The 2013 NBA draft lottery will help change the projected outlook of the first round on Tuesday night, but sometimes the lottery does nothing other than re-affirm who the top three selections will be.
Today, we'll behave as if that will be the case come Wednesday morning.
NBA draft prospects gathered in Chicago last week for the 2013 scouting combine, and after the combine's drills, measurements, interviews and activities were over, we had a little bit better understanding of the size, strength and abilities of those vying to be taken in the 60 spots available in June's draft.
ESPN's Chad Ford was one of those in attendance, and you can judge for yourself in his piece if any particular prospect sticks out after the combine measurements were officially listed (Note: "Insider" access required).
We didn't, however, come away with a clear-cut No. 1 pick or enough information to accurately predict the entirety of the first round.
We'll try anyway, though, in the sections below, where you can find information about the NBA draft lottery and a look at the latest mock draft for all 32 teams—with a mind toward "incredible" selections that can help change the fortunes of their franchises.
2013 NBA Draft Lottery Odds
Chance of No. 1 pick
New Orleans Pelicans
Portland Trail Blazers*
*If Portland's pick falls outside of the top 12, it will be sent to Charlotte.
**If Toronto's pick falls outside of the top three, it will be sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder via the Houston Rockets.
2013 NBA Mock Draft
1. Orlando Magic: C Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
The Magic completed a regular season that went from somewhat promising to completely disastrous in a matter of games. After a strong start, injuries to key players and the trade for J.J. Redick lowered Orlando to the team we thought it would be after Dwight Howard was traded last summer.
Now, the best odds at the No. 1 pick await.
In keeping with Orlando's theme of drafting an elite center every eight or nine years or so, Nerlens Noel is available and capable of producing on defense like his Orlando predecessors at the center position.
Averaging over four blocks per game in his short stint with the Kentucky Wildcats, Noel would provide a defensive presence that Orlando clearly lacked last season, as the Magic finished near the bottom of the league leaders with 101.1 points allowed per game.
The move would allow budding star Nikola Vucevic to play power forward in some cases and give the team flexibility concerning former sixth man Glen Davis, and is one that is consistent with Orlando's current collection of offensive wing players (Aaron Afflalo, Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris).
2. Charlotte Bobcats: SG Ben McLemore, Kansas
If Noel indeed is the No. 1 pick and Charlotte is on the clock, there's little doubt that Kansas' Ben McLemore will be one of the names floated around in the war room of Michael Jordan and his coaching staff.
In fact, it should be the only name.
One of the best shooters in college basketball last season, McLemore averaged over 15 points per game during his redshirt freshman season for Bill Self, and shot an impressive 42-percent clip from the three-point line in doing so.
Again one of the more athletic guards we saw in Chicago at the combine, McLemore is drawing Ray Allen comparisons and can improve his game in the first couple of seasons by improving his ball-handling and one-on-one ability.
Sliding in the starting lineup in Charlotte, though, McLemore would add some needed scoring punch, excellent defense on shooting guards and the ability to move Kemba Walker to a full-time sixth-man role. If Noel is gone, McLemore should be MJ's pick.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: SF Otto Porter, Georgetown
Porter was one of the biggest Year 1 to Year 2 risers in the NCAA this year, playing a pivotal role in John Thompson III's impressive Big East campaign. He earned consensus All-American first-team honors, and was also the conference player of the year.
Georgetown's second-round NCAA tournament loss to Florida Gulf Coast did not affect his draft stock enough to move him out of the top five.
As a scorer, defender and transition worker, Porter's game is rivaled by very few at the next level. He'll have the length to match up with any wing he wants, although he does need to add a few pounds of muscle or savvy to take on bigger small forwards in the game today.
That being said, Cleveland could certainly use a small forward alongside Kyrie Irving and company. With Porter in the mix, Cleveland could use Alonzo Gee, CJ Miles or Wayne Ellington (pending offseason transactions) at shooting guard and roll with Porter in the starting lineup right away.
