2013 NBA Mock Draft: Smartest Plays for Every 1st-Round GM

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IApril 18, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 09:  Nerlens Noel #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats walks down the court during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Rupp Arena on February 9, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The regular season is dunzo.

While several teams now have the pleasure of concentrating on the playoffs, many others will turn their attention to the NBA draft, which, according to seemingly everyone, showcases the weakest class since Michael Olowokandi went No. 1. 

Nevertheless, even with potential top-three pick Marcus Smart returning to Stillwater, there is superstar talent at the top and value picks throughout.

Let's mock. 

1. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

The beginning of the post-Dwight Howard era wasn't exactly filled with gumdrops and rainbows, but the Magic are set up nicely for the future.

Nineteen-year-old Moe Harkless and 20-year-old Tobias Harris were spectacular with extended minutes in the second half of the season, and Nikola Vucevic is a budding star down low. 

It wouldn't be surprising if the Magic traded down to take a successor to Jameer Nelson, but from this spot, they'll look to add another guard to their young, talented frontcourt. 

McLemore disappeared at times as Kansas' go-to player, but he has overwhelming athletic ability and a smooth jump shot. He would be dangerous coming off the bench as instant offense. 

2. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky

Yeah, the ACL tear is going to scare some people. But Noel was always seen as a project anyways, and he's still barely 19 years old.

He'll recover. 

In the end, the Bobcats—a team with Josh McRoberts, B.J. Mullens and Bismack Biyombo spewing mediocrity in the frontcourt—are still getting an elite defensive player with gaudy athleticism and plenty of raw potential on offense. 

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

Small forward is Cleveland's weakest position, and wouldn't you know it, small forward Otto Porter is the best available player at this spot.

The former Georgetown star is long and versatile. He isn't elite at any one thing, but he's a high-energy player who is solid in every aspect of the game. On the defensive end, he has the ability to lock down multiple positions. 

4. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV

It may seem slightly perplexing for a team who already has Michael Beasley and the Morris twins to take Bennett, but it's not like the former three have solidified starting roles for the future.

Instead, the Suns, who ranked 29th in the NBA in offensive efficiency, need someone who can score the ball regardless of position.

Although Bennett is a bit of a tweener who struggled in the NCAA tournament, for a big man, he has jaw-dropping strength and athleticism to go along with impressive range and ball-handling. 

5. New Orleans Hornets: Alex Len, C, Maryland

The Hornets have three legitimate starters locked down in Greivis Vasquez, Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis. They also have solid role players in Al-Farouq Aminu (who hits free agency this summer), Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez. 

With an up-and-down year, Len proved that he will be a project, but it will be difficult for the Hornets to pass on the idea of pairing up the versatile, athletic Davis next to a 7-foot true center with an intriguing offensive skill set. 

6. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Burke may be undersized, but he is lightning quick, has elite vision and distribution ability and can knock down the big shot.

This pick would allow the Kings to roll with more of a true point guard, who makes everyone around him better, while bringing dynamite guard Isaiah Thomas off the bench for sparks of energy and instant offense. 

7. Washington Wizards: Victor Oladipo, SG/SF, Indiana

With John Wall healthy, the Wizards look like a legitimate playoff team. 

Adding Victor Oladipo, an unreal athlete who thrives in the open court and plays tenacious, active, ball-hawk defense, would take them to the next level. 

8. Detroit Pistons: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

With Jose Calderon hitting free agency, the Pistons may choose to go for a point guard here, but finding a true scorer on the wing to go with what has the look of the most promising young frontcourt in the league also makes sense.

Muhammad has seen his draft stock tumble in the past month, but he's still an amazingly hard worker who proved to have a better jump shot than most originally thought. He can score in a variety of ways all over the court and has the maturity to contribute right away. 

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

Zeller's dreadful performance against the size and speed of Syracuse left everyone with a bad taste in their mouths, but it's unlikely a seven-footer who can run the court and knock down the mid-range jumper will fall much further than this, regardless of his need to add strength. 

Minnesota could very well be losing Nikola Pekovic to free agency this summer, and Zeller would help fill that void. 

10. Portland Trail Blazers: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke

Depending on whether or not J.J. Hickson bolts via free agency, the Blazers' starting lineup is set in stone. What they need is depth. 

Many won't like Plumlee here, but he has size (6'11", 240 pounds) and athleticism, and he can fill a certain role off the bench right away.  

11. Oklahoma City Thunder (From Toronto Raptors): Rudy Gobert, C, France

 The Thunder—obviously—don't have any major holes, so they could use this pick from the Raptors on the future. 

As the draft's consensus top international player, it's unclear how quickly Gobert will adjust to the American game, but he is 7'1" with a ridiculous 7'9" wingspan and possesses impressive mobility and athleticism.

12. Philadelphia 76ers: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

The 76ers need players who can score, and there is perhaps no one in this draft who can do that better than McCollum, whose stock hasn't really been hindered by missing nearly his entire senior season. 

McCollum, who can handle the ball or play off it, would pair up with Jrue Holiday to give the Sixers a dangerous backcourt duo. 

13. Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

 The Mavericks have a lot of players hitting free agency this summer, while Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter aren't getting any younger. As such, they could go a number of different directions with this pick.

Olynyk is a young player with true center size who can score efficiently from all over the court. 

