Predicting the NBA draft
The NBA draft is scheduled for June 27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the 76ers have the 11th pick. Barring trades and other wheeling and dealing, here is how it could play out:
The NBA draft is scheduled for June 27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the 76ers have the 11th pick. Barring trades and other wheeling and dealing, here is how it could play out:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers pick Nerlens Noel (C, 19 years old, 7-foot-0, 206 pounds, Kentucky, freshman.
With Cleveland receiving another top-five pick, it's obvious they're still building post-LeBron James. Even though they have a glaring need at the wing position, Anderson Varejao is extremely injury prone and nearing the end of his contract, so it opens up a great spot for Noel. Although he fits, don't be surprised, however, if Otto Porter bumps up to the first spot here, and the Cavs shock the draft.
2. Orlando Magic pick Trey Burke (PG, 20, 6-1, 187, Michigan, sophomore).
The Magic have many problems. That's what you'd expect from a team that has the second overall pick in any draft. A bevy of their issues can be alleviated with a new point guard in the system. With Jameer Nelson ending his contract and there being no depth at the position, Burke seems like a logical choice. He's also the best pick-and-roll guard in college basketball, so that doesn't hurt combining with Nic Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Glen Davis.
3. Washington Wizards pick Anthony Bennett (PF, 20, 6-7, 239, UNLV, freshman).
John Wall can no longer be the only offensive initiator for a Wizards team that has missed the playoffs in the last five seasons. Injuries have killed the Wizards all year. And looking at the next season, the franchise is unsure of what will happen to Nene position-wise, Martell Webster is a free agent this season, and the squad is ranked last in offensive efficiency. The best player on the board with the best offensive package who can play alongside both big men in the frontcourt has to be Bennett.
4. Charlotte Bobcats pick Ben McLemore (SG, 20, 6-5, 189, Kansas, freshman).
The Bobcats have no immediate answer in the future that will pull them out of the NBA doghouse. That being said, they need help in a multiple places. While being solid on the wing and at the point positions, they need help at the remaining three. Michael Jordan's decision making will be important as to whether to pick up a guy such as Alex Len is the smartest decision or replacing a fatigued Ben Gordon is wiser. McLemore can't create with his left hand or operate out of the iso and pick-and-roll situations, which are key in a NBA offense. But he's the best shooting guard the Cats can get at this point.
5. Phoenix Suns pick Victor Oladipo (SG/SF, 21, 6-4, 213, Indiana, junior).
The Suns are another team that is rebuilding their roster after a superstar's departure. With the loss of Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers, holes have opened up in the roster at shooting guard, small forward and power forward. The Suns could end up picking Otto Porter here if he's still on the board since they only have Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson on the wing. But those are still two pieces to build around as opposed to the two-guard situation. It's only Shannon Brown, PJ Tucker and Jared Dudley. It seems like it's more of a hole there, and with the 26th most points allowed in the NBA this season, Oladipo's defense is more needed than Porter's offense.
6. New Orleans Pelicans pick Otto Porter (SF, 19, 6-8, 198, Georgetown, sophomore).
This is another team moving past the loss of a superstar. the Pelicans (formerly the Hornets), haven't done a horrible job so far. With young pieces in Grevis Vasquez, Anthony Davis, Robin Lopez and Austin Rivers, there aren't many holes the team needs to look at other than the wing. Also, the Pelicans most likely will be selecting the best option on the board at this point, so it only seems right that Porter gets taken here (if not Alex Len) and diminishes Al-Farouq Aminu's role with the franchise.
7. Sacramento Kings pick C.J. McCollum (PG/SG, 21, 6-3, 197, Lehigh, senior).
The Kings might have the messiest war room on June 27th than any other franchise in the NBA. Between the ownership situation, the fans moving on from the Maloof era and looking at a new arena to up attendance plus the changing of the front office, it's multiple problems off-court that are taking precedence. Continuing a seven-year drought out of the playoffs, the Kings have glaring problems at point guard and both forward positions. Since their starting point man is 5-9 and it doesn't look like Jimmer Fredette will be playing anytime in the near future, McCollum adds depth to the backcourt and could turn into an eventual sixth man or starter for the roster.
