2013 NBA Mock Draft: Very Early First Round Predictions

Bryant West@bswest5Correspondent IAugust 13, 2012

2013 NBA Mock Draft: Very Early First Round Predictions

0 of 30

    The 2012 NBA Draft class comes into their first season with some of the highest expectations in years. Can the 2013 class possibly live up to similar hype? 

    The incoming NCAA freshmen class adds to an already talented group of potential draftees. How will it all shake up come next June? Sleepers will rise, stars will falter, and there is probably a player we don't even consider a 1st round selection who will make it into the lottery (see Damian Lillard from the 2012 Draft).

    For now, let's take a look at a very early first round mock draft for 2013.

    Note: For simplicity's sake, I will be using the final 2011-2012 standings to judge the selection order. However, I have included all of the outstanding trades that might shift the 2013 order around.  

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel

1 of 30

    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 215 pounds

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    I want to put Shabazz Muhammad here at the top pick, because I think by next June he will be considered the top selection. However, since Charlotte just used a pick on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (who is a very similar type player to Muhammad), I'll give the Bobcats Noel here.

    The good for Noel—he's a lot like Anthony Davis from last season. He's a great leaper and a terrifying defender. He knows how to get up there and block shots with the best of them. His potential is incredible if he pans out.

    The bad news—Noel might be a little over-hyped, especially offensively. While he is a great defender, he's still raw when it comes to scoring. We'll see how he handles the ball at Kentucky before we crown him the top pick.

    Note: The Bobcats first-round selection will go to Chicago if it is pick 12 or lower due to the Tyrus Thomas trade in 2010. If the pick is 11 or higher, Charlotte will keep the pick.

2. Washington Wizards: Shabazz Muhammad

2 of 30

    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'7", 220 pounds

    School: UCLA

    Year: Freshman

    Muhammad may be the draft's best player when it is all said and done. He's like the second coming of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and if he can add a jump shot to his already impressive game, he'll be hard to stop.

    Super athletic and possessing an unrivaled work ethic, I expect Muhammad will destroy the PAC 12 next season and will secure his place at the top of the draft boards.

    He is a bit shorter than you'd like for a small forward (some measurements have him at just 6'6") but he's quick and strong enough to keep up with nearly any player.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Poythress

3 of 30

    Position: SF/PF

    Physicals:  6'8", 215 pounds

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Poythress would be a star in his own right if he wasn't so surrounded by star talent at Kentucky this season. With Nerlens Noel on one end and Archie Goodwin on the other, he won't get as many touches as he should (not that any of them would).

    That said, he is an excellent prospect with a great all-around feel to the game. He's an improving inside scorer but possesses a soft touch on the outside. He's one of the more versatile prospects in the draft.

    He needs to prove he can score from anywhere this season, but his all-around prospects are very promising. 

4. New Orleans Hornets: Cody Zeller

4 of 30

    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 215 pounds

    School: Indiana

    Year: Sophomore

    Can you imagine paring Anthony Davis and Cody Zeller on the same NBA team? It would instantly make one of the more dangerous inside combos in the league.

    Where Davis dominated the defensive end last season, Zeller dominated offensively, scoring 15.6 points and shooting an absurd 62.3 percent from the field. He's still only 19 and has plenty of room to grow, but he's dangerous from the inside and the outside.

    He's far too skinny for a NBA center and he needs to bulk up a ton this season. He also isn't as good defensively as he is offensively, but he's a very smart player and I expect he'll improve.

    For someone who had such a great freshman season, Zeller is still very raw. He could be a beast as he grows. 

5. Sacramento Kings: Tony Mitchell

5 of 30

    Position: SF/PF

    Physicals:  6'7", 215 pounds

    School: North Texas

    Year: Sophomore

    This may seem high for Mitchell, but I predict he'll have a breakout year this season and cement himself as a top lottery talent.

    He's got everything you'd want in a wingman—a bounce in his step, excellent defensive fundamentals and range out to the three-point line. He also averaged 3.0 blocks per game in his lone season in North Texas.

    The fact that he is from a small school could hurt him, but he has the talent to go this high.

    Note: The Kings first-round selection will be sent to Cleveland if the pick is 14th or lower due to the Omri Casspi trade. If the pick is 13 or higher, Sacramento will keep the pick.

6. Brooklyn Nets: James McAdoo

6 of 30

    Position: PF

    Physicals:  6'9", 230 pounds

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    With all those pesky stars like Harrison Barnes and John Henson out-of-the-way, the Tar Heels will be fully on board with the James McAdoo show. They will go as far as he carries them this season.

    McAdoo will shine this season much like Thomas Robinson did last year. With more playing time (and more offensive workload), McAdoo will rise to become a lottery star.

