Suns slip to fifth slot; What does this mean for their NBA Draft plans? A Post-Lottery Mock Draftby Fabian Ardaya on May. 21, 2013, under Phoenix Suns
ROUND ONE, FIRST PICK: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
BEST FIT: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Nerlens Noel, C/PF, Kentucky
Very little to no question about this pick. In a draft without a true consensus number one prospect, Noel’s athleticism and defensive prowess makes him an easy selection. While the Cavaliers, who haven struck gold again with their second No. 1 overall selection in three years, need to find Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters a partner on the wing, Noel’s upside is too much to pass up on. Otto Porter really came up big late in the regular season and Big East tournament for the Hoyas, and perhaps would best fit this Cavs’ needs and scheme to help the team more in the short run, but he barely made an impact in the Hoyas’ first round NCAA tourney exit to upstart Florida Gulf Coast University. That said, Kentucky didn’t even make the tournament following a championship campaign, despite having five 5-star recruits entering the lineup. A big reason for this was the lack of Noel’s presence following his torn ACL against Florida. Noel should be back on the floor around Christmas time, which works perfectly with a Cavaliers team that is still rebuilding and that already has Anderson Varejao under contract, as Varejao could mentor Noel up until the point that he will most likely be traded next season. By going with Noel over Porter, the Cavaliers look to set up a “Big 3” for the long term, with Noel as the anchor, as opposed to looking to win short-term with Porter.
ROUND ONE, SECOND PICK: ORLANDO MAGIC
BEST FIT: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV
With needs just about everywhere and the team not looking to go anywhere for a while, it is reasonable to see the Magic go after the guy with the most upside left in the draft in Anthony Bennett. A gifted athlete who can stroke it from outside at the three and pound it down low at the four, Bennett has been consistently high on draft boards, staying there despite not being able to work out for teams due to shoulder surgery. While there is the issue of having Tobias Harris starting at the three after coming on strong last season, head coach Jacque Vaughn could utilize Bennett as a starter at the four, thus rolling out this starting lineup:
PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Aaron Afflalo
SF: Tobias Harris
PF: Anthony Bennett
C: Nikola Vucevic
This could be a very solid core, who with a solid bench could play spoiler to a lot of playoff teams this upcoming season.
ROUND ONE, THIRD PICK: WASHINGTON WIZARDS
BEST FIT: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
With a lack of production and high salary toll on the books from the small forward position (thanks, Trevor Ariza), it is only logical that the Wizards go after Porter, who fits a need while also being a true value pick. Considered one of the few “safe bets” in an otherwise unpredictable draft class, Porter was great down the stretch, and before falling off the table against Florida Gulf Coast, was the top selection on most mock drafts. He is a Tayshaun Prince-like player, with his slender build and uncanny ability to defend, rebound, dish, and get to the rim at will. When paired with John Wall and Bradley Beal, both of which are young players who are finally figuring themselves out, Porter will have a chance to develop with an up-and-coming core who could challenge for a playoff spot in the East next season.
ROUND ONE, FOURTH PICK: CHARLOTTE BOBCATS (Soon to be Hornets?)
BEST FIT: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (Either by Charlotte or in trade with Phoenix)
Ben McLemore (Getty Images)
Facing scrutiny and allegations to receiving improper benefits from a former AAU coach, Ben McLemore went from National POY favorite to bust with a poor showing in the NCAA tournament, where it seemed that he lacked the assertiveness to be a no.1 option in an offense. Often compared to Ray Allen, McLemore combines great athleticism and a sweet outside stroke to his game. He screams star, but at times has failed to show up in key moments, whether by coach Bill Self’s play designs or by his own lack of selfishness. This worries some teams, but on the Bobcats McLemore would likely be second option, as Kemba Walker has progressed nicely and will be entering his third season in the league. He is a high-risk, high-reward prospect who will wow teams at workouts.