8. Detroit Pistons pick Shabazz Muhammad (SF, 20, 6-6, 222, UCLA, freshman).
The Pistons have won only 37 percent of their games in the four-year span that they haven't been in the playoffs. The rebuilding continues. Even though some scouts would say that the backcourt isn't as promising because Brandon Knight hasn't proven he can lead a team, the future for Detroit is in the frontcourt. After losing Tayshaun Prince to the Memphis Grizzlies via a three-team trade, there is a hole at the wing position. A frontcourt of Shabazz, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond (add in the fact that they have a chance of landing Andre Iguodala in free agency) is a scary sight, much scarier than a backcourt full of regressing players and average guards.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves pick Alex Len (C, 19, 7-1, 255, Maryland, sophomore).
The Timberwolves need to find some direction in their franchise. After missing the playoffs for the last nine seasons, there needs to be some sort of change in the way things are operated. With Flip Saunders as the new GM, the front office looks to make one of the most promising teams in the Western Conference playoff relevant. The Wolves have holes at shooting guard, small forward and the center positions. Even though the two-guard position is the most problematic, it can be alleviated with the continued use of Alexey Shved and Luke Ridnour. At the five spot, Nikola Pekovic's contract is up in 2014, so to get the frontcourt player who might have the most upside at this spot wouldn't be a bad move.
10. Portland Trail Blazers pick Rudy Gobert (PF/C, 20 years, 7-2, 238, Cholet, International).
For a team that was looking at a spot in the Western Conference playoffs until the end of their season, the Trail Blazers aren't in horrible shape. Portland did rank as the fifth-worst team defensively in the NBA. One way to alleviate that is inserting a 7-2 behemoth from France who can protect the rim by standing on his tip toes. With JJ Hickson going to free agency and not many pieces on the wing, Portland will look to add at both spots. But defense will have to come first.
11. 76ers pick Cody Zeller (C, 20, 7-0, 230, Indiana, sophomore).
The Sixers are in a heap of trouble. With questions at every position outside of point guard and power forward, the front office not only needs a new coach but new game plan, too. After Doug Collins finally stepped down from his role with the team and new GM Sam Hinkie stepped in, there's some hope for the franchise with the third-most wins in NBA history. The Sixers have multiple options for the offseason, but they need to start in the frontcourt. Without many amazing prospects at the center position, they grab the best on the board with Zeller. Don't be too surprised if the club decides to trade away their first-round pick and move down in the draft. It would be very Hinkie-like of Hinkie to do so.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors via Houston Rockets) pick Kelly Olynyk (C, 22, 7-0, 234, Gonzaga, junior).
The Thunder pretty much has everything right now. But why not add a little more offense where the least production is coming from in Scott Brooks' scheme. A late lottery pick could give the Thunder another rotation piece similar to Nick Collison who would benefit them late in games. Since Kevin Martin's contract has expired and there is no clue as to whether he will be brought back, if the Thunder don't bring in a center, they will bring in a shooter on the wing.
13. Dallas Mavericks pick Michael Carter-Williams (PG, 21, 6-6, 184, Syracuse, sophomore).
The only guaranteed pieces at the moment for the Mavs are Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter, all older players who could break down at any second during the season. Darren Collison is a restricted free agent, but he hasn't been getting the most love from coach Rick Carlisle down the stretch. OJ Mayo will opt out of his contract. Brandan Wright, Elton Brand and Chris Kaman are all free agents. The needs will be in the backcourt and a starting big man to compliment Dirk. But since Collison hasn't been performing, a pure point man like MCW with the height and length to play the off-guard position could be the most useful asset at that time for the Mavs. The only reason they don't pick up Dennis Schroeder from Germany is because they need someone to run the offense first.
14. Utah Jazz pick Dennis Schroeder (PG, 19, 6-2, 165, Braunschweig, International).
Utah is in a jam just like the Mavericks are a spot before. The Jazz may lose the two big cogs that powered their frontcourt all season (Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap), and that may force them back into a rebuilding process. However, the Jazz have a bevy of young pieces in Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks with a load of cap space and draft picks to help the cause. Adding a point guard to a team virtually without one, and one that can create his own offense, should prove wise for the franchise's team of young hires.
