2013 NBA Mock Draft: Best Possible Moves for GMs To Make
The 2013 NBA draft is quickly approaching, and by now teams likely have a very good idea of who they want to draft.
Of course, there are still some likely events that will shake things up in the next couple of weeks. Trades and last-minute workouts, most notably, still have the potential to alter the draft.
Nevertheless, we currently have a very good idea at what the first round will generally look like.
Let's take a gander.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
Nerlens Noel isn't going to win Rookie of the Year. He is recovering from ACL surgery and won't be ready until around Christmas—and even when he does return, the former Kentucky star is incredibly raw offensively.
But that, in part, is what makes him so attractive for Cleveland, who has plans of contending, not next season, but in 2014-15.
As Noel rehabs, the Cavs can spend another year developing their incredible young talent—Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson—while securing a top pick in next year's stacked draft.
Potentially, they could enter the 2014 season with Irving (All-Star), Waiters, Thompson (burgeoning star), Noel (with a crucial year of NBA experience under his belt) and another top-10 pick.
That has to be an exciting future plan for an often disgruntled Cleveland fanbase.
Of course, all of that isn't to say that Noel is only useful because he's a project. He is already an elite defensive force with spectacular athleticism and mobility for a player of his size (7'0" with a wingspan of 7'4"). And at 19 years of age, there's still a lot of room for him to grow.
Moreover, adding Noel makes Anderson Varejao a valuable trade chip.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Magic have options here. Michigan's Trey Burke would fill their biggest positional need at point guard. Also, Indiana's Victor Oladipo is reportedly the favorite prospect of nearly half the GMs in this league, according to ESPN's Chad Ford:
He's a possibility. We have them taking Trey Burke in our Mock primarily based on need. But I'm telling everyone that will listen -- Oladipo is the guy that GMs love in this draft. May be the only one. I've talked to 14 or 15 who tell me he's their favorite player. Almost zero downside and still significant upside. Not sure he's a fit in Cleveland or Washington -- but Orlando and Phoenix both look like strong fits. Burke may be a bigger need, but Oladipo might be the better player long-term.
Still, McLemore's upside will inevitably be too difficult to pass up.
His lack of a killer instinct makes me slightly nervous (of course, everyone thought that about Harrison Barnes, too), but his combination of a silky-smooth jump shot and trampoline-like athletic ability is unrivaled.
Simply put, McLemore is the most tantalizing—and efficient—scorer in this class.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
With John Wall in the lineup, the 2013 Washington Wizards looked like a legitimate contender for the postseason, and as such, they need a player capable of contributing to a playoff run right away.
Enter Otto Porter.
The All-American isn't elite in any one category, but he's an intelligent player with no weaknesses. Plus, with a near 7'2" wingspan, he has the ability to be an elite perimeter defender for a squad that focused on defense (eighth in the NBA in defensive efficiency) last season.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
If I'm an NBA general manager, I'm seriously considering Victor Oladipo for the No. 1 overall pick.
Not only does he have elite athleticism, NBA size, length and a track record of impressive and ever-improving production at Indiana, but he also has the unteachable intangibles. He is smart, never stops working on the defensive end and has a tireless work ethic and gym-rat mentality.
To top it all off, the 21-year-old boasts charisma and humility that few could dream of.
The Bobcats' hiring of Steve Clifford, a defensive-minded coach, should only help strengthen this pick.
5. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV
The Suns badly need some excitement in the franchise, and while Bennett left a sour taste in people's mouths with an underwhelming NCAA tourney performance against Cal, he can provide just that.
As arguably the most explosive and powerful rim-attacker in this class, the former UNLV one-year standout can also impressively put the ball on the deck with either hand and knock it down from NBA three-point range with consistency.
While Bennett is a tweener, there are very few prospects who are more enticing.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
The NBA population is seemingly split on Greivis Vasquez. He was one of the most improved offensive players in the league last season, but he struggled defensively—the Pelicans gave up 4.1 points more per 100 possessions when he was on the court, according to 82 Games.
But no matter how New Orleans views its point guard—who is out for 12-16 weeks recovering from ankle surgery—the struggling franchise must use this pick on the best available player instead of a position of need.
In 5 years, Trey Burke will be...
There is little question that this philosophy would make Burke—who was garnering talk as a potential No. 1 overall pick before Cleveland won the lottery—the obvious pick here.
College basketball's best player is truly galvanizing. He can beat defenders off the dribble and either get to the hoop or find an open teammate. He is electric off the pick-and-roll, where he can shoot from incredibly deep, drive or hit the roll man.
