NBA Mock Draft 2013: Which Position Will Dominate Round 1?

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - MARCH 29:  Ben McLemore #23 of the Kansas Jayhawks defends against Trey Burke #3 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first half during the South Regional Semifinal round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on March 29, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

If you're an NBA team looking for a center or shooting guard, the 2013 NBA draft is the event for you. 

While this draft class doesn't feature many can't-miss stars, it's heavy on players that should be able to break into the league as productive players. The class is surprisingly littered with big men. 

From favorites to go early like Maryland's Alex Len and Kentucky's Nerlens Noel to long-term international projects like Lucas Nogueira and Rudy Gobert, there's plenty of post presence to find in the first round. 

However, it should be the shooting guard spot that steals the show in the first round. Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Kansas' Ben McLemore lead the way, but this mock features 12 players at the position being selected in the first round. 

Here's a look at predictions for each pick in the first round featuring the best shooting guard prospects.

Note: Highlighed shooting guards in italics.  

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: C Alex Len, Maryland

The NBA draft is never a dull moment with the Cavs. They have stunned analysts in each of the last two drafts, first with the selection of Tristan Thompson at No. 4 overall in 2011, and again when they took Dion Waiters with the No. 4 pick in the 2012 draft.

Now, they appear ready to surprise again. According to Jimmy Smith of the Times-Picayune, Len is the "likely" choice for the Cavs. 

This would fly in the face of everyone that believes Nerlens Noel should be the top choice. However, the Cavs may feel that the more offensively polished Len is a better choice for the team's immediate future and make him the top pick overall.  

2. Orlando Magic: C Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

If the Cavs do wind up taking Len, it's going to shake up the entire Top 10 of the draft. This is an obvious landing spot for either Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore, but if Noel is on the board, he's simply too good to pass up. 

Noel's offensive game is still raw, but his defense and athleticism means that he at least becomes a high-quality rim protector if he remains healthy. 

3. Washington Wizards: SF Otto Porter, Georgetown

The Wizards were surprisingly eighth in the league in points allowed per game at just 95.8. They could be even better next season with the addition of Otto Porter. The 6'8" small forward is one of the safest picks in the draft because of his defensive skills. 

He's not bad on the offensive end of the floor either. He averaged 16.2 points per game on 48 percent shooting in his final season with the Hoyas. 

4. Charlotte Bobcats: SF/PF Anthony Bennett, UNLV

According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, the Bobcats are interested in offering this pick to the Miami Heat in a deal to bring Chris Bosh into the fold. Washburn reports that the Bobcats want to make a splash and believe Bosh could be the face of the franchise. 

If the Heat don't bite on that idea, Bennett would be a great consolation prize. He can play either forward spot and would be an explosive complement to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. 

5. Phoenix Suns: SG Victor Oladipo, Indiana

The Suns should be absolutely ecstatic if Victor Oladipo falls to them at No. 5. The ultra-athletic Oladipo has all the makings of a star, and he could very well be the best player in this draft. 

Offensively, he showed maturity with his efficiency and improvement at Indiana. He upped his shooting percentage from 47.1 in his sophomore season to 59.9 percent as junior on his way to 13.6 points per game. 

Defensively, Oladipo is the best on-ball defender in his class. He should be a lockdown defender from Day 1. That's something that the Suns have rarely had throughout their recent history. 

Pairing Oladipo up with Goran Dragic would give them an exciting backcourt for years to come. 

6. New Orleans Pelicans: SG Ben McLemore, Kansas

McLemore isn't a perfect fit with the Pelicans. They would need to figure out a way to either rid themselves of Eric Gordon or get them to co-exist, but a talent like McLemore's is too great to pass up at this point.

McLemore is an explosive scorer. He averaged 15.9 points per game at Kansas as a freshman on 49.5 percent shooting. He isn't the greatest at creating his own shot off of the dribble, but he has an uncanny ability to rebound well for his size with 5.2 rebounds per game.

Defensively, he isn't quite the elite specimen that Oladipo is, but he certainly won't be a liability.

The Pelicans would be securing a much more reliable option than Gordon has been.


7. Sacramento Kings: PG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse

Is Michael Carter-Williams better than Trey Burke? Probably not. But he's a better fit for the Kings. 

Burke is an offensive dynamo that can get into the lane and create his own shot. The Kings already have a player that can do those things in Isaiah Thomas with Tyreke Evans playing a similar role. 

What they don't have is a selfless point guard that can play defense. That's exactly what Carter-Williams is. That isn't to say that Burke is selfish, but the disparity in defense is what makes the 6'6" PG a better fit in Sacramento.

