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2013 NBA Mock Draft: Choices Your Team Must Make in Round 1

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2013 NBA Mock Draft: Choices Your Team Must Make in Round 1
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The 2013 NBA draft order is locked in, and the selection process is just two weeks away.

Now, as the NBA playoffs wind down, the teams that will draft in the first round on June 27 are running out of time to assess the talent available to them. While there are a handful of prospects that stand out this year, overall the 2013 draft class is a weak one compared to past seasons.

That makes it that much more of a challenge to make the right pick.

Below, we'll run through the entire first round of the 2013 NBA draft, breaking down which choices your team must make this June.

*Top must-have picks are italicized. Free agent information courtesy of ESPN.com

 

No. 1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, C

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In a draft lacking can't-miss talent, 7-foot center Nerlens Noel is seemingly the best option for Cleveland at No. 1 overall. With Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters fast improving in the back court, adding an athletic shot-blocker to play in the paint is a wise move for a team looking to get out of the Eastern Conference basement.

Noel's upside is as high as anyone else coming out this year, making him an obvious choice for the Cavaliers. 

 

No. 2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, Kansas, SG

Even though Ben McLemore hasn't displayed the killer instinct that many are still waiting to see, he's an explosive athlete and a lights-out shooter. Plus, the Magic will need to fill a hole at 2-guard if they trade their top asset, Arron Afflalo for L.A. Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe, via ESPN.com's Chad Ford:

"Sources say the Magic have a lot of interest in Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe and would be willing to trade Afflalo for Bledsoe and Caron Butler's expiring contract."

McLemore led Kansas last season averaging close to 15.9 points per game as a freshman. He shot 42 percent from beyond the arc for the year.

 

No. 3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, Georgetown, SF

Washington has a promising back court in place with John Wall and Bradley Beal, so adding Otto Porter to play at small forward makes perfect sense for the Wizards. If he's on the board at No. 3, Washington must select him.

 

No. 4. Charlotte Bobcats: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, SG

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Bobcats need help all across the board, but it'll be hard for Charlotte to pass on Indiana's Victor Oladipo. His toughness, defensive ability and non-stop motor make him one of the more intriguing prospects coming out this summer.

He'll need to improve as a shooter, but for one of the NBA's worst franchises in full-blown rebuilding mode, Oladipo is a no-brainer.

 

No. 5. Phoenix Suns: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG

Phoenix has to love C.J. McCollum's versatility in the back court. A natural scorer, the former Lehigh star averaged 23.9 points per game last season despite missing some major time with a foot injury. 

Scoring points used to be no issue for the Suns, but with a new era set to begin in the desert under first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek, it's time Phoenix reaches out for a player who can create his own shot.

 

No. 6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, Maryland, C

With last year's No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Davis, representing the future for New Orleans, the Pelicans can afford to draft a project in Alex Len. You can't teach Len's size and length, and teamed up with Davis inside, the Pelicans would be a handful in the paint.

 

No. 7. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, Michigan, PG

If Trey Burke is available for the Sacramento Kings at No. 7 this summer, they'd be foolish to pass on him. There's been a lot of debate regarding who's the best point guard available, but Burke is without a doubt the best point guard for the Kings.

He's a legitimate floor general and he's improving as a leader.

 

No. 8. Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, PG

The Detroit Pistons could certainly benefit from adding a point guard this summer. Brandon Knight can easily play off the ball as a 2-guard, thus opening the door for Michael Carter-Williams. 

The former Syracuse star isn't a great shooter by any means, but he has a quick first step and loves to help his teammates succeed. Carter-Williams has excellent court vision, and his ability to utilize his length and get to the rim is also worth mentioning.

 

No. 9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, SG

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Minnesota is in the market for a shooter this summer, and the Timberwolves won't find a better one than Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. 

An under-the-radar prospect coming into this year's draft, the 20-year-old shooting guard has excellent range. He averaged 18.5 points per game last season for the Bulldogs, shooting 37.3 percent from beyond the arc and pouring in nearly three three-pointers per game.

 

No. 10. Portland Trail Blazers: Dario Saric, Croatia, SF

A talented small forward with height and length for days, Croatia's 6'10" Dario Saric is a legitimate lottery selection in 2013. He also makes perfect sense for the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 10. 

Saric will need to spend some time in the gym improving his stroke and adding bulk. However, his court vision, ball handling and rebounding prowess are things that can't be taught. 

 

No. 11. Philadelphia 76ers: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, PF

Every year there's a player projected to go early that slips way down the draft board. In 2013, Anthony Bennett could be that player.

An undersized power forward, Bennett's game is built on explosion and power. But at 6'8", he'll be much smaller than other NBA power forwards. Plus, at the moment, he lacks the go-to low post moves to consistently get a solid shot off around the rim.

He has outside range as a shooter, but similar to Derrick Williams two years ago, Bennett won't have a comfortable position at the next level.

 

No. 12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Cody Zeller, Indiana, C

There's no James Harden-like talent available for Oklahoma City in the first round this year, which means the Thunder are better off drafting a big man to help out inside. In this scenario, Cody Zeller is on the board, making him a no-brainer for the Thunder.

Zeller can score around the basket, and is also quick and mobile for a 7-footer. All those qualities make him a tremendous asset for the Thunder, who love to run and play uptempo basketball with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the show.

Zeller is an improved shooter as well, which gives him added value to a perimeter-oriented team like the Thunder.

 

No. 13. Dallas Mavericks: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, C

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It's looking likely that the Mavericks are going to trade the No. 13 pick this summer according to several sources via ESPN.com's Chad Ford. It's no secret that Dallas wants to land a big-time free agent like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul or possibly both.

For now, the Mavs are selecting No. 13 overall, which makes Pitt's Steven Adams the ideal pick at this point. With an NBA-ready body, Adams can bang inside, allowing Dirk Nowitzki to do what he does best on the offensive end. 

 

No. 14. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, Germany, PG

The Jazz desperately need to add a point guard this summer. While they could go in several directions, Germany's Dennis Schroeder is the best route. 

A super athletic floor general, Schroeder is an excellent ball handler and passer, and he isn't afraid to attack the basket. At 6'2", his 6'8" wingspan allows him to play much bigger than he actually is defensively.

 

No. 15. Milwaukee Bucks: Shane Larkin, Miami, PG

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Brandon Jennings' future in Milwaukee is very uncertain at the moment, thus opening the door for the Bucks to draft a talented young point guard. 

Miami's Shane Larkin came on strong last season with the Hurricanes, showing incredible touch from outside and the ability to thrive in the pick-and-roll game. If the Bucks aren't willing to spend on Jennings this summer, they will likely draft Larkin to carry the torch.

 

No. 16. Boston Celtics: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, SG

While Shabazz Muhammad is an intriguing option for the Boston Celtics at No. 16 in this scenario, the argument can be made that San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin is the better pick.

An improved shooter with tremendous upside, Franklin offers Boston a player who can not only score the ball, but bring an element of explosion that has been lacking from the Celtics as of late. Franklin is a passionate player who's desire to win rivals that of Kevin Garnett.

 

No. 17. Atlanta Hawks: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SF

There are a ton of question marks when it comes to Shabazz Muhammad, but what he was able to accomplish at UCLA last season suggests he's worthy of a mid-first-round selection in 2013. 

Muhammad averaged 17.9 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting from the floor and played inspired basketball from start to finish. If the Hawks believe he can create his own shot and become a better athlete, he makes perfect sense at No. 17.

 

No. 18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Rudy Gobert, France, PF

At 7'2", France's Rudy Gobert will be hard to pass on for teams like the Atlanta Hawks, who are drafting in the middle of Round 1.

Despite the fact that he's a major project, the upside of this selection is endless, given his size. 

 

No. 19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Phoenix Suns from Miami Heat): Sergey Karasev, Russia, SF

Sergey Karasev already professional experience having played overseas in Russia. At 6'7", his size makes him a tremendous asset on the wing. At No. 19, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have a hard time passing on Karasev, who's averaging over 18 points per game in the Russian League.

 

No. 20. Chicago Bulls: Mason Plumlee, Duke, PF

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Mason Plumlee brings size and explosion to the table as a 6'10" power forward who can run the floor, providing high-energy minutes for a team like the Chicago Bulls.

Joakim Noah is handling a bulk of the load inside by himself at the moment, and adding Plumlee to the mix in the Windy City would help relieve some of that pressure.

 

No. 21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, C

Like point guard, the front court will soon become an area of need for the Utah Jazz.

Both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are set to become free agents this summer, so Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk makes a lot of sense at this spot. 

An efficient offensive player, Olynyk is versatile. He can score around the basket or step out and display range out to the arc. His motor on the offensive end is also encouraging and makes him worthy of a mid-first-round selection.

He'll have to improve as a defender, but the Jazz aren't horrible on that end of the floor, ranking 15th in fewest points per game allowed last season.

 

No. 22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, Kansas, C

A 7-foot shot-blocker who can finish around the rim, Jeff Withey has the potential to develop into a reliable backup big behind Brook Lopez in Brooklyn. Withey can step in immediately off the bench and make a difference on defense. 

 

No. 23. Indiana Pacers: Reggie Bullock, North Carolina, SF

For a dominant defensive team like the Indiana Pacers, Reggie Bullock would be a nice addition because of his exceptional shooting touch. The Pacers came within one game of reaching the NBA Finals this June, and they don't need a game changer at this stage.

 

No. 24. New York Knicks: Tony Mitchell, North Texas, SF

Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Knicks want to contend in the Eastern Conference in the years to come, they will need to get more athletic and become a much better rebounding team.

Not only did New York boast the oldest roster in NBA history last season, but the Knicks ranked 26th in the league in rebounding. 

North Texas forward Tony Mitchell excels in both of those areas.

Although his jump shot needs improving, his potential makes him a must-have this late in Round 1. He averaged 13 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season for the Mean Green.

 

No. 25. Los Angeles Clippers: Glen Rice Jr., NBA D-League, SG

The L.A. Clippers could use Glen Rice Jr. in their back court next season. Having excelled in the NBA Development League last season, the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket is perhaps more prepared for the NBA game than the rest of this year's top prospects who are coming out of college.

At 6'6", Rice's size isn't an issue, and his ability to play exceptional defense should make him a coveted piece for the much-improved Clippers.

 

No. 26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, C

A talented rim protector who's fast improving as a passer and a shooter, Louisville's Gorgui Dieng looks to be a realistic option for the T-Wolves with their second first-round pick.

With both Nikola Pekovic and Greg Stiemsma set to enter free agency this summer, Dieng would help ensure that Minnesota remain big up front next season.

 

No. 27. Denver Nuggets: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, PG

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

A rare college senior with first-round talent, Murray State's Isaiah Canaan is a player the Denver Nuggets should be on the lookout for this summer.

Canaan averaged nearly 22 points per game last season for the Racers, using his strength, speed and deep range to catch the attention of NBA scouts and coaches. The Nuggets don't have any critical areas of need this offseason, so picking up another weapon would be a sensible move.

 

No. 28. San Antonio Spurs: Lucas Nogueira, Brazil, C

The core of the San Antonio Spurs may be aging, but the roster that the organization has put together has hardly any flaws. That said, San Antonio can take a bit of a risk late in Round 1, possibly drafting Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira.

The 20-year-old is athletic, can block shots at a solid rate and is aggressive on the backboards. He's a work in progress without a doubt, but he has the potential to pay off big for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs.

 

No. 29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, SG

Tim Hardaway Jr. is no James Harden. But he is a scoring wing player who can lock down opponents on the defensive end, and also make a difference in transition.

If he can play with more patience at the next level, his athleticism will allow him to shine.

 

No. 30. Phoenix Suns (via Cleveland Cavaliers from L.A. Lakers): Allen Crabbe, Cal, SG

Allen Crabbe is a superb shooter who can also become a defensive presence for the Phoenix Suns on the perimeter. He scored over 18 points per game for Cal last season, reeling in over six rebounds per game for the Golden Bears as well.

The Suns have struggled to score since Steve Nash's departure last summer, so adding another scorer to the mix certainly can't hurt.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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