The 2013 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday night, June 27th, and the class has been called one of the weakest in history by many scouts and experts. I agree that there is not a lot of All-Star caliber talent at the top of the draft, but this is still a talented draft class. I see a lot of players that will make an impact in the NBA, there are plenty of players in this draft class that will be contributors, and many rotational players who could become more down the road with some development. There are also possible trade rumors sprinkled throughout. Let’s get to the SportSmasher.com NBA Mock Draft Version 2.0:
1 ) Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel (7′ 206lbs) Kentucky – The Cleveland Cavs have discussed trading down, but it seems that they will keep their second number one pick in the last three years, as they have not received a lot of interest in this pick. they will likely draft Noel who is returning from a torn ACL. Although Noel’s offensive game needs a lot of polish, and he needs to add a lot of muscle (206lbs on a seven foot frame is historically thin) Noel’s elite athleticism and defensive ability is too much to pass up in this draft class. Noel may never develop into a dangerous offensive force, and he likely will not see the court until December at the earliest, but he has the skill set to be an All-NBA Defender for years to come and new head coach Mike Brown loves shot blockers. The Cavaliers have star point guard Kyrie Irving in place, along with shooting guard Dion Waiters and power forward Tristan Thompson, so adding an elite defensive player and rebounder would be a nice piece. The addition of Noel also keeps the pipe dream that LeBron James will opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat following the 2013-2014 season to rejoin the Cleveland Cavs a possibility. A starting five of Irving, Waiters, James, Thompson and Noel could contend for the NBA Title for a decade. OTHER OPTIONS: The Cavs did not expect to land the number one pick again, and I know for a fact that they love Georgetown small forward Otto Porter, so if they do not think Noel will be the same following his torn ACL they could look to trade down while still landing Porter. Teams are not exactly blowing the Cavs away with trade offers for the right to draft a 206lbs shot blocker with no offensive game who is coming off a torn ACL. I think the ceiling for Noel is a better Serge Ibaka, an excellent weak-side shot blocker who is a better overall defender and rebounder than Ibaka. There has been recent whispers that the Minnesota Timberwolves love Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo, and want to trade down to secure him, but they have not yet offered anything that teams at the top of the draft want. NOTE: There is also a rumor circulating that the Cavs may take Alex Len first overall, he is much further along offensively than Noel, and has a great touch around the basket. I still think Noel will be the pick, but if the Cavs are really considering passing up on him, flip him and Len in this mock.
2 ) Orlando Magic – Victor Oladipo (6’4 215lbs) Indiana – During the early part of the draft process I thought that Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore would beat out Victor Oladipo and be selected second overall, because of his scoring ability, but McLemore had an awful workout with the Magic after showing up out of shape. The team needs a shooting guard of the future, and Oladipo would be an excellent fit, his effort rubs off on the rest of the team. He plays hard on both ends of the floor every night, he is an elite athlete who is ready to become an All-NBA caliber defender from day one, and although he is not a great shooter he has shown an improved jump shot. Rumors persist that, once Chris Paul re-signs with the Los Angeles Clippers (likely) the team will probably trade backup point guard and free-agent-to-be Eric Bledsoe, and they have already had discussions with the Magic involving shooting guard Aaron Affalo. The rumor is Bledsoe and Caron Butler (who would be bought out) would be traded to the Magic for Affalo, and discussions between the two teams are ongoing. Bledsoe and Oladipo would make an excellent backcourt-of-the-future in Orlando. OTHER OPTIONS: Orlando has many options with this pick, apparently the Minnesota Timberwolves are dangling former second-overall pick forward Derrick Williams and the ninth overall pick to land Oladipo, and the Magic apparently considered nine draft prospects with this pick. McLemore, Len, Burke, Porter, Bennett could all be options here.
