2013 NBA Mock Draft: Where Will Top Prospects Land in the First Round?
2013 NBA Mock Draft
With the 2013 NBA Draft getting closer every day, the buzz is continuing to grow at a seemingly exponential rate. Rumors are constantly circulating about which team will be taking which prospect and about teams potentially making blockbuster trades. That’s what the NBA Draft is all about.
The interesting thing about this draft, particularly in comparison to other recent drafts, is that it’s largely considered a weak draft. In the 2012 NBA Draft, there were quite a few players, starting with Anthony Davis, that many people could easily see as potential All-Stars not far down the road. In that regard, this draft is way different.
However, calling this draft weak is somewhat of a misconception. The common theme in this draft is prospects that have a ton of upside, but also have an inherent risk that will come with drafting them. There are players that could be All-Stars if they develop as planned, but they have almost equally the same potential to be the next punch-line as a bust.
What that means for teams in this draft is that it’s important to not focus on the best player left on the board, but rather to focus on team needs. Putting players in the right position where they will have the best chance to reach their potential and succeed is going to be vital.
Given that teams should be making their selections based off of team needs and that teams need to try and minimize their risk, that makes this draft an interesting one to weed through and see which franchise is likely to pick which players.
Without further ado, here is a mock of the 2013 NBA Draft.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Nerlens Noel, Kentucky C
It was once a foregone conclusion that the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to select Kentucky center Nerlens Noel with the no. 1 overall pick in the draft, but it’s become less clear as time has gone on. Names like Alex Len have been thrown around and Otto Porter have probably been in the discussion as well.
However, it’s hard to imagine the Cavaliers, a team on the verge of making the playoffs if they make the right moves, passing on Noel. Despite the fact that he’s recovering from a torn ACL and will miss part of next season, Noel is already a defensive stopper with elite shot-blocking ability and fantastic instincts.
Noel also has crazy athleticism and length at his position, even if he does need to put on some more muscle and weight if he wants to be a legitimate NBA center. However, there’s no denying the enormous upside of Noel, especially if he can further develop his offensive game.
After next season, Anderson Varejao will become an unrestricted free agent. Though the big Brazilian is talented, he’s on the wrong side of 30 and will likely require a hefty price tag in free agency. That means that the Cavs could roll with Varejao next season while Noel recovers from his injury and then give Noel the role as their starting center in his sophomore season when he’s had time to develop and grow as a pro.
With a solid young backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, Noel seems like a perfect complement to the developing Tristan Thompson in their front court.
2. Orlando Magic - Trey Burke, Michigan PG
It doesn’t take long for the majority of mock drafts to reach a disagreement. The fact of the matter is that it’s hard to know what the Orlando Magic are going to do with the second overall pick. However, it seems like Michigan point guard and National Player of the Year Trey Burke might be the best fit in terms of what they need.
Jameer Nelson has been the guy at point guard for Orlando over the past few seasons. However, he’s shown a serious decline in recent years in his ability, shooting just 34.1 percent from three last season and a career-low 39.2 percent from the field.
Burke is a player that could come in and provide a seamless transition for the Magic at the point guard position. Burke is small, measuring under 6-feet tall without shoes at the combine, and will need to put on some weight, but there’s no denying his athleticism and elite scoring and playmaking ability.
Another underrated thing about Burke is the fact that he’s a sneaky good defender. He averaged 1.6 steals per game last season, but more than that, he’s fantastic at using his quickness to put pressure on the ball and force opponents to make bad decisions.
Burke may not be a sure thing, but he seems to have all the makings of a young player that will develop into an above-average point guard at the NBA level. With the Magic rebuilding in the post Dwight Howard era, Burke seems like the right guy to lead their young squad.
3. Washington Wizards - Otto Porter, Georgetown SF
Once John Wall returned from injury last season, the Washington Wizards really developed an identity as a strong defensive team with an offense that thrived off the quickness and playmaking ability of Wall. Given that, Otto Porter is the perfect pick for them with the third overall selection.
Porter is arguably the most NBA-ready player in this draft. He’s big for his position at 6-foot-9 and has a multitude of skill. Most notably and what makes him such an ideal option for the Wizards, is the fact that he’s an elite defender. His length mixed with his athleticism allows him to effectively defend multiple positions.
