2013 NBA Mock Draft: Final Edition
1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
I know that the prevailing winds are saying that Cleveland is going to take Alex Len instead of Noel, but quite frankly, I'm sticking with my guy. Chad Ford's reasoning as to why he is sticking with Noel going first makes a lot of sense. I'll throw in some things that I think. First, Cleveland wants to make a playoff push this year and while Noel is still pretty raw and needs to build his body, he is NBA-ready defensively, which was a major weakness this year for the Cavs.
2. Orlando Magic - Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
For a while I have had the Magic taking Ben McLemore with this selection but now I am changing gears and giving them Oladipo, who has been one of the rising prospects, which is pretty remarkable considering he was not a ranked prospect out of high school. Whether or not the team moves Aaron Afflalo, I think they will go shooting guard here (unless Noel is available). While Oladipo will likely never be an outstanding shooter, his excellent defense and his slashing offensive game will be attractive for many a club.
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 top natural small forward. 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 - Alex Len, C, Maryland
As we all know, the Bobcats are all but a disaster, although they did make some strides this season in that they cracked double-digits in wins, for what it's worth. They have many needs but one of the biggest has got to be offensive play from their big men, which is all but nonexistent. 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 since Charlotte is not contending anytime soon
5. Phoenix Suns - Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
You know, it was not that long ago that the Suns were a legitimate playoff team in the Western Conference. And then, Steve Nash and so many key players departed and now the roster has a dearth of talent so the Suns can take just about anyone here and fill a need. The Suns' wing play was pretty second-rate this season and the club really struggled to shoot the ball from the perimeter. 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.
6. New Orleans Pelicans - Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV
Many folks think that the Pelicans are going to take the best player on the board here, with common projected picks including Len, Trey Burke and Bennett. Considering the club has a pretty clear need at the three, and with Porter off the board at this juncture, and as Bennett is considered a tweener forward due to his size and his game, look for NOLA to pull the trigger. And I love Bennett and I think he could end up being the best player in this draft if his inside-outside game translates well and if he gives a stronger effort on defense.
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 - Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
A common pick on this blog has been C.J. McCollum going eight to Detroit but considering the fact that McCollum is not likely to be a point at the next level, contrary to what he believes, as well as that the team probably doesn't need another combo guard as they still do not know what to do with Brandon Knight, look for them to take the more natural point in Carter-Williams. 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. He does have to drastically cut down on his turnovers, however.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
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. Yes, Caldwell-Pope is young and a little raw but he is that classic off-guard that has the talent to develop into a really good one. He can shoot very well from the outside and should give the Minnesota backcourt plenty of pop.
10. Portland Trail Blazers - C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
Of the causes of Portland's disappointing campaign this season, one of the biggest has to be the bench, or lack thereof, that the club had, which was without question one of the worst in the league. Therefore, they can take just about anyone and it would bring an important upgrade to their reserve unit. McCollum makes a lot of sense because he truly is instant offense, regardless of which guard position he will play at the next level.
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 via Houston) - Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
As proven by the fact that the club is being aggressive about moving up in the draft, the Thunder are a team that does not need two first round selections and thus they can take chances on talented players such as Adams who could fill needs. The New Zealand product is still very raw given his limited hoops experience and his less-than-stellar production at Pitt, and he could have used more seasoning. But he has a very impressive physical profile with a great frame, plus size and plus athleticism which make him intriguing to clubs willing to give him time to develop. His offensive game needs a lot of work.
13. Dallas Mavericks - Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Karasev looks to be one of the rare international prospects that may be ready to play in the Association right now, despite only being 19. He has a very good jump shot and excels in catch-and-shoot action. His slashing abilities could use some work and his defense needs plenty of fine-tuning, but he looks like a definite contributor. However, the Mavericks do not appear to be in any rush if they do take an international guy considering they are rumored to potentially deal this pick or stash it.
14. Utah Jazz - Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
The big Canadian was awesome this season for the Zags, thanks to his versatile offensive game in which he can attack the basket in the paint or nail jumpers from the perimeter. His offensive game is impressive to the point where his average athleticism and his inconsistent defensive play are not as big of a drag for him as they could be for other bigs. He would help space out the interior for young Utah bigs Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter while also providing some key depth in the frontcourt.
15. Milwaukee Bucks - Shabazz Muhammed, SG/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 - Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Schroeder has the tools you want out of a flashy point guard, quickness and speed, excellent ball-handling skills, court vision and ability to get his teammates involved. He can get anywhere he wants on the court and is brilliant in transition. He has an underrated shot from outside and has the skills to be a real pest on defense. He has to improve his jumper from inside the arc and is still pretty raw at only 19. Boston is reportedly enamored of Schroeder and his game, which some have likened to that of Rajon Rondo.
17. Atlanta Hawks - Rudy Gobert, C, France
Given Danny Ferry's background with the Spurs, as well as the fact that the club is likely to be a major player in free agency this season, don't be surprised at all if the Hawks take one (or two) international prospects to develop overseas, such as this big fella. Gobert may be one of the biggest physical freaks in recent memory. He stands at 7'2" with an insane 7'8" wingspan and an even more insane 9'7" standing reach. With that and his plus athleticism, he should be a force on defense, as he also has good instincts. His offensive game is a work in progress but thanks to soft hands, he's very good with lobs.
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston via Brooklyn) - 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, Franklin would allow new coach Mike Budenholzer to pick and choose.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers) - Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece
The "Greek Freak" may be the biggest question of this draft. This is a guy that is extremely raw, some have thought that he may not be ready for the pros in five years, but many see him as a potentially special talent due to impressive ball-handling and passing skills and his size and length. Cleveland has a clear need at the three and also appear to be willing to stash the prospect selected here overseas to get some more season before he comes to the Association.
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) - Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Utah has never been able to replace Deron Williams at point guard and it has really limited their ceiling, even with their stout frontcourt. Larkin was one of the most improved players in the nation and played a big role in the Hurricanes having the best season in the history of their program. Now while he is limited by his small stature, as well as by an inconsistent jumper, he is extremely athletic and agile and is tremendous running the pick-and-roll. He should make an immediate impact as a change-of-pace point for the Jazz, who have not have a speedy point such as him in a long time.
22. Brooklyn Nets - Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Duke
Given how limited their opportunities are to improve in the coming future due to the cap situation, the Nets really have to hit on their few draft picks if they want to improve. Taking a big man would make a lot of sense considering how shallow their depth is up front and thus taking a guy that appears to be ready to play right away as Plumlee is considered to be is reasonable. Plumlee's athleticism will entice some club to take him early.
23. Indiana Pacers - Tony Mitchell, F, North Texas
A key piece to the Pacers' success this year has been power forward David West, but considering the fact that he is a free agent and likely to draw a healthy salary, Indiana should be looking to potentially find a replacement and taking a risk on a guy like Mitchell could be wise. Mitchell is a guy that is extremely talented and looked ready to soar up draft boards after a promising freshman campaign. Unfortunately, his game took a hit this season and he across the board declined under a new coach. He needs to find a team that can help him improve his mental approach to the game.
24. New York Knicks - Lorenzo Brown, PG, N.C. State
It makes a lot of sense for the Knicks to target the point guard position with their sole pick in this draft. After all, the club did not get the point guard play that they desired this year from Ray Felton and Jason Kidd, and while Kidd has retired, Felton is no spring chicken either. Ideally, they would love to see Larkin fall but a guy I have had some rumors about them liking is Brown, who would fit really well into the faster style that Mike Woodson wants to play this year. While his scoring game is sloppy, he is an excellent distributor, which the club needs.
25. Los Angeles Clippers - Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Michigan State
The Clippers actually did have a pretty deep bench this past season, as Jamal Crawford in particular was very good off the bench, but Hardaway is one of the better players on the board and he can help bring an infusion of youth to the wings. 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 when he is on. All-in-all, he is a well-rounded two guard that can be a good one if he is more consistent with his jumper.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Houston) - Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Nikola Pekovic has become a favorite of many as he has developed into a pretty solid NBA center and a key piece of this franchise. However, he is a restricted free agent this offseason and while many think he will return, there is that chance. Therefore, Minnesota would be wise to use this pick on a potential replacement. 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.
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 talented wing player like Bullock would be wise. 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. He also is a solid defender and can grab rebounds as well.
28. San Antonio Spurs - Tony Snell, SG/SF, New Mexico
Snell is a guy that utilized a strong junior season to become a solid draft prospect late in the first. He has a very good jumper from the perimeter and has the physical tools (size, length, athleticism) to become an excellent defender. The rest of his offensive game is hit-or-miss. Given that Manu Ginobili's days are unfortunately numbered, the organization would be wise to find some more talented players for the wing as the club begins to move forward.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Yeah, the James Harden deal was not a great call, even as Kevin Martin had himself a very good season. However, Martin is a free agent this offseason and if he leaves, there will be a lot of pressure on the relatively inexperienced Jeremy Lamb, who was also acquired in the Martin deal. Therefore, making a good value pick with Crabbe could be wise. Crabbe is not that dissimilar in some aspects from Ben McLemore. Crabbe has an excellent stroke from the perimeter, as well as a good size and length for a 2-guard, but he admittedly says that he has to get more aggressive on the offensive end.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami via Cleveland and Lakers) - Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence
Yes, Ledo is raw, has character concerns and has not shown much of the defensive end. But, he has a pretty high ceiling and is pretty talented on the offensive end in that he can shoot the threeball and drive it to the rim. For a team that, as mentioned before, is lacking for talent like the Suns are, taking a chance on a guy like Ledo makes a lot of sense this last in the first. After all, had Ledo actually played this season in Providence, he may have gone in the lottery.
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