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NBA Mock Draft 2013: Where Every Pick Will Fall in First Round

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NBA Mock Draft 2013: Where Every Pick Will Fall in First Round
Elsa/Getty Images

Hours remain until the 2013 NBA draft commences, which has the world clamoring in anticipation for the summer's greatest event. While we all have the limitless possibilities on our minds, no one truly knows how this draft will pan out.

By combining our knowledge of the reports, rumors and speculation from around the league, here's how the first round will pan out.

Everyone has their own take on what will transpire, which makes it difficult to decipher the rumors with no basis from those with validity. Fortunately, there are means of evaluation based more on what is likely to happen than what we believe is right.

It's the only rational way to evaluate a draft.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: 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 Cleveland Cavaliers have better options here with Nerlens Noel and Otto Porter. With that being said, multiple reports are pointing towards the Cavaliers taking another route.

Maryland Terrapins center Alex Len.

There's reason for this pick—even if it is a stretch.

Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops reports that the Cavaliers would select Len if the draft began today. While he may not be the defender that Noel projects to be, the former Maryland star is the more NBA-ready of the two due to Noel's short-term uncertainty as he recovers from a torn ACL.

Keep in mind, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld.com reports that it's reaching the postseason or failure for Cleveland in 2013-14—that could make the safer upside pick their ultimate decision.

 

2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Hoosiers 

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

 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, the Orlando Magic have their options down to three with Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel and Victor Oladipo. Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops confirms that notion, while both he and Ford state that McLemore underwhelmed at his team workout in Orlando.

When it comes down to Noel and Oladipo, the latter simply makes the most sense.

I've had Oladipo as the top player on my draft board for months, and while the Magic are in need of a shooter, there aren't many players with superstar upside in this draft class. Oladipo is one of those players whose basement projects to be as one of the top all-around defenders in the NBA.

Talk about a safe gamble.

Oladipo's ability to shoot the three off of the catch and in transition should be sufficient for Orlando, although an elite shooter like McLemore is more ideal. Even still, the idea of bringing in the player with the best motor and most explosive athleticism at his position is hardly discouraging.

Oladipo is a special player and Orlando needs just that as they rebuild their franchise.


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

 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, the Washington Wizards are focusing on Anthony Bennett and Otto Porter with the No. 3 draft choice. With Nerlens Noel dropping this far, the former Kentucky star is also an option.

When it comes down to it, the Wizards placate their superstar.

According to Eric Detweiler of The Washington Post, point guard John Wall wants the franchise to draft a pick-and-pop power forward. While that may seem like a broad statement, only one player truly fits the bill at this stage of the draft.

UNLV Rebels hybrid forward Anthony Bennett.

Otto Porter would be my personal preference, but when a player is as valuable as Wall, you do what you can to keep him happy. Keep in mind, the Wizards were 5-28 when Wall was injured and 24-25 when he was healthy.

Adding Bennett, who's powerful enough to bang down low, athletic enough to run in transition and a strong shooter with three-point range, sounds like the most ideal fit per Wall's desires.

 

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas Jayhawks 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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

 

Per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, the Bobcats have hired legendary shooter Mark Price to be their new assistant coach. After ranking 27th in both three-point field goals made and three-point field goal percentage, it's not hard to see why.

When it comes right down to it, the best way for Charlotte to maximize his presence is to add shooters.

Ben McLemore is an elite jump shooter, displaying the ability to shoot while working off of screens, pull up in transition or pick up his dribble on the drive. Paired with intriguing athleticism and the ability to attack the basket, McLemore could be the top offensive force in this draft.

For a Bobcats team that lacks any form of offensive prowess outside of point guard Kemba Walker, McLemore would be a welcome addition.

There is the possibility that Charlotte goes with Nerlens Noel here, but selecting another project player just isn't the option. While Noel may be more NBA-ready, his availability for his rookie season is in question due to his recovery from a torn ACL.