More than just his defense, though, Porter is a guy who has a high basketball IQ on the offensive end of the floor. He can knock down jumpers all over the floor, but can also get to the rim and finish quite well. With Wall leading the offense, Porter would be a solid offensive option to add to the Wizards.
Though the Wizards could look to add a power forward with the third pick, there doesn’t seem to a better option for what they like to do than Porter. Assuming that everyone for Washington stays healthy next season, Porter could legitimately elevate them to being a playoff team next season.
4. Charlotte Bobcats - Anthony Bennett, UNLV PF
There are a lot of ways the Charlotte Bobcats could go with the fourth pick because, frankly, they have needs at just about every position on the floor. Outside of Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, it’s safe to say that no one’s job with Charlotte is truly safe.
However, one of the Bobcats’ most glaring issues was their lack of offensive production from their frontcourt. Because of that, Anthony Bennett and Alex Len are two viable options with their pick. Both players are offensive-minded big men that have games that should translate to the pro level.
Bennett seems like the better option for the Bobcats, though, because of his versatility on the offensive end of the floor. Where Len is essentially only a post threat with the ball, Bennett has the ability to score in the paint, but to also step out and knock down jump shots. With the often sputtering Bobcats’ offense, Bennett would give them more flexibility in their offense.
Another aspect of Bennett’s game that would help the Bobcats is his elite rebounding ability. Bennett is a strong, long player, but he’s also incredibly athletic. Considering that the Bobcats were one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, they could use a guy like Bennett on the boards.
Charlotte should be happy that they can add any type of talented player in the lottery, but Bennett seems like the player that can address more needs than anyone else left on the board. He may be a tad undersized, but he’s probably the right pick for the Bobcats.
5. Phoenix Suns – Victor Oladipo, Indiana SG
The Phoenix Suns ended the season with the worst record in the Western Conference, winning just 24 games. A large part of that was because a lot of their gambles that they made didn’t pan out. Michael Beasley stayed true to who he’s always been in the NBA (that’s not a good thing) and Marcin Gortat regressed quite a bit.
One of their big problem areas was consistency at shooting guard. They never really settled on anyone between Wesley Johnson, P.J. Tucker or Shannon Brown as the guy at that position.
Because of both of those things, Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo makes perfect sense for the Suns with this pick. He’s probably one of the safest picks in the draft, even going a lot higher than fifth in a lot of mock drafts. He’s incredibly athletic, great defensively and has an incredible motor and work ethic.
His offensive game is still developing, but he’s shown improvement over his years in college. His defensive abilities will serve the Suns well, though, as will his energy and athleticism. If he’s still there for the taking, Oladipo will give Phoenix a tremendous boost, likely right off the bat.
6. New Orleans Pelicans – Ben McLemore, Kansas SG
No one can really deny the fact that Ben McLemore is one of the more talented players in this draft. As a freshman at Kansas, McLemore averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, two assists and one steal per game on 49.5 percent shooting and 42 percent 3-point shooting. He's too talented for the New Orleans Pelicans to pass up with the sixth pick.
McLemore has great athleticism and has great basketball instincts to go along with that. However, the biggest part of his game and why he’s such a highly-touted prospect is that he’s a dead-eye shooter, particularly from long range.
A lot of people have McLemore much higher on their big boards and in mock drafts, but his tendency to disappear at times in games and questions about his work ethic might cause him to fall in the draft like they did with Andre Drummond last year. If McLemore is there at pick number six, though, the Pelicans could use a young wing scorer.
7. Sacramento Kings – Alex Len, Maryland C
Recent news regarding current Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins leaves their frontcourt in a stage of uncertainty. Cousins is demanding a max-extension or to be traded, with no in-between. That puts the Kings in a precarious position with the behaviorally challenged big man.
That makes what the Kings are going to do with the seventh overall pick in the draft that much harder to predict. However, it seems like a safe option for them to select Maryland center Alex Len.
Even if Cousins stays, Len would provide some depth to the Sacramento frontcourt that will give them some interior scoring off the bench. If Cousins leaves, they will be able to start fresh in their frontcourt with an offensive big man with legitimate size and a ton of upside. All in all, Len feels like a safe pick for them at seven.
