With one of the most unpredictable NBA drafts in recent memory on the horizon, fans of essentially every team in the NBA are excited about the next chapter in their franchises' respective histories. There is no clear-cut No. 1 overall pick and there is plenty of uncertainty throughout the first round, so general managers will have their hands full.
Teams are generally best off going with the safest pick possible, but there don't seem to be many surefire selections in this class. Because of that, teams are probably more likely to swing for the fences in hopes of coming away with a superstar.
Along with a full, first-round mock draft, here is a deeper dive into bold moves that every GM selecting in Thursday's first round should consider.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Experts have gone back and forth about who the Cleveland Cavaliers might take with the No. 1 overall pick for the past several weeks. It is still unclear, but Maryland center Alex Len may now be in the driver's seat. According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Cavs are deciding between Len and Nerlens Noel, so it seems like a flip of the coin at this point.
It's extremely difficult to say which big man will be a better pro, but Len seems to have a bit more upside. Noel is already a superior defensive player, as he averaged more rebounds and blocks per game as a freshman than Len did as a sophomore. Len averaged 12 points per game last season, though, and he did it in just 26 minutes per contest. He hasn't even come close to reaching his ceiling, but he seems to believe he can do so in Cleveland, according to NBA on ESPN.
At 7'1" and 255 lbs., Len already has an NBA body, so the transition may not be as difficult for him as it will be for Noel initially. There is no doubt that the Cavaliers need a center, but they need to decide which center will mesh with point guard Kyrie Irving best. Since Len appears to have a better offensive skill set, he should be the answer.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
The Magic have a lot of talent in their frontcourt, but the backcourt leaves plenty to be desired. Oladipo should be a great perimeter defender at the very least, but he has Dwyane Wade upside, so Orlando shouldn't hesitate to nab him.
3. Washington Wizards: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
It can be argued that Noel is the top talent in this class, so the Wizards would be thrilled to get him at No. 3. Injuries are obviously a concern when it comes to Noel, but he and John Wall could form a dynamic duo for many years to come.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV
Bennett is one of the most physically-impressive players in this draft, as his athleticism allows him to do some special things. He isn't particularly polished, but the Bobcats won't be competitive any time soon, so they can afford to roll the dice.
5. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
McLemore made a huge impact for Kansas as a freshman last season and he has likely just scratched the surface of his potential. His struggles in the NCAA tournament are concerning, but he would be a great fit in Phoenix.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
The Pelicans have all the makings of a team on the rise, but they could use a wing player to bring it all together. Porter is arguably the best wing player in the entire draft, so New Orleans won't hesitate to take him if he's there.
7. Sacramento Kings: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
Sacramento is a team in transition as Tyreke Evans is set to enter free agency and DeMarcus Cousins' future is uncertain, so the Kings can afford to go in any direction. Zeller is a great inside scorer and could be a key piece in their rebuild.
8. Detroit Pistons: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
The Pistons have a solid foundation and some promising young players such as Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe. Detroit is not an explosive offensive team, however, so a player with offensive instincts like Muhammad makes sense.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
McCollum didn't face a high level of competition in college, but smaller combo guards are starting to have more and more success at the NBA level. Damian Lillard from Weber State transitioned seamlessly last year, and the T'Wolves hope McCollum can do the same.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
If the Blazers are smart, Olynyk won't have to travel too far from his collegiate stomping grounds at Gonzaga, as he would be a great contributor off the bench behind LaMarcus Aldridge and could potentially start alongside him one day.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
The 76ers have a big void at center that needs to be filled. Re-signing Andrew Bynum could take care of that, but due to his penchant for getting injured, Philadelphia would be smart to take a long-term answer like Adams regardless.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
In this center-stacked draft, it's easy to forget about a guy like Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng. He has not received as much hype as Len, Noel or even Adams, but maybe he should. Not only did the Senegal native lead the Cardinals to a national championship this past season, but he also has two productive collegiate seasons under his belt, which isn't something that any of the centers likely to get picked ahead of him can say.
Dieng averaged nearly 10 points and nine rebounds per game last season along with 2.5 blocks per contest as well. He isn't going to be a great offensive player at the next level, so his potential is capped, but he has elite defensive ability. If he turns into a Dikembe Mutombo-esque player on that end of the floor, his offense simply won't matter. Due to a possible knee injury, however, Dieng could fall a bit in this draft, according to Zach Harper of CBS Sports.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have two first-round picks in this draft, but they can't realistically expect Dieng to fall to No. 29. That means they either have to take him at No. 12 or trade down if they want him. Offense isn't the problem in OKC when Russell Westbrook is healthy. Center Kendrick Perkins started to decline this past season though, so Dieng could be his replacement.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
From a talent perspective, Burke probably deserves to be a top-five selection in this draft, but most of the teams selecting early don't need a point guard, so the Mavericks will reap the benefits of his precipitous fall into the middle of the first round.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Although he doesn't project out quite as well as Burke, Carter-Williams is another point guard who deserves better than falling outside the top 10. The Jazz desperately need a point guard though, and they'll jump for joy if the Syracuse product slips.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Rudy Gobert, C, France
The Bucks are a team that could use help right away, but Gobert appears to be the final top-level center remaining on the board, so Milwaukee may very well look to the future and allow Gobert to develop overseas.
16. Boston Celtics: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Boston is a team in limbo as veterans like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce could be on the way out. One hole on the roster that is very obvious resides at shooting guard though, and that makes Caldwell-Pope a smart selection.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Duke
There is a perception that Plumlee doesn't have much room to grow as a player. Even if that is true, he should be a valuable contributor off the bench with excellent rebounding skills. The Hawks should take him at No. 17 though, in hopes that he can still get better.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Glen Rice, Jr., SG, D-League
One of the most polarizing prospects in this year's draft class is D-League shooting guard Glen Rice, Jr. The son of former NBA star Glen Rice was developing nicely at Georgia Tech, but he was dismissed from the team due to off-court issues. Rice has seemingly put that behind him though, and has a golden opportunity to be the highest-drafted player ever selected out of the NBA's Developmental League.
Rice was a solid contributor for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers during the regular season as he chipped in 13 points and six rebounds per game, but he turned it on in the playoffs. Rice was dominant as he poured in 26 points per contest and added nearly 10 rebounds and four assists per game as well during the postseason. That opened the eyes of a lot of scouts and moved him up draft boards. According to the Phoenix Suns on Twitter, Rice believes that his D-League experience has better prepared him for the NBA.
Since the D-League is essentially the equivalent for AAA in baseball, Rice has been better groomed for the NBA style of play than most other prospects. That means he should be able to step in and contribute immediately. The Hawks are looking for a long-term answer at shooting guard with Joe Johnson in Brooklyn, and Rice could very well be the one who steps up and takes the reins.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
The Cavaliers would already have Len in the fold at this juncture, so they can afford to take a wild card like Karasev. The Russian forward may be ready for the NBA right away, but even if he needs one more year of seasoning, it isn't a big deal.
20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Crabbe is far from the flashiest player in this draft, but he is a consistent one. The Bulls have gotten absolutely no consistency out of the shooting guard position over the past several seasons, but perhaps Crabbe can be a stabilizing force.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
The Jazz have plenty of depth and talent up front, but are dry as can be in the backcourt. Carter-Williams would be an excellent addition at point guard, but that won't be enough, as Utah could also use a shooting guard out of the Franklin mold.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Even though the Nets have a bigger need at power forward, Withey makes sense at No. 22. Brook Lopez is an excellent offensive center, but he isn't a great rebounder and there isn't much behind him. Withey would offer immediate support.
23. Indiana Pacers: Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, North Carolina
The shooting guard position was hit-or-miss for the Pacers this past season due to Lance Stephenson's erratic play. Bullock has his drawbacks, but he is a great shooter and would add another dimension to the Indiana offense.
24. New York Knicks: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (Fla.)
New York had a solid season, but it needs to add some pieces in order to improve. Carmelo Anthony was essentially the entire Knicks offense, so bringing in an explosive point guard like Larkin would give opposing defenses something else to contend with.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Tony Snell, SG/SF, New Mexico
While Snell may not be the most exciting selection in this draft, he makes a lot of sense for the Clippers, as he can play multiple positions and come off the bench to spell the likes Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler and others when needed.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
One look at the Timberwolves roster reveals that Minnesota isn't afraid to draft or sign foreign players. It hasn't led to a great deal of on-court success, but many of those players have come into their own. Minnesota will bank on Antetokounmpo doing the same.
27. Denver Nuggets: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
The Nuggets may be the deepest team in the NBA, so they don't necessarily need another depth player at No. 27. Taking a guy like Nogueira and allowing him to continue developing in Brazil would certainly suffice.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
There is plenty of buzz surrounding Schroeder, but due to the fact that there are so few teams with a need at point guard in this draft, he could very well fall to the Spurs, who would be thrilled to develop him behind Tony Parker.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lorenzo Brown, PG, North Carolina State
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Thunder go with an international player at this spot since their roster is fairly set, but depth behind Russell Westbrook is needed, so Brown would be a nice fit at No. 29.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
The Suns would likely be happy with simply getting McLemore at No. 5, but they are the beneficiaries of another first-round pick. There may not be an elite player at this juncture, but Mitchell is a versatile guy who can become part of the rotation.
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