NBA Mock Draft 2.0
posted Jun 27 2013, 04:30PM
posted in NBA, Analysis

The NBA Draft is just a couple hours away, so here is my final mock before David Stern announces who will be the top pick in the class of 2013. 

 

1) Cleveland: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

There has been a lot of buzz pairing Oladipo with the Cavs, and I have a hunch it will happen come to fruition Thursday night. I love the combo of Oladipo and Kyrie Irving in the Cavaliers backcourt for years to come. Oladipo has skyrocketed up draft boards over the past few weeks. Oladipo is an explosive athlete (42” vertical) and a tenacious defender. He plays hard, works hard and has received nothing but rave reviews from NBA front offices and former coaches alike. Oladipo will be a great compliment to Irving and Dion Waiters in a young, but talented Cavalier backcourt rotation. Oladipo needs to improve his jump shoot and ball handling, but his combination of athleticism, defensive prowess and unselfishness will make him a mainstay in the NBA for the next 10+ years.

 

2) Orlando: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky

Nerlens Noel is an absolute force on the defensive side of the ball. He is one of the best pure shot blockers of the past decade, and his game reminds me of Milwaukee Bucks’ big man Larry Sanders. Noel must improve on the offensive side of the ball. He is way too thin and needs to add some weight to his frame. The combination of Noel and Nikola Vucevic down low will provide the Magic with a legitimate post presence on the defensive side of the ball. The duo will also form a rebounding juggernaut. The selection of Noel would give the Magic a variety of young options on the front court between Noel,  Vucevic, Glen Davis, Moe Harkless, Andrew Nicholson and Tobias Harris.

 

3) Washington: Otto Porter Jr., SF, Georgetown

Otto Porter Jr. is one of the safer lottery picks in this year’s class. Porter is very long and worked very hard to improve his career during his tenure with the Hoyas. Porter played very composed and smart basketball despite just turning 20. Porter isn’t the most explosive athlete (36” vertical) and his shooting mechanics are awkward (to say the least), but I expect him to have a lengthy NBA career. The trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Porter will make for a very exciting up and coming group in the Capital City.  

4) Charlotte: Alex Len, C, Maryland

At 7’1” Alex Len has the size and upside every NBA team is looking for when drafting a big man. Len is currently sidelined due to a stress fracture in his ankle, but the massive Ukrainian has the tools to become a legitimate NBA center. For being as big as he is, Len is very coordinated and agile, but he needs to become more assertive, disciplined on defense. He needs to improve on his face up game and consistency. There were games where Len looked like the best big man in the country (like when he dominated Duke’s Mason Plumlee), and then there were other games where he was just another “”guy” on the floor. So, which is the real Len? We will find out soon. 

 

5) Phoenix: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

Ben McLemore has the athleticism to be one of the league’s premier shooting guards, but his lone season in the collegiate ranks was marred with inconsistent play. The key for McLemore is that he has the potential to be a superstar, which is a distinction few participates in this year’s draft class can make, and the Suns are clearly in need of all of the help they can get.

 

6) New Orleans: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV

Anthony Bennett is a very intense and imposing basketball player. Bennett only stands at 6’7” but has a freakish 7’1” wingspan. He is a good athlete and was a force at the collegiate level, but injuries have plagued Bennett throughout his career, which is why I have the talented Candian dropping out of the top 5. The Pelicans would be glad to see one of the draft’s top prospects fall to them at pick No. 6. 

7) Sacramento: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Trey Burke’s play during the 2012-13 NCAA season was truly remarkable. Burke not only led his team to the NCAA Championship, but also boosted his draft stock considerably due to his impressive play. Burke has a desire to win that few can match. He is a warrior with a huge heart and no fear. He is ready and willing to carry his team at any given time. He is a floor general with an exceptional jump shot, but his biggest flaw is his height. Burke is only 6’1” and that maybe a significant issue against today’s NBA point guards. He isn’t the quickest, strongest or most athletic guard out there, and that could be tough for the Ohio native to overcome. Most elite point guards possess at least one of these qualities, if not more. Burke is a solid athlete (36.5” vertical) and falling to the Kings would enable him to have a legitimate opportunity to start as a rookie, if he can beat out the 5’9” Isaiah Thomas.

 

8) Detroit: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

Cody Zeller is the type of player every NBA franchise covets when building a team. Zeller is a team first guy who is very unselfish (maybe even too unselfish) and the consummate teammate. Zeller is a highly underrated athlete (37.5” vertical) and often looks like a gazelle running up and down the floor with his long strides who I foresee will enjoy a long career in the league. On the down side, Zeller is often too predictable, which resulted in him being the victim of countless jaw-dropping blocked shots. He also looked lost and outmatched against Syracuse’s vaunted zone defense in the NCAA Tournament. He needs to also add some weight to his frame if he plans on defending NBA bigs on a consistent basis. The trio of Zeller, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond would create an athletic and talented, young group of bigs in Detroit.

9) Minnesota: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

KCP is a sharpshooter and natural scorer. He is an underrated athlete (34.5” vertical) and exceptional rebounder for his size (7.1 a game last season). He is also very quick and a great defender making him a perfect fit at two guard in the NBA. He is such a good shooter that often times he relies too heavily upon long range shots. He also is not a very effective facilitator when handling the ball. KCP would be a perfect fit alongside Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love in Minnesota.  

10) Portland: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

C.J. McCollum made national headlines after leading No. 15 Lehigh past the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils in the 2011-12 NCAA tournament, but McCollum has been making a name for himself long before that in the Patriot League. He is an elite level scorer, who can fill it up from anywhere on the floor. His off the dribble abilities are second to none. He is great at generating steals and grabbing rebounds for someone his size. At 6’3” his long-term NBA prospects will likely hinge on his ability to transform his game into more of a Stephen Curry type role, which is something McCollum did not show in college; however, if the Blazers draft him he may be able to slide over to the two guard spot alongside last year’s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard. If McCollum does indeed play shooting guard at the next level, his on the ball defense needs some fine-tuning. 

11) Philadelphia: Lucas Nogueria, C, Brazil

Lucas Nogueria is a very big man with even longer arms. Nogueria stands at 7’ tall, but has a freakishly 7’6” wingspan; however, Nogueria’s problem is not his athletisicism, but rather his technique. His offense needs to be refines and his defense must be improved if he even wants to see any action at the NBA level. He needs to improve his understanding of defensive concepts and assignments, while also raising his intensity. Nogueria will likely be a limited contributor as a rookie, but with a year or two of NBA coaching he can be one of the steals of the draft.

12) Oklahoma City: Sergey Karasev, SG/SF, Russia

Sergey Karasev is a smooth shooting lefty prospect who is further along the developmental curve than most teenage international players are at this stage. Karasev plays unselfishly and with a very high basketball IQ, which is usually the case when your father is a basketball coach and former player. Karasev is tough, scrappy and willing to fight for extra possessions for his team, but he is only an average athlete and needs to get stronger if he hopes to handle the grind of an NBA season. His lateral quickness also may prove to be a liability on the defensive side of the ball at the NBA level. Karasev was a member of the Russian national team at the 2012 Olympics where they won the Bronze Medal. Karasev will be a great compliment at two guard between Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City.

13) Dallas: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

MCW reminds me of a player I was very fond of almost a decade ago: Shaun Livingston. I don’t think MCW is as talented as Livingston was, but at 6’6” and a prolific passer the similarities are noticeable. Not only is MCW a gifted passer, but he is a dynamic athlete (41.5” vertical), and the combination of his size and athleticism may catapult him above Larkin in some teams eyes. MCW also possesses very quick hands, and with his length makes him a turnover machine (2.8 steals a game). Although as good as all that sounds, MCW is a below average shooter finishing last year with a 39.3 FG percentage and 29.2 percent from beyond the arc. I do not think MCW has the foot speed to stop NBA point guards from getting past him and he also has some off the court baggage (shoplifting). I also fear MCW may be another product of Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim’s system. The only former Orange that have had any substantial NBA success over the past decade are Carmelo Anthony and Hakim Warrick. Dion Waiters maybe the next to make it, but the list of NBA busts from Syracuse exceeds the success stories (notably: Wes Johnson, Jonny Flynn, Donte Greene, Andy Rautins and Fab Melo).    

 

14) Utah: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (FL)

Shane Larkin is the best point guard prospect in this draft, in my eyes. Larkin is a dynamic athlete (44” vertical) with good range and quickness. He is a very hard-nosed player and ultra-competitive. He is an exceptional floor general, and is a solid rebounded given his size (3.8 per game last year). The major knocks on Larkin are his size (5’11”) and his length (5’11” wingspan), but other than that Larkin is very quick, freakishly athletic, strong and a true leader, all traits that are very desirable for a NBA point guard.      

