With the NBA combine and draft lottery officially wrapped up, we can now update our Mock Draft to officially represent the 2013 NBA draft.
Cleveland won the lottery for the second time in three years and is primed to expedite its rebuilding effort with the first, 19th, 30th, and 33rd picks in the draft to go with tons of cap space and plenty of assets to pull off a big deal, including possibly trading center Anderson Varejao.
While in Chicago this past week, there was a lot of buzz on prospects such as Steven Adams, Reggie Bullock, Allen Crabbe, Cody Zeller and Rudy Gobert, among others. With the draft still over a month away, nothing is set in stone.
Players will continue to hone their skills as well as prepare for workouts and interviews with front offices in the hope of boosting – or in some cases, salvaging – their draft stock.
Every year, there is buzz from the combine that certain players received promises from teams in order to shut down their workouts. This year was no exception as both Dennis Schroeder and Giannis Adetokunbo were both reportedly promised by teams with first-round picks.
Other buzz from Chicago included reports that Portland will consider trading up or trading out for veteran help – preferably at center – as GM Neil Olshey tries to push the Blazers into the playoffs next season.
Minnesota, under new GM Flip Saunders, is said to be open to dealing its picks to add more help around Kevin Love.
So without further ado, here is Mock 3.0.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (6’10, 10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 4.4 bpg)
With Mike Brown returning to Cleveland, there will be a renewed emphasis on defense. Brown would love an elite defender in the middle to improve Cleveland, which was woeful on defense last season.
From talking to sources in Cleveland, Noel and Otto Porter are the top two players on the board and both would fill a huge void for the Cavs. Noel looks to be the guy despite his torn ACL and some weight concerns. When healthy, Noel is still the best player in this draft and a game-changer on the defensive end. He should pair with Kyrie Irving to give Cleveland a dynamic duo.
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.
For the Cavs, they get a perfect sidekick for Irving and Dion Waiters. Watch the Cavs closely as they have the ammunition to pull off a large deal or acquire an additional lottery pick on draft night if they prefer.
2. 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. When Marcus Smart decided to return to school, it sent the Magic back to the drawing board on their primary target. While Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris have shown they can play in the NBA, the Magic desperately perimeter scoring.
The Magic have various needs and many holes to fill, but the most pressing issue is scoring, specifically from the arc, where McLemore can help right away.
McLemore would fit in well next to Tobias Harris and Vucevic and give the Magic the explosive, scoring wing they desperately seek. McLemore tested well in the athletic drills in Chicago and demonstrated in college he can be an effective scorer with or without the ball. Trey Burke could draw some interest here as well.
3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (6’8, 16.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.7 apg)
The Wizards might be the biggest winners from the lottery by vaulting into the top three. Washington has built a strong backcourt with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Now they must find a big man or small forward to complement them.
Just up the road at Georgetown, Porter enjoyed a breakout season and could give the Wizards a dynamic and lethal scoring trio. If there was a clear-cut big man to take here, Washington would. But until the Wizards know more about Alex Len’s injury, they will likely play it safe.
Porter is a not a spectacular defender, but he is long. Playing for the Wizards will allow Porter to utilize his skill set on both ends and not have to put the team on his back like at Georgetown.
4. Charlotte Bobcats – Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (6’5, 13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 apg)
With Rich Cho in charge of the Bobcats, the decision will likely be to address Charlotte’s putrid offense. The Bobcats were 26th in scoring and 27th in 3-point shooting, two areas where Oladipo can help right away. With Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Bobcats would like to slide someone between them and complement their skill sets.
Oladipo is not projected as a 20-point scorer but he improved dramatically as a shooter and has the athleticism and upside to be an impact starter on both ends of the court. With Oladipo, Charlotte gets one of the highest upside players in the draft, but more importantly a guy who will come in and potentially become a team leader.
Down the road, a core of Oladipo, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bismack Biyombo would be lethal defensively. In Chicago, Oladipo showed off his elite athleticism and measured in with an impressive 6-9 wingspan, which projects him as a plus defender at the NBA level.
5. Phoenix Suns – Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (6’8, 16.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
Bennett started his freshman season with a bang but seemed to disappear at times as teams made him the focus on defense. Bennett is a combination of skill and physicality and might even be able to play some small forward.
With the Morris twins and Marcin Gortat, the Suns could use a foundational piece in the post. Bennett is just the type of prospect that McDonough loved when he was in Boston’s front office.
6. New Orleans Pelicans – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (6’0, 18.6 ppg, 6.7 apg, 3.2 rpg)
No chance New Orleans passes on Burke. Austin Rivers showed he is not a point guard, and if given the chance to take Burke – who had an outside shot at the top pick – the Pelicans will rush the stage on draft night. With Rivers and Eric Gordon, the Pelicans are deep at shooting guard and can even entertain trade offers for Gordon, who is signed to a massive extension.
The Pelicans took their centerpiece last year in Anthony Davis. Now New Orleans must surround him with talent. Burke is one of the quickest guards in the draft and can get by most defenders. With as much success as rookie point men have had the last few season, the Hornets look to get theirs.
7. Sacramento Kings – Alex Len, C, Maryland (7’1, 11.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.1 bpg)
With the Kings remaining in Sacramento and new ownership coming on board, GM Geoff Petrie could be on borrowed time. Whoever takes over in Sacramento will inherit a unit that will be looking to upgrade the talent around DeMarcus Cousins but needs to add players with an eye toward chemistry as well.
Having traded Thomas Robinson in his rookie season, the Kings don’t have a long-term answer alongside Cousins, who at the same time might force his way out of Sacramento if agent Dan Fegan has anything to say about it. That is where Len fits in.
Adding Len – a high-character guy with a high IQ and plenty of upside – would be a great complement to Cousins, while giving the Kings the chance to replicate a frontcourt similar to the one in Memphis. Len has drawn comparison to Zydrunas Ilgaukas with his skills and length and is already a very good rebounder and shot-blocker.