8. Detroit Pistons: PG Trey Burke, Michigan

If the Kings do take Carter-Williams over Burke, the Pistons will be just fine with that. The dynamic Burke would be an instant boost to the Pistons. He was the NCAA tournament's biggest star and showed that he could create his own shot (18.6 points per game), as well as play the role or facilitator (6.7 assists per game). 

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: SG/PG C.J. McCollum, Lehigh

Chalk up another first round shooting guard—kind of. McCollum could be listed as either a shooting guard or a point guard, calling him either one takes away from his traits that classify him as both. 

At 6'3" with a knack for lighting up the scoreboard, McCollum has experience playing either with or without the ball and is an ideal combo guard. 

The Lehigh star can score in a variety of ways. His 51.6 percent from three-point range is reminiscent of Stephen Curry coming out of college. 

Paired with Ricky Rubio, the Timberwolves would have an electric backcourt to pair with Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic in the frontcourt. 

10. Portland Trail Blazers: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia

The Blazers would be making it four shooting guards in the Top 10 by taking Caldwell-Pope at No. 10. He would be the perfect running mate for Damian Lillard too. 

Caldwell-Pope has seen his stock do nothing but rise since declaring for the draft. As a sophomore, he was asked to carry the Bulldogs, and he delivered with 18 points, 7.1 rebounds and two steals per game. 

At 6'5" and 205 pounds, Caldwell-Pope has the frame to continue to be a solid defender at the next level. He'll also have plenty of opportunities to show off his smooth jumper playing alongside Lillard. 

11. Philadelphia 76ers: PF Cody Zeller, Indiana

This is a perfect marriage of need and value. The 76ers desperately need help in the post. Spencer Hawes can't do it alone, and Andrew Bynum has proven to be unreliable. Zeller was a highly productive player for two years at Indiana, and he can give the 76ers a legitimate scoring threat down low. 

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): SG Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

This is the ideal place for polarizing shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad

The freshman entered his college career at UCLA as one of the nation's top recruits, but he failed to dominate like many thought he would. That doesn't mean he wasn't a good player, though. He flashed the scorer's mentality that scouts raved about, averaging 17.9 points per game. 

For Oklahoma City, the hope would be that he develops into the next James Harden. Like the current Houston Rocket, Muhammad is a lefty volume-scorer that can light it up when called upon. 

Being placed alongside alpha dogs like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook makes this an ideal situation. 

13. Dallas Mavericks: SG/SF Sergey Karasev, Russia

ESPN's Chad Ford has reported that the Mavericks are looking to trade their pick to clear cap space. Pro Basketball Draft has reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers have approached them about possibly acquiring the pick to obtain Sergey Karasev. 

If that trade doesn't come to fruition, then Dallas will likely go with an international prospect, which means that Karasev still applies. 

At 6'7" and 197 pounds, Karasev may wind up playing more small forward than shooting guard, but his handles make him a prime candidate to start out as a two. 

14. Utah Jazz: PG Shane Larkin, Miami

The Jazz current options at point guard are Mo Williams and Randy Foye. If they want to take the next step as a team, that's not going to cut it. Larkin was one of college basketball's biggest stars, and he led the Miami Hurricanes to one of the best seasons in school history. 

Larkin doesn't have the highest ceiling in this class, but his ball handling and quickness makes him a safe bet to be a contributor. 

15. Milwaukee Bucks: SG Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State

As USA Today has reported, Monta Ellis will be opting out of his contract. That means the Bucks are left with a huge need at shooting guard. 

Fortunately, the uber-athletic Franklin is just the man to fill the gap. 

While he isn't the dynamic scorer that Ellis is, he should actually be an improvement on the defensive end of the floor and is a high-energy player. He averaged 9.5 rebounds per game for the Aztecs last season. 

For a team that could lose Ellis, Brandon Jennings and J.J. Redick, Franklin would be a huge addition for the Bucks going forward. 

16. Boston Celtics: C Steven Adams, Pittsburgh

Steven Adams is a real wild card in this draft. As a skilled seven-footer, he could go as early as the Top 10 if a team falls in love with his potential. In this scenario, it's hard to see him slide past No. 16. Boston has been forced to play Kevin Garnett big minutes at center lately and need a long-term solution at the position. 

That's exactly what Adams would be. The native New Zealander is far from a finished product and won't make an immediate impact. 

17. Atlanta Hawks: SF Giannis Adetokunbo, Greece

The Hawks get back-to-back selections in the first round here, which means that they are in a position to gamble a little bit. Here, they take an international prospect in Adetokunbo, who provides them with a promising long-term investment while keeping money off the cap and a roster spot open to try and improve the team through free agency. 