8. Detroit Pistons – Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse PG
The Detroit Pistons haven’t been shy about expressing their desire to move Brandon Knight to the two-guard from the point guard in an attempt to maximize his potential, but they don’t currently have another true point guard that can effectively lead a team on their roster.
Given their desire for a pure point guard, Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams seems like the logical option for Detroit with the eighth overall pick.
One of the things that detractors of Carter-Williams say about him is that he’s not an established scorer as he shot just 39.3 percent from the field last year in college. However, he’s a solid playmaker and a relatively good defender, though he will have to adjust to not playing zone.
With the emerging dominance of Detroit’s frontline of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, having a solid facilitator like Carter-Williams would be a good addition for the Pistons.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – C.J. McCollum, Lehigh G
One of the teams that failed to meet expectations last season was definitely the Minnesota Timberwolves. Part of that was due to injuries to key players all over their roster, but a big part of that was because of their lack of shooting as they were the worst 3-point shooting team in the league.
C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh could answer those questions. McCollum, though he played at a mid-major college, probably would have gone higher in the draft had a broken foot not ended his senior season prematurely.
McCollum is a combo guard with solid ball-handling skills, tremendous feel for the game and an elite scorer. Before his injury last season in college, he was averaging 23.9 points on 49.5 percent shooting and 51.6 percent 3-point shooting. He’s also not a slouch defensively either.
With guys like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard coming out of smaller colleges and succeeding at the pros, that stigma shouldn’t hurt McCollum and may bode well for him in terms of experience when he gets to the NBA. He could be huge for the Timberwolves next season as they return with a healthy roster and playoff expectations.
10. Portland Trail Blazers – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia SG
The most distinguishing and impressive thing about Georgia shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s game is his shooting ability and his ability to score the basketball. Though defenses were able to key in on him in college last season, he was still able to put up 18.5 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting and 37.7 percent 3-point shooting.
Given the fact that the Portland Trail Blazers have a solid starting five, but then a large drop off in talent once they dip into their reserves off the bench, Caldwell-Pope would be a fantastic addition to the franchise.
With a young and exciting core already in place in Portland, Caldwell-Pope could, in theory, come in off the bench and keep their offense afloat while the starters for the Blazers catch a breather. Not only will this make them a deeper team, it will also make them more dangerous in that opponents won’t be able to essentially rest when Portland goes to their bench.
11. Philadelphia 76ers – Cody Zeller, Indiana C
The Philadelphia 76ers took a huge gamble on Andrew Bynum last season and lost all of their chips. With Bynum they probably would have been a playoff team, but without him they failed to make the postseason.
Now that Bynum will likely be out of there, the Sixers will be looking to add some depth at center, which means Cody Zeller out of Indiana would be a perfect selection for the now rebuilding 76ers.
Had Zeller come out in 2012, he would have been a top-five pick. However, because he returned and struggled against defenses focusing on him more, he’s fallen down draft boards. That doesn’t change the fact that Zeller is a tall, lengthy center with unreal athleticism and nice moves in the post. He needs to get stronger and more assertive in the NBA, but he is the right guy for Philly.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga C
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s hopes of returning to the NBA Finals obviously went down when Russell Westbrook did. Westbrook will be back next season, though, and the Thunder have a draft pick in the lottery via trades.
Kendrick Perkins came under heavy scrutiny last season for his lack of production, especially in the postseason when he averaged more fouls than points per game. Because of that, the Thunder will likely look to add a big with their pick.
Though many pundits are high on Steven Adams at this point after his combine workouts, Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk seems like the safer pick here. He’s a solid offensive center with good size and a strong frame and plays with a ton of energy. He needs to improve defensively, but he’ll be a good addition to OKC’s frontcourt, even if he does probably need a haircut.
13. Dallas Mavericks – Sergey Karasev, Russia SF
The Dallas Mavericks remain one of the biggest question marks this off-season and in this draft. There have been talks for quite a while that they want to trade the pick, which remains highly possible. However, if they were to keep it, Sergey Karasev, a Russian small forward, would likely be their guy.
