I've taken a couple looks at the 2013 NBA Draft before here, but with the event now upon us it's time to make a final set of projections.
As we've discussed before, this year's NBA Draft isn't going to be remembered as being rich with potential Hall of Famers like the draft was in 2003, but there is a lot of good value available in this year's class. While there isn't a lock-down, for-sure Number One pick, there are a lot of players on the board that could play a significant role in the NBA for years to come.
There could also be a lot of trade action during the first round this year. Boston has already "traded" their coach to the LA Clippers, and their fans might see Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce might follow Doc Rivers out the door before the draft ends.
Without assuming any trades, here we go with our final mock draft before the 2013 NBA Draft takes place.
The 2013 NBA Draft begins at 6 PM CT on Thursday, June 27, and can be seen on ESPN.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Alex Len, C, Maryland
There has been a lot of speculation that Len has replaced Kentucky's Nerlens Noel at the top of Cleveland's draft board, and it makes sense on many levels. Len has a more developed offensive game and more pro-ready body. He did have surgery on a stress fracture in his left ankle, though, so this pick does come with a minor question mark. Len will provide a strong inside scoring presence next to Tristan Thompson, and will compliment a young backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters exceptionally well.
2. Orlando Magic -Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Oladipo is a legit, shut-down defensive shooting guard that has a nice offensive game as well. He reminds me more of Luol Deng than Dwyane Wade, but would be a terrific fit in Orlando where they need just about everything right now. There are rumors they're trying to move Arron Afflalo to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe, who would pair well with Oladipo. Certainly most believe Kansas' Ben McLemore has a higher ceiling, but Oladipo is the safer pick for an organization that needs a turn around soon.
3. Washington Wizards - Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Like Cleveland, Washington has a really good, young backcourt with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Porter isn't the sexiest pick in this draft, but he's a solid player with good size and a strong all-around game. He would fit very well with Wall and Beal.
4. Charlotte Bobcats - Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
The Bobcats are reportedly shopping Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but their roster could use an upgrade at all five positions. If the top three unfolds as we predict, Michael Jordan will have a hard time passing on McLemore, but taking a defensive stopper in Noel could be the smarter play. They could also look to move down if a team (like the Bulls) wants to jump into the top four for a specific player.
5. Phoenix Suns - Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
McLemore is considered by many to be the most dynamic and talented scorer in this draft, which is what Phoenix desperately needs. However, there are some that question his work ethic; there have been reports that he has been out of shape at individual workouts and has disappointed a lot of league personnel since his season ended at Kansas. There are a few guys that could go anywhere between 1 and 10 in this draft, and McLemore is right at the top of that list. But Phoenix could easily fall in love with the idea of him playing next to Goran Dragic.
6. New Orleans Pelicans - Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
The Pelicans made Anthony Davis the
unibrow face of their franchise last year with the number one overall pick, and now desperately need a point guard to compliment both Davis and Austin Rivers. Burke showed that he's a big-time player at Michigan last year, and has the right swagger to lead the... Pelicans(?) into the future.
7. Sacramento Kings - Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Bennett has the game to be a top-five pick, and there's a strong likelihood he isn't on the board at 7. He averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds per game last year and is a legit power forward prospect who could also play a big small forward as well. However, recent surgery for a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder might impact his stock. Sacramento has a fascinating, underwhelming mix of talented players and Bennett might give their front office the flexibility to move a bigger name player.
8. Detroit Pistons - CJ McCollum, G, Lehigh
The Pistons have a lot of issues to address, and there could be a number of players the consider with this pick. Probably the most talented guard on the board is UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad, but there's a lot of baggage piling up with him that is impacting his stock. That's why McCollum, who averaged 23.9 ppg and shot over 51 percent from three-point range last year makes sense. He can play either guard position and can shoot from anywhere in the gym.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves - Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
The Timberwolves have Ricky Rubio running the point right now, but his health has been an issue in the past. Adding Carter-Williams, who's a physically bigger guard but who also has great vision, to their backcourt would help the T'Wolves get more our of Derrick Williams, and (hopefully) keep Kevin Love around longer. The Timberwolves could be one of the wild cards at the draft; if they decide they cannot keep Love, they could swing the draft dramatically with a huge move.
