Grading Every Draft Pick

Complete Draft Results

NBA Mock Draft 2013: Breaking Down How Each Franchise Can Make Immediate Impact

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
NBA Mock Draft 2013: Breaking Down How Each Franchise Can Make Immediate Impact
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA draft is dangerously close, as mere days separate us from the annual selection process that is set to take place on Thursday night. With very little understood as certain, this leaves the draft wide open in a way that we've rarely ever seen before.

The question is: how will each team make an immediate impact on the future of their franchise?

There are upside picks that could shape their respective futures, but that doesn't eliminate the value of an instant contributor. More often than not, it is these instant contributors that pay immediate dividends and progress in ways that we didn't even believe to be possible.

While every team may have their own prerogative, the value of an instant impact player is undeniable. Regardless, all 30 picks will be used in an effort to improve each club's respective championship chances.

Here is a complete first-round mock draft for all 30 NBA teams.

 

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 the unfortunate privilege of selecting first overall in a draft class with minimal star power. For that reason, the line between selecting a career role player and a star is as thin as we've ever seen.

With that being said, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld.com reports that the Cavaliers believe they can make the playoffs in 2013-14—that's a major reason why all signs point towards Cleveland taking Alex Len.

Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops confirms the report.

Len may be of significant risk, but he's a 7'1" center with a 7'4" wingspan and a dynamic offensive skill set. Not only can he score out of the post, but Len also passes well and displays the ability to work a face-up game with prowess.

Paired with his ability to block shots and crash the boards, Len could be the franchise center Cleveland needs—if not, he'll at least offer instant contributions.

 

 

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

 

The Orlando Magic could go in a number of different directions, with Trey Burke, Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel and Victor Oladipo all serving as options at the No. 2 spot. While Burke may fill a need, the Magic are looking elsewhere for a point guard.

According to Marc Heisler of SportsCity.com, the Magic are expected to send Arron Afflalo to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler in a draft day trade.

That puts Burke out of the picture.

Oladipo is gaining steam, while McLemore and Noel are both fielding concerns and dropping down draft boards. While McLemore, the sharpshooter, is the better fit for the slashing Magic, all signs point towards Orlando favoring Oladipo.

For a squad that's on the wrong side of postseason contention, favoring an elite defender with the best motor in the draft class is far from a questionable decision.

 

 

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 have options at No. 3, with the top choices coming down to Anthony Bennett, Nerlens Noel and Otto Porter. While Noel and Porter may be the better players, Bennett has an advantage over his competition: John Wall wants him.

According to Eric Detweiler of The Washington Post, Wall would prefer if the Wizards selected a pick-and-pop power forward. While there may be viable options later down the draft board, Bennett is the only one at No. 3.

As for why the Wizards should listen to Wall, it's mainly because they were 5-28 without him last seaso and 24-25 with him in the lineup.

Bennett would be an excellent fit, as the Wizards already own a top-10 defense but a putrid offensive force. Adding an athletic big man that can run in transition is a key, but it's Bennett's ability to step out and knock down the three-ball that truly makes him attractive.

There is risk here, but Bennett is generally viewed as a safe player with a high ceiling and the basement of a quality offensive force.

 

 

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas Jayhawks 

Jamie Squire/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

 

The Charlotte Bobcats have a perimeter tandem that they can build around with point guard Kemba Walker and small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. With this in mind, the Bobcats can opt to finish the trinity with shooting guard Ben McLemore or an interior defensive presence like Nerlens Noel.

If he were healthy, the pick would be Noel. Unfortunately, Charlotte needs more of an instant fix to kick-start the rebuilding process.

McLemore fits in well with the Bobcats, as his ability to shoot the three-ball is exactly what this team currently lacks. Coming off of a season in which they ranked 27th in both three-point field goals made per game and three-point field goal percentage, it's hard to dispute the numbers.

According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, the Bobcats hired Mark Price as an assistant to help improve their team in that regard—so why not upgrade the player personnel as well?

A perimeter trio of Walker, McLemore and Kidd-Gilchrist would be one of the strongest the NBA has to offer. While Charlotte's absence of an interior scorer and rim protector is concerning, this opportunity is too grand to pass over.

Noel is a legitimate option here, but Charlotte has spent too much time with what could be, and it's time they find players that can contribute now.

 

 

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 have options with Nerlens Noel and Otto Porter, but the thought process shouldn't last too long. Porter is a perfect fit for the Suns, but they're in a rebuilding stage and no one is safe from replacement.

