22 May 2013

2013 NBA Mock Draft: 1st Edition

Nick Gilbert is one lucky charm. For the second time in the past three years, the son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has served as the club's representative en route to the club winning the NBA Draft Lottery. Therefore, Cleveland, who had the third worst record in the league and thus the third highest odds of getting the first pick, will select first on June 27th. With that in mind as we know have the order for the draft, here is my first mock.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
If the Cavs hit on this pick, they could really set themselves up for a strong future. I will go with the trend that the club will take the top player on the board in Noel, but I do not think that it is set in stone by any stretch, especially considering the club already has a fair share of big men with a less-then-stellar offensive game. But I don't think that Ben McLemore is in consideration due to the fact that a top five pick was used on Dion Waiters last year, and I don't know if the team has Otto Porter at the very top of their board. Plus, taking Noel would allow the team to finally deal Anderson Varejao.

2. Orlando Magic - Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Orlando just missed out on the top overall selection, but could Burke be the player they have had their eye on? He fills a big need at point guard, and while he is a little undersized, nobody can deny his leadership qualities as well as his game, a game that would be very attractive for a club like the Magic that has struggled to put the ball in the basket. Ben McLemore will also be in consideration, but the Magic already have a good two guard in Aaron Afflalo.

3. Washington Wizards - Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
There is little chance, in my opinion, that Porter slips past the Wizards and the third pick because this is a selection that just makes too much sense. Washington has a big hole at small forward since Caron Butler was traded to Dallas in early 2010, and Porter is the clear best player at the position. He is a jack-of-trades that would complement Washington's talented backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. And it does not hurt that he is a local prospect as well.

4. Charlotte Bobcats - Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
If there is a top need of the Bobcats, finding more scoring from the wing has to be in consideration. After all, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a talented three, but he also could not hit the broad side of a barn with his jumper. Charlotte needs a long-term answer at shooting guard that it does not currently have and McLemore should be that guy. He will provide some much-needed shooting from the wing and will help take the scoring load off of Kemba Walker.

5. Phoenix Suns - Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Man, have the Suns fallen fast or what? They have needs all over their roster, with the exception of the point guard position, and they are really lacking on the wing. Therefore, a rising talent like Oladipo makes a lot of sense. He may never be a lights-out shooter from the perimeter, but this is a kid that does everything else really well. He is a great athlete, a talented defender and a solid offensive weapon that can slash and finish at the rim.

6. New Orleans Pelicans - Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Pelicans (which is fantastic to finally be able to write) have built their roster with some exciting young talent, even if Eric Gordon continues to be an enigma, but they could use a talented center to take some pressure away from Anthony Davis in the interior, even as Robin Lopez played well this past season. Len was not outstanding in College Park but he has a great physical profile with a tantalizing skill-set that intrigues many. He has work to do before becoming a finished prospect as he is only 19 and quite raw, but I could see the Pelicans pulling the trigger.

7. Sacramento Kings - Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
The Kings have done a great job bringing in a glutton of wing players with similar flaws and that has left a roster that is a mess. Due to those wing players, as well as a sketchy situation as a whole, they need a selfless point guard that can step right in and be a leader. Carter-Williams is a natural playmaker with excellent court vision. He also has great size for a point at 6-6 which should give him an advantage over smaller points.

8. Detroit Pistons - Michael Bennett, F, UNLV
Bennett is a talent that I like very much but he could potentially fall due to questions over whether he is a small or a power forward. However, that could be a plus for Detroit which needs help on the wing at small forward and could use some versatility in their frontcourt as well. Bennett has an intriguing inside/outside game with a jumper that stretches to the three point arc and he is an athletic and physical player on the boards.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves - C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
Minnesota really disappointed this year but a big reason why was the rash of injuries the club had to suffer through. With everybody healthy, they should be much better but they still need some offensive pop from the backcourt as well as much better shooting from the perimeter. McCollum, therefore, makes a lot of sense. He is not that comfortable with playing the point, as he expects to at the next level, but his range will prove too much for the Wolves to ignore.

