Mock Draft 6.0.1: Len Still No. 1, but Cavs Would Trade Pick

nbadraft13_300x250_3 (1)In three days the Cleveland Cavaliers will officially kick off the NBA Draft … unless a trade is agreed upon before then.

And though the Cavs continue to work the phones in an attempt to trade their top pick, sources tell SheridanHoops that no team has yet put forth a package the Cavs find enticing — a lottery pick, and additional first-round pick (preferably in 2014), and a promising young player.

As of Monday night, I’d say there is only a 20 percent chance Cleveland trades the pick.

I will be updating the Mock each night this week with the latest intel, and I am sticking to my guns on Alex Len going No. 1 if the Cavs keep the top pick.

We’ve got some adjustments today with Michael Carter-Williams, Kelly Olynyk and Rudy Gobert rising, and Dennis Schroeder dropping to the Utah Jazz at No. 21.

As we reported in Mock 6.0, the Cavs have had discussions to acquire Shawn Marion from Dallas in a lopsided trade that would allow them to move up from No. 19 to No. 13 in the first round by relieving the Mavs of Marion’s $9.3 million salary, allowing  Mark Cuban more salary cap flexibility to use on July 1. (ESPN now confirming Cavs’ interest.) But with Doc Rivers landing with the Clippers, it appears there is no longer any chance that any team can make a run at both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard — something the Hawks had planned to do.

Let’s watch over the next couple days to see if anyone else joins the Len bandwagon. Kevin Cowherd of the Baltimore Sun thinks the idea is nutso. Chad Ford hasn’t published a Mock since June 18 — seven days ago (and wants you to pay for that?) — although he did chime in with a blog entry, stradding the fence on Noel vs. Len. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress still has Nerlens Noel at No. 1.

I can say with 100 percent confidence that if the draft were held today, the Cavaliers would select Alex Len with the top pick. The Cavs believe he is the best fit long-term alongside Kyrie Irving. As for the potential Marion trade, Cleveland has the cap space to absorb Marion’s contract, and they view him as an upgrade over Alonzo Gee in their pursuit of a playoff spot next season. Sources say Cleveland is eyeing Sergey Karasev at 13.

Also, Cleveland is willing to package their two picks in the second round (Nos. 31 and 33) for a late first-rounder if they see a player they value slipping. ESPN reports the Cavs were rebuffed in asking Portland for LaMarcus Aldridge for picks 1 and 19.

While Len rises, Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore continue to slip. Noel, due in part to his ACL injury, should be available for Washington at 3, but the Wizards might opt to draft Otto Porter instead.

McLemore’s troubles stem from his inner circle and poor conditioning. McLemore has not been impressive at workouts in Phoenix or Cleveland. One executive who watched McLemore said “Jamaal Franklin looked like a better prospect than him, and he’s still recovering from a sprained ankle.” It has gotten to the point where Sacramento might see McLemore slip to them at 7 on draft night, per a source.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has impressed multiple teams during workouts and now is primed to be selected in the back end of the lottery, if not earlier. One team with a first-round pick believes that Oklahoma City will pull the trigger on Caldwell-Pope. Detroit and Minnesota are two teams to also watch with Caldwell-Pope, who has been soaring up boards the last few weeks.

On the trade front there are at least three lottery picks that are very available. Minnesota and Portland, along with the aforementiond Mavs, continue to reach out to teams to discuss potential deals as their respective draft picks are available to the highest bidder.

Watch out for these names on draft night as they are on the rise: Ricky Ledo, Jamaal Franklin, Glen Rice Jr., Tony Snell, and Myck Kabongo, all of whom have been impressive during workouts and could hear their names called during the first round. Franklin, who is still recovering from a sprained ankle, has been showcasing an improved jumper.

Without further ado, here is Mock Draft 6.0.1:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Alex Len, C, Maryland (7’1, 11.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.1 bpg)

cavs small logoAlexLenFor the third straight Mock Draft, Alex Len remains the choice for the Cavs. Cleveland is still considering Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter and Anthony Bennett — especially if they can get the package listed above — a lottery pick, an extra No, 1 and a good young player.

