The 2013 NBA draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 27, and with the anticipation surrounding the event growing exponentially every day, it’s time for each team to find their biggest need and address it with their first-round selections.
All of the following players have earned their way into the first round, and with each team trying to address needs across the roster, making the right selections in the draft is imperative to the success of a franchise.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, C
The Cleveland Cavaliers have once again snagged the No. 1 overall selection, but unlike years past, the top pick is far from a lock. While Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel may be the best pure prospect on the board, his knee injury will have the Cavaliers thinking about all of their options.
Cleveland will eventually take the best long-term project with Noel.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, SG
Nerlens Noel has stolen many of the headlines leading into the 2013 NBA draft, but Indiana’s Victor Oladipo deserves as much credit as anyone in this class. Not only is Oladipo the best shooting guard on the board, his offensive skill and defensive willingness makes him a consensus top-two selection and the future of the Orlando Magic organization.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, Georgetown, SF
The Washington Wizards are a team looking for a direction, and if Georgetown’s Otto Porter is on the board at No. 3, this should be an easy selection for the struggling franchise. Porter is one of the hardest workers in this class and a natural leader on the court. With Washington having so many young players on the roster, the Georgetown star would become an emotional leader for the team.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas, SG
There is no questioning that Kansas star Ben McLemore has some serious growing to do. both physically and mentally, before becoming a star in the NBA. The Charlotte Bobcats are in no hurry to be serious championship contenders, and with the need for depth at guard, taking McLemore as a long-term project is the best-case scenario for the player and the team.
5. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, PF
Shoulder surgery has some teams slightly concerned about UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett—more so because he couldn’t partake in any team workouts—but with a great presence around the rim and an innate ability to snag rebounds, he will fill a major void for the Phoenix Suns at No. 5.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, Maryland, C
Maryland center Alex Len is coming off a stress fracture in his ankle, but his measurements and upside are off the charts and his intangibles make him worthy of a top-five selection. With the chance to add even more depth in the low post with 2012 No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans would be smart to snag him at No. 6.
7. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, Michigan, PG
The Sacramento Kings have many great pieces on the roster, but the team lacks the kind of player that can run the offense with efficiency from the point guard position. While Michigan’s Trey Burke will have to develop at the NBA level, he has the court vision to be a great player. The Kings are a perfect fit.
8. Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, PG
While there is no questioning that it will take time for Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams to grow into his body and become a physical force in the NBA, the fact that he has so much upside as a ball distributor and a scorer will give the Detroit Pistons the playmaker the team desperately needs.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, SG
As one of the most versatile players in the 2013 draft class, Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be able to step right into the NBA and be a force for a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 9. With an excellent defensive skill set and lights-out shooting, Caldwell-Pope is the elite shooting guard that the team is looking to match up with point guard Ricky Rubio.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG
The Portland Trail Blazers must find a complement to point guard Damian Lillard, and with Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum having the ability to play either guard position, the athletic star will add the scoring depth the team has lacked.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, SG
The Philadelphia 76ers need players that will work hard in all facets of the game and drafting a versatile star like San Diego State shooting guard Jamaal Franklin is a great long-term plan for a franchise currently re-building.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Cody Zeller, Indiana, C
As great as the Oklahoma City Thunder have been over the last three seasons, the team was exposed for its lack of depth in the low post this postseason. The franchise will snag a long-term remedy for the issue by drafting Indiana center Cody Zeller at No. 12.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, C
The Dallas Mavericks have reached a crossroads with a roster full of aging stars, but the one certain for this postseason is that the team needs a center to add depth in the low post. While Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams is far from a polished prospect, he has the skill to be a role player immediately in Dallas.
14. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, Germany, PG
The Utah Jazz need long-term depth at the guard positions, and while point guard Dennis Schroeder is a rough prospect, the upside of a player as already offensively gifted as the German prospect will outweigh his short-term weaknesses.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Shane Larkin, Miami, PG
With the report from ESPN that Milwaukee Bucks point guard Monta Ellis would opt out of his deal, the likelihood that the franchise would follow through and take Miami’s Shane Larkin has grown exponentially. If not Larkin, the best point guard available at No. 15.
16. Boston Celtics: Ricardo Ledo, Providence, SG
The Boston Celtics are desperate for depth at the shooting guard position, and while Jason Terry was a nice temporary fix, the long-term success of the franchise is dependent on finding an elite player like Providence guard Ricardo Ledo that can step right in and score.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SF
The stock has fallen far for UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, but with a strong core of players that can help the young star fulfill his potential, the Atlanta Hawks would be foolish to pass on the versatile guard/forward at No. 17.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Rudy Gobert, France, PF
Atlanta manages to have two picks back-to-back in the first round, and while the team is filling needs, drafting talented power forward Rudy Gobert of France is a risky pick that could pay off big in the long run.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Phoenix Suns from Miami Heat): Sergey Karasev, Russia, SG
The Cleveland Cavaliers should be in the business of adding depth players for the bench that will make the team better in any way, and that describes Russia’s Sergey Karasev perfectly. With a high basketball I.Q. and great court vision, this would be a great all-around addition to the Cavaliers.
20. Chicago Bulls: Mason Plumlee, Duke, PF
The return of Derrick Rose will be the focus of the 2013-14 season, but if the team were able to draft a talented prospect like Duke’s Mason Plumlee and take its time developing the talent, this could be the long-term project that rewards the franchise ten-fold down the line.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, C
The Utah Jazz have solid depth in the low post, but with the long-term future of the franchise in mind, the team must select Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk and develop him into a solid NBA player over the next few years. Olynyk needs work, but the Jazz have the patience to develop his game.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, Kansas, C
The Brooklyn Nets are trying to make a run at a championship immediately, and while Kansas center Jeff Withey is a prospect that may take a few seasons to develop, the franchise should see the value he would add off the bench while growing into his body and make this selection.
23. Indiana Pacers: Reggie Bullock, North Carolina, SF
The Indiana Pacers were successful this season without small forward Danny Granger. If the organization decides to go in another direction or just draft the heir apparent to the 3, North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock would be an ideal fit.
24. New York Knicks: Tony Mitchell, North Texas, SF
The New York Knicks have plenty of offense on the roster, but lack the kind of players that will go all-out defensively on every play. That mindset is what North Texas power forward Tony Mitchell possesses, and the Knicks would fill a major void with this potential selection.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Glen Rice Jr., NBA D-League, SG
While there are risks associated with drafting Glen Rice Jr. after he was kicked off the Georgia Tech basketball team, he came into his own in the D-League, and the Los Angeles Clippers' need for depth at guard will warrant taking this chance.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, C
The Minnesota Timberwolves need as much help in the low post as the team can get, and when Louisville center Gorgui Dieng falls to No. 26 overall, the team will have the depth it desperately needs.
27. Denver Nuggets: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, PG
The knock on Murray State point guard Isaiah Canaan is that he is too undersized to be a threat in the NBA, but with the Denver Nuggets ability to prove that theory wrong year after year by using smaller point guards to win, Canaan would fit right in.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Lucas Nogueira, Brazil, C
The San Antonio Spurs are all about adding value and talent with each of their picks. At No. 28 overall, the perennial contenders will once again find a late-first round gem with Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira. With the right development, this could be the steal of the draft.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, SG
After trading away James Harden, the need for more depth at the shooting guard position will force the Oklahoma City Thunder to take a prospect like Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. With as much upside as Hardaway has, the chances of succeeding for the young player grow if he’s taken by a great franchise like Oklahoma City.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Cleveland Cavaliers from L.A. Lakers): Allen Crabbe, Cal, SG
The Phoenix Suns will wrap up the first round with a great selection of California shooting guard Allen Crabbe. With the ability to hit shots from anywhere on the court, he is the versatile shooter that the franchise has lacked for years.