10. Portland Trail Blazers - Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
Where Zeller comes off the board is a mystery heading into the draft. At this time last year, when he announced he was going back to Bloomington, many thought he was a lock for the top overall pick and Player of the Year honors. But a "disappointing" season (if 16.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg in the Big Ten is "disappointing") pulled his stock down. There have been a number of reports that LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of Portland, so adding some size in Zeller here makes sense for the Blazers.
11. Philadelphia 76ers - Rudy Gobert, C, Greece
Gobert has been flying up a lot of draft boards because of his size - a 7-9 wingspan - and raw ability. The Sixers rolled the dice on Andrew Bynum a year ago and are still waiting for him to wear their uniform; their lack of size hurt during the regular season, and they'll have a couple of bigs to choose from at this point. Also watch for Pittsburgh's Steven Adams as a potential pick here.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto) - Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA
Muhammad has said he patterns his game after James Harden... who the Thunder are looking to replace. He has a big body, but off-court issues took away from is only season at UCLA. If he returns to being the player that was the top rated prep prospect in the country 12 months ago, the Thunder will have their Harden replacement. With another pick later in the round, OKC can come back with a safer pick at that point and can afford to roll the dice here on a special talent.
13. Dallas Mavericks - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Caldwell-Pope, a talented scorer with great length who averaged 18.5 ppg and 7.1 rpg at Georgia, has been flying up mock drafts in the last couple weeks. Putting his shooting ability on the floor outside would be appealing to Mark Cuban, but the Mavs are openly trying to get out of this pick. If Dallas makes this pick, and Caldwell-Pope is available, Dallas may see him as a quality replacement for OJ Mayo.
14. Utah Jazz - Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Utah also owns the 21st overall pick, and might look to replace Al Jefferson and/or Paul Millsap (both free agents) or compliment Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Bringing in a point guard with a lot of swagger and the willingness to pass first like Larkin makes perfect sense for the Jazz, who have yet to replace Deron Williams. Putting Larkin on the floor with Gordon Hayward would open up the floor for their bigs to work inside.
15. Milwaukee Bucks - Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Mitchell is a fascinating player to watch heading into this draft. His game reminds me of Gerald Wallace; he runs the floor well and is a fantastic shot blocker and rebounder, but might not have the size to be a traditional power forward at the next level. Milwaukee Would have a dynamic frontcourt putting Mitchell with Larry Sanders moving forward, and his athleticism would be provide a good outlet for Brandon Jennings.
16. Boston Celtics - Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
The Celtics will now look to move on from the Garnett-Pierce Era, and need to add a lot to get there. Jeff Green will be a nice building block moving forward with his ability to play a couple positions, but the Celtics desperately need to get bigger. Plumlee is an athletic center who would fit nicely with Green and, when he returns, Rajon Rondo. With no coach and no resolution to their future with Pierce or Garnett, this pick could go any number of directions, including to another team in a trade.
17. Atlanta Hawks - Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston) -Tim Hardaway, Jr, SG, Michigan
With two consecutive selections, the ever-rebuilding Hawks will once again try to find the two missing pieces. They have so much talent on their roster that it's a wonder how they haven't done more, but they simply haven't found the right mix. Hardaway's stock is climbing and he could be a solid compliment to Jeff Teague in Atlanta's backcourt, while Adams is a young big with a log of size already.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from LA Lakers) - Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
With their second pick in the first round, Phoenix could take a bit of a project here with a fascinating player. Karasev has already appeared in the Olympics with the Russian national team and led the PBL, Russia's top league, in scoring. He is the most productive young prospect in all of European basketball, and had a good showing at the Nike Hoops Summit earlier this year. He might be long gone by the 19th overall pick.
20. Chicago Bulls - Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
With Jimmy Butler showing that he's capable of playing big minutes at the shooting guard or small forward positions next year, the Bulls need to look big. Dieng, who will turn 24 in January, is a big-time defender in the paint; he averaged 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in his third and final season at Louisville. Chicago desperately missed Omer Asik this season, and Dieng would fill that void well.
