2013 NBA Mock Draft: Players That Would Fill Each Team's Biggest Need

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
2013 NBA Mock Draft: Players That Would Fill Each Team's Biggest Need
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA draft is just under two weeks away, which has 30 NBA franchises clamoring in anticipation for the day that will forever change their respective organization. With minimal time remaining, however, optimism is scarce and urgency omnipresent.

The question is, what would the draft look like if every team were to target their needs?

More often than not, teams will use their needs as merely a portion of their reasoning. Factors such as upside and safety also play roles, which will likely come into play on draft night.

Should each team opt to place their needs above all else, however, here's how it would all transpire.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, Georgetown Hoyas

Position: Small Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'9", 198 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.88 PER, 16.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 42.2% 3PT

 

The Cleveland Cavaliers have franchise players at point guard, shooting guard and power forward. They also have two quality centers in Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller, who may not be the long-term answers, but are solid options.

Where Cleveland has no reason for encouragement is at small forward.

Fortunately for the Cavaliers, Porter is both the top small forward in this draft and the most complete player. While some have labeled his ceiling as being low, Porter having a defined skill set hardly means that he can't grow into a better player.

The fact that he's gone from a mediocre player with upside as a freshman to the top pick as a sophomore should be evidence enough.

What Porter currently brings to the table is a quality ball handler that shoots the three-ball at a high clip and defends at an elite level. All of those traits are needed in Cleveland, which makes this pick the most sensible move.

For what it's worth, Porter's projects to be a player in the mold of Danny Granger.

 

2. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Point Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'1", 187 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

29.76 PER, 18.6 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 38.4% 3PT

 

The Orlando Magic are open to ideas here, as they have voids to fill at both guard spots. While Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson are solid options, the Magic need franchise players to step in and help build towards the future.

While Ben McLemore is an option at 2-guard, the Magic's need for a franchise point guard is undeniable.

Trey Burke may be receiving flack for his lack of elite athleticism and lateral quickness, but he's clearly the best point guard in this year's draft class. Not only is he a versatile scorer, but Burke is one of the top facilitators available as well.

That combination makes him the offensive force that every franchise desires.

Even without the ability to blow by his man, Burke maintains his offensive efficiency by playing the angles. In transition, he's precise with every step and pairs accurate passes with a strong pull-up jump shot.

Any concerns about his athleticism can be made up for by his star mentality.

 

3. Washington Wizards: Anthony Bennett, UNLV Rebels

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'8", 240 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

28.24 PER, 27.1 MPG, 16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.2 BPG

 

The Washington Wizards boast the NBA's No. 8 scoring defense and ranked ninth in rebounds during the 2012-13 regular season. They have franchise players at both guard slots, a defensive anchor at center and quality pieces across the board.

With that being said, building towards the future is a key and Washington doesn't have much outside of John Wall and Bradley Beal—even still, they were 24-25 when Wall was healthy.

Anthony Bennett is the pick over Nerlens Noel, as the Wizards were 28th in scoring offense. Padding their already elite defense wouldn't hurt, but Washington will not make the leap to the postseason until it improves its offense.

Bennett would help them do just that.

Not only is the former UNLV star a powerful player at 6'8" and 240 pounds with a 7'1" wingspan, but he's explosive and diverse. Bennett runs the floor well and bursts off of the ground on dunks, rebounds and block attempts.

Seeing as Wall, the franchise player, wants a pick-and-pop partner, the fact that Bennett shoots at a high clip from beyond the arc fits the Wizards' biggest need—placating their star.

 

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky Wildcats

Position: Power Forward

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'0", 206 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.09 PER, 10.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 4.4 BPG, 2.1 SPG

 

The Charlotte Bobcats have more needs than they do building block, which is why they're in such a deep hole. For that reason, the Bobcats could go for an interior presence or side with a franchise scorer.

They'll opt to go with the latter.

Nerlens Noel is the top interior player in this draft class, pairing explosive leaping ability with the lateral quickness necessary to defend the pick-and-roll. With the ability to run the floor in transition, the former Kentucky star has all the makings of an elite defender.

That's the type of player that the Bobcats cannot pass over.

Charlotte has promise along the perimeter with point guard Kemba Walker and small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. What they lack, however, is the defensive presence necessary to turn their franchise around.

Pairing Kidd-Gilchrist with Noel could create a dominant interior similar to the likes of Tony Allen and Marc Gasol.

 

5. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, Kansas Jayhawks

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'5", 189 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.24 PER, 15.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 42.0% 3PT

 

The Phoenix Suns truly don't have anything set in stone, as new general manager Ryan McDonough takes over a squad that failed to meet expectations last season. By failed, of course, we mean to say Phoenix spent a boat load of money in free agency and proceeded to finish with the worst record in the Western Conference.

The Suns will start the rebuilding process with a franchise scorer.

Ben McLemore is the top scorer in the 2013 NBA draft class, pairing an elite shooting stroke with explosive athleticism. This not only enables McLemore to be a force in transition, but also to make a powerful impact in the half court.

For a Suns team that's currently pairing Jared Dudley with Shannon Brown, drafting McLemore seems to be the only rational option.

Other options include center Alex Len and shooting guard Victor Oladipo, but McLemore is too intriguing to pass over. The Suns haven't had a franchise shooting guard since Joe Johnson in 2005, which was before the former Arkansas star entered his prime.

It's time to fill that long-standing void.

 

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins

Position: Center

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'1", 225 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.04 PER, 26.4 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 2.1 BPG

 

The New Orleans Pelicans have question marks at every position but power forward, where Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson reside. Eric Gordon could be the answer at shooting guard, but the rest of the rotation is up in the air.

No position is quite as concerning as center.

Robin Lopez is a serviceable player, but Alex Len has the potential to be one of the top players in this draft class. While his motor and consistency have come under fire, there is no question that Len is a two-way force to be reckoned with.

The NBA is taking notice.

I may not be sold on him, but Len has star upside due to his versatility as a low-post threat.

Not only can he pass out of the post, but he finishes well with both hands and has a strong face-up game. With the upside of a high-quality defender, Len could be a two-way force to help Davis lead New Orleans back to prominence.

A risky pick, but one with upside.

 

7. Sacramento Kings: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Hoosiers

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'4", 213 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

29.09 PER, 28.4 MPG, 13.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.2 SPG

 

The Sacramento Kings are under new management and are desperate for some form of direction with their franchise. While landing a franchise point guard could be an option, the Kings need high motor players that can provide energy and a no quit attitude.

There is no player better to serve that purpose than Victor Oladipo.

Marcus Thornton is a solid option at shooting guard, as he blends a smooth shooting stroke with the ability to score off of the bounce. What the Kings need, however, is a two-way force that thrives defensively.

Again, there's no player to better to serve that purpose than Oladipo.

Oladipo has the best motor in the nation, and is the top perimeter defender in this year's draft class. He's also an explosive athlete that thrives in transition and possesses half court upside due to his already smooth shooting stroke.

When you piece it all together, you have the best player in this year's draft class. 

 

8. Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange

Position: Point Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'6", 184 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

21.25 PER, 11.9 PPG, 7.3 APG, 4.9 RPG, 2.8 SPG

 

The Detroit Pistons have a long history of drafting combo guards with the hope that they're able to run the point. For that reason, the Pistons have no reason to select Lehigh combo guard C.J. McCollum.

Fortunately, the best point guard remaining is Michael Carter-Williams out of Syracuse.

Carter-Williams is a two-way force to be reckoned with, as he's the leading facilitator and point guard defender in this draft class. It certainly doesn't hurt that Carter-Williams stands at 6'6", which is elite size for the position.

For a Pistons team that would like to move Brandon Knight to his more fitting position of shooting guard, adding a point guard that thrives as a facilitator and possesses supreme size must be a focus.

Carter-Williams struggles as a shooter, but that's the most coachable trait in all of basketball. For that reason, his inability to shoot the three-ball truly is not an issue worth touching upon.

