Eight teams still have a shot of reaching the NBA Finals, but the rest of the league is already preparing for next season.
The 2013 NBA Draft is less than two months away, and teams that aren’t in the playoffs are looking at improving for 2013-2014.
This year’s class is considered to be weak by man experts, as compared to recent drafts. Nerlens Noel could be the first overall player selected on June 27, even though he was unable to finish the college basketball season because of a torn ACL.
Noel’s competition at the top comes from Ben McLemore, who averaged 15.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game as a freshman at Kansas. He is the top rated guard in the draft.
Otto Porter Jr. might be the best prospect that spent more than one year in college. The sophomore scored 16.2 points per game for Georgetown, while excelling on the defensive end.
There’s a chance no senior will be taken in the lottery. Players like Mason Plumlee and C.J. McCollum could be selected in the middle of the first round, but they aren’t locks to be chosen within the top 14 picks.
Below is a predicted mock draft, with the order determined by regular season records. The 2013 NBA Draft Lottery will determine the order of the first 14 picks on May 21.
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, PG, Trey Burke, Michigan
6) Sacramento Kings, PF, Anthony Bennett, UNLV
7) Detroit Pistons, SF, Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
8) Washington Wizards, C, Alex Len, Maryland
9) Minnesota Timberwolves, SG, C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
10) Portland Trailblazers, C, Rudy Gobert, France
11) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors), C, Cody Zeller, Indiana
12) Philadelphia 76ers, PG, Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
13) Dallas Mavericks, C, Mason Plumlee, Duke
14) Utah Jazz, C, Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga