2013 NBA Mock Draft: Selections Your Team Must Make

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2013

The NBA draft is a great way to improve a team's roster for the future, but it only helps if you make the right pick.

Grabbing a future bust too early in the first round could set a team back for years. This is why it is so important to study the upside as well as the risk of every player on the board.

General Managers have a big responsibility to help their organizations, so they want to make sure they do not make any mistakes.

With that in mind, here is a look at who each front office should select with the first-round pick.


1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

There is a lot more debate about the top pick than there usually is at this time of year. The Cavaliers appear set in the backcourt, but there are still plenty of openings up front.

While Otto Porter and even Alex Len could be good picks, Nerlens Noel has the best combination of upside as well as being a safe pick considering his shot-blocking ability. Even if he struggles offensively, he will stick around thanks to his contributions on the defensive end.

Cleveland needs balance in the front court to go with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters on the perimeter. While he is not a perfect prospect, Noel is the best fit with this pick.


2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

Ben McLemore recently has not received the respect he deserves as an all-around player. The shooting guard has proven that he can score in many ways, as well as play outstanding on-ball defense using his strength and athleticism.

In a draft without many stars, McLemore has the potential to be a legitimate All-Star as a go-to scorer on a good team.


3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

Like Cleveland, Washington has drafted well enough to be set at point guard (John Wall) and shooting guard (Bradley Beal). The team needs that extra piece that could put the squad over the top and into the playoffs.

Otto Porter has the potential to be that player.

The local hero showed his versatility at Georgetown on both ends of the court. He has the length to guard multiple positions and rebound well on defense. On offense, he became an excellent shooter this season to go with his already strong mid-range game.

To top it all off, Porter is unselfish with the ball and is more than happy to allow the stars already in place do their thing on the court. He is certain to help the team win games, and this should be a winning team next season.


4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

At some point, the Bobcats are going to learn that adding together a bunch of players that can score points on their own will not create a team. The top four scorers on the team last year were all guards, but they could not do much besides get points at an inefficient rate.

Anthony Bennett is much more versatile with his ability to play either the wing or small forward and the athleticism to defend either. He is also a strong rebounder, which will help the squad right away.


5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

There is no better on-ball defender in the draft than Victor Oladipo. He is simply always in the right position to stop opposing attacks and he will be able to defend everything from the point guard to the small forward in the NBA.

If his offensive game continues to develop like it has over the past two years, the Indiana guard could end up being one of the best players in the draft.


6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland

Even though Alex Len is unable to work out, he is still turning heads. ESPN's Chad Ford even reported that the Cavaliers are considering taking him with the No. 1 overall pick.

If this does not happen, he would be a perfect fit for the New Orleans Pelicans. This would allow Anthony Davis to remain at power forward, and the two young bigs would complement each other perfectly on both ends of the court.


7. Sacramento Kings: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

Sacramento has a lot of personalities on the roster already, so the team might want to avoid grabbing another player with possible character issues in Shabazz Muhammad. From a basketball perspective, however, this would be a solid selection.

The Kings need a wing who can score points and defend, and Muhammad can do both of those things well. His shooting ability will also help spread the floor to give some space for the talented DeMarcus Cousins down low.


8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Trey Burke not only has the skills to be an elite point guard in the NBA, he also has the mentality. He proved throughout the season at Michigan that he will do anything necessary, especially late in games, to help his team win.

Detroit has talent in place, but there is little leadership on the roster. Burke will change the losing mindset of this club and bring the franchise back to its winning ways.


9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh

Although C.J. McCollum is capable of playing point guard, he would be much better as a 2-guard at the next level. He is an excellent shooter and is better at creating opportunities for himself than others.

That would be perfectly fine on Minnesota, who already has a point guard in place in Ricky Rubio. The two players would make up one of the quickest backcourts in the league, while McCollum will provide much more of a scoring threat.


10. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

There are a number of centers who will likely be selected around this area, but the Trail Blazers would be smart to make Cody Zeller the first one picked out of the group.

