2013 NBA Mock Draft: Where Every Team Must Go With First-Round Pick
The 2013 NBA draft is just 10 days away, leaving scouts and general managers with little time to make last-second adjustments to their big boards.
Most teams will likely have a great idea in regards to which direction they will go with their first-round pick by now, but that does not mean it will be the right choice.
Some front offices will make a slam-dunk selection, while others will unfortunately reach for a prospect or take a player that doesn’t fit with the current roster or scheme.
Let’s take a look at how the first round could look if every GM pulled the trigger on a piece that would help their team the most.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Who should go No. 1?
The Cavs would be foolish to go in any other direction with this selection, as Noel is the best overall prospect on the board.
While there are some other players available that could certainly help Cleveland, it would be quite difficult to find another way to nab an uber-athletic big man with world-class shot-blocking skills and, most importantly, a non-stop motor.
GM Chris Grant may be sending out smokescreens regarding another player his club is interested in, but expect him to make this no-brainer pick on June 27.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Oladipo is a special player, which is why the Magic would be wise to draft him and figure out how to fit him into the rotation afterward.
There’s a small chance that GM Rob Hennigan will be able to flip some of his assets—notably Arron Afflalo—for a promising young point guard this offseason, opening the door for Oladipo to get more minutes and star in the Magic Kingdom.
The IU product can impact the game without the ball in his hands and plays an infectious brand of defense, which would be two great assets for this rebuilding team.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
The Wizards were the real winners of the lottery, as this downtrodden franchise jumped up to No. 3 from a projected draft position of No. 8.
Now it is poised to pull Otto Porter off the board, a surefire prospect that will fill the club’s huge void at the small forward position. He’s a local hero that has shown the capability of doing nearly everything on the court at a high level—with the notable exception of creating his own shot.
With Bradley Beal and John Wall taking care of that, Porter can work to defend, rebound, spot-up for open shots and more.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
McLemore has the highest upside for a perimeter talent in this draft, as he possesses a silky smooth jumper and infinite range.
However, the Bobcats will need him to work on staying engaged and motivated throughout the course of the season and even throughout a full game. He’s had issues in the past with his motor, and it could limit his ability to mature into a superstar player at the next level.
5. Phoenix Suns: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
McCollum may become the best pure scorer in this class, as the Mountain Hawks star can simply shoot the lights out from deep and get to the basket when necessary.
The Suns have needs all over the court, making McCollum and his versatile ability to line up at either the 1 or 2 a solid pick.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Pelicans would be wise to address the frontcourt yet again in this draft and focus on installing a stout center to compliment superstar power forward Anthony Davis.
Len’s deliberate method of efficient low-post scoring and ability to body-up on defense is a perfect compliment to "the Brow’s" athletic, dunk-powered offense and shot-blocking defense around the rim.
7. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, PF/SF, UNLV
Bennett is a steal here at No. 7, as the Rebels star is one of the better forward prospects in this draft.
Not only does Bennett have the strength to bang down low as a 4—although he is a bit undersized—but he also has the touch, athleticism and range to hang out on the perimeter as a 3.
Given the instability of the Kings organization in general, it needs a player that can be plugged into the lineup, regardless of the matchups or scenario.
8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Burke is coming off an incredible collegiate season and national championship appearance with the Wolverines, feats that will instantly make him a hometown hero if the Pistons select him.
While Brandon Knight has been doing an admirable job at the point, he’s more suited to play the 2 and would likely slide over to that position if Detroit can steal Burke at No. 8.
The Michigan man may not be the tallest or most athletic point guard in this class, but he’s a proven-winner with great scoring skills and a knack for facilitating.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
KCP may be one of the best off-guards in the league in just a few seasons.
By drafting him, the T-Wolves would be getting a long-range gunner that can create his own shot, defend the position, get to the basket, pass well and more. The only area that he is lacking in is ball-handling, a weakness that would be minimized when playing with Ricky Rubio.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
The Blazers are likely to trade this pick for a veteran big, but they could do worse than selecting Adams, a high-upside center that impressed at the combine.
If he ever reaches his ceiling and develops a strong offensive game, this young New Zealand native could become a starting-caliber pivot in the NBA.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
Zeller can run the floor like a deer and finish at the rim, two qualities that will make him an instant-impact role player in the league.
The Sixers are in desperate need of immediate frontcourt help, making this a solid match for both parties.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Rudy Gobert, C, France
Gobert is a big-bodied Frenchman that has to improve his athleticism and basic basketball skills before he’s able to make the jump to American soil.
The Thunder have the luxury of allowing him to develop overseas and take the high-risk, high-reward gamble that this 7’2” behemoth with a 9’7” wingspan will pan out.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Saric hasn’t officially pulled out from the draft yet and could still get his wish of remaining overseas this coming season if the Mavs draft him.
ESPN’s Chad Ford noted (subscription required) that the team could draft him and that both sides would just need to sign a letter and send it to the league office noting that the Croatian prospect would be remaining in Europe for the 2013-14 campaign.
That would give the Mavs the developmental young star they need for the future, while clearing the cap space required to make a run at a marquee free agent this summer.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Carter-Williams is the best facilitator this class has to offer, making him a perfect match for the Jazz.
Utah will likely overhaul the frontcourt this summer, and a number of young bigs will step up into new roles. The squad has to install a point guard that can hit them with entry passes and set them up in position to score, making MCW a slam-dunk.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Olynyk isn’t going to be selected for his defense or athleticism, but he’ll significantly improve the Bucks frontcourt if they take him at No. 15
This ‘Zags star can shoot the lights out and has range out to the three-point line, an asset that would finally stretch out defenders and keep the opposition from clogging the lane against the Bucks’ penetrating guards.
16. Boston Celtics: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
If Muhammad is available at No. 16, the Celtics would be wise to make him the heir-apparent to Paul Pierce.
The left-handed swingman could shoulder the scoring load in Beantown as "The Truth" fades into the twilight of his career and eventually retires.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Franklin is a high-upside guard that can jump out of the gym and rebound extremely well for his position.
With a motor that won’t quit, there’s no doubting that this Aztecs product could eventually develop the jumper that will make him a respectable weapon in the NBA.
While the Hawks don’t have a huge need for Franklin, they may find his ceiling and style of play too intriguing to pass up.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Dieng may not be oozing upside or have much left to show at the age of 23, but he’s a proven winner that can do everything required of a backup center in the league.
The Cardinals’ star can rebound, defend, block shots and pass well out of the low-post. He would also allow Al Horford to slide to his natural power forward spot when they share the floor, generating more scoring opportunities for Atlanta.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Mitchell is an interesting prospect, but it is tough to see the Cavs not trading this pick come draft day.
The team is simply too stocked with young talent and does not need another long-term developmental project.
However, this is a good draft position for the Mean Green product, as he can guard both forward spots and jump over most big men for rebounds. If his scoring ever comes along, he’ll be the steal of the draft.
20. Chicago Bulls: Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Michigan
Hardaway Jr. is the lights-out sniper that the Bulls need to install next to Derrick Rose in an overhauled Chicago backcourt this coming season.
Coach Tom Thibodeau can teach the Michigan man to defend with his length and help to improve his much-maligned shot selection.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
If Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap wind up moving on in free agency this summer, the Jazz will have a clear need for a backup center.
Withey can adequately handle that role, as he’s a seven-footer that can block shots and protect the rim. He may not be an offensive force, but that isn’t what Utah—or anyone interested in the Jayhawks big—will be expecting out of him.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Plumlee is a high-energy player with a potentially bright future in this league, despite his low upside.
As long as he’s banging for boards, chasing down loose balls and hustling up-and-down the court, he should be able to find minutes behind Reggie Evans in Brooklyn.
23. Indiana Pacers: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
The Pacers’ flawed second-unit was exposed in the Eastern Conference Finals, with D.J. Augustin notably struggling when spelling George Hill.
Larkin represents a potential upgrade at the backup point guard spot, as he has the raw speed and athleticism to ignite the break and run opponents off the floor.
24. New York Knicks: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
With Jason Kidd retiring and becoming the coach of the Nets, the Knicks will have to find a way to replace his minutes in the backcourt.
Schroeder is certainly an option, as the high-upside German gives the team the speed and ability to finish at the rim that Kidd simply couldn’t provide at the age of 40.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Crabbe is a streaky shooter that can fill it up from long-range when he’s dialed in.
The Clippers could always use another player to stretch the defense and give Chris Paul a weapon to kick out to, making this a nice value pick in the latter portion of the first round.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Karasev is a Russian sniper that has proven his mettle against professional competition in his native country.
He would help the T-Wolves improve their spacing and open things up on the inside. Plus, he should be quite comfortable with fellow expatriates Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved on the roster.
27. Denver Nuggets: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece
The draft’s international man of mystery finally comes off the board at No. 27 to a loaded Nuggets team that can afford to gamble on his immense upside.
If this “Greek Freak” pans out, he could take the league by storm. If not, this wil just be a wasted selection in an extremely weak class.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Glen Rice, Jr., SG, D-League
Rice Jr. has had some character issues in the past, but those seem to be behind him now.
Although he’s not ever going to become a star, this young man could help the Spurs as a role player with his shooting, passing and rebounding ability.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Nogueira is extremely raw and has a lot to learn in terms of basketball ability.
If he’s able to realize his potential, this uber-athletic freak could become a starting-caliber center and a replacement for Kendrick Perkins in OKC.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Tony Snell, G/F, New Mexico
Snell is a long-range marksman that clearly has the athleticism and height required to succeed in the Association.
Outside of shooting and raw physical abilities, he’s got plenty of work to do in the gym. The Suns should still take a chance on this New Mexico star, though, and hope that he can pan out into a rotation-worthy player in the near future.
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