The 2013 NBA draft is less than a week away, making this yet another perfect opportunity to take a look at how the entire first round could shake out.
Over the past few days, there have been a number of changes to the top 30. Prospects are making last-minute pushes to rise up or suffering late setbacks to fall down the big boards.
We’re here to make sense of it all and try to highlight the perfect pick for every team with a first-round selection. Let’s take a look at how it could look when all is said and done Thursday night.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
The Cavs would be making the wrong call if it drafts anyone aside from Noel at No. 1. While the interest in Len and other prospects makes sense, the franchise would have to trade down to justify passing up on such a talented big man.
Due to his rare combination of size, athleticism, shot-blocking, motor and upside, there simply isn’t a better frontcourt player in this class that compliments the rebuilding Cavs more than Noel.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
It seems that the Magic are adamant to find a way to move Arron Afflalo for an up-and-coming point guard, opening the door for them to take a more valuable prospect at No. 2.
Oladipo will perfectly compliment the team’s rebuilding efforts, as he’s a high-energy guard with a non-stop motor that doesn’t need the ball to make an impact.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
The Wizards are getting a player that can do everything but create his own shot here at No. 3.
Porter will be able to feed off of Bradley Beal and John Wall, knocking down open jumpers off crisp passes, defending the top perimeter options, banging for boards on both ends and more.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Bobcats will finally have a low-post scoring option that can also defend and help Bismack Biyombo protect the rim.
While Len will not blow anyone away with his athleticism or leaping ability, he is deliberate and effective with his moves in the paint and has a variety of ways to get a bucket.
He has to work on becoming more aggressive in order to reach his ceiling.
5. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Suns direly need to nab a prospect that has the upside of a franchise scorer, making McLemore a no-brainer here.
It’s worth noting that there are some major motivational issues here, as the Jayhawks star is prone to checking out for long stretches and doesn’t have the innate motor that most superstar players possess.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
The Pelicans will only make this pick if they feel that Bennett can log a majority of his minutes at the 3.
The versatile Rebels star lined up at both forward spots in college and possesses the strength and athleticism to do the same in the NBA.
However, with Anthony Davis locking down the power forward spot, there are only big minutes for this promising young talent on the perimeter.
7. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Carter-Williams is the best passer in this draft, making him a valuable asset for a team full of selfish players.
This facilitator will hopefully keep the ball moving in Sacramento, as the inability to do so was a major hindrance to success over the course of the 2012-13 campaign.
8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Burke is a hometown hero that will be a fan favorite in the Motor City. He just led the Wolverines to a national championship game appearance and won every major player of the year award.
The young star will not only be an asset for his ability to score and facilitate, but also for his leadership and winning intangibles.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The T-Wolves need to bring in an off-guard that can stroke it from deep and create his own shot when the play breaks down.
In addition to his uncanny ability to do both of those things, he’s also a solid passer and adequate defender. His only weakness is his handle, which can be disguised playing next to Ricky Rubio.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
The Blazers will draft McCollum as a 2, considering Damian Lillard has the point guard spot locked up for the foreseeable future.
While he’s a bit undersized, the Lehigh product proved time and time again that he could find a way to squeeze his shot off and get to the basket at will—even when he’s the main focus of a defense.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana
Zeller is an NBA-ready talent that can immediately fill the void in the 76ers’ frontcourt.
This young man can run the floor like a gazelle and finish with ease around the rim, making him an ideal candidate to come off the board here.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
The Thunder can afford to take some time to let Adams develop on the end of their bench or in the D-League, as this New Zealand native definitely isn’t ready to contribute just yet.
The big man has the look of an eventual starting center in this league, but he has to improve his offense before he can get there.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
The Mavs can open up some cap space if they take an international player and agree not to bring him over to American shores this season.
Given that this organization plans to pursue the top free agents this summer, taking a chance on the high-upside “Greek Freak” and letting him develop his raw skills in Europe just makes sense.
14. Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert, C, France
Gobert is an extremely raw big with incredible height and an otherworldly wingspan.