    He is a good inside scorer with nice hops and a decent enough jump shot. He needs to improve as a rebounder and play more aggressive defense.

    It's his team now, and I expect he'll give Tar Heels fans more to cheer about. 

7. Golden State Warriors: Isaiah Austin

7 of 30

    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 210 pounds

    School: Baylor

    Year: Freshmen

    Like most freshmen big men, Austin needs to add considerable muscle before he can thrive in the NBA. That said, he's a skilled big man with a great motor.

    Right now he's better as a defender than as a scorer, but he has great hands and a good feel for the game. He possesses a solid jump shot, but needs to improve his lost post scoring. He's got the size and the athleticism to be a nice scorer once he adds some post moves.

    Baylor moved from having a skilled star with no motor (Perry Jones) to a more raw star with a great motor. I think that's a fair trade.

    Note: The Warriors first-round selection will go to Utah through Brooklyn if the pick is 8th or lower due to the Deron Williams trade. If the pick is 7th or higher, the Warriors will keep the pick.

8. Houston Rockets (from Toronto Raptors): Adonis Thomas

8 of 30

    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'5", 215 pounds

    School: Memphis

    Year: Sophomore

    Thomas has all the physical tools to be an excellent wing in the NBA.

    He's a lot like Tyreke Evans or Dion Waiters, better at driving to the basket than shooting the ball. He's strong enough to overpower most defenders and quick enough to stay with most point guards.

    He needs to improve his jump shot, and he's a bit too small to play small forward, but we know NBA teams will take the risk on talented guards with less-than-stellar jumpers.

    Note: The Rockets obtained Toronto's 2013 first-round selection in the Kyle Lowry trade. The pick is top 3 protected.

9. Detroit Pistons: Archie Goodwin

9 of 30

    Position: SG

    Physicals:  6'5", 195 pounds

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshmen

    Right now Goodwin is more of a slashing type guard than a prototypical balanced guard. He needs to add more consistency to his jumper and improve his range this season at Kentucky.

    He's a sharp defender and is strong and quick enough to stay with nearly any opponent. With some seasoning and a jumper, he could climb the draft boards.

    NoteThe Pistons first-round selection will go to Charlotte if it is pick 12 or lower due to the Ben Gordon trade. If the pick is 11 or higher, Detroit will keep the pick.

10. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum

10 of 30

    Position: PG/SG

    Physicals:  6'3", 200 pounds

    School: LeHigh

    Year: Junior

    Remember Damian Lillard? That Weber State point guard who rose from obscurity to become a lottery pick? If the 2013 Draft class has a Damian Lillard in it, it's in the form of C.J. McCollum.

    McCollum and his LeHigh squad were the Cinderellas of the 2012 NCAA Tournament after they upset No. 2 seeded Duke. McCollum had 30 points, six assists and six rebounds in the win.

    He needs to improve as a floor general, but he's already an NBA level scorer and may be the highest-potential shooter in the class.

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Rudy Gobert

11 of 30

    Position: C

    Physicals:  7'0", 220 pounds

    Age: 20

    School: Cholet, International (Frace)

    Gobert is easily the top foreign player in the draft. At 7'0' with a crazy 7'9" wingspan, he makes an interesting prospect on both ends of the court. 

    He's got a tough attitude on the court and loves to dunk and with his wingspan and solid athleticism he gets plenty. He's also a tough rebounder and (surprise surprise, with that reach of his) an excellent shot-blocker.

    Note: The Trail Blazers first-round selection will go to Charlotte if it is pick 12 or lower due to the Gerald Wallace trade in 2011. If the pick is 11 or higher, Portland will keep the pick.

12. Milwaukee Bucks: LeBryan Nash

12 of 30

    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'7", 220 pounds

    School: Oklahoma State

    Year: Sophomore

    Nash had a disappointing year last year and really struggled to score, shooting 39.4 percent from the field. I predict a breakout year for the coolest named prospect in the draft.

    He's got good offensive instincts but needs to add consistency to his range. On the other end, he's a good defender who can stay in front of his man with both speed and athleticism. 

13. Phoenix Suns: C.J. Leslie

13 of 30

    Position: SF

    Physicals:  6'9", 210 pounds

    School: North Carolina State

    Year: Sophomore

    A power forward with solid post abilities and a nice range on his game, Leslie and his Wolfpack could easily surprise the NCAA this year and be the breakout team of the season.

    He's an inconsistent prospect at this point, capable of both putting up monster numbers or no numbers at all. When he's on, though, he's on, and able to dominate every aspect of a game. Hopefully for State fans, he can keep it going all season.