Instead, Carter-Williams should be praised for his top-tier distribution and defensive skills, as that will make him a prominent two-way point guard at the next level.

 

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia Bulldogs

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'6", 204 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.62 PER, 18.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 2.0 SPG, 37.3% 3PT

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are in a state that defies logic. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love are budding stars that should reach the postseason, but have yet to do so. Injuries play a role, but that hardly accounts for their league-worst 30.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Enter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Caldwell-Pope is one of the most complete players in this draft class, pairing a strong offensive skill set with rangy defense. From his deep three-point range to his activity in the passing lanes, Caldwell-Pope could be one of the better first-year players.

In terms of his upside, Caldwell-Pope is the type of player that could be a two-way force and All-Star candidate.

Not only can Caldwell-Pope shoot, but he handles the ball well and distributes at a high rate for his position. Defensively, he uses his size at 6'6" and 204 pounds with a 6'8" wingspan to crash the boards and lock his man down.

There aren't many holes in his game, and that's the type of player Minnesota needs.

 

10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Position: Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'3", 197 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

33.95 PER, 23.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 51.6% 3PT

 

The Portland Trail Blazers have one of the better starting lineups in the NBA with Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge under contract. Unfortunately, they also have a glaring absence that offsets their starters' quality of play.

They have no depth.

Will Barton finished the year strong and should be a high-quality reserve with a starter's upside, while Meyers Leonard has upside as a lottery pick. With that being said, Portland needs a scorer to become their sixth man.

C.J. McCollum would certainly fit that bill.

McCollum is one of the top pure scorers in the nation, pairing a gorgeous shooting stroke with a physical brand of slashing offense. He can facilitate at a quality clip, which has some projecting him as a point guard, but McCollum is more of an undersized 2-guard.

He can score as well as anyone, and complement the likes of Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews.

 

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana Hoosiers 

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 7'0", 230 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

33.95 PER, 16.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG

 

The Philadelphia 76ers may have collapsed during the 2012-13 NBA regular season, but defense was not an issue. Despite playing without center and interior anchor Andrew Bynum, the Sixers were ninth in scoring defense.

They missed the playoffs because they were dead last in scoring offense.

Few players project to be as efficient offensively as Cody Zeller. Not only is he athletic enough to work in transition, but he's a strong pick-and-roll finisher that can work out of the post and has range on his jump shot.

In other words, Zeller can score in any and every way.

The Sixers have a postseason caliber option at power forward with Thaddeus Young, but they need an offensive upgrade on almost all fronts. As a player that can score with both hands out of the post, Zeller offers some form of security should Bynum sign elsewhere or continue to battle injuries in Philadelphia.

Zeller's ability to serve as a stretch four or put it on the floor makes him all the more intriguing.

 

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors): Steven Adams, Pittsburgh Panthers

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Center

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 7'0", 255 pounds, 7'5" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

22.59 PER, 23.4 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder could go in a variety of ways here, but their true need is at the center position. Kendrick Perkins is a powerful interior presence on defense, but his style of play simply doesn't match OKC's up-tempo offense.

It's time the Thunder find a replacement.

Steven Adams is a project player with an NBA body and the upside to be an All-Star. While this may go against OKC's need for an instant upgrade, Adams stands at 7'0" and 255 pounds with a 7'5" wingspan.

That type of size is too intriguing to pass over.

At worst, Adams is a strong presence on the glass that plays aggressive defense and blocks shots at a high clip. At best, the former Pittsburgh Panthers star continues to develop his low-post game and becomes the Thunder's long-term answer down low.

It's a risk worth taking.

 

13. Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Schroeder, Germany

 

Position: Point Guard

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'2", 165 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

Plain and simple, the Dallas Mavericks need a point guard. Dirk Nowitzki remains a franchise player, re-signing O.J. Mayo could help lead to a brighter future and Shawn Marion is still one of the top defenders in the NBA.

Without a point guard, however, the Mavericks will not be able to bring it all together.

Dennis Schroeder is shooting up draft boards, as the 19-year-old German point guard possesses elite physical gifts. Not only does he stand at a strong 6'2", but Schroeder has a massive 6'8" wingspan.