After the Ben Gordon experiment failed mightily, Charlotte will be urgent to find a new shooting guard—McLemore could be the answer.

 

5. Phoenix Suns: 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 Phoenix Suns would be absolutely thrilled to see Nerlens Noel fall to No. 5, as he's talented enough to go first overall. With Alex Len inexplicably working his way into the top spot, however, Noel sees a dip.

He could go at any point before this, but in this scenario, Phoenix hits the jackpot.

Noel may be viewed as a risk due to questions about his torn ACL and weight, but the upside is as rewarding as any other player in this draft class. Not only can Noel block shots at an elite clip, but he rebounds well and blitzes the pick-and-roll with proficiency.

Paired with the fact that he rebounds at a high clip and serves as the rim protector that general manager Ryan McDonough would love to have, this pick is a no-brainer.

McDonough comes from the Boston Celtics, where defense is everything and an interior presence is the catalyst to it all. While he may not be Kevin Garnett, Noel is the top interior defender in this draft class.

He deserves to go significantly higher, but this draft is unpredictable and Noel will pay the price.

 

6. New Orleans Pelicans: 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 New Orleans Pelicans had three options in this draft, and one of them has already come off of the board in Alex Len. That leaves point guard Trey Burke and small forward Otto Porter as the two players who fit their needs best.

Burke may be the top point guard in this draft, but Porter is the missing piece.

The Pelicans are a defensive-minded team that has its franchise player in power forward Anthony Davis. Paired with sharpshooter Ryan Anderson, New Orleans has the beginnings to a title contender as they pair an elite defensive player with one of the game's top shooters.

The key to building around that duo is finding high-character players with strong motors and the ability to hold down their position—something more rare than you might presume.

Porter is a combination of those traits, as he is a respected leader who commands the respect of both his teammates and opponents. Not only does he handle the ball well enough to help anchor an offense, but he shoots at a clip above 40.0 percent from beyond the arc and has the semblance of a low-post game.

Most important of all, Porter is an elite defensive prospect who uses his size and length to lock down his man. A great NBA comparison would be former All-Star Danny Granger.

 

7. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines

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 Sacramento Kings have multiple options here, with shooters and big men all around. With that being said, the Kings are a team that has lacked direction for more than five seasons.

A trend that will only break with the selection of a franchise point guard.

Trey Burke may be criticized for his lack of elite athleticism, but Burke knows how to play the angles and simply make the right play. The latter trait cannot be taught, nor can his leadership and clutch genes.

That makes Burke the no-brainer for Sacramento.

Burke's ability to run the pick-and-roll makes him an intriguing fit, as he projects to fit well with DeMarcus Cousins. As a high-character player that is known for his ability to lead his troops into games and direct them on both ends, there truly isn't a better fit than this.

Sacramento lacks direction, and the rebuilding process begins with the addition of a floor general.

 

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

Elsa/Getty Images

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

 

This couldn't have worked out any better for the Detroit Pistons, as they're in dire need of a franchise point guard. After a long history with combo guards, specifically Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey, the Pistons will likely pass on C.J. McCollum.

Fortunately for the Pistons, Michael Carter-Williams is the perfect fit.

Carter-Williams may struggle as a jump shooter, but that is the single most teachable trait in all of basketball. What can't be taught, however, is elite size, court vision and defensive upside.

Carter-Williams possesses each of those traits.

At 6'6" with a 6'7" wingspan, Carter-Williams possesses extraordinary size for his position. As the top defensive prospect at his position, as well as being this draft's top tier facilitator, the Pistons couldn't find a better fit.

The jump shot will come along and truly shouldn't be of any issue.

 

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

 

This pick hasn't changed in quite some times, as the Minnesota Timberwolves need shooters and C.J. McCollum is the only other option. With all due respect to McCollum, who may pan out as the best scorer in this draft, another undersized guard isn't the option for Minnesota.

They need size, shooting and upside—Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has all of that.

Caldwell-Pope stands at 6'6" and 204 pounds with a 6'8" wingspan, which instantly makes him an option in Minnesota. Fortunately for the T-Wolves, Caldwell-Pope possesses more than ideal size for a shooting guard.

He was the SEC Player of the Year for a reason.

Caldwell-Pope is an NBA-caliber athlete, moving well in transition and laterally in the half court. Paired with his lethal shooting stroke and the ability to put the ball on the court, Caldwell-Pope projects to be an effective offensive weapon.

Paired with his ability to rebound at an elite clip and defend his position well, Caldwell-Pope projects to be the perfect fit in Minnesota—a city where the shooting guard position has been bare for too long.

 

10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollumLehigh 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 a postseason-caliber starting lineup, with or without a center in place. What they lack, however, is depth, as the Blazers were dead last in second unit scoring and thus allowed their starters to fall victim to fatigue.

That simply isn't an option in 2013-14, which is why they act fast.

C.J. McCollum may stand at 6'3", but he possesses a 6'6" wingspan and scores the basketball as well as any in this draft class. Not only does he possess a gorgeous jump shot, but McCollum handles the ball as well as any point guard in this draft class.

Paired with the ability to facilitate, McCollum could be the sixth man that Portland desperately needs.

Will Barton displayed promise after the trade deadline, while Meyers Leonard was a lottery pick just last season. Without a shooter to space the floor for their slashing and pick-and-roll scoring ways, however, their effectiveness will be limited.

McCollum can be the cure-all.

 

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

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

 

Even as Andrew Bynum missed the entire 2012-13 NBA regular season, the Philadelphia 76ers ranked ninth in scoring defense. That charge was led by All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and hybrid forward Thaddeus Young.

Unfortunately, the Sixers were also dead last in scoring offense.

With this in mind, Philadelphia truly doesn't have any option but to add a scorer to the mix with their pick at No. 11. While there may be flashier names, no player fits their needs more than Indiana Hoosiers big man Cody Zeller.

He is quite underrated.

With a faceless evaluation, Zeller was the most explosive big man in the history of the scouting combine and possesses elite offensive upside. He has a smooth jump shot, with range out to the three-point line, and displays the ability to both work out of the post and put it on the floor.

With the average player, that would scream first pick material—with Zeller, it has Philadelphia lucking out as they bring in a player that could be one of the top players in this draft class.

 

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

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 have options here, as they could address their lack of a center or side with the best player available. While there may be players of notoriety, there truly are no centers at No. 12 that could contribute right away.

The Thunder wouldn't have it any other way.

The Thunder sent rookies Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III to the NBA D-League for a majority of the 2012-13 regular season. That has some believing their future with the team is uncertain, but the D-League is an excellent place to send your players when they either aren't NBA-ready or lack a defined role.

That makes Steven Adams the pick at No. 12.

My personal preference would be Shabazz Muhammad, who could potentially fill the void left by James Harden, but Adams has upside at OKC's weakest position. With the former Pittsburgh star working his way up draft boards, this fits the range where he's projected to go.

Again, Muhammad is my personal preference, but Adams projects to be the player selected at No. 12.

 

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

 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, the Dallas Mavericks are looking to trade the No. 13 overall draft choice. Per Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops, the Cleveland Cavaliers have become a potential suitor, with Shawn Marion potentially serving as a critical piece to the deal.

While Dallas may want to save cap space, there is a more efficient manner of doing so—going international.

Ford reports that the Mavericks will go with an international player if they remain at No. 13. It just so happens that point guard Dennis Schroeder out of Germany and shooting guard Sergey Karasev of Russia are available.

Karasev could be the better player, but Schroeder fits a need and that clinches it for Dallas.

The Mavericks are desperate to find a point guard, as they fall into isolation jump shooting far too often. Having Dirk Nowitzki to work out of the post certainly helps, but until there is a floor general in place, Dallas' woes will continue.