3 ) Washington Wizards – Otto Porter (6’9 200lbs) Georgetown – Porter is really the perfect fit for the Washington Wizards, their backcourt is set with point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal, however they really need help at small forward. They get the best one in the draft here, Porter does not need the ball to be effective, he is a great passer with a refined mid-range game and is an excellent defensive player. By drafting Porter, Wall and Beal can take most of the shots, and Porter can use his skill set to make plays on both ends of the court. OTHER OPTIONS: I also hear that the Wizards think highly of UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, who is a stretch power forward and excellent rebounder, however I really think that Porter is the perfect fit. The hot rumor making the rounds today is that the Chicago Bulls sending small forward Luol Deng to the Washington Wizards for this pick and Emeka Okafor, giving the Wizards immediate help at a position of need. The Bulls front office absolutely loved Deng, but he is injury prone and expensive, and Jimmy Butler (a younger and cheaper option) excelled in Deng’s absence last season. The Bulls would likely select Oladipo or McLemore here to give them a backcourt running mate for Derrick Rose, do the days of playing Rip Hamilton could mercifully come to an end.
4 ) Charlotte Bobcats – Anthony Bennett (6’8 240lbs) UNLV – The Bobcats need talent regardless of position first and foremost, and Bennett has a ton of talent, and should develop into a good starter in the NBA at worst. Bennett has a very polished offensive game for a freshman, he can shoot the ball with range and is an explosive leaper who can finish at the rim, he also has an NBA frame and is an excellent rebounder. He is a little short for an NBA four, and his post game needs some polish, but his ability to run the floor and inside-outside offensive game would bring excitement to Charlotte. OTHER OPTIONS: I think this pick comes down to Bennett or McLemore, the Bobcats need players who can score, and both of these players are excellent in that department. Victor Oladipo could be an option if he is still available, but the Bobcats already have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is also an elite defender and athlete who struggles to score. Oladipo is a very similar player.
5 ) Phoenix Suns – Ben McLemore (6’5 190lbs) Kansas – I feel as though the Suns roster is one of the least talented in the NBA, and I still find it hard to believe that a team once loaded with superstars (Nash, Johnson, Marion, Stoudamire) a few years back is this untalented. I understand that the Suns could not keep all of those players, but I’m still shocked they couldn’t turn all of that talent into anything worthwhile. To me the problem stems from the fact that they hung onto Steve Nash so long, and Nash was so good at the time that he was able to make bad teams look mediocre, and they ended up picking late-lottery as a result. I think that McLemore will end up being a steal in what is pretty weak draft class, he will fall on draft day besed on some poor workouts and the fact that he differed to older teammates as a freshman at Kansas. An explosive athlete and excellent shooter, McLemore has star potential in the NBA, however he must show a killer instinct and become more aggressive. In Phoenix, McLemore would immediately become one of the team’s top options on offense, and the training staff in Phoenix is one of the best at getting players in shape. Great fit, great opportunity of McLemore to flourish, perfect scenario for him. OTHER OPTIONS: The Suns could also look at a point guard like Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams or a center like Alex Len with this selection, but for a team that needs offense McLemore is too good to pass up.
6 ) New Orleans Pelicans – Alex Len (7’1 225lbs) Maryland – The Pelicans have their power forward of the future in Anthony Davis, but they lack a long-term answer at center, and Len would be an excellent fit here. Len has excellent size and can really score the basketball, plus he is a great rebounder and shot blocker, and seems to be the perfect fit next to the talented Davis in the frontcourt. He would also allow current starting center Robin Lopez to slide to the bench, where he could backup both Davis and Len, and give the team solid depth. OTHER OPTIONS: If Len is gone, which is looking like a possibility, I think this pick will be a point guard. I do not think the team is ready to give up on Austin Rivers yet, although he really struggled after being drafted to be the team’s point guard of the future last year, but if they decide Rivers is a lost cause after one year the Pelicans could look at Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams with this pick. Hearing Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum is in the mix as well, more of an instant-offense-off-the-bench type of player.
7 ) Sacramento Kings – Trey Burke (6’1 185lbs) Michigan – The Kings, more than anything, need a player that understands the concept of team and knows how to win. Trey Burke, the reigning National Player of the Year, is a winner who knows how to lead a team and make his teammates better. Although Burke is a little small for an NBA point guard, he has a ton of toughness, and is strong for the position. He is more of a point guard than anyone else on the King’s roster, and will help give a team that is loaded with talented individual players an identity. OTHER OPTIONS: The Kings need players who understand the game and do not constantly look for their own shots or care about their own stats every night, if they think Michael Carter-Williams or C.J. McCollum are better options, they could be the pick here instead of Burke.
