18 June 2013

2013 NBA Mock Draft: 5th Edition

The NBA Draft is always chock full of intriguing foreign prospects, with one of the top prospects being the man they refer to as the "Greek Freak," forward Giannis Adetokundo. The 18-year old of Nigerian descent may not have played against top competition in Greece and is very raw, but has an enormous ceiling. Is he worth the risk? Here is my fifth mock draft.

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 McLemoreSGKansas
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 PorterSFGeorgetown
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 OladipoSGIndiana
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 BennettFUNLV
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 Pelicans - Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Pelicans (man I love that name) can go in a variety of directions with this selection here but after going with Trey Burke last week, I think they will instead go with a center here and put together a talented frontcourt with Anthony Davis at the four. I mean, Robin Lopez is a nice player but to rely on him as a center is a little much, especially if you want to make a push for the postseason. 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 New Orleans pulling the trigger. He complements Davis very well.

7. Sacramento Kings - Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
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. 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 Kings that has struggled to put the ball in the basket.

8. Detroit Pistons - C.J. McCollumGLehigh
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 - Shabazz Muhammed, SF, UCLA
Nobody is going to deny how talented Muhammed, one of the prizes of the recruiting season of a year ago, is, even as he does not have a fully refined game, but there are lingering questions about his attitude (Just ask Bill Walton). But for a club like the Timberwolves, that has a big void at small forward, the risk is probably worth it. Minnesota needs more scoring from the wing regardless.

10. Portland Trail Blazers - Steven AdamsCPittsburgh
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 ZellerCIndiana
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) - Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Yes, the Thunder had a disappointing premature departure from the playoffs, but they are still a loaded club with not that many needs. However, one thing that can be upgraded is their scoring from their post guys as while Serge Ibaka has grown his game offensively, there is no production on that end from the center position. 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.

13. Dallas Mavericks - Michael Carter-WilliamsPGSyracuse
A year after missing out on Deron Williams, the Mavs do not have a long-term answer at point guard and while people may have some pipe dreams about Chris Paul, the team could be in a solid position to find an answer in this draft, particularly if Carter-Williams is still on the board. 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.

14. Utah Jazz - Dennis SchroederPGGermany
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 - Kentavious Caldwell-PopeSGGeorgia
The Milwaukee backcourt is in a state of flux this offseason and while I would expect Brandon Jennings to return, I doubt that either Monta Ellis or J.J. Redick to do so, leaving a hole at shooting. Why not take one of the best shooters in this draft class? 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. And even if one of those two returns, you can never have too many shooters.

16. Boston Celtics - Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece
With an aging roster that could be in for a shakeup if either or both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett depart this offseason, the Celtics need some high-impact youngsters. However, it has been rumored that Boston GM Danny Ainge is smitten with the aforementioned Adetokunbo and has reportedly gone to Greece to see him play in person. As I mentioned earlier, Adetokunbo is very raw, probably too raw for the D-League, but could be a guy worth developing over a few years.

17. Atlanta Hawks - Jamaal FranklinSGSan 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, Franklin would allow new coach Mike Budenholzer to pick and choose.

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 CrabbeSGCalifornia
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 DiengCLouisville
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 WitheyCKansas
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 MitchellFNorth 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 KarasevSFRussia
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 - Rudy Gobert, C, France
The Clippers are a club built to win right now, but of course, if Chris Paul leaves town this offseason, things may dramatically change, particularly with a new coach in town. One spot the club could use some depth is in the frontcourt as both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan saw a large amount of minutes this season. They may be inclined to take a risk on an import like Gobert, even if he may not make an immediate contribution. 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.


26. Minnesota Timberwolves - Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Michigan
When was the last time the T'Wolves had a real weapon at shooting guard? Latrell Sprewell? All kidding aside, the club needs as much scoring help it can get from the wing, and they were absolutely pitiful shooting from the perimeter last season, the worst in the league statistically. 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.

27. Denver Nuggets - Glen Rice, Jr., SF, NBDL

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 talented wing player like Rice would be wise. 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 see in college.

28. San Antonio Spurs - Lucas Nogueira, PF/C, Brazil
Given the Spurs' history, you can really expect anything from their draft picks. They do have a history in stashing international talents overseas while they develop considering they do not have a lot of immediate needs. In fact, that is what I think they will do here and add to their potential frontcourt depth with Nogueira, who I have seen mocked as high as 11 in some mocks. He is definitely a project but considering his seven feet size, his athleticism and his skill-set, he looks like he's worth a flier.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina
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 potentially make an impact off the pine right away. Now I didn't love Bullock's decision to leave Chapel Hill early, he is a very good shooter with plus size to get his shot off even in traffic, which OKC could use.

30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami via Cleveland & Lakers) - Archie GoodwinSGKentucky
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. If coached well, he can be a heck of a player.

Check out the NBA Mock Database from WalterFootball.

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