15. Milwaukee Bucks pick Sergey Karasev (SF, 19 years, 6-7, 197, Triumph Moscow, International).
The Bucks are in trouble just like the teams at the 13th and 14th picks in this draft. A large part of the roster will be leaving for free agency (Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis may opt out, J.J. Reddic, Mike Dunleavy), but the squad can be helped by young front court players in John Henson, Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh. Adding another player on the wing to help in the rotation or start isn't a bad idea to bolster the front court. Plus, Karasev has terrific form and can come off of curls in both directions and shoot over players at will. His shooting stroke could help any roster off the bench.
16. Boston Celtics pick Jamaal Franklin (SG, 21, 6-5, 191, San Diego State, junior).
The Celtics celebratory championship curtain has finally closed its doors in Boston. After contending for nearly half a decade behind Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, there needs to be a plan to change the roster upon their retirements or a deal that places them with another franchise. The Cs need to either add a player who compliments Jared Sullinger/Garnett or a swingman that plays well with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. Franklin has played multiple positions in college, and his 6-11 wingspan will surely help ward off defenders and add to his length on the wing if need be. He can play with Rondo, Garnett, Pierce or anyone at any time. Danny Ainge will be swinging for the fences.
17. Atlanta Hawks pick Steven Adams (C, 19, 7-0, 255, Pittsburgh, freshman).
The Hawks may be in the best spot of any team in the first round. With two back-to-back selections, they have the flexibility to attend to multiple needs. Since there will be multiple seven footers available, there's a rush to grab at least one before the end of the round, and with the size and added strength of Adams, he wouldn't be a bad grab at 17.
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets) pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG, 20, 6-6, 204, Georgia, sophomore).
Atlanta looks to add some depth on the wing with their second choice in the first round. Caldwell-Pope is one of the best shooters in the 2013 draft class and has tremendous upside as well as any other shooting guard to come out this year. He is only 20 years old.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Lakers) pick Shane Larkin (PG, 20, 5-11, 171, Miami, sophomore).
Cleveland has lined up too many draft picks to count at this point in the last few seasons. With four picks in the top 35 of this year's draft and nine extra picks combined in the next two years, the Cavs seem to have some stability in their roster going forward. There are still holes to be filled for the depth at power forward and point guard that the front office could look to address. After an impressive combine in Chicago and a 44-inch vertical leap, the explosiveness of Shane Larkin should intrigue any GM.
20. Chicago Bulls pick Gorgui Dieng (C, 23, 6-11, 230, Louisville, junior).
With Joahkim Noah always struggling to stay healthy and Nazr Mohammed's contract expiring soon the Bulls need to find a backup player in the frontcourt to alleviate any problems along the rotation. Also to feed the defensive minded Tom Thibodeau, Dieng has length and a nose for the ball on the defensive end. He should fit in well with one of the league's best defenses.
21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors) pick Tony Mitchell (PF, 21, 6-9, 236, North Texas, sophomore).
With Utah's second selection, it should look to add a piece in the frontcourt in case it loses either Millsap or Jefferson. The Jazz have plenty of directions they could go but should look at either Mitchell or another available piece such as Mason Plumlee from Duke here. They need to look at acquiring a seven-footer to protect the rim or at least an athletic type of player who has the vertical to make plays around the basket.
22. Brooklyn Nets pick Mason Plumlee (C, 23, 7-0, 238, Duke, senior).
The Nets are one of the teams in trouble in the first round. With multiple restrictions surrounding their franchise after taking a first-round exit in the Eastern Conference playoffs, they need to find players for cheap. Lacking a head coach and being restricted by the luxury tax, there aren't many directions the Nets can go. One logical approach is adding to the front court and locking up one of the last seven-footers in the first round. Plumlee brings some athleticism to the frontcourt that is lacking that and a defensive front until Brook Lopez progresses more. Another good choice here could be Jeff Withey from Kansas.
23. Indiana Pacers pick Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG, 21, 6-6, 185, Michigan, junior).
Tim Hardaway Jr. has created a positive buzz surrounding his name for several draft scouts. During the Chicago draft combine he proved that he was the best shooter in his class going 19 for 25 from deep during drills. His ability to score on or off the ball, coming off curls and screens, as well as displaying his athleticism makes him a useful rotation piece or an eventual sixth man. For a Pacers team that struggles to produce offense at times, Hardaway could fit well in their scheme. If they could turn Lance Stephenson around, imagine what they could do with the former Michigan Wolverine.
24. New York Knicks pick Allen Crabbe (SG, 21, 6-6, 197, California, junior).
The Knicks seem to be in a small jam on the wing. Since J.R. Smith will likely opt out of his contract, and Chris Copeland may also seek free agency, they have a need that they could fill with Dario Saric. At 6-foot-6, Crabbe has the length to play at the off-guard spot or small forward. A good perimeter shooter, Crabbe is a guy who can play alongside Carmelo Anthony and continue the Knicks dominance from the perimeter.
25. Los Angeles Clippers pick Dario Saric (SF, 19, 6-10, 223, Cibona Zagreb, International).
With his size, versatility, and offensive package, Saric could have the most upside of any international prospect. His potential screams louder than his skill set. The Clippers don't have any needs depth wise anywhere, but Saric intrigues a lot of scouts. And while trying to re-sign Chris Paul this offseason and potentially deal away Eric Bledsoe, they could need some added incentive. That's where Saric comes in. If not, he's still a few years away from being a good rotation player.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves pick Tony Snell (SF, 21, 6-7, 198, New Mexico, junior).
A reliable shooter on the wing and an athlete with a nice shooting touch that was displayed at Chicago's combine, Snell could be the missing piece for the Timberwolves, who have a need at his position. If he does drop this far, his wingspan and quickness could be a great addition for the young team. His shooting would work well at the forward position with Love.
27. Denver Nuggets pick Reggie Bullock (SF, 22, 6-7, 200, North Carolina, junior).
Following the Nuggets 10th consecutive season in the playoffs, their offseason plans are being held up by Iguodala's decision to opt out of his contract or not. Even if he does and the Nuggets find a way to keep him, they won't have enough cap space to resign role players such as Corey Brewer. An easy way to alleviate that is a cheap contract and a low-risk player such as Bullock. Since the Nuggets thrive on the fast break coupled with the fact that Danilo Gallinari won't return at the beginning of the season, Bullock brings a great shooting stroke from the perimeter to add to the mix. He shot 43 percent from deep this season.
28. San Antonio Spurs pick Glen Rice Jr. (SF, 22, 6-6, 211, Rio Grande Valley, senior).
Even though his off-court issues led to his eventual dismissal from Georgia Tech, Rice matured a little and showed off his skills in the NBA D-League, leading the Rio Grande Vipers to a championship. The best part about his game is that he showed he can already compete at the pro level. For the Spurs, he can turn into a reliable rotation player and possible sixth man. He's not a bad scorer, either, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and shooting 43 percent from the arc during his D-League Campaign.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder pick Giannis Adetokunbo (SF, 18, 6-9, 196, Filathlitikos, International).
Reiterating, the Thunder are in a good spot. Their only worries going into the offseason are the recovery of Russell Westbrook and resigning Kevin Martin. But bringing in a player with a lot of fanfare around his name is an intriguing option. The Thunder could ultimately move this pick for draft picks in the future or players down the line. They could even keep him in Europe until he turns 21 and becomes a true problem for the NBA.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat) pick Isaiah Canaan (PG, 21, 6-0, 188, Murray State).
For their second first-round pick, Phoenix can pick for the future and play it safe at the same time. As one of the hidden talents of this year's draft, he's impressed several scouts in Chicago by showing off his pure scoring ability and athleticism. He's strong, a brick wall that opposition would need a running start to knock over. Even though he's only 6-0, he's a valuable option for a team that is in need of a true backup guard. He averaged 21.8 points per game, 37 percent from deep, 1.5 steals per game, 4.3 assists per game in 36.5 minutes per contest.