18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston via Brooklyn): PF Tony Mitchell, North Texas

According to Jeff Schultz and Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, Josh Smith appears to be on his way out in Atlanta. 

Expecting to replace the star forward in the middle of the first round is probably an unrealistic expectation, but going with Mitchell would be a step in the right direction. The 6'8" power forward struggled in his sophomore season at North Texas, scoring just 13 points per game against inferior competition.

Despite the struggles, he's still a phenomenal athlete with the ability to play above the rim and block shots. 

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles): SG/SF Glen Rice, Jr., NBA D-League

Keeping the trend that the Cavaliers are in the market for players that can help them make the playoffs this season, they take a player in Glenn Rice Jr., who has added serious polish to his game. The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket showed off a well-rounded game in the NBA's developmental league last season, averaging 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and one steal per game. 

Rice Jr. could play either the two or three and should be able to step into the rotation for the Cavaliers right away. 

20. Chicago Bulls: C Gorgui Dieng, Louisville

Gorgui Dieng is the perfect Bulls role player. He plays with toughness and energy while specializing on the defensive side of the floor. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has done a great job of getting the most out of the big men on his roster, and Dieng would be the next example of that. 

21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State via Brooklyn): SG Ricardo Ledo, Providence

Ricardo Ledo wasn't eligible to play for Providence last season, but his ability to create shots for himself and teammates makes him a first round prospect regardless. The Jazz don't have much promise in the backcourt, and paired with Larkin at No. 14, he would give the Jazz an exciting pair in the backcourt. 

22. Brooklyn Nets: PF/C Rudy Gobert, France

Brooklyn is a team made up almost entirely of veterans. Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace are all key members that are in their 30s. While those are all solid players to contend with now, the Nets are short on players with long-term promise. 

That would change if they take Gobert. At 7'2", his size alone makes him a promising player that could form a dominant frontcourt alongside Brook Lopez in a few years. 

23. Indiana Pacers: PG Dennis Schroeder, Germany

Depth turned out to be a huge issue for the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, specifically at the point guard position. D.J. Augustin was nothing special and only tallied four assists for the entire series. 

Schroeder is one of the fastest rising international prospects in this draft, and he was a key player on his German league team last season. He could be in the league sooner rather than later. 

24. New York Knicks: C Lucas Nogueira, Brazil

The Knicks are going to be relying heavily on Tyson Chandler to man the middle of the defense once again next season. The only other center on the roster is Marcus Camby, who is just one year younger than Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd. 

Without much cap flexibility, finding the center of the future will be difficult for New York. Nogueira won't help right away, but he has the ability to become an elite shot-blocker in a few years. 

25. Los Angeles Clippers: C Jeff Withey, Kansas

The Clippers were absolutely mauled by the Memphis Grizzlies down low in the first round of the playoffs. Getting more physical down low should be priority No. 1 with this draft pick, and Withey would achieve that end. The gritty center averaged 8.5 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game for the Jayhawks this season.  

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Houston): SG Allen Crabbe, California

The Timberwolves double-up on scoring perimeter players in this scenario. Crabbe averaged over 18 points per game for Cal last season, and he would offer a sniper from long range. With Rubio and McCollum slashing, he'd find plenty of opportunities to knock down open jumpers. 

27. Denver Nuggets: SG Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan

According to ESPN, Andre Iguodala will be testing his options on the free agent market. That leaves the Nuggets with a hole to fill at shooting guard.

Hardaway Jr. has an NBA pedigree, but he proved at Michigan that he's capable of carving out his own legacy. He averaged around 14 points per game in each of his three seasons at Michigan and is an impressive athlete. 

He won't be Iguodala right away, but he should factor in as part of the effort to replace him. 

28. San Antonio Spurs: PF/C Mike Muscala, Bucknell

The Tim Duncan era won't last forever. At 37 years old, the Big Fundamental can't have too many seasons left. Thiago Splitter is good, but the Spurs don't have many options outside of him that can score in the post. 

Muscala is a polished low post scorer that averaged 18.9 points per game this season. He needs to add some bulk to his frame, but Gregg Popovich is more than capable of helping him reach his potential. 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: SG Alex Abrines, Spain

With a chance to add more immediate help with the No. 12 pick in the draft, the Thunder are in a nice position to add a project player here. Abrines is a 19-year-old Spaniard that could develop into an offensive star with his ability to get to the rim. 

30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami via L.A. and Cleveland): SF Tony Snell, New Mexico

Continuing to build an athletic perimeter, the Suns go with Snell here. At 6'7" and 198 pounds, he'll need to get stronger to survive an NBA schedule, but he shot 39 percent from beyond the arc for the Lobos last season and should contribute right away as a spot up shooter. 


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