This draft may or may not have one stand-out player to be excited about, but that”s what makes the 2013 draft unique. It gives us a lot to question and it reflects on the true quality of each franchise’s front office decision-making. Here, I will discuss some potential lottery pick situations and factor in my take on them (Keep in mind, this preview disregards the possibility of lottery picks being traded, which there is a fair possibility of):
Italicized – My prediction
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: a bundle of options including Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, Alex Len, and Victor Oladipo.
There is thought to be a significant difference between the talent level and potential of this year’s first pick and next year’s first pick (Andrew Wiggins or whoever that may be). At first sight, it was looking like Nerlens Noel was the guy to grab at the number one slot. However, injuries and doubts about his ceiling on offense have made him a questionable call. My opinion: too risky of a pick and the Cavs may be better off going in another direction. Ben McLemore definitely has superstar potential and talent is what the Cavs need. Maybe him and Irving become the best backcourt in the NBA in a few years. Don’t count out Otto Porter. He may actually be the safest pick because you know what to expect out of him: immediate solid all-around contribution from a lanky small forward (making the playoffs next season is one of the Cavs’ main goals). Alex Len being the first pick has also been mentioned. Nobody really knows if that’s a legitimate possibility, though.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel
The Magic are definitely going to end up with one of these three players. After some excellent moves by Orlando’s front office, we should assume that they remain confident about big decisions they have to make. According to reliable sources, the Magic claim to “guarantee” they’ll take Nerlens Noel if he’s there. That may be true but I’m not completely buying it. Orlando already has pretty solid size and they would greatly benefit from an explosive guard who can score the ball/run a team.
3. Washington Wizards: Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter
These two guys seem to be the most likely possibilities for D.C. I think the Wiz are more than content with their future backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Plus, it’s not like they’re looking for an upgrade over Beal, who they chose 3rd overall in the 2012 draft. The Wizards really need some more life at the PF/C position. Nene Hilario is a very good player but he doesn’t seem to possess the energy and athleticism that he used to; that’s a strong case for Nerlens Noel and I’m sure they would be thrilled if he was on the board. Otto Porter is probably their selection in an ideal world. Washington absolutely does not have a starting small forward set-in-stone, and Porter would certainly be that guy.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, Alex Len, Anthony Bennett
This pick, obviously, strongly depends on what players are available. You could make a case for Michael Jordan taking any of these guys. McLemore would be really hard to pass up here. However, if that’s the case, they might favor Oladipo over him because of his work ethic and defensive ability. The Bobcats also desperately need a power forward and center. But in this scenario, talent (Otto Porter) wins overall.
5. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter
After letting go of Steve Nash, the Suns basically had to start from the beginning. Phoenix is at the start of a major rebuilding process. They are craving an intriguing prospect that can take over a game and eventually make them a competitive team. McLemore and Oladipo would very likely be their top two priorities.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, Trey Burke
I, personally, don’t think Ben McLemore will slide down this far. Then again, this draft is a total guessing game for the fans (and the GMs). Trey Burke seems to be the common projection for the Pelicans and I don’t see why not. I think he’s the perfect fit for this team. They could plug him into the starting lineup right away, assuming Eric Gordon gets moved. Burke and Vasquez could start together considering both are combo guards.
7. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, Anthony Bennett, CJ McCollum, Michael Carter-Williams
This is a huge draft for the Kings. Sacramento continues to land great lottery picks but they haven’t seemed to benefit the team much. I think they are in desperate need of a smart player who knows how to lead a team. Trey Burke or CJ McCollum could be that guy. McCollum played four years of college ball, which is a factor that is definitely underlooked. Both players have a sweet stroke as well as most of the tools necessary to play point guard in the NBA.
8. Detroit Pistons: CJ McCollum, Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Shabazz Muhammad, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Again, we have to see what players are going to be left on the board at number 8. In last year’s draft, the Pistons were extremely fortunate to have a potential franchise-changing player available at number 9. Who knows, maybe a name that I don’t expect to drop could fall this far. Let’s just say that the Pistons have narrowed it down to McCollum, Carter-Williams, Caldwell-Pope (assuming Burke is taken). Any of these players are a strong possibility. Personally, I like McCollum because of his court awareness and the fact that he can consistently put the ball in the hoop (the Pistons need that). The Pistons could have a future backcourt of Knight and McCollum, who both have the flexibility to play the 1 and 2.
The Pistons are my hometown team so it’s only right that I stop here before I continue to embarrass myself with these incorrect picks (although I’d be extremely impressed if someone could get all eight correct).
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