It all starts with landing the best player available in Nerlens Noel.

Noel may not be available for the start of the 2013-14 regular season, but the Suns are a team that swung and missed during free agency in 2012. This left Phoenix in possession of heavy contracts and minimal reward.

Going for upside is more an instant fix than one might believe.

Phoenix has the luxury of possessing young players and a center with trade value in Marcin Gortat. With Noel on the sidelines, the Suns can build Gortat's value back up by running their offense through him in preparation for the NBA trade deadline.

This may seem complicated, but that's the life of an NBA general manager.

 

 

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

 

Otto Porter could go as high as first overall or as low as No. 6 to the New Orleans Pelicans. In this instance, New Orleans lucks out beyond belief, as they find the player that best fits their needs and the direction of the franchise.

A defensive menace with strong offensive skills and positional versatility certainly sounds attractive, doesn't it?

Many confuse Porter's lack of elite athleticism with the absence of potential, which truly isn't the case. Not only does Porter have upside, but he's made tremendous strides from his freshman to his sophomore season, going from a player that could be great to the most complete player in the draft.

To say his skill set is at it's highest point would be nothing short of ignorant.

New Orleans could use a player of that caliber, as they are a defensive-minded franchise in need of a lead perimeter defender. With Porter projecting to be a player of Danny Granger's caliber—an All-Star that shoots at an elite clip and defends well—the fit is undeniable.

Point guard Trey Burke is another option, but if Porter is available here, there isn't a chance in heaven that they let him pass.

 

 

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 are an organization receiving the NBA's version of a face lift. They're under new ownership and have replaced their general manager and head coach, all the while preparing to see franchise player Tyreke Evans enter free agency.

Talk about best case scenario at No. 7.

Michigan Wolverines point guard Trey Burke is the player that Sacramento needs to finally discover their direction. Not only is Burke one of the top floor generals in this draft class, but he's a respected leader, both on and off of the court.

It certainly doesn't hurt that Burke is also one of the top offensive players in the draft, regardless of position.

Burke is an incredible prospect due to the fact that he's a player with a high usage rate and the uncanny ability to avoid turnovers. Paired with a gorgeous jump shot with three-point range and strong pick-and-roll skills, Burke could be one of the most productive rookies in the NBA.

For the long-term, he could be the player that Sacramento needs to bring DeMarcus Cousins' game to the next level and, thus, help the team become a postseason contender.

 

 

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 options here, but none compare to the value that Michael Carter-Williams presents. Keep in mind, this is a Pistons team that has been looking for their franchise point guard ever since Chauncey Billups departed in 2008.

Failed attempts with combo guards Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuck rules C.J. McCollum out, thus making Carter-Williams the selection.

MCW possesses elite size for his position, standing at 6'6" and 284 pounds with a 6'7" wingspan. Unlike tall points guards of years past, Carter-Williams is a pure point guard with elite floor vision and defensive upside.

In fact, Carter-Williams is the best facilitator and defender at his position.

The fact that he struggles to shoot the three-ball is concerning, but that's a teachable trait. What can't be learned, however, is how to be a 6'6" point guard who excels at two critical abilities.

Carter-Williams could be something special if he cuts down the turnovers and improves his reaction to ball pressure.

 

 

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

 

They have many holes, but the Minnesota Timberwolves will not contend for the postseason until they address their pressing need for jump shooters. The T-Wolves were dead last in three-point field goal percentage in 2012-13 and 28th in three-point field goals made.

Even with Kevin Love returning to full health, there's no guarantee that things will get better on that front.

This cuts Minnesota's options down to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out of Georgia and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh. While both make a strong case for being selected at No. 9, the T-Wolves simply don't need another undersized combo guard like McCollum.

That makes Caldwell-Pope the selection.

Minnesota has needed to fill their void at shooting guard for quite some time, which makes the 6'6" Caldwell-Pope an attractive choice. The fact that the SEC Player of the Year is a lethal jump-shooter with the ability to attack off of the bounce only adds further intrigue.

As a strong rebounder with the ability to facilitate and lock his man down, Caldwell-Pope doesn't have many holes in his game—something that should serve as music to Minnesota's ears.

 

 

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 had the single worst second unit in the NBA last season. Player development is a major factor, as their reserves were led by the likes of Will Barton, Meyers Leonard and Victor Claver, but there is no excuse for ranking last in second-unit scoring.

Finding a true sixth man is the only way to cure this weakness.

