With four days left till Draft Day 2013, rumors are buzzing of a shake at the top. Since the lottery happened back in May, the general consensus was Kentucky center Nerlens Noel was heading to Cleveland at No. 1. Now, rumors are flying around that the Cavaliers might be considering Maryland’s Alex Len instead.
With the clock ticking down on one of the most curious and wide-open drafts in years, we’re sure to have a ton of rumors between now and the official start on Thursday.
Let’s start off draft week with my 2nd official mock draft (the first was here, pre-lottery). Click the players’ names to see our draft profiles on them, be sure to take a gander at Scott Levin’s mock as well, and check back later in the week for more draft goodies and analysis.
Just keep in mind when reading any mocks this week – this is bound to be one of the craziest and hardest to predict drafts in internet history. Anyone who says they know what will happen (myself included) will probably be kicking themselves on Thursday.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – C Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
While there are rumblings that the Cavs would pass on Noel for Alex Len, I’ll believe that when I see it. Len is a very solid prospect, but Noel’s athleticism and shot blocking abilities make him a clear step up from Len.
2. Orlando Magic – SG Ben McLemore, Kansas
Count me in the group that still remains completely behind McLemore. Who knows what the Magic will do here (they could go with basically anyone) but McLemore is 2nd on my list of talents for this class. His scoring ability and all-around game will make him a excellent starter for years, hanging around that fringe not-quite-All-Star status.
3. Washington Wizards – SF Otto Porter, Georgetown
Porter is getting underappreciated in this class. He’s being labeled as “low ceiling” but his work ethic and all-around game will make him a Shane Battier type player. An excellent defender and improving shooter, Porter gives the hometown Wizards a sexy lineup with John Wall and Bradley Beal at the guards.
4. Charlotte Bobcats – SF Anthony Bennett, UNLV
I Imagine it would come down to Bennett or Alex Len, and while Len is higher on my big board Bennett makes more sense for Charlotte. He’s got excellent scoring potential and would give Charlotte a real top-option type player.
5. Phoenix Suns – SG Victor Oladipo, Indiana
The Suns need talent at every position, but Oladipo is easily the best option left. He’s an insane defender and possesses the top motor in the class, with a raw offensive game and excellent athleticism to boot.
6. New Orleans Pelicans – C Alex Len, Maryland
Len could go No. 1 or No. 4, but No. 6 to New Orleans should be his ceiling. He’s a all-around excellent big man prospect and adding him with Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis would give New Orleans a killer big man core.
7. Sacramento Kings – PG Trey Burke, Michigan
It’s a bit surprising to me that the Kings have/will have both Shabazz Muhammad and C.J. McCollum back in for second workouts, but couldn’t/won’t have guys like Burke or Michael Carter-Williams return to visit with new GM Pete D’Alessandro. A bit surprising and a bit concerning, since I have Burke higher than Muhammad or McCollum.
IF Burke was on the board for the Kings (and I wouldn’t be surprised if he went off the board at No. 6 to New Orleans), he’d be my selection. He’s a consummate winner and an all-around excellent player who should be a fringe top-10 point guard in a few years. Still, given that the Kings did a second workout with Shabazz and are meeting again with McCollum, either one would not be a big surprise – whomever D’Alessandro selects here is bound to be a solid choice.
8. Detroit Pistons – SG Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Detroit could use a long term shooting guard option and Muhammad makes since in Detroit. He’s got excellent scoring skills but lacks the defensive intensity you want to see in a top prospect. A selection by Sacramento wouldn’t be surprising, but I’m not sold on him just yet.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – PG C.J. McCollum, LeHigh
McCollum’s three point shooting skills would be a god send in Minnesota, who were dreadful from range last year. He can play off the bench as a sparkplug behind Ricky Rubio or as a combo 2 guard in spurts.
10. Portland Trail Blazers – SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
Portland can do anything here (they have no real position of need) but Caldwell-Pope helps fill their swing man spot depth. With his athleticism and sharp defensive skills, he’s a sleeper who might end up as a top 5 player in this class in a few years.
11. Philadelphia 76ers – C Cody Zeller, Indiana
Philadelphia will likely pass on Andrew Bynum, and getting Zeller here would be a good start. They have Spencer Hawes, but he’s nothing more than filler. Zeller’s athleticism and basketball IQ are both very high, even if he’s more of a PF than a C.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – C Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Oklahoma City needs post help post-haste. There are NBA ready prospects than Adams (Gorgui Dieng comes to mind, as does Jeff Withey or Mason Plumlee), Adam’s long term potential as a defensive big man is unrivaled. He could be the long-term missing piece for OKC.
13. New Orleans Hornets (Projected Trade from Dallas Mavericks) – PG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
Projected Deal: Dallas sends Shawn Marion and #13 to New Orleans for cap space
The only projected traded I’ll include in the mock because it makes too much sense. Dallas will 100% trade the pick or use it on a foreign player who won’t use up their cap space this season – and if they trade it, New Orleans makes sense as they have the necessary cap to absorb Shawn Marion’s contract and have a need for more young talent.
