2013 NBA Mock Draft: First Round Predictions

ImageThe 2013 NBA Draft is only two days away, which means in-house draft expert Superb J Sperb will be spitting his filthy projections all over our NBA stage.

Some have called this year’s crop a lacking player pool… he calls it an opportunity.

May the Odds be in Your Favor…

1.) Cleveland Cavaliers: C Nerlens Noel, Kentucky 

ImageAnderson Varejao is an injury-prone, luxury role player who is crippling the Cavs’ financial flexibility. Cleveland has a formidable 1-2 punch at the guard position in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, while Tristan Thompson looks like a developing 4. Also dubbed the Human Eraser, Noel not only has Defensive Player of the Year potential, but would likely find himself starting beside Thompson, Waiters, and Irving. This leaves a gaping hole at the small forward position…Lebron James…moving on…

2.) Orlando Magic: PG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse 

They can certainly go Oladpio or McLemore with this pick, but I believe Aron Afflalo is a solid Image2-guard with a reasonable contract. While Michael Carter-Williams is a boom/bust pick, he has the size and athleticism to be a great point guard if he can put it all together. With Jameer Nelson only under contract for two more seasons, MCW can take over the position following a brief learning period. As Zack will point out, you might see the next Shaun Livingston. However, as an optimist myself, I believe that MCW can be great. 

3.) Washington Wizards: SF Otto Porter, Georgetown

ImageOtto Porter is the perfect selection for the Wizards. They have a huge hole to fill at small forward and a potent backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal. Porter is the hometown hero who will bring grit and headiness to a lacking unit. He is the safest pick for the Wizards. 

4.) Charlotte Bobcats: SG Ben McLemore, Kansas 

The Bobcats need offense. Kemba Walker cannot be asked to carry the load 82 times per Imageseason. Sure Ben McLemore has his critics, but nobody can deny that the kid can put the ball in the net. With McLemore, Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist starting, and Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon off the bench, the Cats should have enough scoring to compete. Unfortunately though, the inexperienced Bobcats may need a bit more seasoning… don’t expect this kid to solve all the problems. 

5.) Phoenix Suns: SG Victor Oladipo, Indiana 

ImageFor so long the Suns’ mantra has been offense; “we want to beat you 120-119.” That clearly hasn’t worked for them, even in the past with talented players like Marion, Stoudemire and Nash (all in their primes at the time). Oladipo gives the franchise a change of direction. He may be this draft’s surest entity. You know night in and night out you will get a stud defender/rebounder/competitor and 15-18 points. He can be the second best player on a championship team and the Suns should feel good with the choice. 

6.) New Orleans Pelicans: Center Alex Len, Maryland 

ImageThe ‘Cans are hoping that Eric Gordon’s knees aren’t made of paper mache (cross your fingers) and they hope that Austin Rivers can rebound from literally the worst statistical rookie year of all time. Though I believe that the Pelicans backcourt will improve slightly, Len and Anthony Davis could be the Duncan/Robinson of our generation if both live up to their potential. Scary things to come from this frontcourt. 

7.) Sacramento Kings: PF Anthony Bennett, UNLV 

The Kings have been a mess for far too long. They take selfish players who love to pad their Imagestats and are inefficient offensively (see Demarcus Cousins). Trey Burke can be had here, but he is not a true point guard and seemingly a better version of Isaiah Thomas in my opinion. Shabazz Muhammad also fits the bill but he may be that inefficient, selfish offensive player the Kings normally take. Anthony Bennett is efficient and can stretch the floor for the Kings. He could form a formidable frontcourt with DeMarcus Cousins and Pat Patterson. 

8.) Detroit Pistons: SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

ImageWhat’s an NBA Mock Draft without a few curveballs? I believe Trey Burke and Brandon night are very similar in that they are shooting guards in point guard bodies. The Pistons should resign Jose Calderon and swing for a point guard in free agency or future drafts. However, the Greek Freak, as they call him, is very much like Tayshawn Prince. Lengthy and Athletic, oozing with potential.

9.) Minnesota Timberwolves: PG Trey Burke, Michigan 

ImageThis is a no brainer. The Wolves need back court help and they must feel very fortunate that the National Player of the Year fell into their laps. Burke and Ricky Rubio should provide a dynamic 1-2 combo for years to come.

10.) Portland “Rip City” Trail Blazers: SG CJ McCollum, Lehigh 

ImageTwo mid-major guards in the backcourt? That is absurd! No it is not! McCollum and Damien Lillard can flat out score. Let Nick Batum handle defense and LaMarcus Aldrige explode to the basket and this Blazers team can be filthy for years to come.

11.) Philadelphia 76ers: SF Sergey Karasev, Russia 

Cody Zeller is another strong possibility, though the 76ers already have  
bruising Thaddeus Young and second-year frontman Arnett Moultrie. Adding Karasev to the mix gives them an athletic swingman who can do it all. 

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12.) Oklahoma City Thunder: SF Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA 

HOW IS NOBODY ELSE PREDICTING THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This pick is a no brainer to me. The Thunder replace James Harden with one of college basketball’s most offensively gifted players, with some seeing Muhammad having more upside. This draft is deep with backup big man and with two more picks in the top-35, Kendrick Perkins’ backup could be found easily. 

