2013 NBA Mock Draft: Landing Spots for College Basketball's Top Players
In less than a week, everyone's 2013 NBA mock drafts will be challenged at the Barclays Center.
All 30 teams in the league can now focus solely upon the draft after the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in the finals on Thursday night. Yet while every pro club just now became focused on the draft, college players have been waiting for June 27 to come around for months.
Here is a full first-round mock highlighting college basketball’s best players and which NBA team they will land with next Thursday night.
Who will be the 1st overall pick?
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
If Cavs fans believe that their team already has its future center in either Anderson Varejao, who turns 31 in September, or Tyler Zeller, who had a player efficiency ratio (PER) of 11.0 last season (the league average is 15.0), they’re sadly mistaken. Selecting the Wildcat center here is a no-brainer because he boasts the highest upside of anyone in the draft and still fills a need.
Noel dominated on the defensive end for Kentucky before he tore his ACL in February. Before this time, he averaged 9.5 rebounds, 2.2 steals and a whopping 4.4 blocks per game. On the other side of the ball, he didn’t score in volume—averaging just 10.5 points per contest—but he did so with incredible efficiency, shooting 59.0 percent from the floor.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Orlando’s greatest need isn’t for one particular position; it’s for a leader who can be the face of the franchise. The high-flying, high-motor Indiana shooting guard is capable of being just that.
With all eyes on Cody Zeller, Oladipo ended up emerging as the Hoosiers’ best player last season. He averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. His stat sheet doesn’t overwhelm, but his offensive efficiency—he shot 59.9 percent from the floor and 44.1 from beyond the arc last season—on-ball defense and intangibles are his greatest attributes.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Washington whiffed badly with the last two small forwards it drafted—Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, who both finished 2013 with a PER under eight. Porter is one of the safest picks in the draft because he’s a well-rounded glue guy, and that’s exactly what the Wizards need to change their losing culture.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF/SF, UNLV
Bismack Biyombo averaged one field goal for every 13.7 minutes he played this past season. Bennett would be an instant upgrade to the designated rebounder and defender that is Biyombo.
5. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
Not a single Sun averaged at least 15.0 points per game last season. Phoenix failed to find a face of the franchise in Kendall Marshall, whom they drafted in the first round last year, but the team could be finding a backcourt partner for him in the form McLemore.
Out of nowhere, McLemore became one of the college basketball’s top players this past season. Ranked by ESPN as just the 49th best prospect in the Class of 2011, the redshirt freshmen blew up for 15.9 points per game while shooting 42 percent from three-point land. He also added 5.2 boards per game, and he provided enough clutch plays to carry the Jayhawks to the Sweet 16.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland
It’s too early to give up on Austin Rivers. With no small forward worthy of being the No. 6 pick, Len is the Pelicans’ best option. He could develop for a year behind Robin Lopez before taking over next the starting center spot next to Anthony Davis, as Lopez and his 5.6 rebounds per game are better suited in a reserve role.
7. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Every single point guard on the Kings' current roster has a shoot-first, pass-second mentality. That’s why Carter-Williams and his 7.3 assists per game are a better fit in Sacramento than Trey Burke.
8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
With Jose Calderon headed to free agency, Detroit will have the same problem as the Kings—having a pair of scoring point guards with no true facilitators. The Pistons would be best off moving Brandon Knight to shooting guard and inserting the Michigan hero, Burke, in the role of floor general.
Burke performed like the best player in the nation this past season, winning National Player of the Year honors as a result. He averaged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists, carrying the Wolverines to the national championship. His utter dominance isn’t expected to translate to the next level, but Burke is talented enough to at least mirror his production.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
Minnesota struggled down low without Kevin Love last season, and if he demands a trade, the team will continue to do so. Also, incumbent starting center Nikola Pekovic is a restricted free agent. Instead of reaching for a shooter, the T-Wolves should just bolster their frontcourt with the 7’0” Zeller.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
Eric Maynor led all Trail Blazers reserves in scoring this season with 6.9 points per game. McCollum would improve that pitiful mark from Day 1.
He didn’t play against the stiffest competition in the world in college, but neither did Damian Lillard, and look how he turned out. The Lehigh scoring machine averaged 23.9 points per game last season while shooting an otherworldly 51.6 percent from downtown. Like Burke, McCollum won’t be nearly as dominant at the next level, but if he maintains his efficiency, he’ll still be a special scorer for years to come.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Spencer Hawes was the only Philly player last season that stood at least 6’10” and played a minimum of 15.0 minutes per game. The 76ers are desperate for length, and they will be even more so if Andrew Bynum leaves via free agency this summer.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
With no glaring needs, OKC is free to select the best player European prospect at this spot and stash him overseas. That would be the 19-year-old Karasev, who could eventually replace the 30-year-old Kevin Martin or 29-year-old Thabo Sefolosha on the wing.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
O.J. Mayo finished second on the Mavs in scoring this past season and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. If he leaves, they’ll be staving for scoring, and Caldwell-Pope is arguably the best pure shooter in the draft.
14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Everyone who can run the point on the Jazz roster, besides Alec Burk, is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The ultra-explosive, sharp-shooting Larkin is the most pro-ready floor general on the board.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings are free-agency bound this offseason. Milwaukee must prepare as if the team will be unable to sign both scorers and add a future floor general in the draft.
16. Boston Celtics: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Paul Pierce turns 36 years old in October. His days in Boston are numbered, and Muhammad, arguably the best scorer in the draft, is worth the roll of the dice at this point in the first round.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Duke
Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia are unrestricted free agents this summer. Atlanta will be desperate for length if they leave, and the 7’0” Plumlee sure isn’t short on that.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
The Hawks didn’t have anyone in their backcourt average at least 15.0 points per game last season. Finding a go-to scorer is difficult this late in the first-round, but Franklin has the upside to be just that type of player for them down the road.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Glen Rice, Jr., SF, Georgia Tech
Dan Gilbert is too impatient to select the 18-year-old Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo over Rice (see: selecting Tristan Thompson over Jonas Valanciunas in the 2011 NBA draft). The 22-year-old Rice is one of the most pro-ready prospects in the draft after spending time in the D-League last year.
20. Chicago Bulls: Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Gonzaga
Chicago was at its best with a four-man rotation of bigs. It never found a replacement for Omer Asik last season, but the 7’0” Olynyk, who would stretch the floor for Derrick Rose with his elite shooting range for a center, could be his successor.
21. Utah Jazz: Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are two other members of Utah’s massive free agent class this summer. Even with Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors waiting in the wings, the Jazz need more bodies down low in case Millsap and Jefferson both decide to exit stage left.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Rudy Gobert, C, France
Beating Biyombo at his own game, Reggie Evans converted one field goal for every 15.4 minutes he was on the floor. Brooklyn needs a player with length that isn’t a complete offensive liability like Evans.
23. Indiana Pacers: Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, North Carolina
No one who played more than 10.0 minutes per game for the Pacers this season while shooting at least 40.0 percent from downtown. They need shooters, and Bullock shot 43.6 percent from three-point territory last year.
24. New York Knicks: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
New York finds itself in the same situation as the Mavericks, as its second-leading scorer, J.R. Smith, is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Few players are capable of making an instant impact as a scorer at this point in the draft, but Crabbe—who averaged 18.4 points per game last season—could.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Lamar Odom, Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf are all unrestricted free agents this summer, and none of the three should even be brought back. L.A. needs to upgrade its frontcourt depth, and Nogueira’s athleticism is suited for the Clippers’ run-and-gun style of play.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricardo Ledo, SG, Providence
Having solidified their frontcourt with their pick at No. 9, the Timberwolves must add the best available shooter at No. 26. That would be Ledo, who possesses lottery talent but was ruled ineligible to play by the NCAA last season.
27. Denver Nuggets: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Denver is a far less top-heavy Oklahoma City. It has minimal needs and would be best off using its resources to develop a prospect with upside in Europe.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Tim Duncan is 37 years old while Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair are unrestricted free agents. San Antonio needs length, and the 23-year-old Dieng is ready to add to a contender now.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Kendrick Perkins finished this past season with an 8.2 PER. If he fails to improve, he must be replaced, and Withey is long enough at 7’0” and pro-ready enough at 23 years old to contribute immediately.
30. Phoenix Suns: Mike Muscala, PF, Bucknell
Luis Scola is 33 years old, and his scoring numbers have drastically declined over the past three seasons. Phoenix should replace him in the starting lineup sooner rather than later with Markieff Morris, who will need a backup.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.
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