8 ) Detroit Pistons – Michael Carter-Williams (6’6 185lbs) Syracuse – The Pistons do no really have a point guard of the future, Brandon Knight has not developed at the rate the team hoped he would, and may be better served as a combo guard off of the bench. Carter-Williams has great size for a point guard and possesses excellent court vision, his shot needs work, but rumors are that he is improving his stroke. Carter-Williams needs to add strength and has to cut down on turnovers, but the Pistons need a ball handler and playmaker, and that’s where Carter-Williams excels. His length makes him dangerous as he creates turnovers in passing lanes and he can get the ball to young bigs Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in position to score. OTHER OPTIONS: I have heard that Carter-Williams could be selected earlier, he has risen up draft boards, as he has shown an improved jump shot. There is a chance that a player like Ben McLemore, who is very talented but struggled in workouts, could slide this far. The Pistons also need a three, so Shabazz Muhammad could be an option here, however he has taken a slide. I see this pick coming down to Carter-Williams, Burke or McLemore.
9 ) Minnesota Timberwolves – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6’6 205lbs) Georgia – The Timberwolves need shooters, and Caldwell-Pope can not only fill it up from deep, but is a great athlete and defender who can run the floor with their young team. Caldwell-Pope needs to develop a mid-range game and work on his handle, but he can really score, both from deep and cutting to the basket. He would be a nice fit in Minnesota and point guard Ricky Rubio would be able to help him get open looks. OTHER OPTIONS: It is known that the Timberwolves covet Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo (as mentioned above) and they have apparently been offering this pick and forward Derrick Williams to get into position to draft him, with no takers. They could also be interested in Lehigh combo guard C.J. McCollum, but if both players are on the board here, I give the nod to Caldwell-Pope.
10 ) Portland Trailblazers – Cody Zeller (7′ 230lbs) Indiana – The Blazers need players who can contribute right away, and Zeller was once considered one of the top prospects in this draft, but a poor season caused him to slide. Zeller can add depth to the four and the five in Portland, and will give the Blazers an excellent athlete for a big man, who has a high basketball IQ. Zeller needs to add muscle and become more physical, however he excels at running the floor and has a nice touch around the basket. A nice piece for this young Blazers team to mature with. OTHER OPTIONS: The Blazers could use another young wing in their rotation, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an excellent athlete who can really shoot and might be a nice fit, he has loads of potential. I am also hearing that Lehigh combo guard C.J. McCollom could be an option here, however I am not sure how he fits, with Damian Lillard entrenched as the point guard of the future in Portland.
11 ) Philadelphia 76ers – Steven Adams (7′ 255lbs) Pittsburgh – Will Andrew Bynum ever play at an elite level in the NBA again? Will he play for the Philadelphia 76ers? These questions need to be answered, after the 76ers traded for Bynum, and he missed the entire 2012-2013 season with knee injuries. If Bynum leaves, the 76ers need size, if Bynum stays the 76ers need Bynum-injury insurance. Either way Adams is a great fit, he is a physical player with an NBA body who plays hard, and has a great work ethic. He needs a ton of development at the offensive end of the floor, but he is a hard worker, and he should be a contributor on that end in time. OTHER OPTIONS: I think that this pick will be a big, so if Cody Zeller is here, he could be an option. I think this pick comes down to Zeller or Adams, which would piss off the Thunder, who covet Adams with the next pick.
12 ) Oklahoma City Thunder – C.J. McCollum (6’3 200lbs) Lehigh – We have heard that the Thunder are looking for a big man with this pick, but with none available, why not pick a combo-guard can help Russel Westbrook and Kevin Durant on offense. The Thunder look like they made a terrible trade when they shipped All-Star James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and this draft pick. C.J. McCollum is not James Harden, but he is an gifted wing who can really shoot, and could develop into a weapon as a third option alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He knows how to create his own shot and can handle the ball, which was a major problem for the Thunder once Westbrook was injured. he could give them the exciting third-option they now lack after trading Harden. OTHER OPTIONS: I keep hearing that the Thunder will draft a big man or go foreign with this pick, I hear Steven Adams is getting the most interest, but keep an eye on Giannis Antetokounmpo. “The Greek Freak” has been rising up draft boards, he is very raw, but he could develop overseas and become a future asset.
13 ) Dallas Mavericks – Sergey Karasev (6’8 195lbs) Ukraine – The Mavericks are likely to trade this pick, in order to free up more cap space to peruse free agents, however if they keep the pick they will likely select Karasev and keep him overseas for a year. He can really shoot it, the 19-year-old has scored against high-level competition in Europe and has been compared to Toni Kukoc. OTHER OPTIONS: All signs point to the Mavericks trading this pick, however, there are not a lot of teams trying to trade down in this weak draft class. If the Mavs keep the pick, a point guard like Dennis Schroder or Shane Larkin could be an option. (However it seems that the Mavs are the early favorites to sign Milwaukee free agent point guard Brandon Jennings, making them unlikely to draft a point guard). I think they draft Karasev and keep him overseas for a year.
14 ) Utah Jazz – Lucas Noguiera (6’11 218lbs) Brazil – The Jazz will likely lose Al Jefferson and/or Paul Milsap in free agency this summer, and although they have impressive young big men Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors ready to take over, they will need depth. Nougiera is a player that the Jazz really like, he is a high energy big man with an excellent motor, who runs the floor and blocks shots. He is very skinny and needs to add a ton of weight, and he needs a lot of development on the offensive end of the floor, but he will be a good one down the road if you can wait for him to develop. OTHER OPTIONS: The Jazz need to find a point guard to run their young team, if Burke or Carter-Williams slides, they may look to move down. If they stand pat, they could draft Shane Larkin or Dennis Schroder.
15 ) Milwaukee Bucks – Dennis Schroeder (6’2 165lbs) Germany – With starting point guard Brandon Jennings and combo guard Monta Ellis likely to leave Milwaukee as a free agents, the Bucks will likely be targeting point guards, and they get a talented one here in Schroder. He is a very athletic player with long arms who is a great defender, he also has incredible quickness and is a great penetrator, and shows aggressiveness while attacking the basket. Schroder needs to add strength and improve on his basketball IQ and as a passer, but his length, quickness and aggressiveness has me very intrigued. He has been compared to a young, more coachable Rajon Rondo.OTHER OPTIONS: The Bucks could really use a point guard, so Shane Larkin could also be an option here, if they look for a prospect who can play now. It depends on which player they like more. They could also look at Shabazz Muhammad.
16 ) Boston Celtics – Shabazz Muhammad (6’6 222lbs) UCLA – Now that Doc Rivers has left Boston and will coach the Los Angeles Clippers in 2013-2014, the Celtics are looking to rebuild as the “Big Three Era” comes to a close, and are focused on surrounding Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley with talent. Shabazz Muhammad’s stock is down right now following a rough freshman season at UCLA, but there is no doubt that the former number one recruit in the country oozes talent, and I think that the Celtics will look past his issues and land a very talented player here. Muhammad is a physically strong player who plays very hard, he knows how to score and is an explosive finisher at the rim. I feel as though he was picked apart by critics and scouts this season, much of which he deserved, but I think the Celtics can afford to gamble on his talent here. OTHER OPTIONS: I hear that the Celtics love Dennis Schroder, they see a lot of Rondo in him, and think he would be an excellent backup/understudy to Rondo. I also hear they are high on “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo and defensive specialist Jamaal Franklin could be an option.
17 ) Atlanta Hawks – Giannis Antetokounmpo (6’9 215lbs) Greece – A player that many scouts think has as much potential as anybody in this draft class, Giannis Antetokounmpo or “The Greek Freak” is just 18-years-old and needs a ton of development before he realizes his potential, however the rebuilding Hawks can afford to wait. He is a point forward who has is a gifted athlete and has an excellent handle for his size. He needs to become a more consistent shooter, and he needs to get a lot stronger physically, but at just 18-years-old those attributes will come with maturity. An intriguing prospect with a great nickname, “The Greek Freak” has a first round promise from someone, and those with knowledge of the situation seem to think it is the Hawks. I would not be shocked if “The Greek Freak” is selected much earlier, he has momentum headed into draft week, as long as teams are willing to be patient. OTHER OPTIONS: The Hawks have back-to-back picks, and if they gamble on “The Greek Freak” here, I expect them to go with a more polished player with their next pick.