21. Utah Jazz (from Golden St) - Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
This is the second pick of the round for Utah; we have them selecting Larkin at 14. The Jazz had a lot of depth in their frontcourt last year, but Jefferson and Milsap could both be playing elsewhere this fall and Olynyk would provide good depth behind Favors and Kanter.
22. Brooklyn Nets - Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego St
Franklin is a fantastic athlete who averaged 17.4 and 17.0 points per game the last two years, respectively. Brooklyn needs someone to compliment Deron Williams, and Franklin has younger legs and gets to the rim better than Joe Johnson at this stage in Johnson's career. If the Nets want to make another push to bring Dwight Howard to Brooklyn this summer, they could be an interesting team to watch during the draft.
23. Indiana Pacers - Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
The Pacers gave Miami all they could handle in the playoffs this year, but they just needed a one or two more pieces to get past the Heat. With Larry Bird back in the fold in Indy, they could go a number of directions with this pick. With a 6-8 wingspan, Schroeder may develop into another Rajon Rondo-type point guard when he finishes puberty. The Pacers would take Schroeder as a project, with 2-3 years down the road in mind more than November.
24. New York Knicks - Glen Rice Jr, SG, NBDL
The Knicks will likely lose JR Smith this summer, and will need to replace him somehow. After getting kicked out of Georgia Tech last season, Rice ended up with the Rio Grande Vipers in the NBDL. There, Rice led the Vipers to the D-league championship, averaging 25 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in the postseason. His name is very familiar to Knicks fans from his father's days in the league - especially in Miami - but this Glen Rice could have the fans cheering at MSG.
25. LA Clippers - Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Crabbe is a lights-out shooter with good length and a lot of athletic ability who average 18.1 ppg last year at Cal. The knock on Crabbe was that, for stretches of time, he disappeared. The Clippers primary concern this summer is the future of Chris Paul, but they "traded" for Doc Rivers to make Paul happy. Crabbe would be a good perimeter player to open up the floor for Paul and Blake Griffin to work.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis) - Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece
The second pick of the first round for the Timberwolves affords them the luxury of taking a player that might be a bit of a project, but has a ton of raw ability. Only 18, Adetokunbo has a 7-4 wingspan, enormous hands, and explosive athleticism. We have them taking another guard in Carter-Williams at nine, and adding Adetokundo here would give them two players with a lot of size and potential.
27. Denver Nuggets - Andre Roberson, SF, Colorado
Roberson is a fascinating player to watch leading up to this year's draft, and he might find an NBA home without needing new license plates. He possesses a 6-11 wingspan and averaged over 11 rebounds per game as a small forward the last two seasons. He's an explosive jumper who plays with a lot of energy... which is pretty much the hallmark of the current Nuggets team. He might become a poor man's Andre Iguodala (who is a free agent this summer).
28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
The Thunder need to add size, and there will be a few big players on the board when OKC makes their second pick in the first round; he have them taking Muhammad at 12 overall. Withey isn't going to become a 20 ppg center, but he would bring reliable size to their interior defense which fills a need with the 28th pick. They might also look at Bucknell's Mike Muscala and Brazilian Lucas Nogueira here.
29. San Antonio Spurs - Reggie Bullock, SG, North Carolina
The Spurs might, if you believe his words from the middle of the Finals, need to replace Manu Ginobili soon. Bullock, 22, is a more mature player with good size and a great stroke from outside (44 percent from downtown at UNC last year). He's also a good rebounder and plays solid defense, which would make him an ideal fit as the Spurs reload around Kawhi Leonard.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami) - DeShaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State
This is the second pick of the first round for Phoenix (we have them taking McLemore with the fifth overall selection). Thomas led the Big Ten in scoring and has the size to contribute in the NBA quickly. The combination of size and proven scoring ability against top-tier opponents would make Thomas a smart pick here for a team that needs to add scoring and size.