So far, he's done nothing in college or the combine to suggest he's not ready to be a major NBA contributor within the first few years of his career. Cleveland also needs more winning mentalities, and there's few with the success that Georgetown has had over the years. Good fit for both sides at No. 3.
4. Phoenix Suns: C/PF Cody Zeller, Indiana
Phoenix could go any number of directions at No. 4.
One such direction is center, where Marcin Gortat is a free agent after next season and the future of midseason acquisition Hamed Haddadi is up in the air pending the offseason activities.
Cody Zeller had a great combine by many standards, posting an impressive vertical leap while maintaining the fact that although his sophomore season wasn't as impressive to the eye as his freshman one was, he's still growing and has a very high ceiling.
Depth behind Gortat would be nice next year, too, as Phoenix was one of the worst defensive teams in the league in points allowed (101.6) and field-goal percentage against (47). Adding energy and some offensive punch to the second unit right away, Zeller is a great pick if the Suns choose to go big.
5. New Orleans Pelicans: SF Anthony Bennett, UNLV
Unable to participate at the combine because of offseason surgery, Anthony Bennett continues to hover in the top-10 range because of his impressive freshman year with the Runnin' Rebels.
Averaging over 16 points, eight rebounds, an assist, a block and nearly a steal per game at UNLV, Bennett has true size (6'7") and strength at the SF position that would be valuable long-term to a number of lottery teams.
New Orleans is one of those teams.
Although Pelicans pundits will value Chris Paul look-alike Trey Burke over Bennett, Greivis Vasquez had an excellent season for Monty Williams and far outplayed anything Al-Farouq Aminu did on the court for the then-Hornets.
With a need at small forward and Bennett's potential being one of the biggest draws of the draft, New Orleans can't go wrong with a starting lineup of Vasquez, Eric Gordon, Bennett, Anthony Davis and Robin Lopez next year.
6. Sacramento Kings: SG/SF Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Sacramento fans were glad to hear that the team was staying in town over the past week, and they'll be even more appreciative of this pick after the impact that it brings.
Although the Kings have several guys that can fill the role of wing in the offense, very few that are currently on the roster have the kind of intangibles, winning mentality and defensive impact that Oladipo will bring to the table.
Surrounded by guys who are mostly offensive threats, Oladipo could single-handedly help turn Sacramento's defensive culture around (if the rest of the team buys in, of course). He's also a capable offensive player himself and wouldn't need the ball in the flow of the offense like two other noted rock commanders (Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins).
It might not be a popular pick at the time, but Oladipo is considered a steal by some at this spot and is the kind of player Sacramento would be lucky to have in its locker room next season.
7. Detroit Pistons: PG Trey Burke, Michigan
Trey Burke played his college ball in Michigan, and as fate would have it, he's still on the board at No. 7 when Detroit is slated to pick in this mock draft.
It's hard to see the All-American point guard slipping any lower.
One of the best players in college last season, Burke led Michigan's band of stars to the national championship game, where Louisville ended up besting the Wolverines in a classic battle of talent and coaching.
Now, Burke might not be the easiest pick for Detroit to make. For starters, Brandon Knight has a firm grip on the point guard spot, and he's one of Detroit's long-term options along with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
I see Detroit trying to move up in the top-three range to take one of the elite small forward prospects (Bennett or Porter), but if not, they'll still have to either pick at No. 7 or move back later into the first round.
If they stay, there's no one on the board with the dual playmaking ability of Burke. It would create a logjam at point guard, but sometimes depth is a good thing to have when you think about trades, inter-roster competition and being the best team you can be.
8. Washington Wizards: C Alex Len, Maryland
The Wizards are set for the next couple of years with a healthy Nene and Emeka Okafor, but the health of those two guys could be a question mark down the back stretch of their careers.