18 ) Atlanta Hawks – Jamaal Franklin (6’5 190lbs) San Diego State – The Hawks are rebuilding and trying to lure free agents, and if they gamble on developmental talent like “The Greek Freak” with one of their first round picks, they should take a player that is ready to step in an contribute immediately with the other. Franklin is extremely athletic and is an explosive leaper, check his YouTube highlights if you want to see some jaw dropping dunks, he is also an elite rebounder for his position as he grabbed nearly ten per game. His long arms and athleticism make him a lockdown defender, his biggest weakness is his jump shot, at this stage of his career he cannot shoot. OTHER OPTIONS: If the Hawks take a big with one of their picks, Gorgui Dieng or 7’2 Frenchman Rudy Gobert could be options, I think they would lean Dieng as he is less of a project.
19 ) Cleveland Cavilers – Reggie Bullock (6’7 200lbs) North Carolina – In this scenario, the Cavs already grabbed Nerlens Noel first overall, and they will likely look to add a sharpshooter on the wing with this pick. Not only is Bullock a deadly accurate shooter, he is also an incredible athlete, who would add some major scoring to Cleveland’s rotation. He should be able to get many open looks off of the penetration of point guard Kyrie Irving. OTHER OPTIONS: If the Cavs are looking for a small forward who could turn into an excellent player, they could look at Tony Mitchell, a player that I really like. After grabbing Noel, I expect them to fill their need at the three here.
20 ) Chicago Bulls – Gorgui Dieng (6’11 230lbs) Louisville – The Bulls are getting point guard Derrick Rose back, and that will instantly push an already talented Bulls team back into NBA title contention, so they could use a player that is ready to play now. Dieng is a long shot blocker who has started to develop a face up game, he was excellent in the National Title Game for Louisville, and is a great passer for a big man. He will never be a major contributor on offense, but he is strong rebounder, and should be able to play right away. OTHER OPTIONS: While the Bulls have good depth, they could use a pure shooter on the wing, so Reggie Bullock could be an option, or they could go with a boom-or-bust guy like Tony Mitchell. I have not heard specifics, but I would assume that this pick would be involved in the trade discussions (mentioned above), that the Bulls are having with the Washington Wizards which would send Luol Deng to Washington for the third pick in the draft. The Bulls would select Ben McLemore (rumored) third, who is an excellent shooter and would be a great fit next to Derrick Rose, and Jimmy Butler would take Deng’s minutes at the three. Then the Bulls could stop trotting Rip Hamilton’s corpse out there.
21 ) Utah Jazz – Shane Larkin (6′ 171lbs) Miami – In this scenario, the Jazz have already landed developmental big man Lucas Noguiera, and with a young core in place, they draft a player who is ready to contribute now in Larkin. He is small but is an incredible athlete who is a floor general. Larkin can knock down open threes, and can run the pick-and-roll with the Jazz big men. He struggles to get to the basket, and is not a slasher, but he knows how to run an offense. OTHER OPTIONS: If the Jazz go with a big man early, they will likely go in a different direction here, and if they want a point guard who is more ready to play now Isaiah Canaan could be an option. Maybe they swing for the fences and draft Tony Mitchell or Ricardo Ledo.
22 ) Brooklyn Nets – Ricardo Ledo (6’6 200lbs) Providence – I continue to hear that the Nets want to add scoring punch off of the bench and that they are very interested in Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to fill that role, but in this scenario, they swing for the fences and draft a local boy who is as rising as fast as any player in the draft. Ledo is a tall and very talented combo guard who is effective with the ball in his hands, and is an excellent shooter. He committed to Providence, then changed his mind and opened up his recruiting, only to recommit to Providence. He then was ruled academically ineligible, missed his only college season (though he still practiced with the team), and declare for the NBA Draft without a college minute or statistic. He attended four high schools in five years, he is 20-years-old, and has not played in an organized, meaningful game in over a year-and-a-half. He oozes talent, but with character concerns, it may be better for him to get away from New York City. OTHER OPTIONS: The Nets could really use a backup big man to Brook Lopez off the bench, so a player like Mason Plumlee or Gorgui Dieng could be tempting, but they want to win now so whoever they draft must be ready to contribute.