 

15) Milwaukee: Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA

Shabazz Muhammad is one of the more polarizing figures in this year’s draft. He has the talent to be great, but he has to figure out a way to put it all together. He is a very hard worker, and demonstrates a fierce passion for the game. Muhammad is a good athlete (37.5” vertical) and possesses great length (6’11” wingspan). In college, Muhammad was strictly a scorer. He is very aggressive offensively and always looking for ways to get up shots, which is evident by his 17.9 PPG as a freshman at UCLA. Unfortunately, facilitating and getting his teammates involved was not his strong suit in college (0.8 assists per game). Muhammad also needs to put more effort on the defensive side of the ball. He also needs to develop his right hand more because in the NBA teams will force him to the right since he is so reliant on his left hand. He also has Tourette’s Syndrome, which may deter some teams from taking the talented prospect. A team like Milwaukee who is in desperate need of scorers with the impending free agency of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings would be wise to take a fly on Muhammad. 

16) Boston: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany

Dennis Schroeder’s best asset is his quickness and he may very well be the quickest prospect in this year’s draft class. There are rumors swirling that some team has promised Schroeder they will take him in round one, and the Celtics are one of the teams linked to the German speedster. I personally think Schroeder will land either in Boston or in San Antonio. Now, why would the Celtics who already have a young All-Star point guard in Rajon Rondo consider drafting another one in the first round? Well, Rondo obviously is coming off ACL surgery, and likely will not be 100% at any point next season, and there is always the possibility the Celtics will eventually look to move Rondo. Word out of Boston for several years has been that the team fears Rondo’s demeanor and attitude is not conducive to what they are trying to accomplish, and the team needs to find a replacement sooner or later if that is the case. Enter: Schroeder. At 19, Schroeder has shown a very solid all-around game, and although he still very raw his game looks like it will continue to improve given his skill set. As mentioned earlier, Schroeder is as quick as they come, which is always crucial for a NBA point guard. Schroeder also has developed into a solid playmaker and reliable ball handler that displays impressive composure and vision in traffic. He has very quick feet and a huge wingspan (6’8”) for his size (6’2”). He also boasts huge hands and has the tools to become a very troublesome on the ball defender. Do these traits sound familiar? Schroeder has a very similar skill set as the man that he would be backing up and potentially replacing in Boston, Rajon Rondo.

17) Atlanta: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

Steven Adams has the tools to develop into a star at the next level, but he is still very raw. He is 7’0 tall, boasts a wingspan of nearly 7’5” and has some huge hands (9.5” x 11”). He is pretty athletic (33” vertical), very coachable and willing to improve on his game. He has developed a solid foundation, thus far, and has not established any bad habits, which bodes well for his future prospects, especially after a couple years of NBA coaching to help refine his game. He seems like a very humble individual and has a great feel for the game considering he has not been playing basketball at a very high level for very long. He is originally from New Zealand, so he is still getting acclimated to life in the States. He is a great rebounder and a solid shot blocker. Adams is not close to being NBA ready, and will need at least a couple years of development before he can be thrown into the fire.   

18) Atlanta: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece

Giannis Adetokunbo has the size (6’9”) and length (7’3” wingspan) NBA front offices covet in a small forward in today’s league to defend players such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, all of whom are 6’8” or taller. Adetokkunbo is still very raw and has never faced the type of competition he will see in the NBA, but the potential is there. He displays good athleticism and ball handling skills for his size, so much so in fact, that I could conceivably see him becoming a point forward in the future. For as raw as he is he displays a very high basketball IQ both on the offensive side of the ball and defensively. Out of all the international prospects in this class I would say Adetokunbo has the highest ceiling due to his freakish physical attributes and skill set. His competition in Greece has been subpar (at best), and makes it very difficult to accurately discern Adetokunbo’s NBA prospects.       

19) Cleveland: Tony Snell, SF, New Mexico

Tony Snell is one of the best shooters in this draft. He already has the range to nail NBA 3’s on a consistent basis and with his high shot release altering his shot will be very difficult for defenders. His jump shot is picture perfect and he isn’t afraid of taking big shots late in the game. He is effective in catch and shoot situations and when he has his feet set. He is a good defender and possesses good athleticism (36.5” vertical) and length as he boasts nearly a 7’ wingspan. He is very unselfish and has the ability to run the offense when needed. He almost too passive and lets the game come to him almost to a fault. He needs to add some mass to his lean frame (198 pounds), and for being such a prolific deep threat his mid-range game is not where it needs to be. The Cavaliers are on the verge of becoming a force in the Eastern Conference f they can add Noel and Snell via the draft, and if they spend the 35+ million they have in salary space properly this summer.