They may look to free agency to fill such a void, but with the opportunity to fill a need and pull a draft-and-stash, Dallas simply cannot pass over this opportunity.

 

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 are in need of a franchise point guard, with Shane Larkin serving as their main option at No. 14. According to Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News, Larkin impressed both team executives and reporters in attendance with his play and personality during his team workout.

He was impressive enough to become the selection at No. 14.

Larkin has fielded questions about his size, but he's one of the most explosive athletes in this year's draft class. Paired with the fact that he's a two-way player with a father who was a professional athlete, it's safe to say that Larkin is prepared for the NBA.

For a Utah team that needs a point guard, that makes this selection rather open-and-shut.

Larkin projects to be one of the better defenders at his position, utilizing his active hands and blazing lateral quickness to lock his man down and enter passing lanes. Offensively, he pairs a gorgeous jump shot with the ability to create off of the bounce and facilitate both in transition and the half court.

Most importantly, Larkin displays prowess as a pick-and-roll facilitator—something that plays right into Utah building around Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.

 

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Sergey Karasev, Russia

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 19

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

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Milwaukee Bucks are preparing to see both Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis enter free agency. With this in mind, Milwaukee will likely target their guard positions as they hope to find their guards of the future.

Enter Sergey Karasev.

Karasev is a versatile guard that projects to be an efficient offensive player. Not only does he handle the ball well, but he shoots at a high clip from beyond the arc and works the pick-and-roll at a strong level.

At 19, he certainly has time on his side to develop into the player Milwaukee hopes he can be.

The key here is that the Bucks have their interior set, but remain in a constant state of rebuilding. For that reason, it's imperative that they target the best available talent to build their perimeter with.

Consider Karasev to be Monta Ellis with youth and size on his side—a strong ball-handler who creates his own shot and facilitate for his teammates.

 

16. Boston Celtics: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Bruins

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

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

 

The Boston Celtics are entering a rebuilding stage of sorts, as they've reportedly traded their head coach and have questions to field in reference to their veterans. With this in mind, the Celtics will likely target the best player available at No. 16.

In this instance, that player is Shabazz Muhammad.

Every year, we see a player drop down draft boards who we'd previously believed to be a lottery lock. In 2013, that player is the former UCLA Bruins star, as Muhammad has fielded questions about his character and general approach to the game.

While he may not be the safest pick by conventional measures, he should be going significantly higher than No. 16.

Muhammad is a transition scorer who crashes the offensive boards and finishes well around the basket. For a Celtics team that struggles to rebound and create points in the paint, that makes this fit relatively strong.

As for those concerned with the fact that Jeff Green plays small forward, stop reading depth charts—Muhammad projects to be an off-guard.

 

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 are in a powerful position, as they own back-to-back selections just outside of the draft lottery. With multiple options in terms of players who are NBA-ready, the Hawks can determine who best fits their long-term plans.

San Diego State swingman Jamaal Franklin certainly fits the bill.

Franklin is an explosive athlete with a massive 6'11" wingspan and the frame to breed a powerful NBA body. On top of his physical gifts, Franklin is one of the most versatile players in this draft class, possessing gifts in every area of the game.

For evidence, note that Franklin led the Aztecs in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals per game.

The key here is the presence of general manager Danny Ferry and head coach Mike Budenholzer. Both come from the San Antonio Spurs' organization, which suggests that the success of Kawhi Leonard is fresh in their minds.

Franklin could be a player of a similar breed.

 

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Lucas Nogueira, Brazil

Position: Center

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

With their second consecutive draft choice, the Atlanta Hawks capitalize on the fact that they can gamble on the prospect they deem to be the most intriguing. While Giannis Antetokounmpo may be garnering headlines, another international prospect is shooting up draft boards.

The Brazilian carbon copy of Nerlens Noel—Lucas Nogueira.

Nogueira is an explosive shot blocker with a massive wingspan and an aggressive approach to defense. At 6'11 and 218 pounds, there are concerns about his weight, but his 7'6" wingspan permits interior play.

The fact that he throws his body on his assignment and crashes the boards makes Nogueira all the more intriguing.

I'm against selecting international players this high, but they appear to be the hype of the 2013 NBA draft. For that reason, it's only fair to target those with the highest upside as those who come off the board earliest.

Atlanta has many options, but Nogueira has been competing against elite European competitors and is nearly the same defensive prospect as Noel.

 

19. Cleveland Cavaliers: 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 Cleveland Cavaliers landed their center of the future early on and must now look to fill their other needs. While there may be players with higher upside, the Cavaliers must address the fact that they struggle to shoot the basketball.

With two drive-and-dish facilitators, that just isn't acceptable.

Reggie Bullock is arguably the best pure shooter in this draft class, possessing the size, length and quick release to make an impact at the next level. Paired with the fact that he rebounds well, facilitates at a strong clip and possesses defensive upside, Bullock could be something special.

He is an investment worth making for the Cavaliers.

Bullock stands at 6'7" with a 6'9" wingspan, which suggests that he could be their sixth man or an experiment at small forward. Regardless of what purpose he serves, Cleveland needs to add shooters and Bullock is the cream of the crop in that regard.

It's a safe pick, but that's not the bad thing that some make it seem.

 

20. Chicago Bulls: 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

 

The Chicago Bulls may need to add shooters, but if you know anything about Tom Thibodeau, it's that it takes time for a rookie to work his way into the rotation. For that reason, it's far more likely that the Bulls find perimeter players via free agency.

When it comes to Chicago's need for a center, however, that glaring void is too debilitating for the Bulls to pass over.

Fortunately for Chicago, former Louisville star Gorgui Dieng remains available at No. 20. While he may be dropping down draft boards, Dieng remains one of the top defensive prospects in this entire draft class.

More importantly, he's ready to contribute from the opening tip.

Dieng has significant upside as an explosive athlete with minimal basketball experience, but he's already displaying NBA ability. Not only is he a high-quality rebounder, but he blocks shot at an elite clip and defends the pick-and-roll as well as any in this draft.

For a Bulls team that needs a center to give Joakim Noah all the rest they can afford, Dieng could be the reserve they need to solidify their title contending squad.

 

21. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Ricardo Ledo, Providence Friars

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

With their need for a point guard addressed and their interior set for the future, the Utah Jazz are down to a value pick or addressing their needs. While this may be something of a reach, what the Jazz need is clearly outlined.

Ricardo Ledo fits right into that.

Shane Larkin can run point, Gordon Hayward has become an efficient all-around player and Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter form a powerful interior force. What the Jazz lack, however, is a scorer who can create their shot and light it up from beyond the arc.

Ledo can be that player.

Ledo has the ball-handling ability of a point guard and shooting prowess that was compared to Kevin Durant coming out of high school. While that may be a stretch, Ledo is a pure scorer who can serve as a replacement to Randy Foye.

If you're picking at No. 21, it's all about value—Utah can't find much better than Ledo.

 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

Position: Point Forward

Age: 18

Height & Weight: 6'9" & 215 pounds

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, Giannis Antetokounmpo is all but a lock to go within the top 20. While he may fall outside of that range, Antetokounmpo goes to a team that is picking for value at No. 22.

The Brooklyn Nets certainly have the high-quality roster that warrants a value pick.

Antetokounmpo is disturbingly overrated, as the level of competition he's facing is similar to that of a Division III college basketball team. For that reason, any form of impressive player must be taken with a grain of salt.

AJ Mitnick of Sheridan Hoops does an excellent job of breaking down why Antetokounmpo will be this year's international bust.

While Adetokunbo has a nice frame and foundation to build upon, nothing about his skill set suggests he is an NBA caliber player. He is a sub-par outside shooter, has no jump shot off the dribble and overall struggles with decision-making. For a player who is supposed to be a point forward, it is concerning that in th e second division in Greece, he gets more turnovers than assists. Defensively, he has been solid and often makes spectacular plays, but he has never had to defend someone that will sniff the NBA, let alone play at a high level in Europe.