14. Houston Rockets: Patric Young

14 of 30

    Position: PF/C

    Physicals:  6'10", 225 pounds

    School: Florida

    Year: Sophomore

    It was good to see Young return to college for his sophomore season. he was never able to properly put all his nice potential on display at Florida and he's still fairly raw.

    He's solid in all the aspects you want in a big man, but he needs to improve in just about everything as well. 

    Note: The Rockets first-round selection will go to Atlanta through Brooklyn as part of the Joe Johnson deal if the selection is 15 or lower. It is lottery protected and will remain with Houston if they are pick 14 or higher. 

15. Miami Heat (from Philadelphia 76ers): Steven Adams

15 of 30

    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 240 pounds

    School: Pittsburgh

    Year: Freshman

    The Heat could stand to wait on the exceptional potential of Adams, a big man with a great motor but who will inevitably come into the NBA incredibly raw.

    He's a tough player and already a good rebounder, but he has no offensive game to speak of. Unless he shows some new and surprising post moves this season at Pittsburgh, he's at least two-three years away from being an impact player.

    Note: The Heat obtained Philadelphia's 2013 1first-round selection in the Arnett Moultrie trade. The pick is lottery protected.

16. New York Knicks: B.J. Young

16 of 30

    Position: SG

    Physicals:  6'2", 175 pounds

    School: Arkansas

    Year: Sophomore

    A lightning quick scoring guard that possesses deadly range, B.J. Young is another candidate for break out player of the year. Last season he averaged 15.3 points on 50.4 percent shooting and 41.3 percent shooting from three.

    He's far too skinny to stand up to most NBA guards and needs to continue to add muscle. He may be just ab it too small to be a shooting guard in the big leagues, but he really lacks the playmaking ability to be a point guard (he finished with a 1/1 assist to turnover ratio). 

17. Dallas Mavericks: P.J. Hairston

17 of 30

    Position: SG

    Physicals:  6'5", 210 pounds

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    Much like teammate James McAdoo, Hairston will see a big spike in production this year.

    He's a solid scorer with a high basketball IQ. He needs to be far more efficient this season shooting the ball (he shot just 30.8 percent from the floor last year) but he has the skills to be a solid NBA scorer.

    Note: The Mavericks first-round selection will go to Houston through the Los Angeles Lakers if it is pick 20 or lower due to the Jordan Hill trade. If the pick is 19 or higher, Dallas will keep the pick.

18. Utah Jazz: Myck Kabongo

18 of 30

    Position: PG

    Physicals:  6'2", 180 pounds

    School: Texas

    Year: Sophomore

    While he struggled a lot last season, Kabongo could be the best point guard in his class (he's the first one off my board).

    He averaged 9.3 points and 5.2 assists last year, and I expect him to spike up in both categories He's a great floor leader with good passing skills and the offense to make defenses stay honest. 

19. Orlando Magic: Doug McDermott

19 of 30

    Position: SF

    Physicals:  6'7", 220 pounds

    School: Creigton

    Year: Junior

    A player of the year candidate, McDermoot might not have the potential of many of the 2013 Draft Class but he's far more proven than nearly any other prospect.

    He averaged 22.9 points last year and will dominate again for the Blue Jays. He's a scorer who can hit from anywhere, and he's a capable rebounder to boot.

20. Denver Nuggets: Jeff Withey

20 of 30

    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 240 pounds

    School: Kansas

    Year: Senior

    Withey was the best defender in the tournament last year not named Anthony Davis.

    He's a lock-down defensive player and an elite level shot-blocker. He's a decently talented inside scorer, but he'll make his mark as a top-notch level defensive role player.

    He's a tough competitor with a high basketball IQ and good experience to back up this selection. 

21. Boston Celtics: Joshua Smith

21 of 30

    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'9", 280 pounds

    School: UCLA

    Year: Sophomore

    The bruising big man has a ton of potential but doesn't seem to have the motor to tap into it. He has an unbelievable advantage against nearly all defenders inside, but didn't take full advantage of it last season and failed to impress.

    Still there are some things to like. He does have some offensive game, and he's a good rebounder. Hopefully he gets in better shape and learns to try hard on every play. 

22. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock

22 of 30

    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'6", 190 pounds

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    While both James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston will have big years, they may not have as much breakout potential as Reggie Bullock.

    Bullock has lower expectations but may be nearly as skilled as his other two teammates. He's a good shooter, an excellent defender and has NBA level athleticism. I think he'll end up being a NBA steal to whichever team drafts him next summer.