He may not have the basic basketball skills or athleticism required to play in the league, but he’s worth a gamble for a team that could use a backup center, especially if Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson depart via free agency.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Olynyk is the perfect piece for the Bucks, as they direly need a big man that can stretch the defense.
The ‘Zags star will drag his man out of the paint and allow for the guards to penetrate, and if he’s left open, he can easily knock down spot-up threes.
16. Boston Celtics: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
With the C’s rebuilding effort getting started earlier than expected, there’s a chance Paul Pierce’s tenure with the franchise could be over as well.
Muhammad could help to replace some of The Truth’s scoring ability in his rookie season and eventually take over as the main option in Boston.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Franklin could end up being one of the superstars in this class, as he’s one of the better athletes and high-motor prospects available.
He has to work on his jumper, but with his work ethic, there’s no doubting he will eventually add it to his repertoire. If Franklin pans out, he will give the Hawks another weapon on both ends of the floor.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Nogueira is extremely raw and still has plenty of hours left to put in the gym, honing his game and learning to play in the paint at a high level.
However, in a few years, he could be a starting-caliber center in this league, something the Hawks would need in order to move Al Horford to his natural power forward spot.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Mitchell is a versatile forward that can rebound extremely well for his position and guard both the 3 and 4.
He’s not quite the scorer many envisioned him to blossom into out of high school, but there’s plenty of upside here. The Cavs will likely trade this pick, but could do worse than taking this Mean Green prospect if they stay put.
20. Chicago Bulls: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
The Bulls' biggest need this offseason is at the 2. They’ll have an opportunity to put an athletic, long-range shooter next to Derrick Rose, overhauling their backcourt for the upcoming season.
Hardaway Jr. fits the bill, as this Michigan sniper can bomb away from deep and has the size required to defend against opposing guards and wing players.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Larkin would jump-start the Jazz’s offense, as this extremely quick point guard can fly up and down the court and ignite the break.
He may be a bit undersized and unheralded, but projects to be a solid NBA player.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Karasev is a special shooter that can hit his target from anywhere inside the arena.
He has to bulk up and get better at putting the ball on the ground and creating off the bounce, but should make an impact immediately coming off the bench and spotting up in Brooklyn.
23. Indiana Pacers: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
The Pacers' second-unit was exposed in the postseason, as members of the starting five were run into the ground due to coach Frank Vogel’s inability to trust the backups.
Schroeder should help this group create more scoring opportunities and play at a faster pace, as he’s adept at blowing past his defender and penetrating into the paint.
He has to improve his passing and facilitating to become a true asset, but is young and raw enough to be well worth the risk here at No. 23.
24. New York Knicks: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
The Knicks' aging frontcourt direly needs an injection of youth, something that Withey could provide with his seven-foot frame and great shot-blocking skills.
The Jayhawks center doesn’t have much to give in terms of offense, but should carve out a long career as a backup big.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence
Ledo has numerous character issues and hasn’t played a lick of college ball, but could be one of the top scorers from the 2013 class when all is said and done.
He’s a gifted talent that can get to the basket, stroke threes and always finds a way to put the ball through the bottom of the net.
Given that the Clippers are on the cusp of contending for a championship, they should roll the dice and attempt to unearth a potential star here.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Glen Rice Jr., SG, D-League
Rice Jr. is another talented prospect with character issues, but those seem to be left in the past.
The T-Wolves should be willing to take a chance on him, as he can play multiple positions, shoot the ball out to the three-point line, defend, rebound, pass and more.
27. Denver Nuggets: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Dieng is an athletic big man that passes extremely well out of the low post.
While he isn’t a star in the making, this center could soak minutes in the Nuggets backcourt rotation and give the starters a much-needed breather.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Plumlee is a hardworking, blue-collar prospect that the Spurs will be happy to rescue if he falls this far on draft day.
The Blue Devils senior has a low ceiling but will find a way to make a mark in this league via his hustle, determination and work ethic.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Crabbe is a sniper that can fill it up from distance, giving the Thunder another weapon to stretch the floor with.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Tony Snell, G/F, New Mexico
Snell is an uber-athletic prospect with three-point range, making him an intriguing swingman for the Suns to select with the last pick in the first round.
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