strong roster intact.
23. Indiana Pacers: C Lucas Nogueira, Brazil
The Pacers really need a back-up point guard, but they could use depth everywhere. Nogueira is a raw talent, but he should be able to contribute on the defensive end right away. He's listed as a center, but at 6'11 and 218 pounds, he could slide to the four to play in a pinch.
24. New York Knicks: C Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
The Knicks are going to have to replace Tyson Chandler eventually. Dieng is the perfect candidate. He's a defensive enforcer that can rebound and plays with tremendous effort.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: C Jeff Withey, Kansas
The Memphis Grizzlies were able to ouster the Clippers with ease in the playoffs, in large part because they were just much tougher than them on the inside. Withey won't completely solve the problem, but it's a step in the right direction. He averaged 3.9 blocks per game in his final season with the Jayhawks.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Houston): SF Giannis Adetokunbo, Greece
The T'Wolves already have a heavy European presence with Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko and Rubio in the lineup, why not add another? Adetokunbo is a small forward with enough handles to play a point forward type role and would add another option on a perimeter that has few.
27. Denver Nuggets: SG Allen Crabbe, California
Andre Iguodala's contract situation is uncertain. Even if he winds up in Denver next year, it wouldn't hurt to add some depth at shooting guard. Crabbe averaged 18.4 points per game last season and would be a steal this late in the first.
28. San Antonio Spurs: SG Alex Abrines, Spain
Draft, stash, develop, repeat. We've seen it from San Antonio so many times and it's a recipe that has worked. Here they acquire a Spanish shooting guard who has promise as a slasher. Manu Ginobili won't be around forever. This could be his replacement down the road.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: C Mike Muscala, Bucknell
The Thunder need depth in the post. Durant and Westbrook shoulder the scoring load most of the time, but they don't have anyone that can score in the post. Muscala could help. He averaged 18.7 points per game last season and can score with the best big men in this class.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami via L.A. and Cleveland): SF/PF C.J. Leslie, NC State
If the Suns could add Oladipo and Leslie, they're lineup would be exponentially more athletic immediately. Leslie doesn't offer much in the way of post scoring, but he can run the floor and is a developing shooter.
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