Barton could be that player, but it's critical for the Trail Blazers to add a shooter that can create their own shot. Seeing as that breed of scorer is quite rare in the NBA, the value doesn't need to be explained.

Enter C.J. McCollum.

McCollum is one of the best scorers in this draft class, pairing a quick release and limitless three-point range with the ability to attack the basket off of the dribble. While the Lehigh star may not be the tallest player, he makes up for his lack of size with a long 6'6" wingspan.

As a physical player that is significantly stronger than his weight suggests, McCollum could be one of the top sixth men in the league.

 

 

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana Hoosiers 

Position: Power Forward/Center

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

 

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the NBA's better defensive teams, ranking ninth in scoring defense. Unfortunately, the Sixers are also the 30th scoring offense, despite having an All-Star point guard under contract.

Adding one of the top offensive players in the draft certainly sounds like a step in the right direction.

Cody Zeller may have a consistently fluctuating draft stock, but he's one of most skilled big men in the nation. Not only does he have a very strong jump shot with range out to the three-point line, but he's a proficient low-post player.

Paired with the fact that he can put the ball on the court and attack off of the bounce, Zeller could be exactly what Philadelphia needs.

The most intriguing aspect of this potential selection is that Zeller could serve as a pick-and-pop weapon with Jrue Holiday. Holiday, already an All-Star, has displayed the ability to facilitate and attack the basket off of high screens, but he lacks the dynamic scorer to complement him.

It may not be the flashy pick, but Zeller is a very strong fit in Philadelphia.

 

 

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): 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

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder could target a center here, but there truly isn't a transcending talent at the position. For that reason, the Thunder can take a gamble and target a center with their second first-round draft choice.

At No. 12, they should maximize their value and target Shabazz Muhammad.

Muhammad continues to drop down draft boards, but the talent and upside are undeniable for the UCLA star. Some have criticized his half-court prowess, but Muhammad thrives in transition, is a respectable jump shooter and crashes the offensive boards.

Last time I checked, that's exactly how the Thunder play.

Muhammad may not be the same caliber ball-handler as James Harden, but the Thunder sorely missed the southpaw scorer in 2012-13. There's no guarantee that Muhammad pans out to be the same type of player, but the value here is undeniable.

There may be other options, but Muhammad would be a calculated risk 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

 

It's no secret that the Dallas Mavericks will be looking to trade the No. 13 pick in exchange for cap relief. While that remains an option in this scenario, it's hard to imagine any team trading up for the available talent in this draft.

For that reason, the Mavericks should side with a draft-and-stash player that can save the team money in the short-term.

Dallas' top two options in this instance are point guard Dennis Schroeder out of Germany and shooting guard Sergey Karasev of Russia. Both offer their own form of intrigue, as Dallas must fill voids at both guard spots.

In this case, the Mavericks go with the 19-year-old German, as they target their void at the lead guard slot.

Schroeder has drawn comparisons to Rajon Rondo due to his lightning-quick speed and 6'2" frame with a 6'8" wingspan. While their style of play isn't exactly the same, Schroeder has displayed promise in recent workouts.

Dallas will likely look to keep him overseas, but there's always the option of bringing Schroeder in should they swing-and-miss on off guards.

 

 

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 a potentially elite interior with former top-five draft choices Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. They also have a strong all-around player in Gordon Hayward, but lack the point guard to piece it all together.

Shane Larkin becomes the pick here for that very reason.

According to Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News, Larkin impressed both executives and reporters during his team workout with the Jazz. While there are concerns about his size, Larkin's combination of explosive athleticism and two-way fundamentals are intriguing general managers across the league.

Those abilities should make a seemingly difficult decision relatively easy to make.

Offensively, Larkin thrives in running the pick-and-roll, making accurate entry passes and displaying the ability to knock down jump shots coming off of high screens. Defensively, Larkin has limitless range along the perimeter, playing the passing lanes and locking down slashers.

The label of a star is debatable, but Larkin could be a very strong point guard at the next level.

 

 

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Sergey Karasev, Russia

Harry How/Getty Images

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 the realm of free agency. While the Bucks will likely attempt to re-sign their star guards, there's no question that they could lose one, if not both, this summer.

It's time for some damage control.

Sergey Karasev is one of the most versatile guards in this year's draft class. He stands at 6'7" with a 6'9" wingspan, which creates possibilities due to his size alone, but he also handles the ball as well as most point guards.

That's the key to it all.

Karasev is more than capable of attacking off of the dribble, using his strength, length and craftiness to enter the lane and finish in traffic. If there is no way to penetrate the defense, however, Karasev is more than capable of stepping back for a three-point field goal.