Len can help fill the big-man rotation out (Washington's biggest need in this offseason) and will eventually take over the starting center job when he's developed and ready to contribute as a prime-time NBA player.
All accounts point to Len being a steal if taken in the right spot, and behind both Zeller and Noel, he's an excellent value pick who will also have a chance to blossom into the best center of the bunch. Highly skilled Len believes—per this report from Michael Lee—that he can be the best player in this draft in 10 years:
Michael Lee @MrMichaelLee
Maryland sophomore Alex Len: "I think maybe 10 years from now, I’ll be the best player out of this draft." http://t.co/6ecYQQ9zbQ #NBAdraft5/18/2013, 2:20:24 PM
If the Wizards take Len and pair him with John Wall and Bradley Beal and the rest of that young lineup, he could very well have a chance to develop over the course of his time in the capital.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: PG/SG CJ McCollum, Lehigh
The Timberwolves need help on the wing, and McCollum is the kind of scorer who can fill a role on the outside while providing depth in the Timberwolves' backcourt.
Point guard certainly isn't a need with Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea in tow, but McCollum is a proven scorer at Lehigh who hit our radars after he and his team took Duke down in the tournament in 2012.
He stuck around for his senior year this season, and put up the highest scoring mark of his career so far, with 23.9 points per game on nearly 50 percent shooting from the field.
He might not have the measurables of some of the other guards and wings in this draft, but he's a four-year guy who will be disciplined and bring depth where Minnesota hasn't had it yet under this new regime of management.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: C/PF Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Portland went big with their second pick in the first round last year, taking Meyers Leonard after Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard was the team's first pick.
Now the Blazers have a chance to add depth with another player who might not have the experience or time in a big-time college program, but has proven himself time and time again with the Gonzaga Bulldogs—a perennial NCAA tournament team.
The Blazers could use depth in the frontcourt next year and Olynyk can provide it. He's not raw offensively, he brings it on defense and once he catches up to the speed of the game, he'll be a nice insurance policy behind LaMarcus Aldridge down low.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: PG/SG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
"MCW" continues to be one of the biggest question marks of the draft.
His athleticism is astounding, but Syracuse players haven't fared well in recent drafts (see Jonny Flynn and Wes Johnson), so taking him in the top 10 might be a stretch if you consider Cuse's zone approach and inability to send anyone other than Carmelo Anthony to stardom.
However, Carter-Williams is simply hard to ignore.
At 6'6", he's got the size of a shooting guard, the speed of a point guard and the handles of a small forward when he takes the ball to the basket. He's an intriguing guy here because Philadelphia could use that kind of player of the bench next season in a Lou Williams-type role, specifically behind the two starting guards.
MCW might be a question mark, but he's a sure-fire lottery pick.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): PF/C Mason Plumlee, Duke
OKC got victimized in the post by the Memphis Grizzlies, and yes, Russell Westbrook wasn't playing, but the Thunder have to be concerned about long-term rebounding and inside game for the future.
Mason Plumlee isn't a guy who will score 20 points and grab you 10 rebounds every night, but he's a spark plug who should average at least eight and five when you put him in the game for 10-minute stretches.
The Thunder have prospects ready to contribute on the wing (Perry Jones III, Jeremy Lamb) but very few down low. I like a big man with this pick, and Plumlee fits the bill.
13. Dallas Mavericks: SF Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
The free-fall from Shabazz Muhammad stops at No. 13, where the Dallas Mavericks will gladly take his scoring ability and freakish athleticism off the board.
Without anyone currently on the Dallas roster capable of bringing what Muhammad brings to the table, Dallas would have to feel good about bringing him into the fold as a rookie, given he was an instant starter at UCLA and scored at will during stretches on the court.
Some questions about his ability to distribute (see assists) are there, but Dallas needs a guy who isn't afraid to take charge of the ball in crunch time. Dirk Nowitzki is a part-time crunch-time guy, but he needs a sidekick. Dallas and Muhammad look like a match if he falls this far.