It doesn't hurt that he has the talent to go with it.

Schroeder has a paralyzing hesitation move and the body control necessary to finish in traffic. While his skill as a facilitator is a work in progress, there's no question that Schroeder can attack off of the bounce and score around the rim.

At 19, there's also the long-term potential that Dallas could use on its aging roster.

 

14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin, Miami Hurricanes

Position: Point Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'0", 171 pounds, 5'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

22.40 PER, 14.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.8 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 40.6% 3PT

 

The Utah Jazz have two powerful building blocks in power forward Derrick Favors and center Enes Kanter. Both were top-five draft choices and each have displayed flashes of brilliance while backing up Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.

What Utah needs to round it all out is a point guard.

Shane Larkin may not have elite size, but he has every skill and mental attribute necessary to make a significant impact at the next level. Not only is he a good defender, but Larkin runs the pick-and-roll as well as any player in this draft class.

For a team that's preparing to build around their big men, that alone makes Larkin a viable option.

The key here is that Larkin has a beautiful jump shot and thrives as a facilitator both in transition and in the half court. While his defensive abilities and elite athleticism compensate for his size, it's Larkin's ability to produce offensively that makes him a fit for Utah.

Keep in mind, a two-way player with elite athleticism is what you call a potential star.

 

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Bruins

Position: Guard/Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'6", 220 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

21.99 PER, 17.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 37.7% 3PT

 

Every year, a player that some view as a potential star will drop down draft boards and fall out of the lottery. In 2012, those players were Perry Jones III and Jared Sullinger, whom were both believed to be top-10 locks.

This year it will be Shabazz Muhammad.

Muhammad is one of the most talented slashers in this year's draft class, pairing length with power as he attacks the basket. In the paint, Muhammad is more than capable of finishing in traffic and taking contact.

Standing at 6'6" and 220 pounds with a 6'11" wingspan, Muhammad certainly has the build of an NBA player.

For the Milwaukee Bucks, landing a perimeter scorer that can create their own shot is a key here. With Monta Ellis opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent, that need becomes all the more urgent.

Muhammad would be a steal here.

 

16. Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville Cardinals 

Position: Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

23.60 PER, 9.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.5 BPG, 1.3 SPG

 

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers are involved in trade talks to send Kevin Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers to L.A. In exchange, the Celtics would receive Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan and draft choices.

Until that trade comes through, one thing is perfectly clear—Boston wants to, and needs to, get younger down low.

Gorgui Dieng certainly fits the bill of what they're looking for, as he's an explosive athlete that thrives on the defensive end of the floor. Not only is he an elite shot-blocker, but Dieng crashes the boards at a high clip and does an excellent job of playing the pick-and-roll, both as a finisher and defender.

In other words, Dieng is the perfect player to step in for the Celtics.

Offensively, the former Louisville star displays a strong mid-range jump shot and the ability to pass out of the high post. While he isn't the best offensive player, the Celtics are a defensive-minded team that currently lacks a rim protector.

Dieng can serve as that player.

 

17. Atlanta Hawks: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State Aztecs

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'5", 191 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

23.87 PER, 17.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG

 

The Atlanta Hawks have multiple former San Antonio Spurs decision-makers with general manager Danny Ferry and head coach Mike Budenholzer. What those two men have proven to be in favor of are selfless players that display signs of two-way versatility.

No player fits that description quite as well as shooting guard Jamaal Franklin out of San Diego State.

Franklin is one of the most dynamic players in this draft class, creating a strong impact in every area of the game. Both offensively and defensively, he's a strong enough contributor to help carry a team into the future.

For evidence, note that Franklin led San Diego State in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals per game.

There are questions about his jump shot, but that shouldn't be too much of an issue in Atlanta. Keep in mind, Mike Budenholzer took another San Diego State player, Kawhi Leonard, and transformed him into a solid option from beyond the arc.

Franklin has supreme athleticism, a strong motor and a diverse skill set—it doesn't get much better than that at No. 17.