That's the same type of versatility that Milwaukee loved with Ellis—the difference is, Karasev is a full 6'7".

 

 

16. Boston Celtics: 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 Boston Celtics are in the most unpredictable of positions, as their paper roster suggests they could either contend in 2013-14 or end up as a team in the draft lottery. From their All-Stars and rising forces to the loss of their head coach, it all adds up to a draft choice that will dictate their future.

At No. 16, the team should make a commitment to the future by selecting Steven Adams out of Pittsburgh.

Adams has an NBA body at 7'0" and 255 pounds with a 7'5" wingspan. While his game is unpolished, Adams complements the prototypical frame with an aggressive approach to defense and intriguing touch around the basket.

All in all, Adams is the player that Boston needs moving forward.

The Celtics are a defensive-minded team, but lack the shot-blocking force to anchor their interior. While Adams may take a few years to develop into an every day option, he's only 19 and has mountains of potential.

Boston takes a gamble here, but it is one of calculated measures.

 

 

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 back-to-back selections and will look to balance their picks in the proper manner. In this instance, Atlanta will attempt to find an instant contributor at No. 17 and a project player at No. 18.

It all starts with Jamaal Franklin out of San Diego State.

Franklin is versatility personified, as he can step in at multiple positions and contribute in every statistical category imaginable. For evidence, note that Franklin spent time at power forward while with the Aztecs and proceeded to lead the team in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals.

As I said, he is quite versatile.

Franklin's ability to play a variety of positions suggests that he could step in at either wing spot in Atlanta. He's long enough to defend taller defenders at small forward, athletic enough to shut down off guards and is one of the better players at rushing high screens defensively.

Franklin needs to improve his jump shot, but truth be told, that may be his only true weakness.

 

 

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

Position: Center

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages: N/A

 

The Atlanta Hawks made a pick centered around the value of instant impact at No. 17. With their second consecutive draft choice, the Hawks must now enter the most difficult stage of the draft.

Deciding which international player truly has the most upside will be tough.

At this point, the Hawks are closely monitoring the rising stocks of both Giannis Antetokounmpo (aka "The Greek Freak") and Lucas Nogueira. While both are options at this stage of the draft, the clincher here is that Atlanta has a void at center.

With Nogueira displaying similar traits to Kentucky Wildcats star Nerlens Noel, there's reason to believe he could be a lottery pick when it's all said and done.

Nogueira is an exciting athlete with an improved motor and the ability to finish in transition. How he'll be making his money, however, is by blocking shots and crashing the boards with his massive 7'6" wingspan.

Keep in mind, Antetokounmpo is playing in a very weak league, and Nogueira has experience against elite European players in Liga ACB.

 

 

19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Reggie Bullock, North Carolina Tar Heels

Kent Horner/Getty Images

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

 

Regardless of where the Cleveland Cavaleirs go with the first overall draft choice, Reggie Bullock will be in the running for their No. 19 pick. Not only does he fit a need for the Cavaliers, but at this point, there truly isn't much better value.

With Cleveland selecting center Alex Len with the first overall draft choice, it all works out according to plan.

Bullock is an elite jump-shooter, converting 43.6 percent from beyond the arc and using his size and quick release to pull up over any opponent. For a Cavaliers team that was 23rd in three-point field goal percentage, the addition of shooters is critical.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, it's hard to imagine the Cavaliers selecting anyone other than Bullock at No. 19.

The key for Bullock's individual future is that he's much more than just a three-point shooter with range. He rebounds well, handles the ball as well as any off guard and distributes at an encouraging level.

Nothing is certain, but Bullock has the look of a safe, effective draft choice.

 

 

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 are a legitimate NBA championship contender with a healthy Derrick Rose. Even if D-Rose is able to return for the 2013-14 season (he's not back until he's back), Chicago will still have one major hole.

The Bulls need a backup center.

Joakim Noah has been sensational and Taj Gibson is beyond effective as one of the league's top reserves. With that being said, Gibson appears to be more comfortable at power forward and Nazr Mohammed simply cannot back Noah up in 2013-14.

Gorgui Dieng can.

Dieng is one of the top defensive prospects in this draft class, pairing electrifying athleticism with defensive fundamentals. Not only can Dieng leap out of the building, but he blocks shots with his length and anticipation skills.

As a player that thrives in blitzing the pick-and-roll and keeps his man off of the glass, Dieng could be the player that Chicago needs most.