That's the unfortunate truth.

With that being said, Brooklyn has a core in place that could contend for a title. While they must improve in certain areas, finding a star at No. 23 is unlikely.

There is risk, but how much of a gamble could it be at No. 22?

 

23. Indiana Pacers: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga Bulldogs

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 Indiana Pacers are in a significantly better place than they may have presumed, as both Kelly Olynyk and Mason Plumlee remain available at No. 23. While both offer intrigue, there is one separating factor here.

Indiana needs to improve offensively and Olynyk is, arguably, the most skilled offensive big man in this draft class.

Olynyk has been working out as a stretch 4, shooting the ball out to and beyond the three-point line at a high clip. He's also proven to be able to put the ball on the court and work with his back to the basket, thus proving to be quite the dynamic offensive player.

That's exactly what the Pacers need.

During the 2013 NBA playoffs, Indiana was exposed as a team with minimal offensive depth. While David West and Roy Hibbert are a powerful front line tandem, the Pacers struggled to produce when the duo was off of the floor.

Olynyk can put an end to that and potentially serve as the big man of their future.

 

24. New York Knicks: Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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

 

According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, reigning scoring champion Carmelo Anthony wants the New York Knicks to add another scorer. While the Knicks may not find the dynamic playmaker that Melo is searching for, they address that need in a less obvious manner.

By adding Mason Plumlee, the Knicks get more athletic along their front line and find a player who can step in at the 4.

The Knicks have Tyson Chandler as a defensive anchor, but Amar'e Stoudemire has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons. While it's fair to believe that STAT can put it all together in 2013-14, New York currently lacks a quality reserve.

Finding an athletic big man who runs the floor in transition and scores off of the pick-and-roll certainly sounds like an ideal form of insurance. In fact, that sounds exactly like the type of play that Stoudemire brings to the table.

Sometimes, the best picks are the ones that don't possess much flash at all.

 

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Tony Mitchell, North Texas Mean Green

Position: Forward

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'9", 236 pounds, 7'3" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

20.22 PER, 13.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 1.0 SPG

 

The Los Angeles Clippers have options here, as there is no guarantee that the player they draft at No. 25 will pan out. For that reason, L.A. will likely invest their pick in the player that they believe holds the best value of all.

In this instance, it's North Texas forward Tony Mitchell.

One of the Clippers' most debilitating issues in 2012-13 was their lack of front court depth, as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were offered minimal support from the second unit. For L.A. to overcome that weakness, they'll need to add an interior presence who can crash the boards and protect the rim.

Mitchell may not be the lottery pick he was once projected to be, but he can certainly thrive in those two areas.

As an athlete, Mitchell is one of the most intriguing players in the draft, standing at 6'9" and 236 pounds with a 7'3" wingspan and explosive leaping ability. Paired with the ability to run in transition and move well laterally, Mitchell could carve out a strong NBA career.

With respectable shooting ability, Mitchell could be the reserve that L.A. needs to bring their front court together.

 

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies): Rudy Gobert, France

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages

N/A

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves addressed their need for a jump shooter at No. 9, landing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out of Georgia. With their second of two first round draft choices, the T-Wolves must decide between a value pick and the addition of more shooters.

Minnesota goes with the former, ending the steady decline of Rudy Gobert's draft stock.

Physically, Gobert is one of the most impressive prospects that we've ever seen. He stands at 7'2" and 238 pounds, but Gobert's true claim to fame is his endless 7'9" wingspan.

Unfortunately, the French power forward is fielding questions about just how strong of a basketball player he truly is.

If nothing else, Gobert has displayed promise as a shot blocker and presence on the glass. While his offensive skills are raw and his athleticism is underwhelming, that type of length down low would be valuable to any team.

As a draft-and-stash selection, the T-Wolves could feel comfortable with this low-risk selection at No. 26.

 

27. Denver Nuggets: 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

 

The Denver Nuggets are the NBA's top scoring offense, pushing the pace in transition and attacking the rim with relentless pursuit. With that being said, the Nuggets struggle to shoot the basketball and are preparing to see Andre Iguodala become an unrestricted free agent.

They need a cure-all.

Glen Rice Jr. is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft, having spent a season in the D-League. At 6'6" and 211 pounds with a 6'9" wingspan, the physical gifts are in place for the former Georgia Tech star to play both shooting guard and small forward.

The clincher here is that Rice Jr. is one of the top perimeter defenders in this draft class.

Paired with his range defensively, Rice Jr. shoots the three at a high clip. For a Nuggets team that struggles to produce in the half court, the addition of a marksman is a great way to build a more legitimate title contender.

No pick is guaranteed, but this one is both safe and sensible.

 

28. San Antonio Spurs: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan Wolverines

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'6", 199 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

18.05 PER, 14.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 37.4% 3PT

 

With Manu Ginobili becoming a free agent, the San Antonio Spurs must be thinking long-term as they search for a potential replacement. Options are far from scarce, specifically internationally, as the Spurs potentially favor their traditional draft-and-stash approach.

This year, however, they side with Tim Hardaway Jr. out of Michigan.

Hardaway Jr. is strong as a catch-and-shoot marksman from beyond the arc, which fits into San Antonio's three-heavy system. The key here, however, is that Hardaway is much more than just a shooter.

The former Michigan star can put the ball on the floor and attack off of the bounce.

That's a valuable trait that the Spurs need to add to their team. Ginobili's future is in question and the presence of slashers is rather thin in San Antonio. While his all-around game is incomplete at this point, Hardaway Jr. has the skills in place, they simply need to be honed.

With the ability to shoot, slash and facilitate, however, the reward is too intriguing for the Spurs to pass over.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mike Muscala, Bucknell Bison

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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 made a wise move at No. 12, investing in their center of the future with Steven Adams. With that being said, it's quite unlikely that Adams is ready for full time play over the course of the next two seasons.

OKC needs a player that can step in right now.

Without the cap space to land a high-profile name, the Thunder go with a safe pick that can improve their interior offense. While Mike Muscala may not have the most notable name, he's a two-way player who projects to be NBA-ready.

With size, length and strong fundamentals on either end, Muscala could be something special.

Offensively, Muscala has range out to the three-point line and a deep low-post game. Defensively, he blocks shots at a high rate and rebounds as well as any player in this draft class.

It's not flashy, but as Nick Collison nears 33 and Kendrick Perkins continues to struggle in OKC's offense, Muscala could play a major role for this organization.

 

30. Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, from Lakers): Tony Snell, New Mexico Lobos

Position: Small Forward

Age: 21

Height & Weight: 6'7", 198 pounds, 7'0" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

17.16 PER, 12.5 PPG, 2.9 APG, 2.6 RPG, 39.0% 3PT

 

The Phoenix Suns found their defensive anchor at No. 5 with Kentucky Wildcats center Nerlens Noel. With the No. 30 selection, the Suns address another void in their roster, as they find a shooter to improve their ranking of 28th in three-point field goal percentage.

Tony Snell out of New Mexico is the selection for that reason.

Snell has a smooth stroke from beyond the arc and extraordinary length with a 7'0" wingspan. Those two traits have caused some to compare the former New Mexico star to current San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard.

While Snell is far from the rebounder that Leonard has proven to be, the abilities to shoot and defend are present with both men.

For Phoenix, that's the type of two-way presence that they need, as Michael Beasley simply has not panned out. While Marcus Morris could play along the perimeter, there is no reason to think of anything but value at this stage.

In the Suns' case, the greatest value is adding a shooter of Snell's caliber.

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