The deadline to enter the draft for college players has passed, and while there were some surprise returnees – namely Marcus Smart and Isaiah Austin – there were plenty of early entrants as well. To be exact: 77.
Which thereby allows us to present Mock Draft 2.0, which includes the pre-lottery positions of all 30 teams based upon their records, and tiebreakers that were drawn at the Board of Governors meeting in late April.
The big news here is this: Sources around the NBA have told SheridanHoops that if the Orlando Magic or New Orleans Hornets win the lottery, they both would be strongly inclined to trade the pick to whichever fellow lottery team wants to pay the most for the right to draft Nerlens Noel.
The caveat for Orlando is that it does not want to lose out on Ben McLemore of Kansas, whom it covets the most, or Trey Burke/Victor Oladipo as a fallback. And it’s not that the Magic don’t like Noel. Rather, they don’t need him, already in possession of a top-tier NBA center on a rookie contract in two-year veteran Nikola Vucevic. Same with the Hornets and Anthony Davis.
The 2013 NBA draft lacks elite prospects of years past such as Davis, Kyrie Irving or Blake Griffin, clear top picks regardless of who won the lottery. This year, Noel is the player atop the majority of draft boards but not quite on the same level as those other sure things.
In looking at the 2013 NBA draft, one position looks deep, especially in the first round, as we might see as many as nine centers drafted.
On the flip side, the wings in this draft are extremely thin; the second highest-rated prospect behind Otto Porter might just be 6-10 Giannis Adetokunbo the Greek-born Nigerian who played last season in the Greek Second Division. NBA executives flocked to Athens last month to see him, and he did not disappoint.
In the backcourt, Michigan’s Trey Burke not only won Player of the Year honors for his spectacular season but also played himself into the top five.
So without further ado, here is Mock 2.0.
1. Orlando Magic – Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (6’5, 15.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 42% 3pt)
Under first-year GM Rob Hennigan, the Magic have made tremendous strides in acquiring assets and prospects to expedite the rebuilding effort. While Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris have shown they can play in the NBA, the Magic desperately need backcourt help and scoring punch.
Enter McLemore, who earlier in the season played like the best player in the country but slipped a bit during the NCAA Tournament. McLemore is a gifted scorer, capable of lighting up in a variety of ways, but has never shown the ability to dominate or take over a game. Bill Self admittedly became frustrated with McLemore for not being more aggressive. But he would have that chance with Orlando.
2. Charlotte Bobcats – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (6’10, 10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 4.4 bpg)
While Charlotte has Bismack Biyombo, who does many of the same things as Noel, you can never have enough athletic bigs. When healthy, Noel is a tremendous shot-blocker and aggressive defender who will play with tons of energy.
Offensively, Noel needs work as he primarily scores on dunks and putbacks. But if he can make a Tristan Thompson-like progression on the offensive end, then this could be a home run.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers – Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (6’8, 16.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.7 apg)
With Mike Brown returning to Cleveland, there will be an emphasis on defense. While Porter is a not a spectacular defender, he is long, and Brown in the past has gotten every bit of defense out of poor defenders.
Cleveland is also in need of help in the post and will be closely watching Noel and Alex Len during pre-draft workouts. However, Porter’s offensive game is so smooth, and the Cavs’ front office knows it can’t make the playoffs with Alonzo Gee at small forward. While the Cavs will make a run at LeBron James in the summer of the hole at SF must be addressed, and the Cavs are fans of Porter, who is an efficient scoring wing with plenty of range.
4. Phoenix Suns – Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (6’8, 16.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
The Suns fired GM Lance Blanks when the season ended and have yet to hire a replacement. Talk around NBA circles continues to be on Jeff Weltman, an assistant GM in Milwaukee. Once a GM is in place, a pick becomes easier to project.
While the Morris twins are reunited in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix will have a hard time passing on Bennett, who at times played like the top prospect in the country. If Bennett were 6-11, he would be the top pick, but he is a tad short. His game is so diverse and he generates a lot of contact, which should get him to the line a lot in the NBA.
5. New Orleans Hornets – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (6’0, 18.6 ppg, 6.7 apg, 3.2 rpg)
No chance the Hornets pass on Burke. New Orleans’ experiment with Austin Rivers at PG did not work. With Rivers and Eric Gordon, the Hornets are deep at SG and can even entertain trade offers for Gordon, who is signed to a massive extension.
With Anthony Davis looking like a future All-Star, the Hornets need to surround him with a real point guard that will give Davis easy scoring opportunities. No disrespect to Greivis Vasquez, but Burke will be much better. Just look at how he helped Tim Hardaway and Glenn Robinson III at Michigan this past season. Burke is quick and can blow by just about any player in the NBA and also is a tremendous passer.
6. Sacramento Kings – Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (6’5, 13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 apg)
The Kings may let Tyreke Evans go this summer and have no replacement for him. While this is the most dysfunctional organization in the NBA over the last few years, Sacramento has assembled a lot of talent through the draft but with little to show for it in terms of wins.
After drafting Thomas Robinson and trading him at the deadline, I have little faith that GM Geoff Petrie and company can turn this club around. Oladipo is a hardworking and athletic wing best suited to play SG. He is a great defender who showed he can actually score and improved his jumper dramatically.
7. Detroit Pistons – Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA (6’6, 17.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.8 apg)
After drafting his frontcourt of the future in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, Joe Dumars needs to address his wings and lack of scoring punch. Muhammad arrived at UCLA with huge expectations and definitely had an up and down year, capped by an age discrepancy.
When on the court, Muhammad showed he is a talented scorer and was solid for much of his freshman season. Unfortunately, he never dominated his opponents. But if he has good workouts and interviews well, he could rehabilitate his draft stock.