14. Utah Jazz: PG Shane Larkin, Miami
Shane Larkin might have made himself more money than any other prospect in Chicago at the combine.
Jumping an insane 44' on his max vertical leap, Larkin proved his athleticism at Miami was no joke last year, and that as a sophomore, he's barely even scratched the surface of his potential at the next level.
Gary Washburn helped report that Larkin blew the vertical leap out of the water at the combine:
gary washburn @GwashburnGlobe
Miami's Shane Larkin finishes with the highest vertical leap of any on the NBA combine participants at an impressive 44 inches5/17/2013, 9:50:56 PM
Bursting on the scene this year, Larkin averaged over 14 points and four assists as a sophomore at the U. He helped lead an improbable run that included Miami being the ACC champion and a borderline No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament bracket seedings.
Miami bowed out early, and Larkin left early for the NBA, too. The Jazz, who have a need at the position and have since Deron Williams was traded, are a perfect fit for his unique playmaking abilities. Larkin is a high-riser, and could be the third PG off the board if we keep hearing good things about his name.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: SG Tony Snell, New Mexico
Tony Snell to the Bucks starts what I like to call the run on shooting guards in this mock draft.
The 13-to-25 range is fluttered with teams who need help at the position, and there are only so many shooting guards available. Unlike the NFL draft, where teams can focus on 22 positions to fill, the NBA only has five.
That being said, it's much easier to see a particular position get picked time after time in the NBA draft, where team need and talent goes a long way in determining what kind of a draft any given team will have.
Snell is a name you should remember in the next few weeks.
One of the most athletic players in the Mountain West last year, he measured in just over 6'7" at the combine and continues to draw looks as someone in the mold of Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler—rugged defenders who can shoot the three and grow into bigger roles.
Milwaukee could use just that kind of player.
16. Boston Celtics: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
Shooting guards are going to start going, and Caldwell-Pope is a big-time scorer.
He's not very polished, but he was capable of putting 30 points on the board at any given time in college for Georgia and can grow into that role over the next few years in the NBA. The C's might choose to go big man here, but Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo will both be Year 2 players, and Boston didn't exactly light the world on fire at guard last year.
Coming into a role as a bench scorer and defender for Doc Rivers, KCP could have a long-term impact for the franchise after Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce leave for greener pastures.
17. Atlanta Hawks: C Rudy Gobert, France
The American center prospects in the draft this year are above-average rebounders, rugged shot-blockers and have the post moves to contend with anyone at the next level.
Rudy Gobert has all of those characteristics, unlike many of his fellow draftees at the position.
Also unlike many of his fellow centers, he's the rawest player in that category.
With a 7'9" wingspan and a 9'7" standing reach, Gobert blew scouts away at the combine. The combination of his height, reach and athleticism have scouts drooling over his ability to improve in all facets of the game, and he has some tools to contribute right away.
Atlanta has been dying for a center for quite some time, at least in media circles with knowledge of the team's plans. Getting Gobert in the fold would help maximize Al Horford's potential as a power forward, give Atlanta some Dwight Howard insurance and help the Hawks play better defense on the second unit.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): SG Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
Atlanta has Houston's pick, too, and finding some guard help will be key for Atlanta this offseason too—heck, the entire roster appears to be wide open for Danny Ferry to fill.
Franklin didn't compete at the combine because of an injury, but his measurements came back solid, and he's largely cemented himself as a first-round prospect in the minds of media members who observed things in Chicago.
He didn't shoot for a high percentage in college, but averaged over 16 points in each of his final two seasons at San Diego State and can flat fill it up when he's on.
The Hawks, again, can go a number of ways here, but many feel that Franklin has the tools to be one of the steals of the draft from the shooting guard perspective.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via L.A. Lakers): C Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Cleveland shored up its defense earlier by taking Otto Porter Jr. and gets a chance to do more of that defensive-minded selecting with Gorgui Dieng.
Coming off the national championship win and a Final Four appearance the year before that, Dieng is another guy who knows about winning—exactly the kind of mature, headstrong players that Cleveland needs to take the next step.
He also flashed good passing ability in the NCAA tournament and is a shot-blocking nightmare in the post, a perfect complement to what Anderson Varejao would bring in the starting lineup. If Cleveland can get Porter and Dieng and hang on to Kyrie Irving, the future would suddenly be brighter in Ohio.
20. Chicago Bulls: SG Allen Crabbe, California
According to TheLoboLair on Twitter, Crabbe was one of several guards who worked out for the Bulls on Monday:
The LoboLair @TheLoboLair
Tony Snell to workout for the #Bulls Monday. Also in attendance, Allen Crabbe, Tim Hardaway Jr, Ricky Ledo Glen Rice Jr, and Erick Green5/18/2013, 5:00:49 PM
The Bulls can't afford to mess around and not take a player who can help next season.
Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli both made themselves money elsewhere next season, and even the return of Derrick Rose won't solve the fact that the Bulls will need a scorer off the bench next season to offset some of the woes Chicago had this year—even if your solution is to move Butler to the starting lineup at the 2-guard (the best scenario for all involved).
Allen Crabbe got better in each of his three seasons with California, finished his junior season averaging over 18 points per game on nearly 46 percent shooting and continues to turn heads when the tape is on.
Want proof? Check out his 19-point game against UNLV in the second round of the Big Dance.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): SG Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
Although the Jazz got a point guard earlier, they could still use some guard help if both Mo Williams and Randy Foye decide their one-year stints with the Jazz were enough before moving to a new home.
Alec Burks hasn't quite developed the way some would hope (although Year 3 will be huge for him) and I still see Gordon Hayward as a small forward on a good team. Enter Hardaway Jr., who had a huge tournament and was one of the better guards at the combine last week.
According to Seth Davis, Hardaway Jr. should be rated higher than at least one prospect currently listed to go high in some mocks:
Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops
NBA Draft thought of the day: Can someone give me a reason why Archie Goodwin is rated higher than Tim Hardaway Jr? I can't think of one.5/19/2013, 10:06:07 PM
Deadly with the three-pointer in the tournament and throughout his Michigan career, Hardaway Jr. could help the Jazz right away in a scoring role off the bench.
22. Brooklyn Nets: SF Dario Saric, Croatia
Saric has been generating a lot of buzz throughout the process, but he wasn't at the combine and he's been somewhat embattled as a player during the early part of his young career.
That doesn't mean he can't ball.
Playing point guard at times for his team, the 6'10" Saric is an outstanding passer, has a high basketball IQ and shows an ability to get separation for jump shots off the dribble and even get to the rack in transition.
He's a budding player, and one that will need some time to develop. When he does, though, think of a Danilo Gallinari who is a better ball-handler and can create his own mid-range shot.
23. Indiana Pacers: PG Dennis Schroeder, Germany
Schroeder was hurt by the fact that Larkin had such a good combine, but it won't change the fact that he's one of the few impact point guards in this draft with size and speed.
Hailing from Germany, Schroeder has impressed scouts with his lightning-quick first step and promise on the offensive end of the court. He's raw, yes, and turns the ball over too much for a point guard who will have NBA duties, but those issues can be fixed in the right system.
If we've seen anything in the NBA postseason right now, it's that you can never have enough point guards. You could start an all-guard team with the names that have missed part or all of the postseason due to injury: Chicago's Derrick Rose, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, Boston's Rajon Rondo and Indiana's George Hill.
The last one is telling—DJ Augustin has served a purpose, but is he a long-term option? Schroeder could be, and with the key pieces of this team all in their primes right now (with the exception of David West), gearing up with talent will be huge for the Pacers in the future.
24. New York Knicks: SG Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
Speaking of guards, the Knicks are going to be in the market for young ones if things continue to move in the direction that the roster currently resides in.
Goodwin, as mentioned by Ford, hasn't convinced everyone that he's ready to carry the mantle of an NBA shooting guard. He has, however, proven he's worthy of being a first-round pick despite most of the bad press around Kentucky's fall from grace this season—impressive in and of itself.
Goodwin did manage to average over 14 points on 44 percent shooting, and he played for a coach who continually sends top prospects to the league each year.
The Knicks don't have a lot of options if the run on shooting guards happens the way it's played out before you, and Goodwin is still a marquee prospect.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: SF Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
Thomas made headlines at the combine by refusing to give the San Antonio Spurs his phone number, but there are more important things than middle school rejection to worry about in this draft.
For the Clippers, one of those worries is finding a way to add some scoring punch on the wing not named Paul or Crawford.
Caron Butler has been steady in his two years with the team, but he's nearing the final year of his deal and might not be around much longer. Same goes for Lamar Odom, who was solid, but looks to have little left in the tank.
Thomas can flat-out score—the best stat I can pull on his game is that he didn't score fewer than 11 points in any of Ohio State's 30-plus games this season. That kind of scoring punch would be huge for the Clippers to offset the pressure Paul (if he re-signs) and the Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan two-headed monster will get down low.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): SG/SF James Ennis, Long Beach State
Again—Minnesota needs wings.
Brandon Roy is now officially gone, and there's a slew of point guards on the roster, but very few who can match up with NBA 2-guards and even fewer who have legitimate NBA size for the position.
Ennis could be that guy. He put up over 16 points per game this year on 49 percent shooting, and established himself as a go-to guy for a solid mid-major team. Minnesota is officially on the wing-needing list until that issue is solved, and taking two guys in this draft will help.
27. Denver Nuggets: SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece
"Potential" and "athleticism" are two words you'll hear a lot at the NBA draft. You won't hear them said more about any player than Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is the most intriguing player in the class—bar none.
In case you're wondering or have seen different spellings of his name (which I do on a daily basis), Ford cleared that up for us on Twitter:
Chad Ford @chadfordinsider
FYI Giannis's agent has said correct spelling is Antetokounmpo5/16/2013, 5:53:42 PM
A 6'10", full-time point guard in Greece, this young man can do it all. He's athletic, can finish in transition, is a nightmare to guard and basically plays center in all of his team's efforts at the 2-3 zone.
Where does he play in the NBA, though?
Denver loves versatility maybe more than any other team in the league, and he will fit right in with George Karl if he can handle the switch like many feel he can. If not, he can still be developed, but at this point, his talent is too good to pass up.
28. San Antonio Spurs: SF Sergey Karasev, Russia
Karasev is a sweet-shooting lefty from Russia who looks good on film in the mid-range game, and reminds me of a taller version of Manu Ginobili on tape.
See what I'm getting at?
Ginobili and the Big 3 of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan can't play basketball forever, and Karasev is the kind of rookie, on film, who looks like he would be an established enough passer and fundamentalist of the game to take on a role with San Antonio.
He's also an excellent passer, something San Antonio players seem to exude these days.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: SF/PF Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Mitchell lost ground in the draft because he didn't dominate in his sophomore year the way he did as a freshman at North Texas. That being said, he's still a leaper who is intriguing as a SF/PF guy at the next level.
Flush with talent and willing to stash it away in the D-League, the Thunder can literally do anything here and it will likely get a B or better on draft night. That being said, Mitchell is a project, but there are projects (see pick No. 12) waiting to come aboard in the next two seasons, too.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): SG/SF Glen Rice Jr., Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Proving there's more than one path to the NBA, Glen Rice's son rounds out this first-round mock.
He didn't play much in the D-League regular season, but came on strong for the Vipers and has now carved out a place for himself in the first-round conversation after an impressive postseason with the NBA affiliate.
Phoenix could use a wing to develop behind some of its other players in that role, and Rice Jr. is a good gamble at this point.
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