A week after the lottery determined the order of the 2013 NBA Draft, the first 14 picks on June 27 are beginning to shape up. The beginning of the first round is expected to be dominated by young players, with freshman and sophomores making up much of the top 10. A few international players will also, likely, sneak their way into the first part of the draft.
Which players will be taken by which lottery teams? Below is a mock draft, with analysis for the top 14 picks in the first round.
1) Cleveland Cavaliers, C, Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
The Cavaliers could use a talented big man to complement their young backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Noel’s torn ACL might be a slight cause for concern, since he could miss a significant amount of playing time. However, Cleveland wouldn’t be able to compete with the likes of the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks in 2013-2014, even with a healthy Noel.
2) Orlando Magic, SG, Ben McLemore, Kansas
For a team that desperately needs an upper echelon scorer, this may be an easy pick for the Magic. Even with Arron Afflalo in the backcourt, McLemore could be the future of the franchise.
3) Washington Wizards, SF, Otto Porter, Georgetown
It might be hard to find a more complete player in the 2013 class than Porter. With John Wall and Bradley Beal likely to have bright futures in the NBA, Porter should give the Wizards a good, young core at point guard, shooting guard and small forward.
4) Charlotte Bobcats, PF, Anthony Bennett, UNLV
Taking a power forward will give the Bobcats talent in the frontcourt, which they desperately need. The club’s top four scorers were all 6’5 or smaller and few players in the draft have the combination of size and athleticism of Bennett.
5) Phoenix Suns, SG, Victor Oladipo, Indiana
After spending three years at Indiana, Oladipo may be the most NBA-ready of all the lottery picks. He should help Phoenix on the wing, where he can provide the club with a strong defender and an efficient scorer. The selection can also help the Suns unload Jared Dudley, who was involved in trade rumors this year.
6) New Orleans Pelicans, PG, Trey Burke, Michigan
The Pelicans missed big time with their selection of Austin Rivers a year ago, and Eric Gordon has not lived up to the contract he signed in 2012. The move could also allow them to explore trading Gordon, who still has some value for a team looking for a scorer.
7) Sacramento Kings, C, Alex Len, Maryland
The Kings will likely go with a big man at No.7, and Len may be the best choice. He needs more time to develop, but a frontcourt combination of Len and DeMarcus Cousins could be a tough matchup for opponents.
8) Detroit Pistons, SF, Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Muhammad, who was heralded by many as the best prospect coming out of high school, could be a steal for the Pistons. Detroit could opt to take McCollum, but the freshman from UCLA might have too much size and upside to pass up.
9) Minnesota Timberwolves, SG, C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
The Timberwolves need a scoring threat in the backcourt, and McCollum would provide them with just that. The only concern might be his ability to play off the ball with a healthy Ricky Rubio.
10) Portland Trail Blazers, C, Rudy Gobert, France
The center could provide depth to a team that was certainly lacking in that area. Gobert would replace J.J. Hickson, who is expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent.
11) Philadelphia 76ers, C, Cody Zeller, Indiana
The sophomore from Indiana was impressive at the NBA Combine, and improved a draft stock that was falling after the NCAA Tournament. With the uncertainty of Andrew Bynum’s future, Zeller might be the 76ers best bet at No.11.
12) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors), C, Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
When Russell Westbrook went down in the playoffs, it became clear that the Thunder need more offensive weapons if they ever suffer an injury to Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. Olynyk could give Oklahoma City the low post scoring threat that they lack.
13) Dallas Mavericks, PG, Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
The Mavericks could use a playmaking point guard after benching Darren Collison towards the end of the 2012-2013 season. With his length and athleticism, Carter-Williams has a chance to be a special player.
14) Utah Jazz, PG, Dennis Schroeder, Germany
The Jazz are still looking for Deron William’s replacement since trading him to the Brooklyn Nets. Mo Williams and Randy Foye were decent scoring options, but Schroeder could be the distributor that the Jazz need.