10. Portland Trail Blazers - Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
Yes, the Trail did just take a center in the first round last year in Meyers Leonard but he really did not show much this past season and thus the need at center remains. Fortunately, they have the opportunity to take one of the top players on the board in Zeller. He has a very good offensive game and he has plenty of athleticism as well, and he does not come to the pros as raw as many centers do.

11. Philadelphia 76ers - Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Gonzaga
After Andrew Bynum no-showed the 2012-13 season and Spencer Hawes disappointed, the Sixers should look to rebuild their frontcourt and thus they could use a talent like this 7-0 Canadian. Olynyk's offensive game is really impressive for such a big guy, with some saying that he shoots like a guard. The concerns do come with his defense and his strength but the skills Olynyk brings to the table on offense make him worth it.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto via Houston) - Rudy Gobert, C, France
Yes, the Thunder had a disappointing premature departure from the playoffs, but they are still a loaded club with not that many needs. Therefore, a top-tier club like theirs can afford to take a risk on a guy like Gobert, even if they have to wait a year or more. Gobert is enormous with his height being at 7-2 and a wingspan of 7-8. He may be a little thin and his offensive game could use a lot of work, but he has the potential to be a defensive machine in the paint.

13. Dallas Mavericks - Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
I think it is pretty clear that Adams did not make a great call to enter the draft. Yes, he may be a lottery pick, as I project here, he really could have used more seasoning as he was overwhelmed as a freshman at Pitt. But he clearly has the physical gifts to become a very good center at the next level and I think that a team on the verge of a rebuilding process like Dallas would be willing to roll the dice.

14. Utah Jazz - Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Utah has never been able to replace Deron Williams at point guard and it has really limited their ceiling, even with their stout frontcourt. Some have likened Schroeder to a smaller Rajon Rondo and the ability he has shown with the ball in his hands is very impressive. He is a natural playmaker who is lightning-quick and can get to wherever he wants to go on the court. His jumper is also better than many think, although he won't shoot as well from deep in the NBA like he did in the Deutschland.

15. Milwaukee Bucks - Shabazz Muhammed, SG/SF, UCLA
Talent is not why many have Muhammed slipping on draft day. It has more to do with questions about his playing style and his attitude, but that could mean a shrewd club like the Bucks could take advantage of other's mistakes and take a good one. He appears to be a good fit for the Bucks, who could use his scoring punch on the wing, particularly if any of their guards leave this summer.

16. Boston Celtics - Dario Saric, F, Croatia
With an aging roster that could be in for a shakeup if either or both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett depart this offseason, the Celts need some high-impact youngsters and thus taking a chance on a guy like Saric could be rather wise. Saric is a tremendous passing big man that moves very well. His fundamentals are strong and he has the ability to be a great playmaker for somebody his size.

17. Atlanta Hawks - Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Franklin really is a Ben Florance kind of player and I love this guy. He can play and defend multiple positions  and he is a jack-of-all-trades player that led the Aztecs in multiple statistics. Franklin has to work on his shot but he plays hard and brings it defensively every night. For a team that already has some variety in their backcourt

18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston via Brooklyn) - Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
We do know that the Hawks are looking to find someone at center so they can move Al Horford to the four and thus they are looking to go hard after Dwight Howard. Even if they are able to bring in Howard, they are not very deep inside and Plumlee could be a guy worth developing. I'm not much of a fan of Mason just like I wasn't a fan of his brother, but he has a solid low post game and quality athleticism for a big guy.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers) - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Cavaliers have high hopes for second-year guard Dion Waiters, but given that he is more of a slashing type, complementing him with a very good shooter could be very smart. The club really could use a shooter anyways and the young Caldwell-Pope is one of the top shooters in this draft class. He also has the talent to grow along with the rest of the talented youngsters on the Cleveland roster, including whoever they select with the first selection.

