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Projecting the NBA Career of Each 2013 Lottery Pick

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterJuly 12, 2013

Projecting the NBA Career of Each 2013 Lottery Pick

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    Now that the 2013 NBA draft is complete and we're already in the midst of the NBA Summer League, it's only fair that we project each lottery selection's future and career.

    I've come up with a very intricate formula to develop these projected statistics. It's called guessing.

    By using this sophisticated method, I was able to figure out averages, All-Star appearances and total teams played for.

Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 16.2

    Rebounds per game: 7.8

    Field-goal percentage: 45.8 percent

    Best pro season: 19.3 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, 53.4 percent shooting

    NBA teams played for: 3

    NBA All-Star appearances: 3

    NBA years of service: 12

    Sharing concern is reasonable when it comes to combo forwards. We've seen a number of them struggle with the transition, including recent top-five picks Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams and Thomas Robinson.

    But that doesn't mean it can't work. Larry Johnson had the size of a small forward, but his overpowering strength neutralized a slight height disadvantage.

    Bennett is just like L.J.—both are natural power forwards with slim waists and open-court agility.

    If Bennett is able to develop the three-ball, he's got the opportunity to become one of the tougher covers in this league.

    I'm going to bet my money on Dan Gilbert and the Cavs making the right pick with Bennett at No. 1. Bennett will eventually hit his All-Star upside and generate a serious fan following in the process.

Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 14.2

    Rebounds per game: 5.6

    Steals per game: 1.5

    Best pro season: 18.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, 2.3 steals per game

    NBA teams played for: 4

    NBA All-Star appearances: 1

    NBA years of service: 16

    It's weird to think about, but I can just picture Victor Oladipo playing a vital veteran role for an NBA playoff team in 2026.

    Old man Oladipo is still going to defend, finish, play hard and play smart.

    But the big question is whether Oladipo will be a featured star or a supporting one when he enters the prime of his career.

    The fact that he landed with Orlando, a team without many established scorers, might allow him the freedom to work on creating his own shot. This would improve his chances dramatically of becoming an All-Star down the road.

    We've already seen Oladipo look improved as a shot-creator throughout Orlando's Summer League. He's nailing pull-up and step-back jumpers, and he appears to be evolving into a scorer awfully quick.

    I wouldn't bet against a kid who continues to improve. The Magic might have got themselves a gem at No. 2.

Otto Porter, Washington Wizards

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 14.9

    Rebounds per game: 6.9

    Assists per game: 2.8

    Best pro season: 16.8 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game, 51.3 percent shooting

    NBA teams played for: 3

    NBA All-Star appearances: 0

    NBA years of service: 15

    I love the Otto Porter-Tayshaun Prince player comparison, and by the end of Porter's career he'll have made a similar impact as well.

    Porter is the type of guy who can be a reliable, consistent, two-way contributor. He'll give you 14 and six every night but rarely 30 and 10.

    On the flip side, he doesn't disappear. Like Prince, Porter will be a constant in whatever lineup he's in.

    Because of that reliability he offers, he'll end up sticking with Washington for the majority of his career.

    As a versatile glue guy, an All-Star game seems unlikely. But when we look back at Porter's career, there's a good chance we're talking about a rock-solid, successful NBA forward.

Cody Zeller, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 16.0

    Rebounds per game: 7.9

    Field-goal percentage: 48.9 percent

    Blocks per game: 1.0

    Best pro season: 19.7 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, 50.8 percent shooting

    NBA teams played for: 4

    NBA All-Star appearances: 1

    NBA years of service: 13

    Despite questions surrounding his toughness, Cody Zeller is still an athletic, talented and bright seven-footer.

    Though he played the 5 at Indiana, Zeller has the skill set and mobility to play the 4 in the pros.

    He also has a sweet jumper that he wasn't given the freedom to shoot in college. As a pro, he'll have better spacing to work with, plus a green light that will allow him to stick that 18-footer facing up.

    I've got Zeller having one monster season that lands him on an All-Star team. I'm not sure he'll be able to put up the consistent numbers that LaMarcus Aldridge puts up, but I like the player comparison.

Alex Len, Phoenix Suns

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 14.8

    Rebounds per game: 8.2

    Blocks per game: 1.5

    Field-goal percentage: 50.5 percent

    Best pro season: 18.4 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game, 1.9 blocks per game

    NBA teams played for: 2

    NBA All-Star appearances: 3

    NBA years of service: 11

    Alex Len certainly has All-Star upside. At 7'1", he's a skilled post player and a fluid athlete. Given his size, length and competitive drive, Len projects as a two-way center who can protect the rim and score around it.

    He has the chance to be featured in an offense thanks to his ability to score with the game slowed down.

    Len will have to avoid the injury bug, as he's already started his career with a stress fracture in his foot.

    But once Len hits his stride and enters his prime, I predict he'll have some big-time seasons as an offensive mismatch.

Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 13.7

    Rebounds per game: 7.8

    Blocks per game: 2.1

    Field-goal percentage: 54.2 percent

    Best pro season: 16.1 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, 3.0 blocks per game

    NBA teams played for: 4

    NBA All-Star appearances: 1

    NBA years of service: 12

    One of the most controversial prospects entering the draft, Nerlens Noel will have a lot of questions to answer over his career.

    It's a career he'll start with a torn ACL that will force him to miss a good chunk of his rookie year. He also fractured a growth plate in his knee in high school.

    Health will play a role in determining how successful Noel can be.

    Early in his career, I expect Noel to make a Larry Sanders-like impact. These guys are 6'11" pogo sticks who make plays above the rim on both sides of the ball.

    But neither is a go-to player who can create his own offense.

    Noel's skill set can be extremely valuable to a rotation, but I don't believe he has the tools to be a routine NBA All-Star.

    I've got Noel becoming a coveted player in free agency every few years, but not one that anyone will break the bank for.

Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 16.9

    Rebounds per game: 4.8

    Three-point percentage: 39.4 percent

    Best pro season: 20.9 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 43 percent three-point

    NBA teams played for: 5

    NBA All-Star appearances: 3

    NBA years of service: 16

    Ben McLemore slipped to No. 7 in the draft despite having upside that reaches an All-Star level.

    I personally thought McLemore was the top prospect coming out given his risk-to-reward ratio. The only thing holding him back will be him, as we've seen McLemore's confidence fluctuate and ultimately affect his play.

    But there's no teaching that jumper or the effortless athleticism he possesses. McLemore has as much natural ability as anyone. Whether he maximizes his potential will depend on how he plans on using it.

    He's got the chance to be an elite complementary scorer the way Ray Allen was back in the day. Allen has averaged 19.4 points per game for his career without being a ball-dominant scorer.

    McLemore scores after the catch as opposed to off the dribble, and that should allow him to fit right into any NBA lineup. He will last a long time in this league and start a whole lot of games.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 13.9

    Rebounds per game: 5.6

    Three-point percentage: 36.5 percent

    Best pro season: 17.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, 41.2 percent three-point

    NBA teams played for: 6

    NBA All-Star appearances: 0

    NBA years of service: 13

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a perimeter-oriented scorer who's likely to go as far as his jumper takes him.

    This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Caldwell-Pope has a sweet outside stroke with deep, NBA range. But few perimeter scorers can maintain the consistency needed to make an All-Star impact.

    Still, athletic 2-guards with size and long-range accuracy are always in demand. With excellent defensive tools, Caldwell-Pope still brings something to the table even if his jumper is off.

    He reminds me a little bit of Nick Young, though with a better defensive outlook. He'll be around for a while as a source of instant offense and perimeter defense.

Trey Burke, Utah Jazz

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 14.8

    Assists per game: 7.0

    Three-point percentage: 35.6 percent

    Best pro season: 19.3 points per game, 8.7 assists per game, 39.2 percent three-point

    NBA teams played for: 4

    NBA All-Star appearances: 0

    NBA years of service: 14

    Trey Burke will have the chance to put up serious numbers early in his career. He appears locked in for a big role over the next few years in Utah.

    The big question is whether Burke's lack of elite athleticism will prevent him from becoming an All-Star-caliber point guard. He just doesn't have the explosiveness of guys like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and John Wall—and you wonder whether that will affect his ability to separate or finish at the rim.

    I still think Burke has a successful career, just not as an NBA All-Star.

    Jameer Nelson is a fair comparison in terms of his potential impact. I wouldn't be surprised if Burke starts the next seven years in Utah for a team that isn't much of a threat.