23 ) Indiana Pacers – Tim Hardaway Jr. (6’6 200lbs) Michigan – The Indiana Pacers are an extremely talented team, but really suffered from the lack of a wing who could spot up and knock down open three pointers, a player that would force defenses to stay honest. Indiana’s bench really lacked a reserve who could fill it up, and as we saw in the Eastern Conference Finals Game Seven, they were lost offensively when Paul George and Roy Hibbert were off of the floor. If Hardaway had his dad’s ball handling abilities he would be much higher up the draft boards, he is a good shooter and athlete, who can score in multiple ways and is an excellent passer. He needs to take better shots and not force anything, but he will be a nice fit with Indiana’s second unit. OTHER OPTIONS: The Pacers could use a backup point guard, I am not sure D.J. Augustin qualifies anymore, so Shane Larkin or Isaiah Cannan or Pierre Jackson could be options.
24 ) New York Knicks – Tony Mitchell (6’8 220lbs) North Texas – In this scenario, the Knicks swing for the fences, and grab talented but troubled Tony Mitchell who can give their second unit a new look. Mitchell was incredible as a freshman, he is an elite athlete and a great rebounder who can really score, but his stock has taken a hit due to academic issues that kept him off of the court. He is not a bad guy, and I would not call his issues character concerns, he needs to focus on basketball and improve. Mitchell really does everything well on the court, his outside shot needs work, but he has a ton of upside. He’s also a fantastic rebounder with a nose for the ball. OTHER OPTIONS: The Knicks need depth at point guard, so players like Shane Larkin or Isaiah Canaan could be options here, they also could use size so Gorgui Dieng or Kelly Olynyk could be options. Two sleepers here could be Erick Green and Nate Wolters.
25 ) Los Angeles Clippers – Allen Crabbe (6’6 200lbs) California – The Clippers may look like a different team next season, as rumors are floating around that several of Doc Rivers’ former players could be joining him in Los Angeles, but it looks like free-agent-to-be Chris Paul will be back. The Clippers could really use a pure shooter who can knock down threes off Paul’s penetration, and the sweet shooting Crabbe would be an excellent fit. Crabbe is a big time scorer, who can shoot from deep but also has a well developed mid-range game. He is not a good athlete, but if you are a lights-out shooter, that does not matter. OTHER OPTIONS: It depends on Doc Rivers vision for the Clippers next season, another big like Mason Plumlee or Kelly Olynyk would be a nice fit as front court depth.
26 ) Minnesota Timberwolves – Kelly Olynyk (7′ 234lbs) Gonzaga – The Timberwolves may lose center Nikola Pekovic as a free agent this summer, and his backup Greg Stiemsma is also a free agent, so the Timberwolves need depth in the front court. In this scenario they have already grabbed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, so they grab Kelly Olynyk here to add to their depth. Olynyk is not a shot blocker or a great athlete, but he can shoot the ball and score by putting the ball on the floor, which could give the front line in Utah a new look. OTHER OPTIONS: I think it’s backup big man here, so Mason Plumlee or Jeff Withey are options.
27 ) Denver Nuggets – Rudy Gobert (7’2 238lbs) France – The Nuggets are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, so they can draft a player that needs development and work with him for a few years, until he is ready to be a nightly contributor. Gobert need to improve his motor and add a ton of strength, but you simply cannot teach 7’2. He needs a lot of develop and polish but he is athletic for a big man and runs the floor well. He is an excellent rebounder and of course can challenge shots. OTHER OPTIONS: I think that Denver will pick a developmental player, the Nuggets depth chart seems set, and they can afford to pick a player that may pay dividends in a few years.
28 ) San Antonio Spurs – Tony Snell (6’7 200lbs) New Mexico – The Spurs always seem to have deadly shooters on the wing, and Tony Snell is a player that may be drafted much earlier, I hear that he has gained a lot of momentum over the past few weeks and could be drafted as early as the late teens. Snell is long, catch-and-shoot wing player, who needs to improve on his ball handling and cannot create his own shot. Very athletic player, can run the floor and is an excellent defender. Very slender, needs to add a lot of bulk and strength. OTHER OPTIONS: If the Spurs are looking to add a big man, Mason Plumlee or Jeff Withey could be options.
29 ) Oklahoma City Thunder – Alex Abrines (6’5 195lbs) Spain – Rising up the draft boards, Abrines should sneak into the first round, because many of the teams picking late would opt to leave him overseas. He is an excellent shooter with deep range who is a very good athlete. He needs to add bulk and he has not gotten a lot of playing time in Europe, so scouts do not have as much to draft him on as other players. The Thunder could use some help inside, and they already drafted a combo guard in C.J. McCollum, but they will leave Abrines overseas where he can develop into an asset down the road. OTHER OPTIONS: The Thunder could use a reserve big man, so players like Mason Plumlee or Jeff Withey could be options here, but they are more likely to sign a veteran who is ready to contribute as they contend for a title.
30 ) Phoenix Suns – Mason Plumlee (6’10 238lbs) Duke – The Suns already drafted Ben McLemore in this scenario and could use a big man, so Plumlee makes sense. He is a high energy big man who runs the floor, blocks shots and rebounds at a high rate. He needs polish on the offensive end and has to develop low post moves, but he should stick in the NBA for a long time as a backup big who can run. OTHER OPTIONS: The Suns simply need talent, so whoever they think has the best chance at making an impact and contributing quickly should be the pick here.
JUST MISSED THE CUT:
Glen Rice Jr. (6’6 211lbs) NBA D-League – After being kicked out of Georgia Tech, Rice lit up the D-League, and is ready for the NBA. He is a tough, versatile scorer, who needs to be more consistent. Also is an excellent defender, which is something that you could not say about his father, Glen Rice. Of course, he is not the shooter his father was either, but not many are.
C.J. Leslie (6’9 209lbs) North Carolina State – A player that I think will not only stick in the NBA, but contribute, Leslie is a leaper who runs the floor extremely well and finishes above the rim. He can handle the ball and is excellent in transition, plus his perimeter game is improving. He is very skinny and has no interior presence to speak of or low post game on the offensive end despite his size. Wants to play the game like a guard.
Pierre Jackson (5’11 176lbs) Baylor – A very quick point guard who is an excellent shooter, Jackson can jump out of the gym, and has a scorers mentality. The problem with his style of play though is, he is of course a point guard, and he looks for his own shot instead of trying to run an offense or make teammates better. Turns the ball over a lot for a point guard, not a great passer, might be best as a scorer off the bench in a second unit. Has a little Nate Robinson to his game.
Mike Muscala (6’11 230lbs) Bucknell – Very good scorer for a big man, nice touch inside and out, strong rebounder. Needs to add a lot of muscle, strength, bulk. Not a great defender or athlete, makes plays with his excellent feel for the game and ability to put the ball in the basket. I see his ceiling as a second unit big man who can give a team quality reserve minutes.
Isaiah Canaan (6′ 190lbs) Murray State – Thickly built, strong point guard with excellent range on his jumper, has good speed. Not really a point guard, more of a combo guard, does not have ideal height for the position. Tough minded player, scorer’s mentality, needs to work on being more of a distributor. Second round pick but should stick in the league.
Jeff Withey (7′ 222lbs) Kansas – He is not an athlete and is not a threat on the offensive end of the floor, but he is a great shot blocker with excellent length who can use his strengths to help a team in a reserve role. He will stick in the NBA, and is at worst, a deep-bench backup center who can defend in limited minutes.
Nate Wolters (6’5 196lbs) South Dakota State – A very interesting prospect, Wolters can really shoot and has a very high basketball IQ, but is he athletic enough to stick in the NBA? Good ball handler, great feel for the game, could sneak into the first round. Not an explosive player, will struggle with the speed and quickness of NBA level athletes.
Erick Green (6’3 178lbs) Virginia Tech – More of a combo guard than a point guard, Green has a scorer mentality, and needs to learn how to get teammates involved. He has a very quick first step and excellent three point range, he might be best suited as an instant offense off of the bench type guard, but he could be more if he learns to become a true point guard.
Lorenzo Brown (6’5 190lbs) North Carolina State – A player that I like more than most scouts, Brown is a big, quick point guard who looks the part. He is an excellent ball handler, who knows how to get his teammates the ball and is a playmaker. The problem with Brown is the fact that he is not a consistent jump shooter or finisher, has a little “Poor Man’s Andre Miller” to his game.
Archie Goodwin (6’5 190lbs) Kentucky – Highly recruited prospect who had to leave Kentucky, because the incoming freshman class was going to take his minutes. Goodwin is an excellent athlete, in flashes, he looks extremely talented. Very inconsistent. Poor shot selection. Plays out of control. However, the talent is there, he could be a good one down the road, if a team is willing to develop him and wait for him to mature.
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