20. Chicago Bulls - Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Michigan
As proven when the club was ravaged by injuries in the postseason, Chicago is not very deep and upgrading their depth will be on the top of their priorities. While many think the club will address their frontcourt, I think they will look to add some scoring pop to their backcourt with Hardaway, Jr. Hardaway, Jr. was a little inconsistent in college but he has really impressed in the pre-draft process and he can be electric from the perimeter.

21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State via Brooklyn) - Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
As I mentioned earlier, the Jazz have focused themselves on their deep frontcourt but with both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap hitting free agency this summer, all of a sudden the team could use some more depth. Finding some insurance for the talented Enes Kanter at center would make sense as well. Withey has little offensive game but his defensive skills are really impressive so he could bring an element that Utah has not really inside of late.

22. Brooklyn Nets - Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Brooklyn is looking for a quality defensive big man to help spell Brook Lopez, who is one of the top offensive centers in the NBA but has never been considered an excellent defensive player. Now while Dieng has a better offensive game than he is generally given credit for, he is an underrated passer, but his defensive skills are tremendous. He is a skilled shot-blocker and he controls the boards.

23. Indiana Pacers - Allen Crabbe, SG, California
As we have learned out this postseason, the Pacers are fantastic on defense. As we have also learned this postseason, the Pacers are at times dreadful on offense. They could use a pocket scorer off the pine that can bring some offense when the starting five stalls and thus Crabbe makes sense. Crabbe is a tremendous shooter from three point land and he has the advantage of being a taller shooting guard that is also long.

24. New York Knicks - Shane LarkinPGMiami (FL)
The Knicks do not have a whole lot of options to improve their roster and thus they have a lot of pressure on them to nail this selection. One position that needs an injection of some youth at point guard with Raymond Felton having a decent year while Jason Kidd looks toast. In today's NBA, Larkin's lack of size is not a big issue and he more than makes up for it with his incredible speed and playmaking abilities.

25. Los Angeles Clippers - Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
The Clippers did have a relatively deep bench this season, but one thing the club could really use (besides a competent head coach) is more depth in the front court. And considering the club is set at the four with Blake Griffin, they can take a calculated risk in a talent like Mitchell. He does come with some work ethic issues but he is a great athlete with really good inside-outside skills.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Houston) - Glen Rice, Jr., SF, NBDL
Rice is one of the bigger enigmas in the draft this year. He had some issues at Georgia Tech which eventually resulted in him getting kicked off the program but he went to the NBDL, cleaned up his act, and he excelled against a higher level than most do in college. Minnesota has a big need at small forward that needs to be addressed and Rice would make a lot of sense.

27. Denver Nuggets - Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Do the Nuggets, a pretty deep club as is, really need more wing players? Well, with Danillo Gallinari's injury that will sideline him for much of this coming season, there is a hole there and thus taking a top player available in Karasev would be wise. Karasev is the rare Russian who looks to be relatively ready for the pros right now and his offensive game is very solid as he can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways.

28. San Antonio Spurs - Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
If this is not a classic Spurs selection, I do not know what is. San Antonio is one of the top clubs that takes talented Euro prospects and stashes them overseas while they develop, and then have them come over when they are deemed to be ready. Antetokounmpo is very raw and he still has not fully developed his body yet but he has shown the abilities to be a tremendous playmaker thanks in part to his enormous hands.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Tony Snell, SG/SF, New Mexico
At this juncture, the Thunder could really sit back and take anybody they want, whether it be a foreign player to hold overseas or a solid talent that could contribute right away, like a guy like Snell. Snell is a wingman that has improved his three point skills every year in Albuquerque and he really flourished down the stretch for the Lobos. He also has the ability to develop into a physical defender.

30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami via Lakers and Cleveland) - Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
Yes, I do have the Suns taking another shooting guard earlier but given how barren their club is at the wing, and how little talent remains, taking quite possibly the top prospect remaining is a good call. Goodwin did have a bad combine and probably should not have come out after only one year, but he showed the ability to score in bunches in Lexington.

Check out the NBA Mock Database from WalterFootball

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