C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 14.6

    Assists per game: 4.4

    Three-point percentage: 36.3 percent

    Best pro season: 18.4 points per game, 4.9 assists per game, 41 percent three-point

    NBA teams played for: 4

    NBA All-Star appearances: 0

    NBA years of service: 11

    One of the top scorers in college over the past four years, C.J. McCollum will have to adjust to a new role in the pros.

    Instead of being the go-to featured option like he was at Lehigh, McCollum will likely come off the bench early on to provide an offensive spark.

    His core strength revolves around putting the ball in the basket, whether he's catching and shooting, pulling up or stepping back. But at 6'3", his upside as a scorer is somewhat limited.

    If McCollum ends up on a team where he's the lead guard, I could see him having an 18-point-per-game year. But chances are McCollum will spend the majority of his career as a sixth man, given his scoring prowess and lack of a true position.

Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 13.9

    Assists per game: 7.6

    Rebounds per game: 4.5

    Steals per game: 1.7

    Three-point percentage: 32.6 percent

    Best pro season: 18.0 points per game, 8.9 assists per game

    NBA teams played for: 5

    NBA All-Star appearances: 0

    NBA years of service: 14

    Michael Carter-Williams is one of the toughest prospects to project, based on the fact that we rarely come across 6'6" pure point guards.

    But along with his strengths come glaring weaknesses. He's got a jumper that can't be trusted, and he demonstrates reckless decision-making, a flaw that isn't always correctable.

    Starting off in Philadelphia might be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, he'll have the opportunity to play starter minutes right away and hopefully adjust a little sooner. On the other hand, he might get swallowed alive without many offensive weapons to surround him.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Carter-Williams put up big numbers in the NBA. I'm just not sure they will translate to wins unless he's got substantial talent around him.

    The first portion of Carter-Williams' career might actually be linked to who the Sixers end up with following the 2014 draft.

    Either way, Carter-Williams should have a long career as a starter or backup.

Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 9.6

    Rebounds per game: 7.5

    Field-goal percentage: 54.3 percent

    Best pro season: 13.8 points per game, 10.1 rebounds per game, 2.4 blocks per game, 57.4 percent shooting

    NBA teams played for: 6

    NBA All-Star appearances: 0

    NBA years of service: 14

    The numbers aren't going to reflect Steven Adams' impact as an NBA player. When you look at guys like Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah, they won't blow you away with statistics.

    At 7'0" with a 7'4" wingspan, smooth athleticism and a strong upper body, Adams is going to automatically shrink the size of the hoop his team is defending.

    Offensively, he'll be good for a few easy buckets every game—tip-ins, alley-oops, catch-and-dunks. Don't take those plays for granted just because they look easy.

    Chances are Adams never develops into a go-to scorer in the post. But that shouldn't prevent him from having a fine NBA career. The fact that he'll start it in Oklahoma City only improves his outlook.

Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 16.6

    Rebounds per game: 6.9

    Field-goal percentage: 52.5 percent

    Best pro season: 18.0 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, 52.7 percent shooting

    NBA teams played for: 6

    NBA All-Star appearances: 0

    NBA years of service: 13

    There's no denying that Kelly Olynyk has skills. He's got a complete offensive game, something you rarely hear about a true seven-footer.

    The issue is that he's an under-the-rim athlete, which hurts his defensive potential and ability to control the glass. And centers who are limited defenders and rebounders have limited NBA upsides.

    I still expect him to score—and given Boston's lineup, I expect him to score early and often.

    But I don't see Olynyk making an All-Star impact in the pros. He's an offensive specialist who could start for a number of teams, but ultimately, Olynyk will be a guy you build with—not around.

Shabazz Muhammad, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Career Statistical Highlights

    Points per game: 13.8

    Rebounds per game: 4.6

    Assists per game: 1.4

    Field-goal percentage: 44.6 percent

    Three-point percentage: 35.8 percent

    Best pro season: 17.7 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, 2.0 assists per game, 48.2 percent shooting, 36.8 percent three-point

    NBA teams played for: 6

    NBA All-Star appearances: 0

    NBA years of service: 9

    Shabazz Muhammad has the competitive drive, scoring instincts and physical tools to be a feared NBA scorer. But does he have the game?

    Throughout high school and one year of college, Muhammad has relied heavily on his strength and instincts. He'll have to add to his offensive game in order to put up the numbers he's used to putting up.

    Ultimately, Muhammad should be good for double digits every night, though don't expect him to start taking over. He projects as more of a complementary off-ball scorer than an isolation threat.

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