The seven-footer has a relatively polished game with the ability to score consistently around the basket. He was one of the top players in the country at his position this past season, and he got to that point by creating shots with his back to the basket.

Additionally, his quickness and athleticism will allow him to get additional baskets by simply being in the right spot, especially with his ability to run the floor.

Portland did grab Meyers Leonard in the first round last year, but Zeller has a lot more upside and will help the team right away.


11. Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

Teams are starting to fall in love with Steven Adams' size and athletic ability. This could force the 76ers to draft the big man to help create some balance with the guard-heavy roster.

However, the New Zealand native is still incredibly raw as a player and will likely need a few years of seasoning before contributing at a high level. Philadelphia will have to decide if the risk is worth it at this stage in the draft.


12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

It would almost be unfair for Oklahoma City to be able to grab a player with Kelly Olynyk's skill set. The contending squad would be getting a seven-foot prospect who can run the floor, score inside or shoot like a guard.

Even though the center did not face much competition through most of his career at Gonzaga, he is definitely ready for the big time, and will help the Thunder finally get to a championship level.


13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

Michael Carter-Williams has one thing that few other point guards have: height. The 6'6" player was a monster at the position in college and will continue to have a size advantage in the NBA.

This helps on both ends of the court, and his overall ability would be perfect for Dallas, who truly needs a point guard of the future. Of course, this is all contingent on the team failing to get Chris Paul.


14. Utah Jazz: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

Utah needs backcourt help at both positions after getting little balance outside last season. The frontcourt is deep, but the team needs someone to force defenses to spread the floor.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is not only a great shooter, but he also has the athleticism to beat defenders off the dribble and finish at the rim. Although he was inconsistent in college, he has the ability to be a nice scoring threat in the NBA.


15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia

Even though Milwaukee reached the postseason this year, the team is hardly in "win-now mode." The team even had a losing record before getting swept in the first round.

This means that the team should be more than willing to draft a player who could end up being a difference-maker despite being a bit of a risk.

Dario Saric has the skills to be an elite player. He is 6'10" and is a great ball-handler who can slash to the basket and score himself or dish to others. Unfortunately, he needs to add a lot of strength and is still inconsistent from game to game.

Still, the Bucks have the freedom to take a risk on a player that could take a few years to develop. By the time he is ready to play, he could end up being a superstar.


16. Boston Celtics: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece

As raw as Saric is at this point, Giannis Antetokounmpo is even worse. He played very weak competition in Greece and has not seen anything close to NBA talent.

Still, his all-around game should be very appealing to a team that could use high-upside players. After years of competing with the top teams in the league, Boston is ready to rebuild. That starts with the No. 16 pick in the draft.


17. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, PF, France

At this point, Rudy Gobert is all about length. He is 7'1" with close to a 7'9" wingspan, which could make him a force on both ends of the court.

While he might take some time before he develops into a starting-level player, there are some things you simply cannot teach. With Gobert's physical tools, the sky is truly the limit.


18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State

Jamaal Franklin is the type of player that every coach should want on their team. While he does have some athleticism, most of his production comes far beyond what his size and tools should allow him to get.

The guard will continue to maximize his potential at the next level with his ability to slash to the basket and grab rebounds at a high rate. This will help the Hawks right away as the team waits for its other pick to develop as a long-term prospect.


19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Glen Rice Jr., SF, Rio Grande Valley

If the Cavaliers go with a big man with the first pick, small forward must be the direction the team goes at No. 19. Unfortunately, there are no more safe options this late in the first round.

Glen Rice Jr. is anything but safe after spending the past season in the D-League, but he has enough upside to justify the selection. He is athletic, can shoot and has proven himself against top competition. There are certainly worse selections for a team on the rise.


20. Chicago Bulls: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke

Mason Plumlee is not a great shot-blocker and does not have much range, but he does a lot of things well to help overlook these issues. He is an excellent rebounder and has the athleticism to finish well above the rim consistently.