ROUND ONE, FIFTH PICK: PHOENIX SUNS
BEST FIT: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
As you can see, Victor Oladipo has Terrance Ross-like dunk potential with his extreme athleticism which helps him defend the two-guard position very well despite his 6’4” frame. An elite perimeter defender who can get above the rim and has a developing shot, the worst-case scenario for Oladipo would be a Tony Allen type of player, who serves as a lockdown defender while getting quality minutes on good teams. At his best, Oladipo would improve his ability to get his own shot and turn into an off-the-dribble scorer that Phoenix needs him to be. While the Suns would love to get McLemore (as I said in a possible scenario earlier), Oladipo is no slouch, and his dunks alone should at least give people a reason to watch Suns basketball again.
ROUND ONE, SIXTH PICK: NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
BEST FIT: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Behind Noel at no.1, this was the easiest pick in the draft to decide. With all respect to Greivis Vasquez and the improvement he made this past season, it is hard to overlook the Pelicans’ hole at point guard, which is easily filled by 2013 National POY Trey Burke. Burke is a born floor general who despite his small stature is able to get to the rim and find open teammates efficiently. A gifted leader, and a natural fit on a young, up-and-coming team.
ROUND ONE, SEVENTH PICK: SACRAMENTO KINGS
BEST FIT: Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse (Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Before speaking on who they pick. I must first send my congratulations to the city of Sacramento and former Suns guard Kevin Johnson, as their work has kept their team in their city and allowed one of the best home courts in the NBA to stick around.
Now onto the pick. While Cody Zeller would provide an extra post presence alongside DeMarcus Cousins, Carter-Williams would provide a much-needed boost at point guard over Isaiah Thomas, who is little more than a scorer. Carter-Williams has great size and will wow teams at workouts and with his facilitating ability. A cause for concern would be a shaky jump shot and a tendency to disappear at the end of games. He is perhaps the biggest bust risk in the top 10, but the Kings need to take the risk.
ROUND ONE, EIGHTH PICK: DETROIT PISTONS
BEST FIT: TRADE DOWN. NOW!
WHO THEY WILL PICK: (If they keep the slot) Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad has declared for the NBA draft. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
With Victor Oladipo off of the board, there really is no such thing as a safe pick for Detroit here. The strengths at this point in the draft are at point guard and big men, both of which the Pistons have. The wings are a hole, and the only guy that could fit would be Shabazz Muhammad, who would be a reach and has had issues over his age and play in his time at UCLA. Muhammad is a player who can score at will when need be, but he seems to have an on/off switch, and inconsistent jumper, and isn’t the best athlete. Muhammad still does have the upside that made him the top recruit coming out of high school last year, and has solid NBA potential.
ROUND ONE, NINTH PICK: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
BEST PICK: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
WHO THEY WILL PICK: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
McCollum could have easily been the NCAA’s leading scorer this season before a knee injury ended his season at mid-major Lehigh, who famously upset Duke in the first round two seasons ago. On a Minnesota team that needs a wing scorer and to be healthy, McCollum seems like the perfect fit. Whenever Rubio is on the floor with him, McCollum can serve as an off-guard who can knock down shots off screens, and without Rubio he can be deadly when penetrating off of the pick and roll. A Damian Lillard-type prospect to say the least, and a great value pick for the T-Wolves.
ROUND ONE, TENTH PICK: PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS
BEST FIT: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
David Becker/Getty Images
The Trailblazers won’t have to look far for this year’s draft, as Kelly Olynyk from nearby Gonzaga University seems like the perfect fit for a team looking for a playoff berth next season. This pick could become especially vital if J.J. Hickson decides to leave, which is a likely possibility due to the contracts he will be offered. Olynyk has a solid post game, a smooth jumper, and is a solid rebounder. While not as skilled as Cody Zeller and a risk at a small school who struggled in the tournament, Olynyk seems to be a great fit for the Portland system and should have a solid career.