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13.) Dallas Mavericks: PF Cody Zeller, Indiana 

ImageWith Dirk Nowitzki nearing the end of his career Cody Zeller can be counted on as his hard-nosed replacement (don’t get too excited). Tyler’s younger bro can score without question, however if you give him some time to develop he could become an efficient defender and an above-average starter. For now, the Mavericks get Dirk a backup and some bench scoring with terrific upside. This pick is a steal. 

14.) Utah Jazz: PG Dennis Schroeder, Germany

ImageWhile I’m not really high on Dennis Schroeder, I feel like this is the inevitable pick. The Jazz are clearly enamored with his Rajon Rondo comparisons, though they better hope he’s just as crafty.

15.) Milwaukee Bucks: PF Tony Mitchell, North Texas

Tony Mitchell has the mentality that the Bucks need to install into their locker room. He Imagehustles on defense and thrives without the ball in his hands. Yes, they still need to figure their guard situation out. However, Larry Sanders, John Henson and Tony Mitchell provide the Bucks with defense and athleticism. 

16.) Boston Celtics: C Steven Adams, Pittsburgh 

ImageThe Celtics are rebuilding, which means it’s now a marathon rather than a sprint. Steven Adams has the potential to be a star in this league, a ceiling that requires time to reach. The Celtics need to give Adams time.

17.) Atlanta Hawks: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has a very high ceiling and the Hawks should be happy they are Imagegetting him at this pick. With a crucial free agency period that may make or break this Hawks team, KCP is a nice starting piece if they end up needing to tear it down.

18.) Atlanta Hawks: C Rudy Gobert, France 

ImageThe Hawks have a ton of cap room this summer and I believe they are going after Dwight and CP3 or Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. It makes sense for them to draft Rudy Gobert and then stash him away for a year so he doesn’t count against their minuscule cap number. 

19.) Cleveland Cavilers: SG Glen Rice Jr., Rio Grande Vipers. 

Glen Rice has a sketchy past, but it seems that those Image issues have been addressed after a spectacular season in the D-League. Rice can flat out score. At the very least, he could provide a good spark for the Cavs off the Bench and although many scouts do not have him as a first-round prospect, I believe he is a first round offensive talent. Offense is something the Cavs desperately need. 

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

ImageJamaal Franklin is a very Bulls-like player. He rebounds, shoots the three, and does the nitty gritty things. With a gaping hole at shooting guard, Franklin seems the logical choice. 

21.) Utah Jazz: PF Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga 

ImageThe hometown hero! Kelly Olynyk is going to be a heck of a post player and is going to sell a helluva lot of tickets. If only they would have taken Jimmer Fredette a few years ago. We would have the stormin’ Mormons’!

22.) Brooklyn Nets: SF Reggie Bullock, North Carolina 

The Nets need a backup small forward and Bullock fits the bill. He Imageplays solid D and is exceptional from beyond the arc. Not much more you can want out of a pick in this slot.

23.) Indiana Pacers: SG Archie Goodwin, Kentucky 

ImageArchie Goodwin has a boatload of potential; he just needs time to put it all together. Since the Pacers are a title contender and can wait for him to develop, a matured Goodwin could be a serious threat in a few years.

24.) New York Knicks: PG Shane Larkin, Miami 

The Knicks can take Gorgui Dieng or any other big, though I think backup point guard is their Imagemain priority. Larkin is a superb athlete, leader and playmaker. Sure he is undersized, but he’s got miles and miles of heart and the talent to develop into an excellent backup point guard into this league. The Knicks win here. 

25.) Los Angeles Clippers: SG Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan

ImageTim Hardaway Jr. can score and certainly has starter potential in this league. Chauncey Billups can barely walk, Willie Green is a role player, Jamal Crawford is a sweet-shooting sixth man, and Eric Bledsoe appears to be nearly gone. Tim Hardaway Jr. should be a nice fit.

26.) Minnesota Timberwolves: C Jeff Withey, Kansas

The Wolves need a backup center and Withey just might be their Imageguy. I think Dieng is the better pick, but Whitey is more polished now and the Wolves need to convince Kevin Love to stay. In other words, they need to start winning now.

27.) Denver Nuggets: SG Ricky Ledo, Providence 

ImageRicky Ledo is one of the drafts most polished players offensively. Scouts are quick to point out that he got into trouble at school and that he went to a small school; however, the Nuggets might lose Andre Iguodala and Danillo Gallinari is coming off knee surgery, so the Nuggets should take the gamble on Ledo and hope that he can help them score the rock. 

28.) San Antonio Spurs: PG Pierre Jackson, Baylor 

The Spurs can look to go big man, but I think they need to come out of this draft with a backup point guard for Tony Parker. Pierre Jackson is lightning quick and can really help the Spurs grow athletically.

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29.) Oklahoma City Thunder: C Gorgui Dieng, Louisville 

Wow, have I been too generous with the Thunder? First, I replace James Harden with a Imagepotential star (see above) and now I am giving them the player they were really considering taking at 12. The Thunder find their backup for Kendrick Perkins, though Gorgui Dieng can certainly use a few years of offensive development. Right now, with this high-flying offense, they’ll take their chances on a valuable defensive role player on a championship-caliber squad. 

30.) Phoenix Suns: C Mason Plumlee, Duke 

Mason Plumlee is a must here. Many scouts regard him as a top-15 talent. While this is not a need, Plumlee has a high ceiling and is polished defensively (something the Suns need). This pick is a no brainer.

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