Karasev is just 19, but has already competed in the Olympics and in the top division of Russian hoops. He’s got a terrific shooting stroke, though his ball-handling and attacking skills need work. He also needs to develop better foot-speed and put on more muscle.
However, we all know that owner Mark Cuban isn’t afraid of projects or foreign players and that he feels his team can maximize a player’s potential. Considering their needs on the wings, Karasev is the likely choice if Dallas stays at no. 13.
14. Utah Jazz – Steven Adams, Pittsburgh C
There’s two key areas where the Utah Jazz will need to add some depth in this draft. They will need to add a point guard to their roster, but they will also need to add some big men to give their frontcourt depth after the likely departures of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap in free agency.
Given that picking a point guard at this stage of the draft would be somewhat of a reach, especially considering who the team appears to be interested in, it seems likely that the Jazz would look for a big man here. That makes Steven Adams out of Pittsburgh a prime candidate to be selected by Utah.
Adams is tall and long, but wasn’t incredibly productive in college. He averaged just 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and two blocks last season for Pitt. However, Adams impressed with his skill at the combine and has some discernible skills on both ends of the floor that should work for him in the pros. He’ll be playing backup duties at best if he goes to Utah, so it seems like a fit for both the player and team in this situation.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Shane Larkin, Miami PG
With Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick departing from the Milwaukee Bucks in free agency and Brandon Jennings likely to follow suit, the Bucks backcourt is going to have some major holes looking ahead to next season as they head into the draft.
Shane Larkin, who led Miami’s improbably prolific season last year, is the best backcourt prospect left on the board at this point. Larkin averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and two steals per game last season while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from three. He’s under 6-feet tall, but he’s also strong for his height and has crazy quickness and athleticism.
Larkin is a versatile offensive player that can beat guys off the dribble, shoot from outside and distribute. He’s also a quality defender in terms of forcing turnovers. However, his size is still somewhat problematic as it limits his abilities on both ends of the floor. He would still be a nice addition to the now depleted backcourt of Milwaukee, though.
16. Boston Celtics - Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA SF
It would have been crazy talk to have UCLA small forward Shabazz Muhammad falling this far in the draft a few months ago, but now it seems that the much -hyped and equally-maligned Muhammad is likely to fall to this spot, which works out quite nicely for the Boston Celtics.
There have been rumors circulating on a daily basis about the potential departure of Paul Pierce from the Celtics, which would obviously leave a big hole next season at small forward. Even if Pierce does stay, though, his years as an effective small forward in this league are numbered.
Muhammad averaged 17.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game last season for UCLA. He’s not a great shooter, but he’s a great finisher at the rim and is an elite athlete. People sometimes call to question his character and work ethic, but those are things that guys like Pierce and Kevin Garnett could help mentor him on. Muhammad would be a nice selection for the C’s at 16.
17. Atlanta Hawks – Mason Plumlee, Duke PF/C
Mason Plumlee out of Duke isn’t a particularly dominant player, but that’s not what the Atlanta Hawks need at this point. They need players that can fill out their rotation and can provide them with solid minutes, which Plumlee seems like he will be capable of providing at the pro level.
The 7-foot center has good size and is a fantastic athlete, particularly for a guy at his height and position. He averaged 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, one steal and 1.4 blocks per game last season for the Blue Devils and looked quite impressive at times, though he did sometimes shrink in the moment.
Plumlee will need to work on his finesse, instincts and post-moves at the NBA level, but he has the tools in place to develop into a solid rotation player. With the bulk of Atlanta’s roster from last season becoming free agents, the Duke center would be a solid young addition.
18. Atlanta Hawks - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece SF
With back-to-back picks in the draft, the 17th and 18th picks for the Hawks are obviously interchangeable because it doesn’t really matter which player goes first. However, they are likely going to be looking to add some depth on the wing by picking Giannis Antetokounmpo out of Greece.
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, the word from Antetokounmpo’s camp is that the forward won’t get past the Hawks. A lot of teams are intrigued by the 18-year-old’s solid size, length and, with his age, a ton of upside.
