Thursday, June 27, 2013

Building The 15 - 2013 First Round NBA Mock Draft

Much like I said the last two years (2011 and 2012) in my first round mock draft of the NBA Draft, undoubtedly there will be a ton of trades deeming this "mock" draft essentially useless, but I want to get on record what I think each general manager should do with each pick if they kept it:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Victor Oladipo (SG, 6'4", 213 lbs, Indiana, 21 years old) - My unabashed draft crush will be one of the best defensive shooting guards in the NBA as a rookie.  If Oladipo takes his offensive game to the next level in the NBA then the Cavs will rival the Golden State Warriors for the most potent back court in the NBA.

2. Orlando Magic - Otto Porter (SF, 6'9", 198 lbs, Georgetown, 20 years old) - Despite already having small forward Tobias Harris on the roster thanks to a lopsided trade with the Bucks, Porter could be the best player in the draft so talent trumps need.

3. Washington Wizards - Anthony Bennett (PF, 6'8", 240 lbs, UNLV, 20 years old) - The potential second coming of Larry Johnson has weight and injury issues, which gives me some reservations.

4. Charlotte Bobcats - Nerlens Noel (C, 7'0". 206 lbs, Kentucky 19 years old) - Will most likely go first overall despite currently rehabbing a torn ACL because of the lack of a surefire franchise player in this draft.  If Noel can add some weight/muscle, worst case I see him as legitimate defensive force in the mold of Ben Wallace.

5. Phoenix Suns - Michael Carter-Williams (PG, 6'6", 184 lbs, Syracuse, 21 years old) - Height outweighs his crude jump shot because he is done growing but can definitely improve offensively.

6. New Orleans Pelicans - C.J. McCollum (PG, 6'3", 197 lbs, Lehigh, 21 years old) - According to almost every talent evaluator, they found McCollum to be one of the most engaging players throughout the evaluation process but make no mistake about it, without Damien Lillard coming from a small school and still winning rookie of the year last season, there is no way that McCollum would have cracked the Top 6 in this draft.

7. Sacramento Kings - Alex Len (C, 7'1", 225 lbs, Maryland, 20 years old) - Injuries always worry me, especially with centers (think Andrew Bogut, Andrew Bynum, and Greg Oden).  Despite having a new ownership group, it will take a few years to scrub the Maloof stink off the franchise, which makes this boom-or-bust pick a little risky.

8. Detroit Pistons - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG, 6'6", 204 lbs, Georgia, 20 years old) - Possesses one of the best offensive skill sets in the country.  Even if you play in the SEC, when your team goes 15-17 it is hard to get national recognition even if you, which is why KCP is not getting Top 5 buzz.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves - Cody Zeller (PF, 7'0", 230 lbs, Indiana, 20 years old) - Despite not being a huge Zeller fan, pairing him with Ricky Rubio is the perfect match that serves as Kevin Love insurance. There was a rumor that the Cavs offered the first pick in the draft, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson for Kevin Love.  I normally do not support trading lottery tickets for one of the 20 best players in the NBA but I would make an exception here because Love is injury prone and will most likely leave via free agency over the next few years.  Proactively moving Love would give the T-Wolves Oladipo, Waiters, and Thompson to pair with Rubio and Pekovic, which would make them a "must watch" on NBA League Pass.

10. Portland Trail Blazers - Ben McLemore (SG, 6'5", 189 lbs, Kansas, 20 years old) - Probably five spots lower than McLemore will actually go in the draft but his passive play gives me reservation about how successful he will be in the NBA even though he has the best chance to be an All-Star in the entire draft.

11. Philadelphia 76ers - Steven Adams (C, 7'0", 255 lbs, Pittsburgh, 19 years old) - Taking a center in the first round allows the new management of the 76ers to move on from the Andrew Bynum nightmare.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto) - Trey Burke (PG, 6'1", 187 lbs, Michigan, 20 years old) - There is a chance Burke overcomes his diminutive stature at the next level but I continue to have T.J. Ford nightmares every time I see Burke.  Add in that Burke moved up most draft boards thanks to a productive March and Burke has too many red flags for me to take him in the Top 10.

13. Dallas Mavericks - Sergey Karasev (SG, 6'7", 197 lbs, Russia, 19 years old) - The Mavs are continue to shed salary to keep alive their slim hopes of signing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard this off-season.  Taking a high upside European player like Karasev allows them to add a nice commodity they can stash in Europe to keep their books clean.

14. Utah Jazz - Shane Larkin (PG, 6'0", 171 lbs, Miami, 20 years old) - Much like Burke, I would have taken Larkin five spots higher if he was even a few inches taller but the ghost of T.J. Ford continues to haunt my judgment.

15. Milwaukee Bucks - Dennis Schroeder (PG, 6'2", 165 lbs, Germany, 19 years old) - There is no way Brandon Jennings, J.J. Redick, and Monta Ellis all re-sign with the Bucks.  If none of the trio re-signs with the Buckjs then Schroeder starts in the NBA next year.  If any of them re-sign then the Bucks can stash Schroeder in Europe for a year or two to help him refine his game.