 

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Rudy Gobert, France

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 7'2", 238 pounds, 7'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

Due to the fact that the Atlanta Hawks have two first round draft choices, they can afford to take a gamble. For that reason, the Hawks should opt to go overseas and land the type of player that truly fits under the boom-or-bust label.

Monster big man Rudy Gobert of France.

Gobert has the size to intrigue any evaluator at 7'2" and 238 pounds. When you throw in the fact that he has an out-of-this-world 7'9" wingspan, the interest is instantly piqued.

Atlanta simply cannot pass on the opportunity to add that type of player.

Gobert is not the explosive athlete that some had projected him to be, but his length is powerful enough. Paired with a rapidly developing low-post attack, Gobert could be an equally dynamic offensive player as he is a shot-blocker.

There's undeniable risk here, but Atlanta can take that chance with back-to-back picks.

 

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Suns, from Heat): Glen Rice Jr., NBA D-League

Position: Guard/Forward

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'6", 211 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

Regardless of which player the Cleveland Cavaliers take at No. 1 overall, it's imperative that they improve their perimeter shooting. While Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters could anchor their team for years to come, the value of a spot-up shooter has never been higher than it is in this era of NBA basketball.

Glen Rice Jr. could serve that purpose and much more.

Rice Jr. is unlike any other prospect in this year's draft class, as he has the advantage of having played in the NBA D-League. Having spent time playing against current and former NBA players, Rice Jr. could make a smooth transition to the next level.

As a player that shoots at a high clip and defends at an equally efficient level, the Cavaliers couldn't find a better fit.

 

20. Chicago Bulls: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga Bulldogs

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Power Forward/Center

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 7'0", 234 pounds, 6'10" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

36.57 PER, 26.4 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 BPG

 

The Chicago Bulls have two significant voids that they need to fill, and they both happen to come at the same position. If that doesn't make sense, it's due to the fact that Chicago needs an energetic player to back Joakim Noah up and an interior scorer that can step in for Carlos Boozer.

They can kill two birds with one stone by drafting Kelly Olynyk.

Mason Plumlee is another option, but Olynyk is the type of skilled offensive player that could potentially serve as a stretch four. More importantly, his motor is eerily similar to Omer Asik's, whom the Bulls desperately missed in the 2013 playoffs.

Adding front court depth is key, specifically when they can pair Olynyk with Taj Gibson.

Olynyk may be going at No. 20, but he has the upside to be one of the best players in this draft. Not only is his motor beyond sensational, but his offensive game is diverse enough for him to be a starter in the not-so-distant future.

Again, Plumlee is a legitimate option, but Olynyk's motor is too intriguing to pass over.

 

21. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Sergey Karasev, Russia

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 19

Height & Weight: 6'7", 197 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Utah Jazz landed an experimental franchise point guard at No. 14 with Shane Larkin, but they aren't done. Utah picks at No. 21 and needs to address their lack of depth when it comes to perimeter scorers.

Shooting guard Sergey Karasev of Russia could certainly help in that regard.

Karsev has excellent size for the position at 6'7" with a 6'9" wingspan, which makes him a quality option on that basis alone. When paired with the fact that Karasev has a strong handle and a rapidly developing jump shot, the Jazz could find their franchise off-guard at No. 21.

If not, Karasev has the upside of being a solid player—something worth gambling on at this point in the draft.

The most intriguing aspect of this is that Karasev is only 19, which suggests that Utah could acquire two long-term options in one draft. While they may want to win right now, boasting a front court of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter means that there is reason to build for the future.

Karasev and Larkin would expedite that process.

 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils

Position: Power Forward/Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 7'0", 238 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

26.48 PER, 17.1 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.0 SPG

 

The Brooklyn Nets have one of the top offensive big men in the NBA with Brook Lopez, who led all centers in scoring, PER, Estimated Wins Added and Value Added. They also have an elite rebounder with Reggie Evans, who led the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes at 21.7.

Unfortunately, Lopez can do everything but rebound, and Evans can rebound but struggles to do much else—it's time they find some balance.

