With the draft just over a week away, the rumors continue to surface. What Cleveland plans to do with the number one pick remains unclear, but another name was added to the list of potential candidates. A few teams are still in the midst of a coaching search entering the final pre-draft week. Prospects of all talent levels have been brought in for workouts, and each team’s brain trust has an idea of who they would like if at all possible when they are on the clock by now.
Here is my mock draft.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Len, Maryland
Cleveland just can’t stay out of the spotlight this summer. The latest rumors have the Cavs selecting Len with the No. 1 pick.
2. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Orlando needs a point guard desperately. Nikola Vucevic has proven himself to be a more than capable NBA starting center, but Noel may be hard to pass on at No. 2 if the Cavs indeed to go a different direction. Noel has the highest ceiling of any player in the draft, and at this point, Orlando simply needs assets.
3. Washington Wizards:Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown
Porter will fit in with Washington’s young core and be able to contribute immediately. John Wall and Bradley Beal already make up one of the up-and-coming back courts in the NBA. Porter will be a nice addition to the other wing.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas
Michael Jordan’s Bobcats need all the help that they can get, especially scoring the basketball. McLemore has the potential to score at the rim and from three-point range. He has already drawn comparison to Miami’s Ray Allen.
5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Phoenix is one of many teams that are high on Oladipo’s work ethic and athleticism. Charlotte could decide that he should be the first shooting guard off the board, but if not, don’t expect him to drop out of the top five.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, Michigan
Greivis Vasquez had a breakout year in 2012. However, he has not produced at a consistent rate over a long period of time. Burke was the best college basketball player a year ago, and his skills in the pick-and-roll could help out right away off the bench.
7. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, UNLV
Kings’ new ownership has already shown that it is not afraid to make headlines and is serious about competing. They will take the best player available at No.7 other than a center. Mike Malone has already backed DeMarcus Cousins as the team’s future.
8. Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
Lawrence Frank is out as head coach. Mo Cheeks is in. Detroit really likes previous first-round pick Brandon Knight, but they believe he may be better suited to play off the ball rather than dominating it at all times. With that said, they are likely to take a point guard with their first pick. If Burke is off the board by No. 8, Carter-Williams is the no-brainer.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
New general manager and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has made it known that he plans on stressing the importance of shooting well as he takes over the Wolves organization. If shooting is what Flip wants, shooting is what Flip will get with McCollum. McCollum shot above 50% from deep a year ago at Lehigh and even has the versatility to play either guard position, allowing Rubio and himself to split time at the point.
10. Portland Trailblazers: Kentavious Caldewell-Pope, Georgia
Portland has been rumored to be interested in possibly moving up to draft Victor Oladipo, but with Trey Burke’s sudden fall from graces and Oladipo’s upward trend that seems unlikely. Regardless, it seems as though they will be interested in taking a guard. Caldwell-Pope has the most upside of any of the guards remaining at this point.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana
Zeller was projected to be the No.1 pick in this draft just a few months ago. After a less than stellar sophomore season with the Hoosiers, his stock took a drastic hit. Regardless, with the Sixers’ dire need for a big man, Zeller would be hard to pass up if he is available when they’re on the clock.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Kendrick Perkins does not fit the Oklahoma City Thunder’s plans. OKC likes speed. OKC likes scoring. Fortunately for the Thunder, Olynyk is an athletic 7-footer with the ability to post-up or knock down a mid-range jumper.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Shane Larkin, Miami
Dallas is in desperate need of a point guard. When they won the championship in 2011, the recently retired Jason Kidd was running the show. Darren Collison was not the player that Mark Cuban thought he was getting when the Mavs signed him, and coach Rick Carlisle was forced to play Mike James as his starting point guard down the stretch. It is to no surprise that Dallas will look for an offensive improvement from that position. Whether it be via the draft, free agency, or trade is left to be unseen. Larkin can shoot the ball from anywhere, in catch-and-shoot situations, and off the dribble. He can light it up in a hurry and make defenses pay for not picking him up at half court.
14. Utah Jazz: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Utah will likely need to replace both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap due to free agency. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are capable starters, but inserting them into starter’s roles will mean the team will need to add front court depth.