Offensively, he is an unusual combination of breakneck speed, dangerous shooting and calm efficiency.
Even on defense, where his size may put him at a disadvantage against bigger guards, he has impressive length (6'5") and instincts that allow him to rack up steals.
7. Sacramento Kings: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
The Kings' roster is a mess, and they simply need players who can come in and change the culture.
Shabazz Muhammad has some slight character concerns, but he is an absolute warrior with the mentality and offensive talent to be an effective player right away in the NBA.
8. Detroit Pistons: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
The Pistons have built one of the most impressive young frontcourts in the league with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Now, it's time to address the perimeter.
Do they draft a point guard to replace free agent Jose Calderon and then move Brandon Knight to shooting guard? Or do they go with a shooting guard, where only Rodney Stuckey sits on the depth chart?
By drafting McCollum, they can do both.
Blessed with limitless range and innate scoring ability, I see the Lehigh superstar as a future shooting guard, but he also has the ball-handling ability to play point guard at times too.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Whether or not Nikola Pekovic leaves via free agency, the Timberwolves are going to need to bolster their depth down low.
Alex Len had a polarizing sophomore season at Maryland, but he has true NBA center size, an impressive back-to-the-basket skill set and has been garnering talk as a potential top-five pick.
This would be tremendous value for new general manager Flip Saunders.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
Yes, the Blazers just drafted Meyers Leonard, but J.J. Hickson is almost assuredly on his way out, and the need for depth inside is still apparent.
If Portland is unable to trade the pick, Zeller makes sense. While there are questions about his strength and explosiveness, he is 7'0", 230 pounds with mobility and quickness that rivals many guards to go along with a versatile offensive game.
Zeller's skill set is unique and inviting, and it would be surprising to see him slip out of the top 10.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an offensive-minded guard who is capable of making an instant impact for the Sixers, who finished 26th in the NBA in offensive efficiency this season.
A potentially deadly shooter when he gets his feet set, the former Georgia standout is also a tremendous athlete with an NBA frame (6'6", 185 pounds) and plenty of room to improve.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Rudy Gobert, C, France
It's difficult to find a more tantalizing prospect than Frenchman Rudy Gobert.
The 20-year-old is a slight project, but with unreal size (7'2" with a wingspan of 7'8") to go along with impressive agility and defensive ability, he makes a lot of sense for the Thunder, who are in need of a center.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
You will be hard-pressed to find a big man in this class who is more offensively efficient than Kelly Olynyk.
The Gonzaga center used an unusual middle-of-the-career redshirt season to explode onto the collegiate scene last year, averaging 17.8 points on a staggering 62.9 percent shooting to go with 7.3 rebounds in just 26.4 minutes per contest.
At 7'0", 238 pounds, he has the post game, shooting ability and all-around versatile offensive game to make a positive impact at the next level.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
If Michael Carter-Williams falls this far, there is little chance that the Utah Jazz, who are in need of a point guard, will let him slip any further.
Yes, the polarizing prospect is an inconsistent shooter and tends to make poor decisions with the ball at times, but his size, ability as an elite distributor and playmaking defensive ability should all help to quell those negatives.
While MCW is a bit of a risk, he's worth it here.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Free agency could very well strip Milwaukee of most of its backcourt, so look for the Bucks to grab a guard with this pick.
German point guard Dennis Schroeder is absolutely skyrocketing up draft boards, and it's not difficult to see why.
Not only did he impress at the Nike Hoop Summit, but he has a unique combination of Ty Lawson-esque quickness and Rajon Rondo-esque length (6'7" wingspan) that makes him an incredibly alluring prospect.
16. Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Most people think of Gorgui Dieng as nothing more than a shot-blocker with some length.
While he is most definitely that—his 7'6" wingspan and solid athleticism will make him an elite rim-protector in the NBA—he is more than just a one-trick pony.
Dieng improved his offensive game immensely at Louisville, showcasing an improving mid-range jumper and sneaky passing ability, which suggests that the experienced center will be able to carve out a role right away in the NBA.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams didn't really blow anyone away while at Pittsburgh, but he was one of the most impressive performers at the combine, and he has seen his stock take off ever since.
He may not even slip this far, but if he does, it will serve as a terrific coup for the Hawks, who will need frontcourt depth after seeing several players hit free agency this offseason.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Think of Antetokounmpo as a high school player. He gets a lot of flak for playing against a very low level of competition in Greece, but remember that he is still just 18 years old.