20) Chicago: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

Kelly Olynyk is exactly the type of player the Thunder have been in need of for several years now: a big man with a well-rounded and refined offensive game. Serge Ibaka’s offensive game is developing, but a frontcourt featuring Olynyk and Ibaka gives the Thunder the best of both worlds: a freakishly athletic shot blocker in Ibaka and a skilled offensive threat in the post in Olynyk. He possesses a highly effective and polished post skill set, which is very uncommon for a collegiate prospect. With his size and high basketball IQ Olynyk looks to be a mainstay in the Association for the foreseeable future. The major downside with Olynyk is that he isn’t the greatest athlete (29.5” vertical), thus, forcing him to rely more on finesse than anything else.   

 

21) Utah: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr. is a good scorer with an even better jump shot, which is something the Jazz will need considering they will look to field a completely revamped roster in 2013-2014. Tim Hardaway is very unselfish, a team orientated player and handles himself like a professional, which can likely be attributed to having a father who was a NBA veteran for 10+ years. This will also help accelerate Hardaway’s transition to the next level. Hardaway is a solid athlete and a hard worker with a beautiful shooting stroke. His foot speed is not ideal, and he could use some time in the weight room to add some mass to his frame.

 

22) Brooklyn: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State

Jamaal Franklin was everything for the San Diego State Aztecs last year on both sides of the ball. Franklin averaged 17 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game as a junior last season. At 6’5” Franklin possesses great length (6’11” wingspan), which he utilizes effective to disrupt passing lanes and create turnovers. Franklin doesn’t excel at any particular aspect, but he is above average at almost everything. He needs to become a more efficient scorer (41.3 percent) and become less turnover prone (3.4 a game). There are questions as to how well his game will translate to the next level because some view him as an undersized combo forward. Franklin must also improve his shooting, particularly from deep (28 percent). Franklin apparently was involved in a couple of incidents with fans and a ref during his collegiate career, which he will likely have to explain during the draft’s interview process. 

  

23) Indiana: Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas

Tony Mitchell is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. At 6’9” Mitchell has nearly a 7’3” wingspan and is an exceptional athlete. Mitchell posted an impressive 38” vertical at the Combine and proved to be a force on the boards and blocking shots. What makes Mitchell so intriguing is that not only can he dominate the post, but he can also create havoc on the perimeter (44 percent from 3 as a freshman). Mitchell has the quickness and length to guard multiple positions at the next level. Mitchell is a very passionate player and is relentless on both sides of the ball. Mitchell saw his numbers dip across the board from his first to his second seasons at North Texas. North Texas struggled mightily last year finishing the season 12-20, which is astonishing and unexpected all in one considering Mitchell’s talent level and the level of completion in the Sun Belt. Mitchell also dealt with eligibility issues before enrolling at North Texas. Mitchell had initially committed to Missouri following his high school career, but was unable to enroll there due to issues with his high school curriculum and credits following a transfer after his sophomore year in high school. Ultimately, Mitchell’s talent will be too much for an already promising Pacer club to pass on.   

24) New York: Gorgui Dieng, PF/C, Louisville

Gorgui Dieng is a force on the defensive side of the ball in the post. At 6’11” Dieng has nearly a 7’4” wingspan and utilizes every inch to protect the rim. The Knicks need help in the post, and Dieng will certainly help, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Dieng does not possess the greatest offensive skill set, but he will be very active on the offensive glass. Dieng plays hard and is a force blocking shots. Dieng would help improve a Knicks defense that appears to be close to parting with either Tyson Chandler or Amare Stoudemire, if not both.

 

25) L.A. Clippers: Allen Crabbe, SG, California

Allen Crabbe won’t have to go too far from home if the Clippers take him with this pick. The Los Angeles native is a great shooter with a sweet stroke. His jump shot is Crabbe’s best asset and he already has the range to knock down NBA 3’s. He has ideal size (6’6”) and length (6’11” wingspan) to play shooting guard on both sides of the ball in the NBA and is also a solid athlete (36” vertical). He has displayed solid vision and passing skills for an off guard, but likely will struggle if forced to run an offense or create for himself. Crabbe is more of a spot up shooter, at this point, than anything else. He needs to improve his ball handling skills, which hopefully will improve his ability to create shots for himself, as well.  