23. Atlanta Hawks: Andre Roberson

23 of 30

    Position: PF

    Physicals:  6'8", 210 pounds

    School: Colorado

    Year: Sophomore

    Roberson was a monster on the defensive end last season for Colorado, leading the team in steals (1.2), blocks (1.9) and rebounds (11.1). The main concern about the athletic big man is his offense. He wasn't any serious part of their offense last year (he averaged just 11.6 points per game) and he'll need to prove his scoring skills this year before he locks himself in as a first-round pick. 

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Otto Porter

24 of 30

    Position: SF

    Physicals:  6'9", 210 pounds

    School: Georgetown

    Year: Sophomore

    Georgetown had a better year than expected last season, and a good amount of the credit goes to Otto Porter, who showed right off the bat why he was a top 10 recruit.

    He's not a dominant athlete, more fluid than explosive, but he is a good defender and a great shooter—except from the three-point line. Inside the arc, he's great—from outside, he shot just 22.6 percent. At least he knows what he must improve next season.

    Note: The Cavaliers have the right to swap any first-round selection they own with the Lakers in 2013 as part of the Ramon Sessions trade. The Cavaliers obtained Miami's first-round selection in the LeBron James sign-and-trade in 2010.

25. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies): Mike Moser

25 of 30

    Position: PF

    Physicals:  6'9", 230 pounds

    School: UNLV

    Year: Sophomore

    Moser could have contended for a lottery selection this year but returned to a UNLV team that added a bunch of nice talent. 

    He has all the talents for a good big man. He's comfortable around the basket, he's a tough and strong rebounder and he can defend most opponents. He also possesses excellent range for his position and can hit consistently from the outside.

    Note: The Timberwolves obtained the rights to Memphis' 2013 first-round selection in the Donatas Motiejunas trade. It is lottery protected.

26. Indiana Pacers: Michael Carter-Williams

26 of 30

    Position: PG

    Physicals:  6'5", 175 pounds

    School: Syracuse

    Year: Sophomore

    The Syracuse point guard will be trust into the limelight this season as the Oranges' starting point. He played only ten minutes a game last season, but had impressive numbers considering. He averaged a 2.1/.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

    He's got solid range on his jumper and will keep most defenders honest, but he needs to prove he can play tough defense. He's certainly not strong enough to handle NBA players yet, and he lacks the elite athleticism to negate a lack of muscle. 

27. Phoenix Suns (from Miami, Through LA Lakers & Cleveland): Wayne Blackshear

27 of 30

    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'5", 215 pounds

    School: Louisville

    Year: Sophomore

    Blackshear was hurt most of last season and was limited to just seven minutes a contest. That isn't a fair representation of his talent level.

    He'll get a good shot to prove it this year and Louisville has the talent to be a top ten school. He has a solid jump shot, but is fairly inconsistent and needs to add more range. He's a tough competitor who isn't afraid to attack the paint. 

    Note: The Suns will receive a 2013 first-round selection from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the Steve Nash trade.

    The Cavaliers have the right to swap any first-round selection they own with the Lakers in 2013 as part of the Ramon Sessions trade. The Cavaliers obtained Miami's first-round selection in the LeBron James sign-and-trade in 2010.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Deshaun Thomas

28 of 30

    Position: SF/PF

    Physicals:  6'7", 220 pounds

    School: Ohio State

    Year: Sophomore

    Last years' NCAA tournament was a coming out party for Deshaun Thomas, who took advantage of the defenses when they zoned in on then-teammate Jared Sullinger. He's got toughness and swagger that most players don't have, and even on bigger players he's already shown an ability to attack the basket.

    He will be held back by both his lack of size and by his lack of super athleticism. Will he be a three or a four in the NBA? It's hard to tell, but he'll certainly make an impact. 

29. Chicago Bulls: Gorgui Dieng

29 of 30

    Position: PF/C

    Physicals:  6'11", 240 pounds

    School: Louisville

    Year: Junior

    Dieng may be the most skilled center in the NCAA at the moment. He doesn't have the potential of many of the centers higher up on this list, but he's more NBA ready.

    He's strong and big enough to power over most players but in the last two years he's really worked on his post-game. He averaged 3.2 blocks per game last year, and possesses a 7'4" wingspan so he's a nightmare for opponents in the paint.

30. San Antonio Spurs: Ryan Harrow

30 of 30

    Position: PG

    Physicals:  5'11", 155 pounds

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Sophomore

    Harrow played a year at North Carolina State before deciding to transfer to Kentucky. He's viewed as the probable starter for the Wildcats, and there isn't a better place for point guards to show their stuff than in Lexington.

    He'll be surrounded by all the freshmen weapons and will hopefully be able to showcase his passing skills. The questions for Harrow are mainly on defense. He's quick enough to guard most players, but his size will be a pressing issue.