23. Indiana Pacers – Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State (6’5, 17.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.3 apg)
Watching the Eastern Conference finals, it became obvious that the Pacers need to upgrade their bench. The starters were able to hold their own, but the bench production was lackluster and unreliable.
Franklin may not be a 20-point scorer, but he could do everything for his team. He is an improving shooter, as evidenced by his pre-draft workouts.
Adding intrigue to Franklin in Indiana is his ability to defend and rebound — things that Frank Vogel demands from all his players. Franklin projects to be an immediate contributor for a team with a weak bench.
If Indiana is not in a position to grab a guard, it could opt to find a potential replacement for free agent David West, whose re-signing has been called the team’s No. 1 priority by GM Donnie Walsh. The Pacers would love to upgrade over George Hill but won’t be in a position to grab a top point guard unless they trade up or reach for Isaiah Canaan.
24. New York Knicks – Allen Crabbe, SG, California (6’6, 18.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.6 apg)
According to sources, the Knicks are another team that will be focused on a point guard with their first-round pick. But they may go for the best available player if Larkin is off the board — even if he duplicates Iman Shumpert to a certain degree.
Crabbe makes a lot of sense for New York as he is a terrific shooter who can play off the ball and benefit from open looks created by Carmelo Anthony. Crabbe is not an elite athlete but is a long wing that is polished and can contribute right away.
Should the Knicks decide on a point guard, Myck Kabongo of Texas could be a name to watch. He is working his way up draft boards with great workouts. It is also possible the the Knicks draft someone with the intention of trading his rights after July 1.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan (6’6, 14.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 apg)
Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were among the best big duos in the league this season, but the Clippers were thin behind them. However, reports continue to swirl that L.A. will trade Eric Bledsoe for Aaron Afflalo and Andrew Nicholson.
The Clippers, according to a source, are very high on Hardaway Jr. and feel his ability to shoot would be a perfect compliment to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and company. With Doc Rivers now on board, The Clippers seem safe in assuming Chris Paul will re-sign.
With Jordan very much available, as evidenced by the trade talks with Boston, GM Gary Sacks could look for a contributor like Jeff Withey.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (From Memphis) – Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (7’0, 13.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.9 bpg)
With many decisions looming for the Wolves, this will be a very useful pick for them to address some holes that may be left after free agency. The Wolves will likely receive a lot of calls from teams looking to move back into the first round to grab a player who is falling.
Nikola Pekovic is set to be a free agent and will command an eight-figure annual salary and adding Withey would be a great insurance policy for the Wolves. Withey is a proven rebounder and an elite shot blocker. While Withey may not be an elite starter, he will be a solid contributor for many years.
Drafting Mike Muscala is another possibility here as well.
27. Denver Nuggets – Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas (6’8, 13.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.7 bpg)
With the recent departure of GM Masai Ujiri, the Nuggets could go in a few directions. Tim Connelly, Ujiri’s replacement, has many pieces already in place but could use some depth in the frontcourt that features Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee.
Denver is shifting to the triangle offense, and Mitchell, with his ability to face the basket and play out of the high post could be a great pickup here for the Nuggets.
Denver is trying to win now, and selecting Mitchell makes a lot of sense.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Reggie Bullock, SG, North Carolina (6’7, 13.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.9 apg)
Bullock has been compared to Danny Green, another Tar Heel, but is more athletic and has more upside, so it would make sense that San Antonio would be interested.
Drafting Bullock helps the Spurs on the court but also gives San Antonio flexibility and insurance with aging Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal set to become free agents.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence (6’6″, ruled ineligible for his freshman season)
Despite having Jeremy Lamb on the roster, GM Sam Presti would be wise to go with Ledo as he is the type of long, athletic wing that Presti loves to collect. Although his freshman season was wiped out due to eligibility issues, Ledo has a lot of upside.
Ledo is most comfortable with the ball in his hands and would be an excellent sixth man in OKC, which could use his creativity. Still young and raw, Ledo has time to mature and develop but would be able to eventually slide between Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant or take over the James Harden role.
Don’t rule out a more traditional point guard such as Myck Kabongo or even Isaiah Canaan here if Presti feels Ledo is too much of a risk.
30. Phoenix Suns (From Miami) – Mike Muscala, C, Bucknell (6’11, 18.7 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.4 bpg)
With the Suns previously selecting Ben McLemore, going big with this pick would be a wise move. Despite having Marcin Gortat, Phoenix will focus on improving at center through the draft. Gortat is probably their best trade asset.
While the frontcourt is crowded right now, none of Phoenix’s bigs is overwhelming, and veteran Jermaine O’Neal is a free agent. Adding a big like Muscala, who could come right in and contribute, would be a great move.
Muscala may not be a sexy pick but was extremely productive throughout his college career and caught the eye of scouts this season with his improved skill set and size.
MORE FROM JOE KOTOCH:
Mock Draft 6.0.1
Mock Draft 5.0.1
Mock Draft 4.0
Mock Draft 3.0.1
Top International Early Entry Candidates
Early Entry Candidates: Who Is Missing?
Mock Draft 2.0.1
Risers and Fallers from 2013 NCAA Tournament
Mock Draft 1.0.1
Top Scorers in the NCAA; A Closer Look
Top 20 Picks: Pre-March Madness
Top 2013 Draft Prospects: Centers
Top 2013 Draft Prospects: Power Forwards
Top 2013 Draft Prospects: Small Forwards
Top 2013 Draft Prospects: Point Guards
Top 2013 Draft Prospects: Shooting Guards
Joe Kotoch is the Editor-in-chief of Pro Basketball Draft, a leading scouting service in the world of professional basketball. Before Joe created PBD he served as an NBPA & FIBA certified agent and scouted players all across the world. Born and raised in Cleveland, Joe also contributes to Fox Sports Ohio and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. You can follow Joe on Twitter @Probballdraft.