06 June 2013

2013 NBA Mock Draft: 3rd Edition

You know why the Spurs are gunning for their fifth NBA title in 15 years? Because they build through the draft. Look at their core players, they were pretty much all acquired via the draft. Yes, winning the draft lottery in 1997 and taking Tim Duncan set them in motion for their title run, but look at key guys like Manu Ginobili (1999 draft pick 57), Tony Parker (2001 draft pick 28), Kawhi Leonard (2011 draft pick 15, acquired in draft day trade) and Tiago Splitter (2007 draft pick 27), all were picked by the mid or late first round. Strong drafting leads to a strong run of success, because not everybody can build like the Heat and load up by piecing together elite guys.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Nerlens NoelPF/CKentucky
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 - Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
I know that in my first two mocks, I have been mocking Trey Burke to the Magic at this slot considering the need at point guard as well as the fact that the team already has a solid shooting guard in Aaron Afflalo. But as a team, they really struggled to score (sixth lowest in the league) and they were not very good at shooting from the perimeter either (second worst percentage). McLemore would help them immediately in both regards as he is a great shooter with good form and he proved it by shooting high percentages from deep.

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 - Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
In this situation, the Bobcats are in a pretty tough spot. They miss out on the top two prospects in Noel and McLemore, both of whom would fill big needs, and now they'll have to mix it up. Now you may think that taking another talented wing player that may struggle offensively for the second straight year would not be a great call. But Oladipo has been rising across draft boards after an excellent season in Bloomington in which he showcased quality athleticism and excellent defensive talents. That offensive game, which did show some life from time to time, will be critical.

5. Phoenix Suns - Anthony 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, for a club like the Suns that are such a mess that they can take just about anything with this selection, they would be happen to land this Canadian. 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.

6. New Orleans Hornets - Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Yes, Greivis Vasquez was a revelation at the point guard position this past season, nearly winning the Most Improved Player award, but the team really does not have that much else at the point as Austin Rivers was a disaster, and Burke may be the top player available. While Burke is a little undersized, nobody can deny his leadership qualities in how he led the Wolverines to the championship game as well as his game, a game that would be very attractive for a club like the Hornets that has struggled to put the ball in the basket.

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 - C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
Now I am not that sold that McCollum can be a point guard at the next level considering he did not play a lot of point at Lehigh and projects to be more of a combo guard, something the Pistons already have a fair amount of. And yet, this is a club that could sorely use the offense in a bottle game that McCollum brings to the table. His range and shot from the perimeter will be too much for the club to pass up.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves - Alex Len, C, Maryland
One of the more underrated big men in the association is Nikola Pekovic, but he is a restricted free agent. The team does expect to re-sign him, but even then, they do not have a whole lot behind them, and Len looks to be a good fit in Rick Adelman's offense. 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 T'Wolves pulling the trigger.

10. Portland Trail Blazers - Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
How did I forget to put Adams in last week's mock? And 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. So while it may not be the best of ideas to take another raw center who should have stayed in school, Adams has the skill to be a defensive force the likes of which the club has not had in the interior in a while.

11. Philadelphia 76ers - Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
After Andrew Bynum no-showed the 2012-13 season and Spencer Hawes disappointed, the Sixers should look to rebuild their frontcourt. Therefore, if the athletic Zeller is still on the board at this juncture, look for the club to pounce. Yes, Zeller's stock did drop during the year as it appeared that his game did not evolve. But, he is a pretty talented offensive center and unlike many centers in this draft, is not that raw and therefore a little more pro-ready.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto) - 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 - Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
As we all know, the Mavericks were pretty disappointing in the 2012-13 season, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2000. And as we all know, especially by those who watch Shark Tank, that Mark Cuban is an aggressive owner that does not mind at all to take risks (like hosting The Benefactor). So why not take a flyer on a guy like Saric, whom the Mavs think has star potential. 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.

14. Utah Jazz - Dorsey 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, SF, UCLA
Talent is not why many have Muhammed slipping on draft day, including me in this mock draft. 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 - Kelly Olynyk, PF, Gonzaga
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. Plus, their frontcourt is rather shallow so they should look to address that with this selection. 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.

17. Atlanta Hawks - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Yes, Caldwell-Pope is young and a little raw but he is that classic off-guard that has the talent to develop into a good one. The Hawks do not have a deep bench in their backcourt, nor do they have that many quality shooters from the perimeter. Now the Hawks are a bit of a wild card this offseason due to the amount of cap room they have, but taking a guy like Caldwell-Pope would make a lot of sense.

18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston) - 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) - Allen Crabbe, SG, California
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 while Crabbe will likely never be a great defensive player nor is he much of an athlete, there is one thing he does very well and that is shooting from the outside. He is a lengthy guy who can get a clean look pretty much anywhere.

20. Chicago Bulls - Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
If there is one player not named Derrick Rose that the Bulls really missed this season, it may have been former reserve center Omer Asik, whose physical defensive presence off the pine was never really adequately replaced. With some quality defensive centers, look for Chicago to possibly pull the trigger early. 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.

21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State) - 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. Fortunately, this team would then not have to rely on Withey to bring anything offensively, which suits him perfectly and allows him to focus on his craft, which is defense. He has a body ready for the pros and should immediately contribute on the defensive end.

22. Brooklyn Nets - Tony Mitchell, F, North Texas
The Nets have to hit on their draft picks because due to how this team is built in regards to the salary cap, they do not have much opportunities to find upgrades in free agency or via trades. Therefore, the team should be open to take some risks and considering the mediocre play this year at power forward, why not take a flier on a guy like Mitchell. He does come with some work ethic issues but he is a great athlete with really good inside-outside skills.

23. Indiana Pacers - Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Karasev looks to be one of the rare foreign imports that looks ready to contribute right away, which even a quality club like the Pacers would enjoy. Given how stagnant Indiana can look at times on defense, bringing in a true sharpshooter that can light it up from the perimeter could really shake things up and open up things in the interior. Yeah, he will probably be a trash defender but on a team like Indiana, he can be hidden on that end.

24. New York Knicks - Shane LarkinPGMiami
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 fortunately retired as he was done. 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 - 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. The Clippers actually did have a pretty deep bench this past season, as Jamal Crawford in particular was very good off the bench, but Franklin is one of the top players on the board and would be an infusion of youth.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves - 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 - Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina
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 quality wing player like Bullock would be wise. Now I didn't love Bullock's decision to leave Chapel Hill early, he is a very strong shooter with plus size to get his shot off even in traffic.

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 SnellSG/SFNew 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 Cleveland & Lakers) - Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
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. A club that is in desperate need of some talent like the Suns should be willing to take some risks, especially this late in the first round, so a guy that is very talented like Goodwin should be worth the shot.

Check out the NBA Mock Database from WalterFootball.

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