NBA Mock Draft 2013: Most Realistic Pick for Every Team

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 04:  Nerlens Noel #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks the ball during the game against the Samford Bulldogs at Rupp Arena on December 4, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After months of rumors, projections and speculation, fans will finally get a chance to see who their teams are going to take in the NBA draft.

This year's class is full of uncertainty, which has only made the process more exciting than usual. Each team has its own opinion of each player, which is certain to lead to some huge reaches and some dramatic falls on draft night.

Still, general managers know what they are doing and will be doing their best to help their team win. With this in mind, here is a look at the most realistic picks for every squad in the first round.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

There has been plenty of debate over what the Cavaliers should do with the No. 1 pick. More than any other spot, teams do not want to make a big mistake that they will regret for years to come.

This reasoning should lead Cleveland to draft Nerlens Noel, who is considered by most to be the best player in the draft.

Noel's shot-blocking ability will prevent him from becoming a bust regardless of what happens on the offensive end. He is certain to improve the Cavaliers' defense as soon as he is healthy, and it could be a big step toward helping the team reach the playoffs.

If he is able to turn his athleticism into production on offense, he could be a star at center for years to come.

2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

Orlando needs a go-to player on the perimeter that will be there for the long haul. Ben McLemore has that ability as someone who can become an elite scorer at the next level.

While some are concerned about his lack of aggressiveness, this is something that will come as he gets more comfortable in a system. Down the line, he could absolutely be the top option on a good team.

3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

There is a need for frontcourt help in Washington, which could lead the team to draft someone like Anthony Bennett. However, Otto Porter can help in more ways and would make a quicker impact on this improving team.

Alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal, Porter does not need to be a big-time scoring threat. Instead, he can fill up the rest of the box score and do what it takes to get this squad to the playoffs.

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

Charlotte needs help almost everywhere on the floor, so it would be smart to grab one of the more versatile players in the draft. 

Anthony Bennett can get points inside as well as spread the defense with his outside shooting. If he shows the ability to defend NBA power forwards, he could become an All-Star.

5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

Victor Oladipo is the type of player that coaches love at every level. He is the best on-ball defender in the class and has a motor that seems to go on forever. The guard also proved last season that he can hit shots when left open. 

Phoenix needs a complete culture change after a terrible season, and Oladipo is the type of player that can turn things around in a hurry.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland

While Alex Len did not always have the best numbers at Maryland, he is the type of player that could be better in the NBA than in college.

When the seven-footer got the opportunity to go one-on-one against a defender, he showed a wide skill set of offensive tools. He can score with his back to the basket, as a face-up shooter or he can drive and finish at the rim.

The center also runs the floor extremely well and will be able to get plenty of points on fast breaks.

Len would perfectly complement last year's first overall pick Anthony Davis as a stronger offensive force to go with the defensive ability of his new teammate.

7. Sacramento Kings: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh

With few certainties on the roster outside of DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings are trying to find a player who can put points on the board while also running the offense.

C.J. McCollum can play either guard position, and this versatility might make him a more attractive selection compared to someone like Trey Burke. Sacramento also would not mind the Lehigh player's elite shooting ability. 

8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Although Brandon Knight has been solid in his young career, he is better suited playing off the ball as a 2-guard. This leaves an opening for a true point guard on the roster.

Burke was the best player in college basketball this season and has the competitive nature to do anything possible to help his team win. Detroit would be in good shape if it is able to grab this local product.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

No matter what happens at the beginning of this draft, Minnesota has to come away with a shooting guard. This is by far the biggest hole on the roster, as the team needs a legitimate scoring option that can also spread defenses.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has everything you look for in a shooting guard from size to athleticism to shooting ability. If he can put it all together at the next level, Minnesota will be getting a steal.

10. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

There seems to be a wide range of opinions on Cody Zeller. The fact is that he is a polished offensive threat with the athleticism to score consistently around the basket.

Portland can use inside depth and certainly more height in the frontcourt. The Indiana player would be a solid contributor from day 1 and will be at least in the rotation for a long time.

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

Based on his play during the regular season, it would have been a surprise to see Steven Adams get drafted at all. The big man often looked lost on the floor and contributed very little on offense.

Still, you cannot teach size or athleticism, and that is what has teams interested in the New Zealand native. Philadelphia needs plenty of help at center, and it can wait for Adams to develop as the rest of the team improves around him.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

Oklahoma City needs to add scoring in the frontcourt, but it must make sure it grabs the player that makes the best fit. Kelly Olynyk is that person who can run the floor in this fast-paced offense and make an impact right away.

Additionally, Olynyk's outside shooting will make him a matchup nightmare, which will only help the rest of the offense on the Thunder.

With Russell Westbrook out during the playoffs, it was clear that the team relied too much on Kevin Durant to get baskets. The Gonzaga player might never be an elite scoring threat, but he will certainly take some of the pressure off the team's established stars.

13. Dallas Mavericks: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil

There are many directions for Dallas to go with this pick, and the team should clearly look to grab a point guard. However, the team might look for the player with the most upside to help for the future.

Lucas Nogueira is similar to Noel as someone who is more of a defensive threat at this point. This alone will help the team, but it could be even better if he improves on the offensive end.

The young player would be a perfect mix of someone with upside who can help the team compete for a spot in the postseason right away.

14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

This would be a dream scenario for the Jazz, who are looking to get a point guard of the future. Michael Carter-Williams has the size to be a force on both ends of the court as well as impressive vision with the ball.

While he would have to re-learn how to play man defense after playing zone at Syracuse, his length will make it difficult for smaller point guards to get by him.

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami

If Shane Larkin was a few inches taller, he would likely be selected with one of the top-10 picks. He can consistently create shots for himself and others and he is an excellent shooter for the position.

Unfortunately, his height at 5'11" will hurt him on draft day. Teams often shy away from smaller players who might struggle in the NBA.

Still, the Miami product is incredibly quick and athletic and he should have little problem being successful at the next level.

16. Boston Celtics: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece

It is clear that Boston is ready to start looking toward the future, even if Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce remain on the roster. The team is better off grabbing a raw player who can help for the future instead of someone with lower upside to help now.

Giannis Antetokounmpo might be a few years away from contributing, but his pure skill as a ball-handler and shooter could make him one of the best players in the entire class.

17. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, PF, France

Atlanta has two picks in a row, which should allow them to take a few risks. Rudy Gobert would be one of them as the team hopes that he can turn his physical tools into production.

The 7'1" player has about a 7'9" wingspan and can use that to get blocks and rebounds in the low post. This is yet another long-term projection, but his upside clearly makes this worth a selection in the back half of the first round.

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

While Shabazz Muhammad is considered one of the riskier players in the draft, at this point he could be an absolute steal.

The small forward is one of the best scorers available. He can consistently hit shots from the outside or drive to the basket and finish at or above the rim. While he needs work on his mid-range game, there is plenty of time to improve this aspect.

Of course, there are character concerns after the UCLA player lied about his age until recently.

Still, Atlanta will need a go-to perimeter scorer next season if Josh Smith leaves town. Muhammad is as good as they are going to get in this draft.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Glen Rice Jr., SF, Rio Grande Valley 

The biggest need on the Cavaliers roster is small forward. The team has the luxury of two picks to draft for best available with the first overall pick, but the team must go back to this position with its second pick.

Glen Rice Jr. is the best available and proved an ability to play at a high level in the D-League last season. As the team continues its theme of drafting for upside, this is the best fit on the board.

20. Chicago Bulls: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke

When healthy, Chicago has a pretty full lineup of players to contend for a title. It only needs to add players who can create depth and help right away.

Mason Plumlee could enter the rotation immediately as an elite rebounder who can also score consistently close to the basket. He would fit right in next to fellow college stars Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.

21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State

If Utah is able to draft a point guard with the first pick, it must continue to add to the backcourt with its second first-round selection.

Jamaal Franklin is not a good shooter, but he knows how to score in other ways. He also plays bigger than his size would indicate in grabbing rebounds on both ends of the court. 

The San Diego State product has a high basketball IQ and is certain to help whichever team is lucky enough to take him.

22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

Although Jeff Withey might not have the upside of some of the other centers in the draft, there might not be a safer selection in the class. He has good size and is an excellent interior defender that will be productive right away in the NBA.

Brooklyn continues to look for players who can help the team win now, and Withey is the best pick to achieve that goal.

23. Indiana Pacers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia

Indiana already has great depth. It just needs help in a few more key spots to get over the hump as a championship contender.

One addition that would make a big difference is an elite outside shooter in the form of Sergey Karasev. The guard would be able to spread the defense and make things easier for one of the better frontcourts in the league.

24. New York Knicks: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany

There are a number of teams in the market for a point guard, and the Knicks are not necessarily one of them. However, the squad could certainly use someone at the position who can represent the future.

Dennis Schroeder has shown the quickness and handle that you need from a point guard, and the young player is certain to only get better with experience.

New York has to get younger at virtually every position, and it would be smart taking the point guard if he falls to this spot. 

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Allen Crabbe, SG, California

The Clippers have a lot of talent across the board, but they are still lacking a consistent threat at shooting guard. Allen Crabbe is more of a pure shooter at this stage, but he has the ability to round out his game more to become a better all-around player.

If he is able to do that, Los Angeles could be taking yet another step toward contention next season.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina

Even if the Timberwolves add a quality perimeter player like Caldwell-Pope, they could still use some more outside shooting.

Reggie Bullock is a bit one-dimensional at this point, but he can shoot the lights out and he has the size to get his looks off at the next level. The North Carolina player will be able to help this team more than most picks at this stage.

27. Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr. might not have the ball-handling ability of his father, but he can shoot well and is also athletic enough to finish at the rim if given space.

Denver needs depth at shooting guard and would be getting a nice boost from an experienced player like Hardaway.

28. San Antonio Spurs: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

Due to his defensive ability alone, Gorgui Dieng could be off the board long before this. However, he is not all that athletic and his age at 23 years old could scare off teams looking for more upside.

Still, San Antonio remains in contention for a title every year, and the team wants players who can help right away. Dieng will be able to do that, even if he receives limited minutes early on in his career.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence

The fact that Ricky Ledo did not play a second of action this year due to academic issues will certainly cause teams to avoid grabbing the talented player. 

Still, the guard has plenty of upside and has shown on the court that he has the ability to help any team with his ability to get into the lane and finish at the rim. Oklahoma City should be able to take a chance on Ledo and hope he helps down the road.

30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas

Tony Mitchell is one of the most athletic players in the class, but he has rarely used his physical talents in games. The contending teams selecting at the end of the first round are generally looking for someone to help right away and have no use for a raw player like this.

However, Phoenix needs talent and has the luxury to take a big risk to see what he can do. At this point, the Suns have little to lose. 

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