Nothin’ but Net: Mock Draft time
By Jim Brighters, NBA Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Some mock drafts are easier than others,
but here’s what we know about this one – zilch.
The Cleveland Cavaliers own the first pick and would move it in a second. The
Orlando Magic would trade the second pick. It’s just one of those drafts in
which no players impress the teams at the top enough to warrant selection.
But, someone will have to go first, then second, just as every other year.
Problem is, no one might make an immediate impact like last year’s No. 1
overall pick, Anthony Davis.
Funny thing is, someone like Davis will probably go first. Nerlens Noel, a 6-
foot-10 freshman from Kentucky, is still the safe bet for the Cavaliers at
After that, there are a few players who might make a splash. It’s not just a
guessing game for us trying to prognosticate, it’s a guessing game for GMs
So here we go with The Sports Network’s 2013 NBA Mock Draft:
1, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – Nerlens Noel (Kentucky), Power Forward (6-10, 228) -
The Cavs won the lottery for the second time in three years. Last time, the
No. 1 pick got them Kyrie Irving. This time, Cleveland won’t get nearly the
type of franchise player like Irving. Still, Noel’s defensive game is ready
for the NBA, but his offensive game is not. He’s expected to be healthy at the
start of the season after a torn ACL during Kentucky’s season. Noel will help
a Cavs team that finished dead last in opponents’ field-goal percentage. He’s
that good defensively.
2. ORLANDO MAGIC – Ben McLemore (Kansas), Shooting Guard (6-5, 189) – This is
the safest of all possible picks. McLemore is a fantastic shooter, but has
failed to impress in some of his workouts. Shooting guard isn’t a big need for
the Magic, who finished with the worst record in the NBA. Arron Afflalo has
three years remaining on his contract, but McLemore is the second-best
prospect in the draft. Point guard is a need for Orlando, but the Magic can’t
use the No. 2 pick on a point guard in this draft.
3. WASHINGTON WIZARDS – Otto Porter (Georgetown), Small Forward (6-9, 198) -
This seems like a perfect match. Small forward is a huge need for the Wiz and
Porter, from Georgetown, is a great fit geographically at least. Good mid-
range game, good basketball IQ and ready for the NBA right now.
4. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS – Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Small Forward/Power Forward
(6-7, 240) – Bennett may turn out to be the best player in the draft. He’s a
combo forward who doesn’t shoot it well enough to be a natural small forward,
but probably isn’t big enough to play the big forward spot. His upside is
5. PHOENIX SUNS – Victor Oladipo (Indiana), Shooting Guard (6-4, 213) – While
on the short side for a shooting guard, Oladipo has become an effective two-
way player. He’s a great defender and above-average 3-point shooter. His work
ethic is outstanding and the Suns could use a player of strong character. He
can help change the culture in Phoenix by example.
6. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – Alex Len (Maryland), Center (7-1, 255) – Len could
go higher than sixth, but this spot seems safe. Len is physical and gigantic
and even though he’s 19, he should come in right away to team with Davis.
Point guard and small forward are bigger needs, but there isn’t a worthy small
forward unless Porter or Bennett fall, which is unlikely.
7. SACRAMENTO KINGS – Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse), Point Guard (6-6,
184) – This pick will most likely be a point guard. So why like Carter-Williams
more than Trey Burke, the national player of the year? Five inches is one
reason. Another is his playmaking ability may be a little ahead of Burke’s.
8. DETROIT PISTONS – Trey Burke (Michigan), Point Guard (6-0, 190) – The
Pistons get a local guy with the eighth pick as Burke falls into their laps.
After Detroit acquired Jose Calderon near the deadline, the Pistons moved
Brandon Knight to the shooting guard, where they think he belongs. A natural
point guard is the next logical step. With his Michigan ties, scoring and
facilitating, Burke is a perfect fit for the Pistons.
9. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia), Shooting Guard
(6-6, 204) – The major need for the Wolves is shooting. They have Kevin Love,
they have 11 point guards on the roster and will probably re-sign Nikola
Pekovic. Shooting was their major weakness, along with staying healthy.
Caldwell-Pope should help with the shooting.
10. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS – Cody Zeller (Indiana), Center (7-0, 230) – If
J.J. Hickson bolts via free agency, Zeller could fit in nicely. Early in the
season, he was considered No. 1 pick material. His sophomore season at Indiana
wasn’t great, but he is a very talented guy. Reports say Zeller’s outside
range is much better than expected. Portland may get a steal with this pick.
11. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – Steven Adams (Pittsburgh), Center (7-0, 250) – The
Andrew Bynum experiment failed badly, so Philly needs a big man. Adams is a
project to say the least, but his upside is huge. Can the Sixers wait a few
years for this pick to make an impact? Yes, there are so many holes, they can
wait out Adams.
12. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga), Center (7-0, 238) – The
Thunder could use some punch from a big man and Olynyk is the best available
man to fit the bill. They acquired this pick from the Toronto Raptors and
Houston Rockets. Whoever the Thunder take, he can hone his craft since OKC is
loaded and this player may not crack the rotation any time soon.
13. DALLAS MAVERICKS – C.J. McCollum (Lehigh), Shooting Guard (6-3, 197) – The
Mavs get lucky with this selection. He reminds some of Damian Lillard, the
reigning NBA Rookie of the Year for the Portland Trail Blazers. McCollum is a
combo guard from a small school, but Lillard had much better point guard
instincts. McCollum is a dynamite offensive player. He can shoot, penetrate,
all of it.