Mason Plumlee is one of the better all-around big men in this draft class, padding a well-rounded offensive skill set with defensive upside. Paired with the fact that Plumlee is a walking alley-oop, the Nets would land a true weapon at No. 22.

It's unlikely that they allow such an opportunity to pass.

Plumlee rebounds well, which is encouraging enough, but the 7'0" big man is also a capable scorer out of the post and facing up. As a strong enough shot-blocker to make his mark, Plumlee's two-way game is intriguing enough for any team to take a chance on.

Brooklyn just so happens to get a steal at No. 22.

 

23. Indiana Pacers: Pierre Jackson, Baylor Bears 

Position: Point Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 5'11", 176 pounds, 5'10" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.67 PER, 19.8 PPG, 7.1 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG

 

The Indiana Pacers have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA, which is a major reason why they reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. What they lack, however, is depth along their second unit.

More specifically, the Pacers need scorers.

Pierre Jackson may stand at just 5'11", but he's an explosive leaper with a smooth three-point shot and underrated facilitating abilities. By underrated, of course, I mean to say that Jackson is one of the top distributors in this draft class.

The comparisons to Nate Robinson as a scorer are warranted, but Jackson may just be a better pure point guard.

For a Pacers team that needs a second unit point guard, Jackson would fit in quite nicely. Not only can he provide energy and shooting ability to a perimeter that has their dry spells, but he's an explosive player that can make an impact defensively.

The Pacers need instant offense and that might as well become Jackson's nickname.

 

24. New York Knicks: Ricardo Ledo, Providence Friars

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'6", 197 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The New York Knicks were dealt a major blow when guard Jason Kidd retired and proceeded to be named as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Not only was Kidd's leadership important off the court, but on the court he was a strong shooter that handled the ball well and offered size on the perimeter.

It's time to find a replacement.

Ricardo Ledo is an intriguing option for a Knicks team that collapsed when J.R. Smith failed to show up in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Not only can he handle the ball and serve as a combo guard to replace Kidd, but he can shoot the lights out and attack off of the bounce—sounds like Smith.

Had he played at Providence, Ledo likely would have been a lottery pick.

There are character issues and questions about his NBA readiness, but there isn't much risk at No. 24. Between his athleticism and pure scoring ability, the Knicks could find the scorer they need to lead them into the future.

Keep in mind, Carmelo Anthony has asked the Knicks to add another scorer.

 

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Allen Crabbe, California Golden Bears 

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'6", 197 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

23.07 PER, 18.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG

 

With or without Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers have a strong enough group of guards to feel comfortable moving forward. With that being said, their depth is deceiving, as the Clippers lack a true shooting guard.

Allen Crabbe can help in that regard.

Crabbe has ideal size for the off-guard position at 6'6" with a massive 6'11" wingspan. With that build, Crabbe has the potential to be a high-quality defensive player with the range to defend the perimeter and play the passing lanes.

The key here, however, is what Crabbe can do on offense.

The Clippers are already a top five scoring defense, but they lack the shooters to make their offense work in the half court. While they may be explosive in transition, the Clippers were exploited for being inconsistent, at best, when the game slows down.

Crabbe can help turn that all around with his ability to shoot the three-ball and attack off the bounce.

 

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies): Jeff Withey, Kansas

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Center

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 7'0", 222 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.23 PER, 13.7 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.9 BPG

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves receive a gift here, as their long-standing need for a shot-blocker is cured by the addition of Jeff Withey. While some criticize Withey for his lack of elite athleticism, he has an immaculate blend of anticipation, length and general defensive prowess.

For a team that's led by an elite ball-hawk in Ricky Rubio and an offensive superstar in Kevin Love, landing a player of Withey's build and caliber is critical.

Withey could be a player that averages more than 20 minutes a night throughout his career, even starting on a postseason team. While he's not the most overwhelming rebounder, he's solid on the glass and does an excellent job of keeping his man away from the offensive boards.

Sometimes the rebounds your opponent doesn't grab are as important as the ones you do.

