With the NCAA Tournament in the books, it’s time to start spending even more time focusing on the 2013 NBA Draft.
Some guys helped their causes with strong tournament performances, while some guys hurt their stock in a big way with poor performances on the game’s biggest stage.
Things have changed a great deal since my last mock, so without any time, let’s take a look at my 2013 NBA Mock Draft: Post NCAA Tournament edition.
As a note, the draft order is after games played on April 10.
1. Charlotte Bobcats
Player Name: Nerlens Noel
Position, School: PF, Kentucky
The Bobcats have a couple nice young pieces in place with Kemba Walker and Michael-Kidd Gilchrist. Now it’s time to address the need for a productive big man. Noel is an excellent shot-blocker who should develop a better than average offensive game. Knee injury or not, Noel has the makings of a dominant NBA big man. Noel has more upside than anyone in the draft and should develop into a very good shot blocker and rebounder.
2. Orlando Magic
Player Name: Marcus Smart
Position, School: PG, Oklahoma State
Smart makes perfect sense for the Magic here as they can target their floor general of the future. He may be more of a scorer than a pure passer, but he is a winner and a leader and can impact this Magic offense from the guard position, something they need badly. He needs to work on his jumper but he is a playmaker and is a beast defensively.
3. Phoenix Suns
Player Name: Ben McLemore
Position, School: SG, Kansas
McLemore’s less than spectacular NCAA Tournament drops him from the top spot for the first time this season. But he’s still only 20 years old and has excellent potential as a pure shooter, something the Suns desperately need as they have made only 32 percent of their three-point attempts on the season.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Player Name: Otto Porter
Position, School: SF, Georgetown
The Cavs have their backcourt for the future set with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters and also have some nice frontcourt players in Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Anderson Varejao. What Cleveland needs is a productive 3 and Porter could be the perfect fit. He can do it all at both ends of the court and is a future NBA star.
5. Detroit Pistons
Player Name: Shabazz Muhammad
Position, School: SF, UCLA
It’s hard to pass on Victor Oladipo here, but the Pistons get no production from the small forward spot and have to address the need. Shabazz Muhammad is a reach here, but he fills an immediate need and has upside. While Muhammad has been a slight disappointment as a freshman, he’s tough, knows how to score and brings a strong motor to the table.
6. New Orleans Hornets
Player Name: Victor Oladipo
Position, School: SG, Indiana
The Hornets have good young players at every position right now and while they could use a slight upgrade at small forward right now, it’s too tempting to take Oladipo here. He is an elite defender, an explosive athlete and a rapidly improving offensive player who will fit in great on Monty Williams’ team. I’m making this pick under the assumption that New Orleans moves Eric Gordon in the offseason, something I expect them to do.
7. Sacramento Kings
Player Name: Trey Burke
Position, School: PG, Michigan
Burke’s stock continues to rise after leading Michigan to the title game and he will find a home in Sacramento (or Seattle).He is a bit undersized, but his toughness, all-around game, mistake-free basketball and winning attitude should be a great fit with the dysfunctional Kings. He’s a no-risk pick at No. 7.
8. Washington Wizards
Player Name: Anthony Bennett
Position, School: PF, UNLV
The Wizards have their backcourt for the future in John Wall and Bradley Beal, so here is an opportunity to add a power forward that can complement those guys. Bennett has an NBA body and can score from anywhere on the floor. The Wizards should be thrilled to get him this late.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
Player Name: C.J. McCollum
Position, School: PG/SG, Lehigh
This is probably a reach, but I like McCollum a lot and think he’s a great fit in Minnesota. I don’t view McCollum as a point guard in the NBA but think he could be very good off the ball. The Timberwolves are still searching for an answer at shooting guard and have shot only 30 percent from behind the arc on the season. McCollum is a guy who can really knock down the long-range shot, connecting on 51 percent on his three-point attempts. He will be this year’s Damian Lillard.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto)
Player Name: Alex Len
Position, School: C, Maryland
The Thunder need to find a long-term replacement for James Harden and an eventual replacement for Kendrick Perkins. With that being said, they can’t pass on Len here as he has a decent offensive game and can rebound and block shots. Len has a ton of upside and the Thunder can bring him along slowly.