14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

Carter-Williams is sort of like this year's Tony Wroten. He has intriguing size and length to go along with unbelievable vision and passing ability. However, he also has an inconsistent jumper and can be erratic with the ball.

Still, his potential is through the roof, and he won't fall any further than this. 

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan

The Bucks have guards who can score and big men with lots of potential. The only thing they are missing is a small forward. 

Fortunately for them, the best available player at this point happens to be a certain small forward who people in Milwaukee might have heard of. 

16. Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

Kevin Garnett still has two years left on his contract, but don't be surprised if the Celtics start preparing for his replacement right now.

Dieng is an all-star rim protector ready to contribute right away, making him the perfect target for Doc Rivers. 

17. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

With the potential departure of Josh Smith, the Hawks will need a big man to fill his void, and in this situation, Withey can move Horford down to a more natural power forward. 

This might be seen as a reach, but the Kansas star is an elite defender who can rebound. At this point in a weak draft, getting someone capable of making an impact from day one is a win. 

18. Atlanta Hawks (From Houston Rockets): Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia

After getting someone like Withey who can contribute right away, look for the Hawks to use this pick in the future. 

Saric is raw, but he has the size and ball-handling to be a unique small forward at the next level. At 19, he won't be ready for a year or two, but this is a risk worth taking. 

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (From Miami Heat, Swap With Los Angeles Lakers): Mitch McGary, PF/C, Michigan

This would be a fall for McGary, as he propelled his stock into the top 10 with his NCAA tournament performance.

In this situation, the Michigan star can immediately step in and play the Anderson Varejao role, allowing the Cavs to shop the Brazilian like they were this year before he got injured. 

20. Chicago Bulls: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State

The Bulls pride themselves on defense, and while Franklin struggled with his offensive efficiency this season, he proved to have the athleticism and length to be a tremendous rebounder and defender.

Jimmy Butler's emergence complicates things on the perimeter, but Marco Belinelli and Richard Hamilton certainly aren't the future at shooting guard.  


21. Utah Jazz (From Golden State Warriors): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

The Jazz got a point guard in Michael Carter-Williams, but with amazing frontcourt depth, look for them to continue to build their backcourt. 

Of course, they just drafted Alec Burks and Kevin Murphy. Also, Gordon Hayward isn't going anywhere at the 3, so a trade or international player is an option here. However, Caldwell-Pope is a dangerous scorer with an NBA body who makes a nice impact off the bench. 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Tony Mitchell, SF/PF, North Texas

Gerald Wallace was adequate this year, and with that contract, the Nets would be wise to try to find a way to move in a different direction.

Mitchell, coincidentally enough, was also disappointing at North Texas this season, but his top-10 potential is still existent. He would make for a nice future replacement for Wallace. 

23. Indiana Pacers: Lorenzo Brown, PG, NC State

It's a bit of a reach, but the Pacers don't have many holes, so they could look to replace upcoming free agent D.J. Augustin through the draft. 

Brown has size, athleticism and terrific passing ability. And while he thrives in a fast tempo, which the Pacers don't play, he has the ability to be a terrific defender, which the Pacers welcome with open arms. 

24. New York Knicks: Giannis Adetokoubo, SF/PF, Greece

The Knicks have a lot of depth with no major contributors hitting free agency. As such, the veteran squad would be wise to plan for the future. 

Much like most young international players, Adetokoubo has plenty of room to develop, but his skill set and length are reminiscent of Nicolas Batum. 

25. Minnesota Timberwolves (From Memphis Grizzlies): Allen Crabbe, SG, California

Look for the T-Wolves to target a shooting guard with this pick. Tim Hardaway Jr. is a possibility, but I like Crabbe better as a prospect. 

He is 6'6", 210 pounds and has a scorer's mentality. He could use some more consistency from beyond the arc, but his mid-range game is deadly, and he is efficient at getting to the hoop off screens. 

26. Los Angeles Clippers: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan

The Clippers don't have many weaknesses, but they could use a starting shooting guard, so Jamal Crawford can continue to come off the bench. 

Hardaway Jr. can be polarizing, but he lights it up from the outside if he gets going. 

27. Denver Nuggets: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

Alright, this is far enough for Adams. The Pittsburgh big man left school after an uninspiring freshman season, but there's no question he has some intriguing gifts in that seven-foot package. 

Moreover, the Nuggets only have Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee holding down the center spot, so Adams serves as a nice long-term option. 

28. San Antonio Spurs: Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, France

The Spurs don't have any pressing needs, but the 18-year-old Jaiteh would help them get younger. He isn't ready for the NBA, but he has size and intriguing skills. 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Isaiah Austin, PF/C, Baylor

In this mock, the Thunder already took a center for the future in Gobert, but this is a pure value pick. 

Austin is young, and his body hasn't filled out yet, but when you have a seven-footer with athleticism and agility who can step out and hit the three, you don't let that player slip out of the first round. 

30. Phoenix Suns (From Los Angeles Lakers): Adreian Payne

Jermaine O'Neal is a free agent and Marcin Gortat was up-and-down this year. The Suns could use a center.

A lot have already flown off the board here, but Payne, who has yet to officially make his decision on entering the draft, is an intriguing, versatile big man who impressed during the NCAA tourney. 


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