Offensively, Withey is a capable scorer both out of the post and with a respectable mid-range jump shot. While he's not elite in either area, he can contribute when looked to and has the frame to bulk up to the area of 250 pounds.

With that being said, he's being drafted for his defense. For a T-Wolves team that needs a rim protector, that makes this a no-brainer.

 

27. Denver Nuggets: Reggie Bullock, North Carolina Tar Heels 

Position: Guard/Forward

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'7", 200 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.13 PER, 13.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 43.6% 3PT

 

The Denver Nuggets are the most high-octane offense in the NBA, ranking first in scoring during the 2012-13 regular season. They achieved that distinction by pushing the pace and exploiting the opposition in the open court.

When the game slowed down, however, the Nuggets fell victim to the absence of reliable shooters and thus struggled to put points on the board.

In order to cure those woes, the Nuggets land North Carolina sharpshooter Reggie Bullock. Bullock's true position is unclear, but he'd fit in well both at shooting guard and small forward.

In Denver, he could be the perimeter threat that they need once the postseason rolls around.

Outside of being an elite jump shooter, Bullock handles the ball well and rebounds at a high rate. Paired with his ability to facilitate and defensive upside with his 6'9" wingspan, Bullock could be a starter at the next level.

Denver would be wise to take that chance at No. 27.

 

28. San Antonio Spurs: Lucas Nogueira, Brazil

Position: Center

Age: 20

Height & Weight: 6'11", 218 pounds, 7'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The San Antonio Spurs are preparing to enter a transitional period in which they witness the retirement of both Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. While there's no guarantee that this will happen in the immediate future, both players are older than 35.

This pick is thus dedicated to finding one of their long-term replacements.

Lucas Nogueira is one of the most tantalizing athletes in this year's draft class, exploding off of the ground both as a finisher and shot-blocker. It doesn't hurt that the Brazilian big man is just 20 years old.

Boasting a 7'6" wingspan isn't too bad, either.

Nogueira has proven that he can be an effective shot-blocker at a high level of competition. For that reason, this pick is not quite as risky as it may look.

Offensively, Nogueira's athleticism and finishing ability fits right into San Antonio's pick-and-roll offense.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mike Muscala, Bucknell Bison

Position: Center

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

36.34 PER, 18.7 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.4 BPG

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Steven Adams at No. 12, which likely has some questioning why they'd take another center at No. 29. That answer is rather simple: Steven Adams is a 19-year-old project player that could take three or four years before being ready for consistent NBA playing time.

Mike Muscala is a player that can contribute on both ends from the opening tip—something the Thunder desperately need.

Kendrick Perkins is one of the better interior defenders in the NBA, but he's a non-factor on the offensive end of the floor. Seeing as the Thunder are hoping to win an NBA championship right now, they need a low-post presence.

Muscala can be that player.

Not only is Muscala a strong rebounder on both ends, but he's a dynamic scorer that works well out of the post and has a strong face-up game. Not only does he have range out to the three-point line, but he finishes well with both hands.

The fact that he's a capable shot-blocker only adds fuel to this growing fire.

 

30. Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, from Lakers): C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State Wolfpack 

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Position: Small Forward

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'9", 209 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

20.00 PER, 15.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.0 SPG

 

The Phoenix Suns lucked out when they landed a franchise player in shooting guard Ben McLemore. Their next step is to address their glaring void at small forward, where Michael Beasley has been an expensive disappointment.

Why not take a low-cost, low-risk chance on C.J. Leslie out of North Carolina State?

If Leslie fails to pan out, then the Suns will have used the No. 30 overall draft choice on a calculated risk. If he does reach his potential, then the Suns will have turned a traditionally insignificant pick into a starter.

Why not take that chance?

Leslie is one of the most explosive athletes in this draft class, which is why he's been on draft boards for a while. At 6'9" with a 7'2" wingspan, he also has the size and length necessary to be a dominant defensive force at the 3.

There is a chance that Leslie fails to pan out, but that's a risk that Phoenix can afford to take at No. 30.

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

Out of Bounds

NBA

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.