Antetokounmpo is undoubtedly a raw talent that will take a lot of development, but the potential reward of him panning out is worth a mid-first round pick.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers – Reggie Bullock, North Carolina SF
The general consensus amongst talking heads seems to be that the Cavaliers are definitely looking to take UNC forward Reggie Bullock with their second pick in the first round. There’s still the chance that they could trade the pick, but that’s still up in the air as well.
Bullock was one of the featured scorers for the Tar Heels' balanced offensive style last season, but he also filled up the rest of the box score. He averaged 13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three.
The biggest additions Bullock would give the Cavs would be his ability to defend on the wings and his ability to knock down outside shots, which would be a nice compliment to Kyrie Irving.
20. Chicago Bulls – Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan SG
Derrick Rose coming back healthy next season will obviously give the Chicago Bulls an enormous boost. However, they also will lose some players like Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli that were big while Rose was out of the lineup. They will also likely not pick up Richard Hamilton’s option for next season, either.
Because of that, the Bulls will likely be looking to add depth on the wings, which would likely leave the Bulls selecting Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway Jr. was somewhat inconsistent last season, but there’s no denying his ability as a knockdown outside shooter. He’s also a remarkable athlete and has the potential to develop into a solid defender. There’s obviously concern about his inconsistency, but Hardaway Jr. could give the Bulls some much-needed outside shooting on the wings.
21. Utah Jazz – Isaiah Canaan, Murray State PG
Before they started working out players, the Jazz were quite high on German point guard Dennis Schroeder. However, Schroder’s workouts have been unimpressive and the Jazz aren’t nearly as high on him as they once were. That means it’s likely that they might reach for Murray State point guard Isaiah Canaan.
Canaan averaged 22.4 points, 4.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game last season while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three. Playing for a mid-major school, he was obviously asked to do the bulk of the work which lowered his efficiency.
Canaan has a strong athletic build for someone his size and has the tools to be effective at the NBA level. Guys from small programs have a recent history of success in the NBA, so Canaan could fit into that category. There’s an equally likely chance that he wouldn’t pan out, but that doesn’t mean the Jazz wouldn’t take a gamble on the guard.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State SG
The Brooklyn Nets will need to add depth at basically any position they can in this draft with their limited options in free agency. Considering this is their only pick in the entire draft, the Nets have to make sure they get a valuable asset. Jamaal Franklin has the potential to be that guy.
Franklin averaged 16.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game last year for San Diego State, though he was somewhat inefficient at shooting the ball. However, Franklin is a superb athlete with great length on the wing that has tremendous upside on both ends of the floor.
With the Nets he could develop into a strong mid-range scorer that could complement Deron Williams and could be a lockdown wing defender. As always this late in the first round, there’s a chance Franklin is who he is at this point and won’t develop much more, but that seems like the less likely scenario.
23. Indiana Pacers – Gorgui Dieng, Louisville C
The Indiana Pacers find themselves in good position with the 23rd pick to add some much-needed depth to their bench, particularly in the frontcourt. They have several potential ways they can go with the pick, but the most favorable one for them is likely Louisville center Gorgui Dieng.
Dieng averaged 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.5 blocks per game for Louisville last season and showed off his impressive length and athleticism at his position. He’s an elite defender and rim protector, which will fit in well with the Pacers.
However, Dieng is still a raw offensive player, which isn’t great considering that he’s already 23-years old. The Pacers will have to work on his offensive game swiftly if they do select him, but his defensive abilities would still make him a solid choice by Indiana.
24. New York Knicks – Rudy Gobert, France C
The biggest need that the New York Knicks have is adding some youth to their frontcourt. Outside of Tyson Chandler, it looks like a lineup of AARP candidates in the Knicks frontcourt. There’s some young, high-upside options for the Knicks here, but Rudy Gobert feels like a solid option for the Knickerbockers.
Gobert wowed people at the combine with his 7-foot-8 wingspan and 7-foot-2 frame. His length makes him a solid defender and he has good defensive instincts as well. He’s a quite unpolished offensively, though, and needs to add more muscle to his lanky frame.
