Part of me is a big fan of mock drafts. Everyone has an opinion; it’s what the media makes a living off of. It's always interesting to see how accurate the "experts" mock drafts are. And it gives us all something to talk about during the months preceding the draft. On the other hand, I hate mock drafts. They raise the expectations of fans towards one guy. For instance, if the Portland Trail Blazers would have drafted anyone not named Damian Lillard last year, the fans would have complained. The consensus between mock drafts had Portland selecting Lillard with the 6th pick.
That is the problem with this year; there is no consensus. No one jumps out as the number one pick. I truly believe there is a chance that Cleveland selects any one of 4 players at the top. While everyone else is taking there stabs at it, I thought I'd put together my 2013 NBA Lottery Mock Draft.
1 – Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel – Personally I think they would be better suited going elsewhere with this pick and I also think that Alex Len is a better center, but Dan Gilbert is an owner that wants to make a splash. The media has crowned Noel as the number one pick for months and I believe that Cleveland follows suit.
2 – Orlando Magic – Alex Len – They may take a point guard here. But without there being a clear best point guard in this draft I think they go big. Len is big and can handle his own down low. He is a great piece to add to a young team that is still a few years away from any kind of contention.
3 – Washington Wizards – Otto Porter – A lot of people have Porter slotted here and I think that's for good reason. He would be a great fit with the free flowing offense of the Wizards. Putting Porter next to a talented point guard like John Wall will create a lot of easy offense and quite a few highlights. The fact that he went to college locally at Georgetown only helps add to the appeal.
4 – Charlotte Bobcats – Ben McLemore – McLemore would be a great complement in the back court with Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. I think Anthony Bennett may be in play here but if McLemore is available here, I think he's the pick.
5 – Phoenix Suns – Steven Adams – This is where my mock goes off the rails. A lot of people have Victor Oladipo here and I think that makes sense. However, I think Adams gives you everything and more than Marcin Gortat gives you. Phoenix is in full rebuild mode and Adams is a cheap alternative that has upside. Hopefully the New Zealand native can handle the hellish heat of Phoenix.
6 – New Orleans Pelicans – Anthony Bennett – Bennett is a great pick here and will be a very good complement to Anthony Davis. Give those two a few years of seasoning and that could be a scary front court to reckon with. This pick may also be a point guard. That may be there biggest position of need but Bennett is far too attractive to pass for a point guard gamble.
7 – Sacramento Kings – Victor Oladipo – With a new ownership group and coaching staff, the Kings will want to take the best talent available. I believe that Oladipo is the best at this point. Defensively, Oladipo may be the best in the draft. Defense is one of the many things Sacramento has lacked recently. I have my doubts that Oladipo lasts this long in the draft but if he does, Sacramento would be a lucky organization.
8 – Detroit Pistons – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – The Pistons have successfully drafted multiple bug guys in the past few years. They need a scoring punch to pair with Brandon Knight. KCP is just that. When given plenty of touches, he can be an excellent scorer. He is a good shooter from distance and can create his own shot. KCP is a perfect fit in Detroit.
9 – Minnesota Timberwolves – Shabazz Muhammad – Andrei Kirilenko is 32 and on the last leg of his career. Derrick Williams hasn't panned out to be quite the player they thought he'd be. Muhammad is a good pick here for the Wolves. A few months ago, Muhammad was considered to be at the top of this draft class. After a few questions about his work ethic and how high his ceiling really is, he slipped a little, right into the arms of Minnesota.
10 – Portland Trail Blazers – C.J. McCollum – Last year Portland caught lightning in a bottle with a kid that spent four years at a small school. Why not try it again? McCollum is a little undersized to be a two-guard but has the range to spread the floor. Coming off the bench as the sixth man, McCollum could relieve Matthews and play small ball with Lillard or come in as the backup point guard. There has also been a lot of talk about drafting a big: Cody Zeller, Rudy Gobert, or Steven Adams. But I really don't think there is room on a roster for two project big men. If they selected a big guy I think that may be throwing in the white flag on Meyers Leonard.
11 – Philadelphia 76ers – Cody Zeller – Many question marks surround Andrew Bynum and the center position for the 76ers. Zeller would be a good fit next to Spencer Hawes at the 4 until he develops a little more of a post game to be a successful center in the league. Zeller has good range but is also willing to go down low to rebound and bang. I think Zeller will compete for Rookie of the Year and looking back at this draft 5 years from now will be one of the better players out of the draft.
12 – Oklahoma City Thunder – Rudy Gobert – The Thunder are a rare occurrence of a team in the Lottery that have their roster sewn up. Their biggest question mark is at the center position. Kendrick Perkins hasn't been producing like he once had and has been banged up. Hasheem Thabeet will never be a reliable enough center to get the Thunder to where they want to go. Gobert is a freakish specimen. He has a 7'9" wingspan and a 9'7" standing reach. Those two facts alone will make him a scary defender. Gobert will take some seasoning to become a force but the Thunder has the luxury to wait a couple years.
13 – Dallas Mavericks – Trey Burke – If there is any sure thing in this draft, it's the fact that the Mavs are looking to trade this pick. If they find a buyer, this pick will belong to someone else. They want to shed salary so they can make a run at Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. However if they keep this pick, I think that Burke is a great choice. When they traded for Darron Collison, they expected a lot more than they got this year from him. Burke would come in and give Collison instant competition and would add depth to the backcourt.
14 – Utah Jazz – George Schroeder – I was at the Nike Hoop Summit when Schroeder had his coming out party. Schroeder garners a lot of comparisons to Rajon Rondo and that is a very impressive comparison for a mostly unknown foreign point guard. I personally think Schroeder may still be available when the Jazz pick #21, either way though I think Schroeder is headed to Utah.
There it is. Laugh at and mock me when I swing and miss on all of these predictions but I feel like fit, need and skill really make these picks ideal for these teams. For Portland, McCollum will be a nice edition. I really hope they draft a shooter; that is the biggest need right now that can immediately be filled through the draft. Let's hope that free agency brings a big man to Portland to round out a talented, young roster.