It may not end up being the greatest draft of all time due to a perceived lack of top-end talent, but the 2013 NBA draft appears to have the deepest class in recent memory. Every team selecting in the first round this year has a great chance to improve immediately as well as in the future.
Some players are a better fit for certain teams rather than others, however, so scouting and identifying logical partnerships will be paramount. Some teams are bound to make mistakes and set themselves back, but there is likely a perfect player out there for everyone.
Here is a full, first-round mock draft complete with detailed analysis on the perfect pick for each and every team selecting in the first round.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Taking an injury risk like Noel at No. 1 overall isn't for the faint of heart, but he has the ability to be a game changer on both ends of the floor when healthy, so the Cavs have little choice aside from rolling the dice on the big man here.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
The Magic have quite a bit of youth and depth at essentially every position, but they could use a dynamic guard who can take over a game. Oladipo undoubtedly has the skills to develop into that type of player.
3. Washington Wizards: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Washington likely believes that its backcourt is set with John Wall and Bradley Beal in place, but an interior presence is needed. Len can certainly provide that presence, on both offense and defense, if he develops as expected.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV
The Bobcats once again missed out on the No. 1 overall selection this year, but taking an athletic power forward like Bennett would allow them to increase their versatility as a team and at least put forth an exciting product next season.
5. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
In a draft that has so many question marks, Georgetown small forward Otto Porter has generated a lot of interest because of his level-headed play. He may not have the potential of a player like Noel, but the odds of him flaming out at the next level appear to be quite low. It wouldn't be a total shock to see Porter go as early as No. 1 overall, but based on team needs, he could easily fall to No. 6 as well.
The New Orleans Pelicans are hoping that scenario plays out, as he could be the missing piece to the puzzle in the Bayou. The Pelicans already have a great nucleus with players like Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon in place. New Orleans lacks a threat on the wing, though, and Porter would provide that. In fact, NOLA.com posed a question asking whether the Pelicans should trade up in an effort to land Porter:
Should the New Orleans Pelicans make a trade to move up in the NBA draft to select Otto Porter? http://t.co/UVEs14QuYu— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) May 29, 2013
If the Pelicans want to secure him, then trading up is probably the best move, but there is always the chance that they may be able to get him at No. 6. The Wizards seem to be Porter's best landing spot within the top five, but if they go for Len instead (as I expect them to), then New Orleans should feel pretty good. Things will have to go perfectly for the Pelicans to get Porter, but it could definitely happen.
7. Sacramento Kings: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
According to ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required), teams are practically lining up to get a crack at center DeMarcus Cousins, and the Kings could very well decide to trade the polarizing star. Regardless of what they do, a big with offensively polished player such as Zeller would be a good fit.
The Pistons are an interesting team. They have young talents such as Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe, but they have yet to put it all together. Taking an explosive wing player like Muhammad could be just what the doctor ordered, though.
When will Otto Porter be selected?
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
Minnesota has been building a stable of promising, young players for the past several years, and the one missing piece appears to be a competent shooting guard. Enter McCollum, who could potentially help lead the T'Wolves back to the playoffs.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Although the Blazers already drafted center Meyers Leonard last year, they have very little depth at the position. The team would be smart to add another skilled big such as Olynyk to the mix in order to create a formidable rotation.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
It is anyone's guess where center Andrew Bynum will sign this offseason, and his health is still unclear as well. The 76ers desperately need a backup plan, and Adams would be an ideal option with the No. 11 selection in the first round.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were favored to represent the Western Conference in the NBA finals this season after doing so last year, but they ultimately came up short. Russell Westbrook's season-ending injury had a lot to do with that, but the play of center Kendrick Perkins didn't help either. Now that Perkins appears to be the weak link in OKC's starting five, it's time to make some changes.
Oklahoma City is fortunate enough to have the No. 12 pick, so a quick fix is possible. There are a lot of promising centers in this draft, but the one that fits best with the Thunder is likely Louisville's Gorgui Dieng. The 6'11" big man was an elite rebounder and shot-blocker for the Cardinals, and he would be asked to play a similar role with OKC. According to Adam Lefkoe of WHAS 11 in Louisville, the Thunder are bringing him in for a visit as well:
After working out for the Cleveland Cavaliers late last week, Gorgui Dieng is headed to Oklahoma City to meet with the Thunder.— Adam Lefkoe (@WHAS11Lefkoe) June 10, 2013
Perhaps no player would be a better fit for the Thunder, as there wouldn't be much pressure on him to contribute offensively—at least not right away. He can come along slowly in that regard because Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin can carry the load. As long as he is a disruptive force on the defensive end, he will be well worth the 12th pick.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Mavericks officials will practically fall out of their chairs if Burke manages to slide to them at No. 13. And while this may seem highly unlikely after his magical 2012-13 season at Michigan, a lack of need at the point guard position within the top-12 could very well benefit Dallas.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Much like Burke, Carter-Williams is a prime candidate to fall in this draft unless a team decides to trade up for him. Provided that doesn't happen, though, the Jazz are an ideal landing spot for him, as he would likely start from Day 1.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Rudy Gobert, C, France
The Bucks could use some immediate help after they were trounced by Miami in the first round of the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. Gobert is arguably the best international prospect in this class, and he could develop into a big-time player.
