2013 NBA Mock Draft: Analyzing Every First-Round Pick

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVMay 3, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - MARCH 29:  Ben McLemore #23 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives against the Michigan Wolverines during the South Regional Semifinal round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on March 29, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As more and more teams get eliminated from the 2013 NBA playoffs, the more the interest grows in the upcoming NBA draft, where we're sure to witness a changed league landscape.

We aren't going to see this class overtake the NBA by any means, but there are a handful of players who have what it takes to become future stars and make their mark on the league.

Let's dive in and check out where these stars will land in the latest version of the mock draft.

1. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

Nearly any team who garners the No. 1 pick this year should pick dominating big man Nerlens Noel, and the Magic may be the one. This kid's upside is just too much to ignore and more than enough to warrant the first overall pick.

The ACL injury isn't ideal, but a No. 1 pick on a one-and-done player almost always is looking at the long-term future. The Magic aren't going to be contenders for another couple of years, which will give Noel the ability to hit his prime as the Magic make their climb.

2. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, G, Kansas

The Bobcats tend to add an exciting and explosive scoring player every year with their lottery pick, and they should eventually add up to a good team. 

This pick falls in line, as McLemore should serve as a solid scoring option beside Kemba Walker and will bring athleticism to a team with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist already giving opponents fits with his defensive skill.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, F, Georgetown

The Cavaliers are another team that seems to add an elite college player every year. However, this one may be the stepping stone they're looking for.

Porter will come into the NBA with two years of big-time experience, and the combination of him, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters should become one of the scariest young scoring backcourts in the league. 

4. Phoenix Suns: Trey Burke, G, Michigan

Don't get me wrong, Trey Burke could very well go in the top three picks if the right team is there. It just so happens in this mock draft that he isn't the best fit for the previous three teams.

As such, the Suns get huge value for their fourth pick with Burke. One of the best scoring guards we've seen in the past few years, Burke will bring explosiveness, insane shooting ability and athleticism to a roster that desperately needs all of the above.

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

Anthony Davis will be a star in New Orleans, but the Pelicans are soft on the interior when he's not in the game; he needs a solid counterpart on the low blocks. 

It's not preferrable that Len will come in with injury problems having just come off ankle surgery (per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports), but it's the long-term future New Orleans should be looking at. They don't have the roster to compete for the playoffs just yet, but with a grown-up Davis and Len in a few years, this could be a dominating duo. 

6. Sacramento Kings: Shabazz Muhammad, F, UCLA

Now that the NBA relocation committee has given their stance on the pending move to Seattle (per ESPN), it seems Sacramento is in quite safer waters and can put their focus back toward turning the franchise around on the court. 

The best player to do so with this pick would undoubtedly be Muhammad. The former UCLA star has been a hot commodity ever since he headed for the NCAA ,and I couldn't argue with a team picking him first overall.

7. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV

The unique length of Bennett is what will make him excel in the NBA and in Detroit. They need someone who can contribute both down low and on the perimeter.

Bennett can do just that with a sweet shooting stroke complimented by an imposing size that could breed post success even in the NBA. 

8. Washington Wizards: Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana

The Wizards have a budding star in John Wall, but not much else to their name. What they desperately lack is some identity.

That's exactly what Oladipo would bring. His pride on both sides of the ball with lockdown defense and an exciting arsenal of offensive weapons will breathe energy into an otherwise hapless locker room and fanbase. 

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse

Though he played the point during much of his time at Syracuse, Carter-Williams would be a great fit for Minnesota at the 2-guard alongside Ricky Rubio. 

His shooting ability is desperately needed on the T'Wolves roster, and his ability as a defensive stopper would also suit them well. 

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

I don't think either of the Zeller brothers have what it takes to be a long-term starting center in the league, but I love what Cody Zeller could bring to the right bench and think he'll have plenty of success in that role.

The Blazers are knocking on the door of the playoffs despite what their 2012-13 record might indicate with a young nucleus of budding stars. Zeller would be the perfect complement to put in 15 minutes of work a night. 

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

The Sixers haven't had the best luck in their frontcourt in recent years and will be relieved with the likely departure of Andrew Bynum this offseason, but replacing him in this draft will be key.

I'm not saying Kelly Olynyk will reach the ceiling they expected from Bynum, but he'll be able to find his place in the league and help out Jrue Holiday in Philly.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto): Dario Saric, F, Croatia

The Thunder are in a luxurious position here as they don't have any pressing needs and still have a pretty high draft pick. In this case, they'll go with a high-upside Euro player who likely needs a good bit more time to develop.

13. Dallas Mavericks: C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh

The Mavericks are in a position where they need to add scoring, no matter where it comes from. 

McCollum will bring big-shot potential to Dallas, as well as the ability to play one of two guard positions and contribute with high intensity.

14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin, G, Miami

The Devin Harris move from Utah to Atlanta undoubtedly hurt the Jazz much more than it helped the Hawks, and they're still trying to figure out how to replace his productivity after missing the playoffs by one game. 

Shane Larkin turned it on big time late in the 2012-13 season, proving to be an elusive scorer with NBA talent. The Jazz will hit a home run by picking him up at No. 14.

