The 2013 NBA Draft Lottery will determine the order of the first 14 picks on May 21.
No matter which team ends up with the first pick, it appears that Nerlens Noel will be chosen at No.1. The only real competition the Kentucky freshman faces comes from Ben McLemore of Kansas. One way McLemore could be the first overall pick is if the team with the top pick decides to go with a guard, or is wary of Noel's injury history.
In most mock drafts, big men will be a high priority for organizations that missed the playoffs. Led by Noel, there’s a chance that half of the lottery teams could take a center in the first round.
Cody Zeller may be the most polarizing of all the centers. The Indiana sophomore was considered to be the best player in college basketball for much of the year. However, his poor performance in the NCAA Tournament has led some experts to question how good he will be at the next level.
Shabazz Muhammad was ranked even higher than Noel by rivals.com for the 2012 college basketball recruiting class. He will likely be a high first-round pick, but his admission that he’s actually 20 years old, not 19, could cause some teams to think twice about taking him.
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Below is a predicted mock draft for the lottery, with the order determined by regular season records.
1) Orlando Magic, C, Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
2) Charlotte Bobcats, SG, Ben McLemore, Kansas
3) Cleveland Cavaliers, SF, Otto Porter, Georgetown
4) Phoenix Suns, PF, Anthony Bennett, UNLV
5) New Orleans Pelicans, SF, Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
6) Sacramento Kings, SG, Victor Oladipo, Indiana
7) Detroit Pistons, PG, Trey Burke, Michigan
8) Washington Wizards, C, Cody Zeller, Indiana
9) Minnesota Timberwolves, C, Alex Len, Maryland
10) Portland Trailblazers, C, Mason Plumlee, Duke
11) Philadelphia 76ers, C, Rudy Gobert, France
12) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors), SG, C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
13) Dallas Mavericks, PG, Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
14) Utah Jazz, C, Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga