NBA Mock Draft 2013: Safest Selection For Every 1st-Round Team
The 2013 NBA Draft is just a few hours away—scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN—and there's plenty of excitement about which player each franchise picking in the first round will select.
While the draft is all about taking educated risks, this is how the entire first round shakes out with every organization filling a need and taking the safest long-term selection.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been rumored to be going several different directions with the No. 1 pick during the pre-draft process. But there is no better fit than Kentucky center Nerlens Noel.
With as much upside as any player in the draft and natural gifts at both ends of the floor, Noels is an easy selection despite his knee injury.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Orlando Magic need a dynamic offensive player in the backcourt who can dominate for years to come. While it may take Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore some time to develop at the next level, his raw talent and potential will make him a safe bet at No. 2.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Georgetown small forward Otto Porter is one of the most talented all-around players in the draft. With the Washington Wizards needing serious help at both forward positions, the NBA-ready star will make an instant impact in the nation’s capital.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
The Charlotte Bobcats must be drafting with the intentions of taking the best player available. When talented UNLV forward Anthony Bennett falls to No. 4 overall, the franchise will have the gritty presence in the low post and the offensive touch it has lacked for a long time.
5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
If Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo falls to No. 5 (when the Phoenix Suns make the team’s first first-round selection), the void left by Steve Nash will be filled by the best offensive and defensive guard in the 2013 draft class.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
The New Orleans Pelicans have lacked a stellar point guard since they traded Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers. But with the Pelicans' strong nucleus of young players and the chance to draft a point guard the caliber of Michigan’s Trey Burke, the No. 6 pick should be a no-brainer.
7. Sacramento Kings: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
At first glance, the Sacramento Kings drafting UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad looks like a team already full of egos adding yet another selfish player. However, Sacramento could be the landing spot that helps him develop a team-first mentality. It’s a risk, but one that could pay off huge down the line.
8. Detroit Pistons: C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh
The Detroit Pistons have several solid prospects already on the roster, but they lack a point guard who can command the offense and become the leader for the team. With a potential star in Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum left on the board at No. 8, the franchise will have its leader.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
The Minnesota Timberwolves were destroyed in the paint throughout last season. Instead of ignoring the need and drafting a point guard as has happened too many years in the past, the franchise will select Indiana center Cody Zeller and fill the void.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Portland Trail Blazers will be looking for a big man with the No. 10 pick. If the first round shakes out as predicted, that would mean Maryland center Alex Len would fall into the franchise’s lap. This would be the steal of the draft.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
The Philadelphia 76ers' need for a big man is overwhelming with the likely departure of Andrew Bynum via free agency. After a rush in the top 10 clears the board of the best centers, the franchise will reach at No. 11 to fill a need and select Duke’s Mason Plumlee.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
The rush on centers will continue early in the draft. The postseason exposed that the Oklahoma City Thunder's biggest need is in the low post, which is why they will draft Gonzaga big man Kelly Olynyk.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
If the Dallas Mavericks don’t trade this pick—a serious possibility according to Rick Noland of The Chronicle-Telegram—the team will have to take the best player available. After the rush on centers early, the franchise can get a steal with Syracuse shooting guard Michael Carter-Williams.
14. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
The Utah Jazz have lacked an elite point guard since Deron Williams was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. With a talented prospect in German guard Dennis Schroeder still on the board at No. 14, this should be an easy selection for the franchise as it continues to build for the future.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia
The Milwaukee Bucks are likely losing Monta Ellis via free agency this offseason, per USA Today. The franchise’s need for a long-term replacement will force the team to go with a talented shooting guard prospect in Russian star Sergey Karasev.
16. Boston Celtics: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The rebuilding process in Boston will begin with the selection of talented California guard Allen Crabbe. As one of the better shooters and a hard worker, he will fit right in with the Celtics next to Rajon Rondo.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
Atlanta Hawks All-Star power forward Josh Smith is a free agent this offseason. With the player admitting he will test the market, per Yahoo! Sports, the franchise must draft his long-term replacement with French star Rudy Gobert.
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
After filling the team’s need at power forward, the Atlanta Hawks will look to bolster the franchise’s lack of guard depth by drafting a stellar shooting guard like San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin at No. 18.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be looking to complement star point guard Kyrie Irving with an elite shooter on his wing. When Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope falls to No. 19, the organization will have the ideal selection.
20. Chicago Bulls: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
The return of Derrick Rose next season will be the focus of the Chicago Bulls and their fans, but selecting a shooting guard with as much raw talent and upside as Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. will be the perfect addition to the roster on draft day.
21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
The Utah Jazz are likely losing impending free agent Al Jefferson, per John Otano of Sports Illustrated. Given the need to replace such an impact player immediately, look for the team to take an educated risk by selecting Louisville center Gorgui Dieng.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
The Brooklyn Nets have a serious void to fill in the low post. While the franchise may have a pipe dream of signing All-Star free agent Dwight Howard this offseason, the more likely situation would be the team drafting Pittsburgh center Steven Adams.
23. Indiana Pacers: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas
The Indiana Pacers are the ultimate blue-collar team. And with a roster already budding with fresh faces ready to take over the NBA, adding a gritty role player like North Texas forward Tony Mitchell will make an instant impact.
24. New York Knicks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
The New York Knicks will be looking to add bench depth as the team revamps the roster this offseason. While Carmelo Anthony is the long-term answer at small forward, Antetokounmpo’s abilities will make him a vital pickup on draft day.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Glen Rice Jr., SF, Rio Grande Valley
While there are concerns about how Glen Rice Jr. will handle himself in the NBA after being kicked off the Georgia Tech basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers have a strong core of players and now a head coach in Doc Rivers who could guide him to maturity.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies): Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
The Minnesota Timberwolves will address the team’s need for a big man earlier in the draft. With the need for depth at the shooting guard position, adding a potential threat off the bench like Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin is a smart move.
27. Denver Nuggets: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
The Denver Nuggets will continue to bolster the backcourt, and if Miami point guard Shane Larkin is there at No. 27, the youthful team will have another really talented player with plenty of upside.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
The San Antonio Spurs must add size and depth in the low post if the team wants to continue to contend for a championship next year. When Kansas center Jeff Withey falls all the way to the bottom of the first round, the Spurs will make the easy selection.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
The Oklahoma City Thunder would have the franchise’s dreams come true if Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira falls all the way to No. 29 in the first round. While the team may take a center earlier as well, the way the Thunder were abused in the paint this postseason, the franchise needs to add considerable size and depth.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat): Tony Snell, SF, New Mexico
As one of the best shooters in the 2013 NBA Draft, New Mexico small forward Tony Snell would be a great complement for what the Phoenix Suns are doing with the franchise rebuild. While Snell needs some work, the Suns have nothing but time.
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