The Cavs apparently feel that Len’s ability on both ends of the court better mix with budding star Kyrie Irving and would give the team the dynamic combo it needs to push for the playoffs. As reports, positive and negative, continue to surface about McLemore and Noel and their inner circles, the Cavs seem more inclined to take Len, who still has room to develop. Len is a long and lengthy defender who can block shots and rebound, though not at the impactful level of a healthy Noel.

Len’s signature right now is his developed offensive game in the post and facing the basket. With Irving and Len, Cleveland could have a really impressive pick-and-pop game.

2. Orlando Magic – Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (6’5, 13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 apg)

Orlando MagicoladipoSources say Orlando is very interested in Eric Bledsoe and is prepared to deal Arron Afflalo to the Clippers to get him. GM Rob Hennigan has been aggressive in acquiring assets and has assembled a good core of young players.

With a potential hole at shooting guard to fill, the Magic have their choice of Ben McLemore and Oladipo. Both guards represent better value and have higher ceilings than Trey Burke. The current preference is Oladipo, who projects as a better defender and is a better athlete than McLemore.

Although McLemore has been as high as No. 1 in our earlier mocks, Oladipo looks to be making a push. Considering Hennigan came from Oklahoma City, going with a play that has a high upside, high character and is very long and athletic makes the most sense. While Oladipo has continually risen up NBA draft boards, McLemore has started to slip a bit, and that could see him fall more than initially anticipated.

3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (6’8, 16.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.7 apg)

wizards small logoOttoPorterAfter discussing draft choices with a source in Washington, it sounds like the Wizards are more comfortable with Porter than Noel but would strongly consider the Kentucky big man. Washington has built a strong backcourt with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Now it 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. 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. Porter excels in multiple areas and would fit in well with a team that has two primary ballhandlers because of his ability to play off the ball and effect the game in other areas.

His ceiling may not be as high as UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, but Porter projects as a much safer pick. Washington might be enticed by Nerlens Noel here, but with his rehabilitation spilling into the regular season, the Wizards might pass.

4. Charlotte Bobcats – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (6’10, 10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 4.4 bpg)

bobcats small logoNoel-KentuckyIt’s safe to say that the Bobcats would be pleasantly surprised if McLemore and Noel slipped to them on draft night. While McLemore would make sense here, Noel has the most upside of any player. If healthy, he gives the Bobcats one of the longest and most athletic frontcourts in the league.

The Bobcats are a franchise that can afford to take Noel and not rush him back to the court as they are likely to be cellar-dwellers again next season.

It’s not too late for Noel to rise up the board again, but his stock is slipping with persistent questions about his knee, weight and inner circle.

5. Phoenix Suns – Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (6’5, 15.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 42% 3pt)

Phoenix_Suns_logosheetMcLemoreNew GM Ryan McDonough would be thrilled to see McLemore slip to him, as some believe he is the top player in this draft.

Checking around the league, McLemore is slipping due to his unclear agent situation. Most teams don’t seem concerned by the Rodney Blackstock reports. Whatever the concerns, they shouldn’t cause McLemore to fall too far. When a player with his combination of talent, athleticism and shooting is available, they go high.

McLemore does have his flaws, but this would be a great start for the new front office. While Anthony Bennett would be tempting here, finding a running mate and shooter to pair with Goran Dragic could be the main focus. Pairing McLemore and Dragic in the backcourt could be just what the Suns need to boost their offensive production.

It seems strange to think of McLemore slipping this far but there have been discussions in Sacramento about whether McLemore might slip all the way to the Kings.

6. New Orleans Pelicans – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (6’0, 18.6 ppg, 6.7 apg, 3.2 rpg)

TreyBurkeNew Orleans Pelicans logoNo 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 seasons (see Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving), the Pelicans look to get theirs.


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