16. Boston Celtics: Glen Rice, Jr., SG, D-League
Taking a player from the D-League this early is certainly a gamble, but Rice has fantastic bloodlines and he plays a position that the Celtics desperately need to fortify. Rice scores in bunches, and he could be a bench contributor right away in Boston.
The Hawks don't have a ton of depth inside behind Al Horford. While Plumlee doesn't project to be a great offensive player at the next level, he knows how to hit the boards and should be able to carve out a niche for himself in the NBA,
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Atlanta addressed a big need at No. 17, and it will take care of another with this pick. Caldwell-Pope can be groomed to ultimately replace Joe Johnson, who made the jump to the Brooklyn Nets last offseason.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
If Cleveland selects Noel at No. 1, it will have a great inside-out combo in place with Noel and star point guard Kyrie Irving. The Cavs are really lacking when it comes to wing players, though, and Saric is one of the most interesting wing players in this draft.
20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The Bulls need to continue trying to draft a shooting guard in the first round every single year at this point until they finally hit on one. Hopefully they can stop after selecting Crabbe, as he is a great shooter who should complement point guard Derrick Rose well—whenever he returns.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
The Jazz will still be elated by the time they pick at No. 21 if they can secure Carter-Williams at No. 14, but there is still work to be done. Utah is incredibly weak at guard, but taking a versatile guy like Franklin could really help in that regard.
The Brooklyn Nets seem to be a team on the verge of making some noise in the Eastern Conference, as they finished with the No. 4 seed this season, but they definitely need to make a few additions first. While Brooklyn appears to have things locked down at the center position with Brook Lopez, he doesn't have a lot of help and could really benefit from a quality backup.
One center who figures to be available at this juncture is Kansas' Jeff Withey. The seven-footer was a dominant force for the Jayhawks last season, as he averaged 8.5 rebounds and a shade under four blocks per game. His offensive game came a long way, too, as he averaged nearly 14 points per game. The Nets brought Withey in for a workout, and he already has a connection to Lopez, according to Barbara Barker of Newsday:
Kansas center Withey is also working out for #Nets tomorrow. Says he played in same AAU program, EBO, as Brook Lopez.— Barbara Barker (@meanbarb) June 10, 2013
Withey would primarily be a bench player for the Nets, but he brings certain things to the table that Lopez doesn't. While Lopez is far superior offensively, Withey is a stronger defender, so they should be able to complement each other's skills very well. There is no such thing as having too many good interior players, so the Nets should be in the market for Withey.
23. Indiana Pacers: Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, North Carolina
Indiana accomplished some great things this season without a true superstar player, but it could use some more depth, particularly on the wing. A deadly shooter like Bullock should mesh well with the rest of the team.
24. New York Knicks: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (Fla.)
Now that Jason Kidd has retired and will be the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks have a definite void at point guard. Larkin would be a great complement to Raymond Felton and could eventually become the Knicks' full-time starter.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
As disappointing as their first-round exit was, the Clippers have a lot of depth on their roster already. Because of that, they can afford to take a high-upside guy like Karasev and stash him overseas for a couple of years.
What is the deepest position in this draft?
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Few teams have looked overseas as often—and as successfully—as the Timberwolves in recent years, so it stands to reason they will do the same with at least one of their first-round picks this year. Antetokounmpo could be a key contributor a few years down the line.
27. Denver Nuggets: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Once upon a time, the Nuggets struck gold with a Brazilian center named Nene who had several production seasons in Denver. Look for the Nuggets to draw from South America once again as they go with Nogueira here.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Much of the Spurs' success is owed to foreign players like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter and countless others. Schroeder could be the latest in a long line of international stars for the Spurs as well as an eventual replacement for Parker.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lorenzo Brown, PG, North Carolina State
The Thunder learned how tough life can be without Russell Westbrook during the playoffs this season, and while nobody can replace what he brings to the table, Brown would add a considerable amount of depth behind him.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Phoenix can essentially go with the best player available here after taking McLemore earlier in the round, so the Suns will go with Mitchell with the last pick of the first round. He is an intriguing prospect with the versatility to play multiple positions.
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