On a Chicago team that will be much better next season when healthy, Plumlee could be a huge depth addition to help the squad compete for a title.


21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Shane Larkin, PG, Miami

The biggest issue with Shane Larkin is his height, as he stands at under 6'0". Still, he can do virtually anything you could want a point guard to do.

Larkin is one of the quickest players in the class, which helps him on both ends of the court. On offense, he can change between being a pass-first player to a go-to scorer in an instant, including the ability to consistently make shots from deep.

He also turned a historically poor program in Miami into one of the best in the country during the regular season.

Utah needs a point guard of the future, and the team cannot do any better at this point in the draft than Larkin.


22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

Jeff Withey is unathletic, slow and cannot contribute much on the offensive end. That being said, he will be one of the best rookies in the league next season.

The big man is one of the best shot-blockers in the class and his experience helps him always be in the right place on the court. He has been a big part of a winning team throughout his college career, and he could instantly help improve the Nets roster.


23. Indiana Pacers: Allen Crabbe, SG, California

Indiana was much closer to winning a title than almost anyone gave the team credit for during the regular season. At this point, it simply needs to add small pieces that could help the team win next season.

Allen Crabbe could be one of those players as one of the top pure shooters in the class. He can help create more opportunities for the other stars on the Pacers, which could be all it takes to beat the Miami Heat next season.


24. New York Knicks: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

The Knicks had a surprising season, although it is hard to imagine this continuing for too long due to age of the roster. They need to get younger players who can contribute right away as the older stars deal with injuries again.

Even though Gorgui Dieng is one of the older players in the draft, he is a baby compared to the Knicks roster. Plus, his defensive ability will allow him to enter the rotation and get production early as the squad looks to remain in the postseason picture.


25. Los Angeles Clippers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia

If Chris Paul remains on the roster, the Clippers should once again be near the top of the standings. The team should be even better as the younger players continue to improve.

This leaves only a little bit of room for an incoming contributor. Fortunately, Sergey Karasev has shown the ability to help out in small doses. He is like a microwave who gets hot in a hurry, and he can win games by himself for the young team.


26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies): Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina

Even if the Timberwolves add C.J. McCollum with the first pick, it could still use more outside shooting on the roster. Last season, the team only made 30.5 percent of shots from the outside.

Reggie Bullock can help improve that number right away with his long range and his size to get off shots while defended. This is something that slows down smaller guards, but Bullock is used to playing against bigger competition at North Carolina.

With Minnesota, he could allow the other players on the roster to make the plays while only contributing when he is needed. Considering he also is solid on the defensive end, the squad could get a lot of use out of the young player.


27. Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr. was used mostly as a shooter at Michigan, but every so often he displayed tremendous athleticism, especially while going up for a dunk. This will be on display a lot if he comes to Denver.

The Nuggets utilize a fast-paced attack, which would perfectly suit Hardaway's game and get the most out of his ability.


28. San Antonio Spurs: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky

While the Spurs obviously have a lot of talent on the roster, the team has a general problem with quickness. That will only get worse as Tony Parker and others continue to age.

Archie Goodwin is one of the quickest players in the draft, and he showed potential as a defensive stopper at Kentucky. On offense, he can get himself into the lane extremely well.

As long as he fixes his shot selection at the next level, he could end up being another productive late pick for the Spurs.


29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany

Dennis Schroeder has moved up draft boards with his pure ability that he has displayed in various workouts. Unfortunately, he has not really shown this skill in games and is a bit of a risk.

Along with the lack of need for point guards in the early stages of the draft, this will push the German down to the end of the first round. Of course, this only makes the Thunder stronger as they grab a quality backup point guard who can actually create for others, unlike most of the roster.


30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas

While most teams selecting late in the first round are looking for extra pieces to help bring a championship, Phoenix has the ability to grab a riskier pick with upside. That perfectly defines Tony Mitchell, who is all potential at this point.

The athletic forward is a big-time dunker, but he needs to prove he can use that ability in games. If he can do that, the Suns will be getting a steal with this pick.


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