Even if he doesn't contribute for a year or two, there are very few players with his blend of size (6'9", 196 pounds), ball-handling, passing, feel for the game and defense.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Glen Rice, SF, Rio Grande Valley (NBA D-League)
If the Cavaliers are going to use this pick to address a position of need after taking Noel, small forward is the logical choice.
Glen Rice Jr. is the next highest small forward on my board.
While there are questions regarding his character, he is an explosive athlete who is capable of getting to the rim and thrives in transition. He also has good size, can shoot the ball, rebounds well for his position and produced at a high level as a starter in the D-League.
20. Chicago Bulls: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Jimmy Butler's emergence makes this less of a stone-cold lock, but with Marco Belinelli and Richard Hamilton likely departing via free agency, there is still a need for another perimeter player.
Franklin was an impressive all-around producer at San Diego State, but it is his athleticism and ability to defend the perimeter that will make him a perfect fit for Tom Thibodeau in Chicago.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Mason Plumlee may be an underwhelming prospect, simply because that's what everyone usually thinks about players from Duke, but this would actually be quite the steal for the Jazz.
As the second player to be drafted in the Plumlee family tree—or "Plumtree," if you will—Mason has unbelievable athleticism and jumping ability for a player of his size. He may not light up the box score, but he's an experienced player who can add toughness, crash the glass and play a very particular role off the bench for the Jazz, who could be losing both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap this offseason.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Unless they make some trades, the Brooklyn Nets won't have a ton of room to make any new additions to the roster.
As such, expect them to either deal this pick or use it for the future.
Dario Saric could use another year or two of seasoning overseas, but at 19 years old, with impressive length, fluidity and ball-handling, he is very enticing as a potential NBA small forward.
23. Indiana Pacers: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Simply put, Shane Larkin is a winner.
He is undoubtedly undersized (5'11"), but Barry Larkin's son has all the other qualities you look for in a point guard: confidence, competitiveness, leadership, quickness, explosive athleticism and experience thriving in the pick-and-roll.
The Pacers may very well need a replacement for free agent D.J. Augustin, and Larkin has the look of someone who this hard-nosed team would welcome with open arms.
24. New York Knicks: Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Much like their crosstown rivals, the Knicks don't have a ton of room opening up on the books and could simply choose to add youth through the draft, regardless of the position.
Tony Mitchell was dreadful last season at North Texas, but there's no denying how impressive his physical traits are. A year in the D-League would do the talented and inconsistent athlete well, and New York can afford to give that to him.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina
The Clippers have a lot of free agents, so this pick will depend on what they plan to do on July 1 and beyond.
For now, we'll go with Bullock, who has good size and a tremendous shooting stroke that figures to translate to the next level. He seems like the type of role-playing scorer that Los Angeles would like to bring off the bench.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
Should the T-Wolves indeed select a big man with their first pick, this pick will likely go towards a perimeter player.
Tim Hardaway Jr. showed quite a bit of inconsistency at Michigan, but he raised his stock at the combine and has quite a bit of a potential as a scorer considering his elite size and explosive athleticism.
27. Denver Nuggets: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The Nuggets could very well address their horrendous outside shooting via free agency, but if Allen Crabbe drops this far, it will serve as a potentially cheap fix that they can't pass up.
Crabbe only shot 34.8 percent from beyond the arc as a junior, but that came after two-straight 40-percent shooting seasons, and he has the height and pretty stroke to suggest that the latter is more indicative of his ability.
It's tough to find a pick this late in the first round who can immediately improve a team, but Crabbe could provide deadly spot-up shooting in Denver's up-tempo offense.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
At 19 years of age, Sergey Karasev is a sweet-shooting lefty who is capable of contributing in a number of different ways.
The Spurs could choose to let him develop overseas for a year, but for someone his age, he has a surprisingly high basketball IQ, maturity and feel for the game.
Either way, it's essentially a classic Spurs pick that could help them in a number of different ways.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Erick Green, PG/SG, Virginia Tech
If the Thunder feel that they won't be able to re-sign Kevin Martin this summer, they would be smart to look for a player who is capable of providing instant offense off the bench.
That's Erick Green in a nutshell.
Although he played for a terrible Virginia Tech squad with all of the defensive focus on him, the 2013 ACC Player of the Year led the nation in scoring at 25.0 points per contest. Not only did he do it in an efficient manner, but he showcased an important ability to score from anywhere on the court.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Los Angeles Lakers): Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
The Phoenix Suns, who finished 24th in the NBA in defensive efficiency this season, could stand to add a defensive specialist.
Jeff Withey admittedly suffered a bit of a fall in this mock draft, but as one of the draft's best shot-blockers, he won't drop any further than this, regardless of his limited offensive game.
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