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin, G, San Diego State

With a lot of questions surrounding the Bucks' backcourt in the next few seasons, they could be in desperate need of contributors at the guard position sooner rather than later. That's why they must go with a high-upside pick in Franklin.

He's not the most skilled shooter in the draft by any means, but Franklin's incredible athleticism puts him above most of this year's class. If the Bucks can capitalize on his potential, he could replace whoever isn't brought back between J.J. Redick, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.

16. Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

One of the oldest teams in the Association, the Celtics aren't short on needs in this year's draft. But they'll fill the obvious one in the frontcourt by adding elusive Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng.

Dieng showed his ability to shred opposing defenses, protect the paint with ease and add tempo to any lineup. His sound game on both sides of the floor will help out when Boston goes through its inevitable rebuild.

17. Atlanta Hawks: Mason Plumlee, F, Duke

The worst-kept secret in Atlanta is the likely departure of Josh Smith via free agency, and the Hawks must be prepared for that if it occurs. 

Mason Plumlee won't replace an elite player in Smith, but he'll help fill his minutes with rebounding prowess and athleticism around the rim. 

18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

With back-to-back picks, the Hawks can go in a number of directions, but the best one to go in would be a huge overhaul of the frontcourt.

Adams won't be able to contribute from Day 1, but after a season or two in the D-league, he should be able to mesh into a starting position and allow Al Horford to have more flexibility offensively.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers): Giannis Adetokunbo, F, Greece

The Cavaliers are stacking up draft picks, and here they'll get a high-profile European player who will become a regular contributor.

Players from Europe are always high risk, high reward, but the Cavs can afford to strike out on this pick late in the first round. However, Adetokunbo has huge upside and could turn into a great player.

20. Chicago Bulls: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G, Georgia

The Bulls have unsuccessfully tried in recent seasons to add a good rotation player to their backcourt, but all of the failed attempts will pay off when they reel in Caldwell-Pope.

One of the most gifted scoring players in this draft class, Caldwell-Pope will mesh well with Derrick Rose and could turn the Bulls from one of the worst backcourts without Rose in 2012-13 to one of the best in the near future.

21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State): Deshaun Thomas, F, Ohio State

Deshaun Thomas impressed scouts throughout his Ohio State career by being a one-man wrecking crew on offense, and that will bode well for the Jazz.

While the Jazz could benefit from adding another perimeter player here, grabbing a guy with the type of production that Thomas has can never be a bad decision. 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Tim Hardaway Jr., G, Michigan 

Despite Deron Williams and Joe Johnson giving the Nets an imposing backcourt, the pickings are slim on the bench unit, where C.J. Watson often has to be the main scoring guard.

That'll change quickly with the addition of Hardaway, who carried the load at times for the Wolverines in their national championship run and throughout his career. A solid bench player who could turn into a starter great trade bait, Hardaway will have a great deal of success in the NBA.

23. Indiana Pacers: Dennis Schroeder, G, Germany

The Pacers generally have a pretty complete team, but they could very well use some scoring volume coming off the bench.

Adding Schroeder is another high-risk, high-reward pick, but it could pay dividends for Indiana if he turns into the cog of the bench unit.

24. New York Knicks: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

The Knicks have one of the best frontcourts in the NBA on paper, but they need to get younger in order to compete for years to come. 

Withey perfectly compliments New York's defensive-oriented style and will be a menace on the boards. Assuming they keep Tyson Chandler, this duo would most likely be the most imposing defensive frontcourt in the league if Withey lives up to the potential.

25. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis): Archie Goodwin, G, Kentucky

Having already added Michael Carter-Williams to the backcourt, the Timberwolves will be best set to add another big-potential guard to the mix in Archie Goodwin.

Goodwin's career at Kentucky didn't pan out the way many had expected, but he still showcased an NBA skill set and will contribute off the bench quite well on this growing team. 

26. Los Angeles Clippers: C.J. Leslie, F, N.C. State

At pick No. 26, the Clippers can't do much better than adding one of the most electrifying college basketball players from a season ago in C.J. Leslie.

Leslie is listed as a forward, but plays more of a swingman position, which will complement L.A. quite well as they look to add a youngster to the Caron Butler-Lamar Odom rotation. 

27. Denver Nuggets: Mike Muscala, C, Bucknell

Center Mike Muscala dominated opponents while at Bucknell, and it's that level of play that will earn him playing time in the Denver rotation.

With a heap of able players, the Nuggets aren't looking for too many options to add, but Muscala will eventually break the mold.

28. San Antonio Spurs: Alan Crabbe, G, California

Crabbe is a team player who can catch and shoot with the best of them, which is why he'll fit into Gregg Popovich's offensive scheme.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas

The Thunder, yet again, are loading up on draft picks. 

Mitchell has a NBA-ready body frame, but his skill set needs work and will require a couple of years in the D-league to craft his game for the big leagues. Then, he'll be able to either serve as a solid bench player or trade bait, depending on OKC's plans.

30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami): Erik Murphy, F, Florida

The Suns, like I mentioned before, are looking to add scoring and identity to their roster, and that's just what Florida star Erik Murphy would bring.

Murphy may not bring a lot of athleticism to the game, but he can shoot the lights out and has a high motor. He's also a very cerebral team player who will benefit any system.

Like/don't like what you see? Follow me on Twitter and we can talk it out.


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