For New Orleans, who passed up on Trey Burke at No. 6, they add the classes second best PG (in my book, anyways) with Michael Carter-Williams. He’s a true play maker and a skilled defender who possesses the work ethic to fix his broken jumpshot. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Kings jersey, though.
14. Utah Jazz – PG Dennis Schroeder, Germany
Utah needs a point guard and Schroeder is a sharp fit. He’s an all-around talented player and would fit the program for the long term. Shane Larkin from Miami would also be a good fit, although Schroeder is much higher on my big board.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – PG Shane Larkin, Miami
With both Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings potentially out of Milwaukee, getting a backup guard is crucial. Larkin would be a capable starter in Jennings’ absence thanks to his insane athleticism and speed.
16. Boston Celtics – SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece
With Boston on the verge of a rebuild, they can gamble on Antetokounmpo, who has insane potential thanks to this length and basketball feel. He’s very, very raw but Boston doesn’t need an immediate contributor.
17. Atlanta Hawks – SF Sergey Karasev, Russia
Karasev is a safer pick than Antetokounmpo but he lacks the insane upside. As he is, he’s clearly a top option left on the board. As long as he gains some muscle and toughens up, he’ll be a fine player with his natural feel for the game and high b-ball IQ.
18. Atlanta Hawks – C Rudy Gobert, France
One of two things will happen with Atlanta this summer – Option A: The Hawks will validate THIS email by signing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard and enter win-now mode – or Option B: they’ll realize neither Howard nor Paul are serious options and aim for a full rebuild. Optino B is far more likely, and taking Gobert hurts neither scenario but greatly helps a rebuild. He won’t be NBA ready for a year or so, but he could become a top center if he reaches his enormous potential.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers – SF Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
Bullock is under-appreciated in this year’s class and would give the Cavaliers a starter at the much-needed wing spot. His shooting and defense are both above-average.
20. Chicago Bulls – SG Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
Frankiln’s best quality is his defense, and defense is a must in Chicago. He gives the Bulls a potential starter next to Derrick Rose.
21. Utah Jazz – C Lucas Nogueira, Brazil
Apparently Utah is absolutely sold on Nogueira, a raw big man whose only NBA ready skill is shotblocking. He has no offensive game to speak of, and will likely not contribute for a few years.
22. Brooklyn Nets – PF Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Olynyk makes sense as Jason Kidd’s first draft pick. He’s multi-talented, and while he’s not a top 15 player in the class, he’s certain worth a 22nd pick. He needs to bulk up, but his offensive skill-set and basketball IQ are both very high.
23. Indiana Pacers – C Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
The playoff proved Indiana’s center depth was lacking. Dieng gives them an excellent 3rd option behind David West and Roy Hibbert – he’s 23, and while he’s NBA ready defensively, he needs to bulk up and add some post moves.
24. New York Knicks – Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Mitchell looked like he could have been a top 10 pick pre-season, but he was vastly disappointing this year. He’s got a Josh Smith type skill set, although landing in a city of such high expectations might not help a kid who struggled so bad last year.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – C Jeff Withey, Kansas
Adding some more defensive help in the post is a must for the Clippers, no matter who starts (between DeAndre Jordan or Kevin Garnett, if Garnett ever finds his way to LA). Withey is arguably the best post defender in the class (that includes Noel and Dieng).
26. Minnesota Timberwolves – C Mason Plumlee, Duke
While Plumlee isn’t a sexy pick, he can’t fall out of the 1st round. He’s too multi-talented for that, and he’d give Minnesota some much-needed post depth here at No. 26.
27. Denver Nuggets – SG Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
The Nuggets may have lost their GM, assistant GM and Head Coach, but they still don’t really have any huge roster needs. The best pick left on my board is Tim Hardaway Jr., who possesses the basketball IQ and instincts needed to play amongst Denver’s deep roster.
28. San Antonio Spurs – SG Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech
Rice had problems that led to his departure from Georgia Tech, but he rebounded slightly thanks to a nice stint in the D-League. The Spurs coaching staff could help further turn the troubled youngster around and he’d fit their need for further wing man depth. They could use another big man, but none left are as talented as Rice Jr.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – SG Allen Crabbe, California
Oklahoma City can afford to go best player available and Crabbe is probably higher than this on many draft boards. He’s a top 5 shooter in the class and gives the Thunder some more firepower off the bench, which will be especially needed if they don’t re-sign Kevin Martin.
30. Phoenix Suns – PG Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
After passing on a point guard at No. 5, the Suns get Canaan here at No. 30. He’s not a real pass-first point guard, but it’s hard to argue with the offensive output he mastered at Murray State.