 

 

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

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages: N/A (ineligible)

 

The Utah Jazz landed their franchise point guard in Miami Hurricanes floor general Shane Larkin at No. 14. With their second pick, the Jazz must find a perimeter player that can create their own shot and convert at a high clip from beyond the arc.

Enter Ricardo Ledo.

There's risk to drafting Ledo, as he missed his entire freshman season due to academic ineligibility. With that being said, the Jazz are a team that is looking to build their squad from the inside out, with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanters serving as their franchise players.

Without shooters, however, Favors and Kanter will see the perimeter routinely collapse as they work out of the post.

Ledo may have questions surrounding him, but he's an excellent jump-shooter with deep three-point range and the ability to take his man off of the bounce. While his in-game athleticism is debatable with limited experience, Ledo projects to be an all-around offensive force.

As a player that can facilitate, shoot and attack, Ledo has as much upside as any player in this draft class, and Utah should take him before another team can reap the benefits.

 

 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

Position: Small Forward

Age: 18

Height & Weight: 6'9", 215 pounds

2012-13 Season Averages: N/A

 

The Brooklyn Nets don't have much to gain from the 2013 NBA draft, as their starting lineup is already amongst the best in the NBA. From the low-high attack of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez to the perimeter tandem of Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, Brooklyn flirted with 50 wins after failing to find any chemistry.

With this in mind, expect the Nets to think long-term here.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is being disturbingly overhyped, as his level of competition simply isn't good enough to gauge his NBA future by. In fact, Antetokounmpo is playing against competition similar to that of a Division III basketball team.

Fortunately for the Nets, they aren't wasting much at No. 22.

The Nets could land a more established prospect here, but playing time next season would likely be limited for anyone drafted here. Such an approach to utilizing their rookies is exactly why Brooklyn would be best off going with a draft-and-stash player.

Antetokounmpo fits that profile and could acclamate nicely in Brooklyn if he ever pans out.

 

 

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 have one of the NBA's strongest starting lineups, pairing elite defensive prowess with opportunistic offense. Even if David West re-signs this summer, however, the Pacers do lack a long-term answer at power forward.

Kelly Olynyk can change that.

Olynyk is as skilled as any player in this draft class, combining a smooth jump shot with low-post prowess and transition efficiency. While he's not the most explosive athlete in the draft, Olynyk has no trouble with mobility.

With a motor that rivals that of Victor Oladipo, Olynyk could carve out a long NBA career.

The Pacers have other options hereincluding Mason Plumlee and Tony Mitchellbut Olynyk is the best fit. For a team that tends to live by the jump shot, adding a stretch-4 to come off of the bench would be well-beyond valuable.

The Pacers should make a conscious effort to re-sign West, but Olynyk is too valuable to pass over regardless.

 

 

24. New York Knicks: 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 New York Knicks need to add scorers, specifically along the perimeter. With that being said, Jason Kidd recently retired and Amar'e Stoudemire has seen a rapid decline since Carmelo Anthony arrived in New York.

If "STAT" truly can't stay healthy, the Knicks need to find something of a replacement for him.

Mason Plumlee may not receive the hype of the other prospects in this draft, but he deserves it. Not only can Plumlee work it inside and score out of the post, but he's a very good athlete that can run in transition.

The latter statement is the key, as Plumlee is a walking alley-oop.

In the half court, Plumlee could be the pick-and-roll finisher that New York has needed with Stoudemire injured. Even if Stoudemire is to return to full health, front court depth is still a question mark for the Knicks, and Plumlee can play either position.

Again, no pick is perfect, but some just work out better than one could have imagined.

 

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 three specific needs to fill, all of which serve as potentially debilitating weaknesses come the postseason. L.A. lacks a go-to three-point shooter, they're thin along the interior, and they could use a low-post scoring presence.

Chances are, they'll target the most pressing needs via free agency—just don't think that means this pick will go to waste, though.

Tony Mitchell is one of the better rebounders in this draft class, pairing elite athleticism with an NBA body at 6'9" and 236 pounds with a 7'3" wingspan. Paired with smooth athleticism and defensive prowess, Mitchell could provide the depth that L.A. needs.

As a shot-blocker that can step out to defend the perimeter, he could provide the versatility expected of Lamar Odom in 2012-13.

Other options at this stage include Allen Crabbe, whose sharp-shooting and size would be extremely valuable along the perimeter. With that being said, Mitchell's combination of size, athleticism and defensive ability is too intriguing to pass over.

