Every year I do big boards and mock drafts for the NBA Draft. I usually update them every week or sometimes even every few days. But I've been plenty busy lately and I haven't really been able to get around to a lot of the draft stuff that I would have loved to get around to. This will be the first 2013 mock draft that I post on ClipsNation this year and it will also be the last. As stated, I will provide a lot of pick-by-pick analysis and my thoughts on the fit. Hope everyone enjoys.
01.) Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Analysis: You either love this pick or hate this pick. Personally, I love this pick for Cleveland. To me, he's the best prospect in the entire draft and it's not even close. Noel's ability to change the entire game on the defensive side of the court is something that cannot be undersold. The impact he makes with his blocking, rebounding, and intelligence is something that you have to watch in order to truly understand. It's beautiful. His offense is lacking. There's no denying that. However, he has shown the ability to be a very adept passer out of the low post which is something that teams are starting to covet more and more. Will he be a pure post-up option that you can toss the ball into? Probably not. But he's still the best option in this draft to be a game-changer. I feel all of the chatter that's come out recently that Cleveland is supposedly in love with Alex Len is just a smokescreen to get a team like Charlotte to give up a lot in order to secure Len. I don't think Cleveland goes anywhere but Noel here.
02.) Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Analysis: This pick is two-fold. On one hand, Oladipo is the safest pick in the entire draft. At his worst, he'll be a player who brings energy, rebounding, and defense every night with the occasional basket off of hustle, hard work, and intelligence. At his best, he's the best two-way shooting guard in the league. It's really kinda that simple. The flip side is that I don't know if Orlando is actually the team that picks Oladipo here. There's been some talk that Minnesota is enamored with Oladipo and is trying to work out a deal to move up and select him. It's obvious that shooting guard is a need for them. It's also a need with Orlando even though they still, at this moment, have Arron Afflalo. Orlando needs talent. Oladipo not only provides talent but combines that with the hard work and mentality it takes to succeed in the NBA. I have him as the second best player in this draft and it seems fitting that he'd go second overall behind the only guy I have ahead of him. Either way, Oladipo is a great player and prospect. I think he'll also surprise people with his ability to catch-and-shoot from three.
03.) Washington Wizards: Otto Porter Jr., SF, Georgetown
Analysis: I'll be the first one to say it, this is one of those "too good to be true" picks in the draft. It makes so much sense that it probably won't happen. The only other way I could see Washington going here is taking Ben McLemore and trotting out a Wall-Beal-McLemore lineup and trying to drive-and-kick teams to death. You can still do that with Porter while getting better defensive value. Porter won't demand the ball but he knows what to do when he gets it. His defensive ability is also pretty good and I like his fit in Washington. He won't have to move far, obviously, and I think he and Wall will make a nice little 1-3 combo. Add in Beal and it looks like Washington might be finally turning the corner. The other alternative here is a big man to replace Emeka Okafor after the upcoming season when he hits free agency in 2014 but I highly doubt Washington will take either Alex Len or Anthony Bennett here. Porter makes a ton of sense so I'm going to stick with this pick.
04.) Charlotte Bobcats: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Analysis: Apparently, and I do mean apparently, Alex Len is who Charlotte wants the most. They've even entertained offers to move up. This was the worst front court in the league last season so they need help wherever they could get it. I feel like Anthony Bennett is a better fit for them but Len isn't a bad fit. He provides size, strength, and all-around ability on both ends of the court. I just worry about his ankle. Seems like a funny thing to say considering I have Nerlens Noel so high despite an ACL tear and damage to his growth plate when he was in high school, but I find foot and ankle injuries scarier for big men than I do knee problems. Don't ask me why. It's just how I view it. Centers can get by longer with weary knees than bum feet, in my mind. Everyone keeps comparing Len to former Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and I can see that, even down to the foot problems. Len does make sense here, though. In the end, I think Charlotte gets the man that they want.
05.) Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
Analysis: I'm going to get this off my chest once and for all. I hate Ben McLemore as a prospect. I really do. I think the difference between him and Allen Crabbe isn't all that much. They're similar to me. The only difference happens to be that Crabbe is older than McLemore and that hurts his stock a little bit. McLemore is a knock down player in catch-and-shoot situations and is very good in transition but doesn't try all that much. He's lazy at times and doesn't put forth the effort needed. He likes to take the backseat and coast. That's fine and all but you don't want that out of the fifth overall pick in the draft. Phoenix needs someone, anyone, who can instill some excitement in the franchise and McLemore will at least give that. Do I see him as Ray Allen like others do? Not even close. I think he's going to be an okay pro but nothing special. If he even turns out like Nick Young, I think that's an okay thing. He just has to show some initiative on defense and assert himself more on offense. I just don't think he ever will. McLemore seems content with just getting to the NBA.
06.) New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Analysis: I've read some stuff that New Orleans got offered the first pick by Cleveland but the Cavaliers wanted this pick, their 2014 first round pick, and Greivis Vasquez in exchange for it. I don't see why New Orleans would do that. They don't seem to high on Vasquez and seem to be gauging his value somewhat. Ultimately, I think New Orleans just takes Trey Burke and tries to continue building a young, exciting core group of players. The team isn't that far off from the playoff picture -- barring injuries, of course -- so I feel Burke makes at least a little bit of sense. I don't see all the hype with Burke and I picture him more as a Jeff Teague type of player in the league but there's still value with a player like that. They can take Burke and pair him with Eric Gordon in the backcourt and see where that leads them. What New Orleans really needs is a small forward but with Porter off the board, I can't see them taking a slight reach on Shabazz Muhammad at this point. Burke is the pick here.
07.) Sacramento Kings: Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana
Analysis: Recent word out of draft central is that Cody Zeller could actually go as high as number two overall to the Orlando Magic. I don't see that happening but it wouldn't completely shock me. He did test off the charts athletically and he is a smart player. He was viewed as one of the top two prospects before the year but has slipped due to his underwhelming final season at Indiana. Either way, I think he does make some sense for Sacramento here. The only other option would be a point guard. For instance, Michael Carter-Williams. I could see Sacramento doing that but Zeller fits their team a little bit better. His ability as a face-up four man is something that you could pair with DeMarcus Cousins, if they choose to keep him around and not ship him off elsewhere. Personally, I feel their best bet would be trading this pick to Boston for Rajon Rondo if that were possible. Either way, I do like Zeller here. A lot.
08.) Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Analysis: I can already hear the shouts. "Why would Detroit take Bennett when they already have Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond? Are you crazy?!" No. I'm not crazy. This pick actually does make some sense. Bennett is seen more as a Larry Johnson type right now. The small forward who can also play power forward out on the edges and knock down shots. He's aggressive in transition, can hit the face-up jumper, can back people down, and has shown the ability to be athletic enough to man the small forward spot. This also opens up Detroit to some possibilities. They could decide to trade Greg Monroe to a team who thinks they need him or they could really sit on these three and play them together or in a rotation. Either way, Detroit would be looking pretty good up front. They do need guard help but if you can get a player like Anthony Bennett, who I have in the top three, then I don't see how you go elsewhere. You have to take the best player available who can also help you in an area of need.
09.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Analysis: On May 11th, I released my first big board of the year on my blog site. I had Caldwell-Pope as the seventh best player in the draft. Since then, a lot of people have started to slowly move him up their draft boards and into the lottery. Lately, he's been appearing around this spot of the draft. I'll be honest. It wouldn't shock me to see him go as high as seventh overall to the Sacramento Kings. However, I do view this as his floor. I think this is the last spot for him to go. He could conceivably go tenth to Portland but I don't see him making it there. The only way I don't see Caldwell-Pope going here is if Minnesota trades up with Orlando to get the second overall pick and takes Victor Oladipo. I love KCP's game and think he'd flourish in Minnesota with the likes of Ricky Rubio passing him in the ball and Kevin Love taking up double teams. Minnesota needs outside shooting and scoring out of their wings. He can provide tons of it. Love the fit.
10.) Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh
Analysis: This is another pick where people are probably freaking out already. My favorite prospect out of last year's draft was Damian Lillard. Anyone who knows me knows I was raving about him months before the draft and even up into the draft. He then won Rookie of the Year and the rest is history. For the record, my second favorite prospect last year was Andre Drummond. He worked out, as well. Anyways, people are freaking probably because they see McCollum and see the point guard label and think he can't play next to Lillard. That's false. Lillard can still play the point and McCollum would be just fine as an undersized two-guard. They both can handle the ball, both can spot-up, and both can finish as well as shoot. It's a perfect marriage in the backcourt. The only thing is that they would be small but their talent levels should do enough to negate that. The alternative here is a big man or prototypical shooting guard. Steven Adams could go here but I like the fit of McCollum better.
11.) Philadelphia 76ers: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Analysis: Quick, what player at the draft combine boosted their stock the most? Here's your answer. Steven Adams. Seen as just a defensive center with the potential to be a decent offensive player, Adams showed up at the combine and wowed scouts with his ability to put the ball into the basket. He even showcased a nice jumper. There have been workout wonders before but none so as much as Adams. His defensive potential is through the roof and his offense appears, at least in workouts, to be good enough even right now. He was labeled as a project but after what he's shown, it looks less and less likely that he finds himself taken outside of the lottery. He's pretty much assured of going in this range. With the Andrew Bynum situation going on, I think Philadelphia decides it is time to move on and goes with Adams as their future anchor.
12.) Oklahoma City Thunder: Kelly Olynyk, PF, Gonzaga
Analysis: I'm not a big fan of Olynyk's game but I do like his fit with Oklahoma City. While the Thunder would probably hope that Steven Adams falls to them, they can't be disappointed to get a legitimate low-post and high-post scorer at this juncture. Olynyk, like a lot of the big men in this draft, is a face-up player and likes to take his man off the dribble. Would that work well in Oklahoma City? Your guess is as good as mine but I do like what he could provide for them. This doesn't make Kendrick Perkins expendable, for the most part, but it would help the Thunder potentially hoist the trophy next year. With the uncertainty of the draft at this juncture, Olynyk makes perfect sense. You can play him and Ibaka together while not hampering what Westbrook and Durant want to do. Olynyk is a smart player, fits right in, and will produce from day one. He doesn't have the raw upside like most Sam Presti picks do, but raw upside isn't needed at this point in time. Production will do just fine.
13.) Dallas Mavericks: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Analysis: The Dallas Mavericks are trading this pick. Mark it down. With pen. It's getting traded. It might not get traded until after the pick is officially made but it's going to get traded. They're going to try and shed as much salary as possible in order to make a run at one of the big time free agents. Whether or not they can get one is another story but it's what they're trying to do. This pick, most likely, will go to Cleveland. I don't know what Dallas would get back and, quite frankly, it doesn't even matter. Karasev fits in Cleveland, though. His shooting ability is a great commodity to have in order to stretch the floor for guys like Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. He won't get in their way, so to speak. I like the fit for Cleveland and depending on whether or not they do in fact take Nerlens Noel first overall, I like this draft thus far for them. Fills two needs and gets them too high character, high upside players. Those are important for any rebuilding team that is also looking to compete very soon.
14.) Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Analysis: It's hard to gauge the draft value of Michael Carter-Williams. There are teams that love him -- i.e. Sacramento and Portland -- but I don't see them jumping all over him. A slip in the draft isn't something that would be crazy. The last pick in the lottery isn't that far of a slip, especially if promises are made to other players and/or teams fall in love with other players more and and try to wheel and deal for them. I'm not a fan of Carter-Williams' game but I do like the fit in Utah for the most part. He's a pretty good drive-and-kick point guard who can also finish around the rim at a respectable rate. His jumper is pretty bad but with work it can be fixed. Utah is rumored to love a big man but they also need a point guard and if any of the top three point guards fall to them, I think they jump all over them. It makes too much sense.
15.) Milwaukee Bucks: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Analysis: No one knows what the hell the Milwaukee Bucks are going to do. Apparently, they love JR Smith and will try to sign him in free agency. That's stupid to me. They don't really want to bring back Brandon Jennings but offered a massive contract to Monta Ellis for him to return. That's stupid to me. They had Allen Crabbe workout for them yesterday, I believe, and it dawned on me that perhaps they made a promise to him with this pick if they feel like they won't be able to bring back JJ Redick since they're going to need a shooter at the two-guard spot. But if they're not going to bring back Brandon Jennings then Dennis Schroeder makes a lot of sense since he is the next best point guard prospect in the draft. I love his game and think he can flourish if given the chance. I guess we'll find out on draft night what Milwaukee, perhaps the most dysfunctional team in basketball now, will do.
16.) Boston Celtics: Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA
Analysis: I think this is a very Boston Celtics pick. 15 years ago, in the 1998 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics stood pat with the tenth overall selection and lucked into Paul Pierce, who everyone had as a top three player, fall to them. I see a similar sort of thing happening here. I think Muhammad slips due to character concerns and the Celtics scoop him right up. He's versatile in that he can play both the two and the three and be fine at either spot. He's a good catch-and-shoot option and can find his way into the lane and finish. The most underrated aspect about him is his second jump on offensive rebounds. He's going to compete. He wants to win. Everything that's happened to him should make him a better pro. I think Boston is the perfect fit for him and is the perfect start for their rebuilding plans.
17.) Atlanta Hawks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Analysis: There's, supposedly, no one that Atlanta likes more. They love his upside and believe he can turn into a dominant two-way player. The potential is there but it's going to take a long to time to unwrap it and get something worthwhile. He's definitely a draft-and-stash candidate but it wouldn't shock me if he came over right away and they wanted to see what they had. He's long, wiry, and defensively dominant. With back-to-back picks in this draft, Atlanta can take a chance and swing for the fences with one of them. I see them doing that in this instance and getting the guy that they want most first and then taking whoever else second. In a perfect world, I think they'd also want Muhammad with one of their two picks but they're not getting him in this instance. Antetokounmpo is either going to be a huge bust or a treasure chest full of goodies. I highly doubt there will be a middle ground with him.
18.) Atlanta Hawks: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Analysis: This is a typical Atlanta pick. Safe. Older. Smart. The problem lies in the fact that Plumlee is already probably maxed out and what you're going to get is a hustle player who will do his best to make the most out of every minute. For instance, Psycho T. The last mock draft that I did about a month ago, I had Plumlee going a few spots lower. I still think he's a first round quality guy because at this juncture of the draft you're more or less looking for a guy who will give it his all and/or is a good fit. I think Plumlee is both. He's not going to take touches away from Al Horford and he's not going to be a headcase. All you can ask for is 100% effort and Plumlee will give that to you. I find this to be a very safe pick and if you can land a rotational big man at this point of the draft, you're doing something right. Not every pick has to be a home run.
19.) Cleveland Cavaliers: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (Fl)
Analysis: This pick likely gets traded to Dallas if Cleveland moves up for Karasev, like I sort of have them doing here. So imagine this is Dallas picking instead of Cleveland. I think Dallas wants a point guard and they surely could have kept their pick and taken Michael Carter-Williams, who they are very high on supposedly. However, trading back does have its advantages. You can pick up either another asset or get rid of a contract. The talent disparity between Larkin and Carter-Williams isn't even a big deal to me. In fact, I actually have Larkin graded out higher than Carter-Williams. I just love Larkin's game. He's quick, strong, smart, and he can shoot. He loves to drive-and-kick which is perfect alongside Dirk Nowitzki. If Dallas can be a player in free agency then I think the Larkin pick will pay off right away. I wouldn't be shocked to see Mark Cuban make a run at Andrew Bynum. Either way, Larkin is a great fit for Dallas.
20.) Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Analysis: I have no idea whether or not Chicago even keeps this draft choice. Word is that Chicago is trying to swing a deal with Houston for Thomas Robinson which would see this pick head Houston's way. But then Chicago would trade Thomas Robinson elsewhere and get pieces back. One interesting thought is that they could ship out this pick, acquire Thomas Robinson, and use Robinson in a package, with Luol Deng, Nikola Mirotic, and the Charlotte first round pick that they possess, for LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love. I could see that happening but that'd be a lot to give up for one player, no matter how good they are. Anyways, Chicago needs big man depth and a shooter. Crabbe is a shooter. And a good one at that. I love the fit with him in Chicago but I do wonder how his defense will translate. He'll have to compete every night and that's something that I don't know he can do. This is something to keep an eye on.
21.) Utah Jazz: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Analysis: Word is that Utah loves Nogueira a lot and would definitely consider him with the first of their two first round picks but only if one of the top point guards is not on the board. It's hard to gauge Nogueira's draft range since some believe he could go as high as tenth overall to Portland but others think he could fall to the end of the first round. It's sort of all over the point but that falls right in line with a lot of the prospects in this draft. It's a love-hate relationship with a lot of them. Nogueira is a project but is a defensive dynamo who has a ton of upside. They do need more big man depth since it looks like they're going to let both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap depart in free agency. By taking Nogueira here, they would feature a trio of young, but cheap, talented big men when you consider they'd also have Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.
22.) Brooklyn Nets: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Analysis: Brooklyn needs competent big men and Dieng is certainly that. He's maxed out already but at least they know what they're going to get. He's smart and he plays tenacious defense. Brooklyn has been rumored to be interested in trading for Kevin Garnett but no one knows what's going to come of that. The latest rumor with Brooklyn, however, has them moving this pick for CJ Miles. That'd be a little odd to me since I don't see how CJ Miles is worth this pick in the draft. Even in a down draft I don't see it. Dieng would give them size, smarts, and defense. He could play alongside Brook Lopez and also with Reggie Evans. There wouldn't be a problem at all. I like the fit of Dieng here and I think Brooklyn would be thrilled to have him. If they move this pick for Miles, they'll regret it. Mark my words.
23.) Indiana Pacers: Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina
Analysis: With the emergence of Paul George this year, I think Indiana feels that might make Danny Granger expendable. Bullock is a three-and-d(efense) type of player so he does have a fit with Indiana. The Pacers are rumored to be looking at big men but if Bullock is there, which he probably should be, then I think he's their man. They can play him with George and he's not going to demand the ball a ton. The offense will stay within its flow. He's a very adept three-point shooter and will give them a lethal weapon from beyond the arc. If the Pacers can move Danny Granger, which they actually might be able to do on draft night since he does have an expiring contract, then Bullock and George will be a damn good duo going forward. Only other option here, in my mind, is Rudy Gobert but I don't think Indiana wants a project big man.
24.) New York Knicks: Rudy Gobert, C, France
Analysis: I don't know why I think New York takes Gobert but I just think it's something that they do. He can learn under Tyson Chandler for a while before taking over and I love his potential as a rim protector. Most people are turned off by the fact that he's not athletic but it's hard to be athletic when you're 7'2". Gobert's offense is a work in progress, as most of his buckets come off of dunks, but that's fine. He's really no different than Tyson Chandler in that regard. Gobert's upside is great, his immediate dividends defensively are great, and he's a good kid. New York fans would boo the pick but, then again, what pick haven't they booed recently? They need to create a defensive identity and getting Gobert would continue that once Chandler leaves. Another option, seeing as how JR Smith is opting for free agency, would be someone like Tim Hardaway Jr. or Ricky Ledo.
25.) Los Angeles Clippers: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
Analysis: On a scale of 1-10, I'm about a 7 on this pick. I do like Hardaway, don't get wrong, but I feel like there are better options out there. I think that Tony Snell would be a better pick but I ultimately feel that the Clippers go with Hardaway based on bloodlines. It seems like a silly thing but it is a worthwhile trait to have since he's already been exposed to the NBA lifestyle and wouldn't be wowed by anything he sees. Recently, Chad Ford said that the Clippers are looking at either Allen Crabbe or Tony Snell but also could be looking at Isaiah Canaan. I actually wouldn't mind the Canaan pick as a bench spark if the Clippers were to trade Eric Bledsoe for a starting caliber two-guard such as Arron Afflalo. Personally, I'm rooting for Tony Snell here. I wouldn't be disappointed with Hardaway, though.
26.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Glen Rice Jr., SG, Rio Grand Valley
Analysis: Yes, I am aware that Minnesota took Kentavious Caldwell-Pope earlier in my mock draft. I am aware of that. However, I think Rice's value is too much to pass up at this point seeing as how he can play the small forward spot for Minnesota and would be a prefect fit there. The other alternative here for the Timberwolves is that they take a big man such as Jeff Withey since they run the risk of losing Nikola Pekovic. I still think Pekovic returns and Minnesota tries to surround Rubio and Love with shooters who can play both ways in order to complete the process of rebuilding. It makes a ton of sense and I think it'd work best for Minnesota in the long run. Rice is tough, competes, and is a good scorer. I really like him as a small forward in Minnesota.
27.) Denver Nuggets: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Analysis: I think this is one of those matches made in heaven type of deals. I seriously think that Denver is going to lose Andre Iguodala in free agency therefore they need a successor. It is true that they have Evan Fournier, who they drafted last year in the first round, at shooting guard but with their ability to play multiple positions in Denver, I like taking Franklin here. His length allows him to play both the two and the three effectively. I think his jumper is broken and that's why he falls this far. He will hustle, compete, and defend. His ability to clean up the offensive glass is ridiculous for a player who projects as a shooting guard. He'll make some team very happy towards the bottom half of the first round and it wouldn't honestly shock me to see a team like Atlanta take a gamble on him earlier. He does have immediate payback ability and that's something teams might be looking for in this type of draft.
28.) San Antonio Spurs: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Analysis: Probably the most ready rim protector in the draft falls right into the laps of the Western Conference Champions. Seems fitting. With Tiago Splitter ready for free agency and some team probably willing to overpay him, I see San Antonio leaning towards big man depth. They can't trust Tim Duncan to defy the numbers and continue to produce night in and night out. They need someone else there with him and there are very few big men in this draft who understand the game, especially defensively, as well as Withey does. He's a great passer, as well. If Jeff Withey were a tad younger and more athletic, he'd have been a lock for the lottery. That's my firm belief. An interior duo of Duncan-Withey is going to be tough to overcome for a lot of teams. Especially with Kawhi Leonard on the outside to funnel people into them. Man oh man what a pick for the Spurs at this point.
29.) Oklahoma City Thunder: Ricardo Ledo, SG, Providence
Analysis: Earlier I had Oklahoma City taking Kelly Olynyk since they needed a big man. But here, at this point in the draft, they can take a gamble on someone. That someone is Ricardo Ledo. He features a ton of potential and scoring ability which is something that Oklahoma City can take a flier on. If Ledo had been eligible to play last season, some believe he might have showcased enough to be a lottery pick. With Kevin Martin likely headed out of town in free agency, the Thunder can take this risk and see what they have going forward. They still would have Jeremy Lamb at the two guard spot along with Thabo Sefolosha. But both can move over to the three, in small lineups, which would then push Durant to the four spot. It'd give the Thunder a ton of options and stock their shelves even more. It'd be a great haul for them.
30.) Phoenix Suns: Tony Snell, SG, New Mexico
Analysis: They took Ben McLemore earlier and I think getting someone who can play alongside him would be a wise choice. Snell is a good shooter, long, and features defensive potential. He's not going to be a dominant scorer at the next level but being an adept shooter and good defender while having the ability to play two positions is something a lot of teams would love to have. Snell sees himself more as a two-guard at the next level but in Phoenix I could see him as a three. Phoenix isn't going to be good next year so taking two players who might play the same position but wouldn't get in each other's way is a good thing. It gives them options and the possibility of building with that group. I like Snell's game, his upside, and his makeup. Any team who takes him is going to get a hardworker and a competitor. That's a good thing at this point in time of the draft.