16. Boston Celtics - Shabazz Muhammad (SF, 6'6", 222 lbs, UCLA, 20 years old) - Unfortunately for Celtics fans it is looking more and more like Paul Pierce's days in Boston are numbered, which puts even more pressure on Muhammad.  Going into the season it looked like Muhammad might go 1st overall but attitude, offensive struggles, and the revelation that he lied about his age all hurt his draft stock.

17. Atlanta Hawks - Lucas Nogueira (C, 7'0", 220 lbs, Brazil, 20 years old) - With two consecutive picks, the Hawks will likely stash one of the two players they draft overseas.  Nogueria is a perfect candidate because with a little seasoning he could help form the perfect twin-towers tandem with Al Horford down the road.

18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston via Brooklyn) - Glen Rice Jr. (SF, 6'6", 211 lbs, NBDL, 22 years old) - After a number of off-the-court issues dogged him a year ago, Rice tore up NBDL the second half of the season to move from a fringe second round pick to a mid-first round pick.  Rice's offensive game is too enticing to pass up at this point in the draft.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles) - Giannis Antetokounmpo (SF, 6'9", 215 lbs, Greece, 18 years old) - After drafting Oladipo 1st overal, the Cavs can trot out a pretty impressive starting five of Kyrie Irving (point guard), Oladipo (shooting guard), Waiters (small forward), Thompson (power forward), and Anderson Varejao (center).  Although that means Waiters has to play out of position, adding Antetokounmpo give the Cavs a starting small forward down the road once they decide whether Oladipo or Waiters is their long-term answer at shooting guard.

20. Chicago Bulls - Tony Mitchell
(PF, 6'9", 236 lbs, North Texas, 21 years old) - Admitted to having some maturity issues in college but his physical skill set makes him the perfect player for Tom Thibodeau's system.

21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State via Brooklyn) - Kelly Olynyk
(PF, 7'0", 234 lbs, Gonzaga, 22 years old) - The advanced stats say that Olynyk projects as a perfect stretch power forward in the NBA, which is not really a need given the front court depth the Jazz have (Derrick Favors and Enis Kanter) even if both Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson leave via free agency, but Olynyk feels like steal this late in the draft so talent outweighs positional need.

22. Brooklyn Nets - Jamaal Franklin (SG, 6'5", 191 lbs, San Diego State, 22 years old) - Despite having a ton of money committed to Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, with MarShon Brooks on the way out, the Nets could use a versatile wing to come off the bench.

23. Indiana Pacers - Allen Crabbe (SG, 6'6", 197 lbs, California, 21 years old) - Projects as one of the best offensive threats in the draft but still not sure about his defensive abilities.  If Crabbe performs well defensively, he will be the steal of the draft.

24. New York Knicks - Reggie Bullock (SG, 6'7", 200 lbs, North Carolina, 22 years old) - A late bloomer makes me question whether he can develop into a consist starter at shooting guard but worst case scenario projects as a three-point assassin off the bench.

25. Los Angeles Clippers - Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG, 6'6", 199 lbs, Michigan, 21 years old) - Reminds me of Monta Ellis given the fact that he is a high volume shooter so learning under Jamal Crawford's wing will help Hardaway fulfill his destiny of becoming Jamonta Elford 2.0.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Houston) - Tony Snell
(SF, 6'7", 198 lbs, New Mexico, 21 years old) - With his long arms he looks like a versatile NBA defender but unfortunately he didn't put up big deal or block numbers in college so I am not sure he can to it in the NBA. This late in the first round, taking a gamble on the body is worth the risk.

27. Denver Nuggets - Gorgui Dieng (C, 6'11", 203 lbs, Louisville, 23 years old) - College experience used to be an asset but now teams perceive that as lost NBA seasons, which bumps the oldest player in the draft to the end of the first round.

28. San Antonio Spurs - Rudy Gobert (C, 7'2", 238 lbs, France, 20 years old) - With Tiago Splitter a restricted free agent in his late 20's, I see the Spurs tendering Splitter but adding his replace a few years down the road in Gobert.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Ricardo Ledo
(SG, 6'6", 197 lbs, Providence, 20 years old) - Too bad Ledo had so many issues off the court because heading into college, Ledo looked like a surefire lottery pick thanks to his impressive offensive abilities.

30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami via L.A. and Cleveland) - Alex Abrines
(SG, 6'5", 195 lbs, Spain, 20 years old) - I would be shocked if Mason Plumlee was not drafted in the first round, which would be a safer pick here but I would rather swing for the fences taking a high upside guy like Abrines at the end of the first round instead of legging out a bunt single with Plumlee.

Today is Cheesehead Chick and my fourth wedding anniversary, which means I will be watching the 2013 NBA Draft on delay tonight so check back later tonight on Twitter @CheeseheadSN for my quick thoughts on what the Milwaukee Bucks do and Sunday for my traditional Sunday Funday post recapping the Bucks' 2013 NBA Draft.

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