With the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery set for Tuesday night, the first few picks of the first round will soon begin to take shape. It’s still unknown what teams will select at the top of the draft, but certain players are almost guaranteed to go very high.
The NBA Draft Combine was held last week, giving clubs a chance to view the top college prospects up close and personal. Some players improved their draft stock, while others may have hurt their chances of being a top five or 10 pick.
A player like Cody Zeller may have helped himself by going to the combine. He didn’t take part in any workouts, by scouts and front office members were impressed by his size, strength and leaping ability. The level of talent that his combine results indicate may cause some teams to overlook his poor NCAA Tournament performance.
The combine will be very helpful for teams who are looking to find players that may have underachieved at certain points in college. However, candidates to be selected at No.1 or No.2 haven’t changed. Nerlens Noel is likely to go first, and Ben McLemore has a good chance of following him.
The biggest question regarding Noel and McLemore may not be regarding when they will be drafted, but how they will perform after they are taken. Both will go to teams that missed the playoffs this past year, and they will be asked to be a big part of the turnaround effort.
With both players having just one year of college basketball under their belt, it’s not likely that either will be able to lead a team to the postseason as the No.1 guy. However, depending on what team each player goes to, they could play a key role in helping their club make the playoffs. Adding Noel to a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers, who already have guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, could make a big difference. A team like the Portland Trail Blazers could benefit greatly from adding a shooting guard like McLemore, pairing him with Damian Lillard in the backcourt.
Otto Porter may be another player that could play a big role in helping lead a team to the playoffs as a rookie. With two years of experience and multiple NCAA Tournament trips at Georgetown, he may be the most NBA-ready player at the top of the draft. Adding him to a team like Portland, the Dallas Mavericks or even the Philadelphia 76ers could make a big difference.
Below is a mock draft for the 2013 lottery. Teams were given picks based on where they project to end up in the first round.
1) Orlando Magic, C, Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
2) Charlotte Bobcats, SG, Ben McLemore, Kansas
3) Cleveland Cavaliers, SF, Otto Porter, Georgetown
4) Phoenix Suns, SG, Victor Oladipo, Indiana
5) New Orleans Pelicans, PF, Anthony Bennett, UNLV
6) Sacramento Kings, SF, Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
7) Detroit Pistons, PG, Trey Burke, Michigan
8) Washington Wizards, C, Alex Len, Maryland
9) Minnesota Timberwolves, C, Cody Zeller, Indiana
10) Portland Trailblazers, SG, Kentavious Caldwell=Pope
11) Philadelphia 76ers, C, Mason Plumlee, Duke
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