While I'm not sold on Mitchell's NBA future, there is upside, and that's often enough to gamble on at No. 25.

 

 

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

Position: Power Forward/Center

Age: 20

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

2012-13 Season Averages: N/A

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the market for a shot-blocker, and at No. 26, they can afford to take a gamble. While Rudy Gobert may be dropping down draft boards, there's not too much to regret when you're picking this late in the draft.

Sometimes the best way to improve your squad is to prove your dedication to the future.

Gobert's physical gifts are far from a secret, standing at 7'2" and 238 pounds with a 7'9" wingspan. While bulking up is a desperate need, Gobert projects to be a strong shot-blocker, if nothing else, at the next level.

That alone makes this a solid pick for Minnesota.

The T-Wolves may have an All-Star at power forward with Kevin Love, but their interior defense is suspect, at best. Not only do they struggle to protect the rim, but the T-Wolves could stand to improve against the pick-and-roll.

Adding a player as long as Gobert is a great way to start the improvement process.

 

 

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: 13.02 PPG, 6.24 RPG, 1.86 APG, 0.88 SPG

 

The Denver Nuggets are preparing for an offseason in which shooting guard Andre Iguodala becomes an unrestricted free agent. While Iguodala may not have experienced his best offensive season, he was Denver's top defensive presence.

As strong as Wilson Chandler may be, Denver must create perimeter depth from a defensive perspective.

Glen Rice, Jr. has a leg up on the rest of the rookies, as he has extensive time spent in the NBA D-League. That competition has helped shape Rice, Jr. into the player and athlete that he needs to be, as he's bulked up and improved upon his flaws.

As a defender with the size, strength and length to lock his man down, this case becomes relatively open-and-shut for Denver.

If that's not enough, it's important to note that Rice, Jr. is one of the better three-point shooters in the draft. For a Nuggets team that was 25th in three-point field goal percentage last year, it's safe to say that they need to add some marksmen.

Rice, Jr. certainly fits the bill.

 

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

 

The San Antonio Spurs are in somewhat of a transition period, as Manu Ginobili enters free agency and approaches 36 years of age. While the Spurs may be known for their international endeavors, they remain local with this one.

Finding a shooter that can put it on the floor is rare, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. is one of the select few available in this draft.

First and foremost, Hardaway, Jr. is a consistent shooter from beyond the arc, which fits into the Spurs' team identity. While he tends to be overvalued by fans, he has the ability to shoot, drive the lane and facilitate.

How far those abilities will take him is one conversation, but the Spurs need a scorer that can handle the ball.

Ginobili may not be the player he once was, but when on his game, the Argentinian remains one of the best in the world. With his career coming to a close and his impending free agency this summer, however, it's time that the Spurs find a similar player to bring in as a replacement.

Hardaway, Jr. may never reach Ginobili's level, but it's worth the shot at No. 28.

 

 

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 took a gamble at No. 12, selecting swingman Shabazz Muhammad out of UCLA. At No. 29, the Thunder should take a more conservative route, siding with a player that could be viewed as a safe pick.

Mike Muscala and Jeff Withey are the options here, as OKC needs to improve at center.

Withey may have the higher profile, but Muscala is a two-way player with higher offensive upside. With Kendrick Perkins remaining an effective defender but lacking any form of offensive direction, that is the ultimate clincher.

Muscala works well out of the post, which is exactly what the Thunder need to slow games down and open their half-court dimensions.

As it presently stands, the Thunder live and die by the jump shot, which is a sufficient system with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the charge. With Muscala scoring with his back to the basket, however, the Thunder would have the interior option they've needed to avoid dry spells.

It certainly doesn't hurt that Muscala has three-point range on his jump shot either.

 

 

30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat ): 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

 

The Phoenix Suns found their defensive anchor at No. 5, lucking out with Nerlens Noel falling that far. While Phoenix could target a player that can work alongside Noel here, they have more pressing needs.

For instance, Phoenix was 28th in three-point field goal percentage during the 2012-13 regular season.

Fortunately for Phoenix, Allen Crabbe remains on the board at No. 30. Not only does that give them a player with prototypical NBA size at 6'6" with a 6'11" wingspan, but Crabbe has a very important trait to share with whichever team drafts him.

He can shoot the lights out.

Crabbe was forced to create his own shot at California, which is a major reason why his shooting percentages have dipped. With that being said, he's equally as proficient while working off of screens and finding his comfort zones.

At this stage, Crabbe would be nothing short of a steal.

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

NBA Draft

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.