There’s a wide range of where Gobert could end up in terms of his career-arc; he could be an elite defensive player that develops solid offensive skills or he could be a complete bust. However, it always seems to be high-risk/high-reward in the Big Apple. In that case, Gobert seems like a good option for New York.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Glen Rice Jr., D-League SG
Glen Rice Jr. definitely took the road less traveled to the NBA Draft, being dismissed from college and playing in the NBA D-League. However, he seems to have gotten his behavioral issues under control and was productive in the D-League last year. Because of that and the fact that the Los Angeles Clippers need at the two-guard, he’s a viable option.
Rice averaged 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and one steal per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from three in 25.6 minutes per game. He was quite productive at that level.
Rice is crazy athletic and is an above-average shooter and offensive player. He needs more development defensively and to have the reins tightened offensively as well. There’s a bit of a risk in selecting Rice, but it could pay off big time for L.A.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves – Lucas Nogueira, Brazil C
There are a lot of people who have Brazilian Lucas Nogueira going much earlier than the Timberwolves’ second pick of the first round, but that doesn’t eliminate the potential for him to drop. If that happens, Minnesota is likely to snatch him up.
Nogueira is another raw post prospect whose value mainly lies with is upside. As of right now, he’s a tall prospect that needs to put on weight, but has the length to cause problems for opponents attacking the rim. His offensive skills are also lacking quite a bit.
It’s undeniable when looking at Nogueira that he has potential, though. He has displayed a solid work ethic and has the intangibles that could one day allow him to develop into a solid post player. Considering the solid frontcourt Minnesota currently has, they could develop Nogueira as somewhat of a safety net and not have to worry about needing him to immediately produce.
27. Denver Nuggets – Allen Crabbe, California SG
Now that Andre Iguodala has opted out of his last year with the Denver Nuggets, Denver will need to add an athletic wing player to help add some depth at that position. It’s definitely an immediate need for the Nuggets, which means they will likely look for the safest pick at this position. That honor falls to California shooting guard Allen Crabbe.
Last season in college, Crabbe averaged 18.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the field. He also showed a great deal of poise throughout the season and showed off his impressive length and athletic ability at the combine.
Crabbe may never be an All-Star in this league, but he has the ability to come off the bench and give the Nuggets at least semi-productive minutes. Considering Denver’s need and Crabbe’s skill-set, it’s hard to imagine this pick not happening.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Tony Mitchell, North Texas SF/PF
Coming out of North Texas, not many people saw Tony Mitchell play last season, but he was by far the standout on his team. He’s a solid two-way player that does a lot of things well. He’s also a bit of a “tweener,” not being quite the size of a power forward, but being a little big for small forward. That makes him seem like the prototypical player for the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs system has a knack for bringing in lesser-known guys that are versatile and allowing them to succeed in their system. Mitchell has great athleticism and length and a nice set of skills that will translate to the pros. With San Antonio’s aging core, Mitchell would be a nice young addition for them going forward.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jeff Withey, Kansas C
With an already talented roster, the Thunder have the luxury of somewhat covering their rear-end in the first round of the draft. If they go big with the 12th pick, they could still go big with the 29th too and see which young player works out better. With that strategy, Kansas center Jeff Withey is the right selection for OKC.
Withey is an elite rim protector and defender, as well as an above-average rebounder. He averaged 8.5 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game. He also averaged 13.7 points per game, so he’s not incompetent on offense either.
With Kendrick Perkins’ leash growing shorter seemingly every minute that he’s on the floor, the Thunder could use a bevy of frontcourt options. Withey would be a good option as a late first-rounder to see how he fits in at the pro level.
30. Phoenix Suns – Tony Snell, New Mexico SF
Even if the Suns get a wing early in the lottery with the fifth pick, that doesn’t change the fact that they are still lacking in that area. That means they would probably look to add another with the last pick of the first round. Though Ricky Ledo is an option, his off-the-court issues will likely deter Phoenix, making Tony Snell from New Mexico the likely option.
Snell really emerged late in the year for New Mexico, but was solid all season, especially in his role as a shooter. He shot 39 percent from three last year and has impressed many with his workouts lately.
He will need to put on muscle at the small forward position, but the Suns could use another shooter on their roster and a solid athlete like Snell. At the 30th pick, Phoenix would be satisfied to bring in Snell.