14. UTAH JAZZ – Dennis Schroeder (Germany), Point Guard (6-2, 165) – The Jazz
need a point guard. They also may need some big guys if Al Jefferson and Paul
Millsap leave via free agency. But Utah has Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter to
replace them. The Jazz would love to get Carter-Williams or Burke, but they’ll
be gobbled up before this pick. Schroeder is the next best.
15. MILWAUKEE BUCKS – Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA), Shooting Guard (6-6, 222) -
Muhammad is a lottery talent, but there are some concerns about attitude. He
is an elite offensive player who may go higher if teams aren’t scared by both
the attitude issues and the fact he treats playing defense with a casual
16. BOSTON CELTICS – Gorgui Dieng (Louisville), Center (6-11, 230) – The
Celtics have turned into a mystery. With Doc Rivers out as coach, are Kevin
Garnett and Paul Pierce far behind? Does Rajon Rondo stay, and, if so, is he
healthy enough to start the season? Dieng is the pick here because the C’s are
still about defense and he’s the best defensive big man in the draft.
17. ATLANTA HAWKS – Mason Plumlee (Duke), Center/Power Forward (7-1, 238) -
The Hawks have back-to-back picks, but may move one if not both to save as
much money as possible. Atlanta has Dwight Howard and Chris Paul on its mind.
If the Hawks keep this pick, Plumlee would be a nice fit with Al Horford.
Plumlee is fairly athletic and energetic.
18. ATLANTA HAWKS – Lucas Nogueira (Brazil), Center (7-0, 220) – A project
with amazing physical tools, Nogueira could stay overseas if the Hawks say so.
He needs to put on weight, but his athleticism is his calling card as he’s one
of the best running big men in the draft. Atlanta got this pick in a trade with
19. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – Sergey Karasev (Russia), Shooting Guard/Small
Forward (6-7, 197) – The Cavs got this pick from the Los Angeles Lakers and
will use it on a dead-on shooter. Small forward is a position of need for
Cleveland and this lefty is big enough to line up there. Great shooter with
20. CHICAGO BULLS – Allen Crabbe (California), Shooting Guard (6-6, 197) -
With Jimmy Butler stepping into the starting two guard spot, Crabbe will be a
nice backup. Chicago lacked 3-point shooting last season and Crabbe can fill
it up from long range.
21. UTAH JAZZ – Ricky Ledo (Providence), Shooting Guard (6-6, 197) – Ledo
didn’t play at all last season after academic problems. Off-the-court issues
linger here, but so does a lot of talent. Utah is a great place to go to not
get in trouble, so it might be a good fit for him early in his career.
22. BROOKLYN NETS – Tony Mitchell (North Texas), Power Forward (6-9, 236) -
Mitchell could come in right away and contribute because power forward is a
glaring weakness on the Nets. Reggie Evans is a great rebounder and agitator,
but there needs to be a 34-minute-a-night guy in that slot. Mitchell has a ton
of talent, but work ethic questions abound.
23. INDIANA PACERS – Shane Larkin (Miami), Point Guard (6-0, 171) – The Pacers
are set up for another run, assuming David West comes back (which, he will)
and Roy Hibbert continues to improve. In their playoff run to the Eastern
Conference Finals, point guard George Hill looked shaky at times. Larkin may
not be an upgrade, but he’s different with his speed and shooting.
24. NEW YORK KNICKS – Rudy Gobert (France), Center (7-2, 238) – The Knicks
were old, so any infusion of youth should be welcome. His reach was measured
at 9 feet, 7 inches, which was a combine record and borderline terrifying.
25. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – Archie Goodwin (Kentucky), Shooting Guard (6-5,
189) – A very mediocre one season at Kentucky led some to be surprised Goodwin
came out early. He has to cut down his turnovers and inconsistency. This would
be a good situation for him to go, assuming Chris Paul re-signs here. With
Chauncey Billups and Matt Barnes both free agents, Goodwin could play some
26. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – Jeff Withey (Kansas), Center (7-1, 222) – Since
Minnesota will go with shooting at No. 9, Withey makes sense here. The front
line of the Wolves, while talented, got decimated by injuries. Withey is great
insurance. He’s capable already.
27. DENVER NUGGETS – Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State), Shooting Guard/Small
Forward (6-5, 191) – Led San Diego State in scoring, rebounding, assists and
steals. Has quite an all-around game. Remind you of anyone who might be
leaving Denver via free agency? An Andre Iguodala, perhaps?
28. SAN ANTONIO SPURS – Reggie Bullock (North Carolina), Shooting Guard (6-7,
200) – The Spurs love shooters, especially ones who played for Roy Williams.
Makes sense, although, if Withey slides to here, he could go. A couple of
Spurs bigs could be leaving in free agency.
29. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – Giannis Adetokundo (Greece), Small Forward (6-9,
215) – Perfect idea – OKC takes this kid and stashes him in Europe or the D-
30. PHOENIX SUNS – Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Michigan), Shooting Guard (6-7. 199) -
What’s not to love about this kid? The genes are there (his dad Tim Hardaway
was a multiple-time All-Star), he played at a high level for a team that
reached the national championship game (Michigan). Phoenix, which got this pick
from the Miami Heat, could use more winners.
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Check out the 2013 Zone NBA Mock Draft