26) Minnesota: Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Duke

Mason Plumlee had a productive senior year at Duke averaging a double double with 17.1 points and 10 rebounds a game. Plumlee has the size and athleticism to make at the NBA level, but his mental and physical toughness will determine how far he is able to make it. He became much more effective in the post this past season than he had previously shown during his tenure in Durham. For much of the 2012-13 NCAA season Plumlee looked like one of the country’s top big men, but his worst performance of the season came against the draft’s top center prospect: Maryland’s Alex Len. Plumlee finished the game with 4 points, 3 rebounds and 5 fouls on 2-7 shooting from the field, 0-2 from the charity stripe. Len, on the other hand, finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks on 6-8 shooting from the field and 7-8 from the free throw line, while leading his team to a huge victory. Although, Plumlee played much better in Duke’s other two games against Maryland and Len, a performance that bad against someone as talented as Len, and a rival program like Maryland is definitely something NBA front offices will note.

 

27) Denver: Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, North Carolina

Reggie Bullock is one of the best perimeter shooters in this draft. Bullock was an absolute assassin from beyond the arc connecting on nearly 44 percent of his shots. I think Bullock would have been better suited staying in school for another year, but sharp shooters like Bullock are always coveted in the NBA. He has a great shooting stroke and a quick release, which proved to be a glaring hole for the Nuggets after the injury to Danilo Gallinari. Denver lacked the shooters to spread the floor once Gallinari went down, so a player with Bullock’s skills will be a great addition for a talented Nuggets ball club. Bullock plays smart and within himself without trying to do too much (1.2 turnovers a game) and is a prolific rebounder (6.5 per game) given his size and position. I envision Bullock as a rotational player who can become a key contributor on a championship team similar to former Tar Heel Danny Greene.    

 

28) San Antonio: Erick Green, PG/SG, Virginia Tech

Erick Green led the country in scoring last season averaging 25 points a game during his senior campaign, and the Spurs have taken notice. Reports indicate that the Spurs may have promised the Virginia Tech product that they will select him with their first round pick. The Spurs bench could not generate enough points during the Finals against Miami, and the selection of Green will be the first step in improving the team’s bench scoring. Manu Ginobili, the team’s bench threat of the past 5+ years is slowing down, is a free agent and if retained will be 36 to start next season. So it is time the Spurs look for a replacement, and San Antonio appears to have their sights set on Green.

29) Oklahoma City: Rudy Gobert, C, France

Rudy Gobert is as long as they come. Gobert is 7’2” and has a whopping 7’8.5” wingspan. He is a pretty solid athlete and mobile for his size. His agility and incredible wingspan enables him to be an effective shot blocker and rebounder. He is very coordinating for being so big and will likely develop into a formidable rim protector. He needs to expand his game offensively, and he needs to add some mass because at 238 pounds he is fairly thin. Gobert is not ready to step in and play at the NBA level immediately, but with a year or two of NBA coaching and training he can develop into a solid NBA center. The Thunder have been known for acquiring low risk/high reward options, which is exactly what Gobert is at this point in the draft.    

30) Phoenix: Glen Rice Jr., SG/SF, Rio Grande Valley (D-League)

Glen Rice Jr. was forced to take a unique road to the NBA, but it was more out of necessity than by choice. Rice Jr. was kicked off Georgia Tech’s squad by head coach Brian Gregory. Before he was kicked off the team he was suspended several time’s for violating team rules and disciplinary reasons. After being dismissed at Georgia Tech Rice decided to sign up for the D-League rather than transfer to another school and have to sit out for a year. Even after being selected in the fourth round by the Houston Rockets affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers Rice could not find the floor. Through 22 D-League games, Rice had only been able to register 6.6 minutes of action per contest, but after a few call ups from the Vipers more minutes opened up for Rice and he took full advantage of the opportunity. In his first start, Rice accumulated 35 points and 15 rebounds on 6-10 from beyond the arc and he never looked back. Rice averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 25 games since becoming starter. Similar to his father, Glen Rice, Rice Jr. has a deadly jump shot, though not as potent as his fathers; however, where Rice Jr. separates himself from his father is athletically. Rice Jr. is a much more explosive athlete, registering an impressive 40.5” vertical at the combine. He also possesses solid size (6’6”) and length (6’9” wingspan) for an NBA two guard.      

Kayvon Padidar
I am 24 years old and a military veteran. I recently graduated from The Ohio State University and was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I am a sports...





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