NBA Draft 2013: The Sixer Sense Mock Draft

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May 16, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Nerlens Noel is interviewed during the NBA Draft combine at Harrison Street Athletics Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA Draft just two days away, it is time to release The Sixer Sense Mock Draft. A few of our writers came together to act as the participating general managers and created a more realistic draft setting.

Rumors are circulating nonstop, and will continue up until draft night. With that said, we drafted as the selection order stands now. Teams such as the Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards are rumored to be shopping their first-round picks, but as of now, have failed to strike a deal. Rather than speculating on who may wind up selecting in their slots, we picked as if they were staying put exactly where they are currently.


Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

Pick Made By: Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck)

With the first pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers, I’m going to select Nerlens Noel from the University of Kentucky. Noel is seen by many as this year’s top prospect, but there are certainly a lot of questions with his game. Injuries and a raw offensive game are just the beginning.

The reason I’m going with him over a safe pick like Georgetown’s Otto Porter is because I think you have to gamble on talent first and foremost. Noel is an athletic terror who could boost the Cavs defense in a big way with his shot blocking ability. In a draft devoid of top level prospects, I’m a lot more willing to take a risk on an upside pick. At the very least the Cavs get a shot blocker who will compensate for their defensively challenged backcourt. Best case, Noel rounds out his game and becomes an impact player on both ends.

As a bonus scenario, Cleveland has a ton of cap space, the Cavs could grab someone like free agent Andre Iguodala and rise quickly up the East hierarchy. Irving-Waters-Iggy-Noel-Varejao would be an extremely fun team to watch.


Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, Kansas

Pick Made By: Emily Gruver (@EmilyGruver3)

McLemore is overall a great basketball player with extraordinary talent. Along with being an excellent shooter, he has both great athleticism and size. With the Magic being a team in the rebuilding process and lacking an extremely talented shooting guard, McLemore would make a great fit, as well as a player to build around for this Orlando franchise.

Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and former-Sixer Mo Harkless have proven themselves to be potential building blocks. Despite having the second overall pick, the future is beginning to look brighter for Orlando. Now removed from the Dwight Howard saga, the team is in a position to stockpile young assets to potentially build a contender through the draft.


Washington Wizards: Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown

Pick Made By: E.J. Aguado (@aguado91)

Porter is a great perimeter shooter with tremendous upside, having just turned 20 on June 3rd. A young core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter could potentially develop into one of the league’s best “Big 3″ combinations down the road. Porter’s scouting report reminds me of a better-shooting Thaddeus Young, and although he will have to add some strength and improve his scoring in the paint to succeed consistently at the pro-level. His youth and positive attitude will hopefully make this a mostly seamless transition and a great fit for the budding Wizards.


Charlotte Bobcats: Alex Len, Maryland

Pick Made By: Spencer Layman (@NBA_Spen)

Len is easily the most skilled center in the draft, and a little underrated defensively in my opinion. He has an NBA body to go along with sneaky athleticism. When I watch Len, I see a guy like Andrew Bynum. While I am not saying that he will be Bynum, he has the potential to be a force on either side of the court. His low post moves are polished for a 20 year old, and his footwork is very solid for a guy yet to play in the association.

By the numbers, Len is not all that impressive. Per 40 minutes, he averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks a game. It is not all about the numbers in Len’s case. He changes more shots with his length at 7’1” than he blocks, he makes good decisions in the post, and has the size to be a force on the glass at both ends.

I think Len is a more polished prospect than Noel and more ready to contribute immediately. Four years down the road, if three teams pass on Len, those three teams may look back on the 2013 draft as missed opportunity. Simply said, this is no Darko Milicic.



Phoenix Suns: Trey Burke, Michigan

 Pick Made By: Curtis Jenkins (@PhillysPhinest7)

 Burke is ideal for a team who is used to having a marquee point guards. With the names like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash who once played floor general here, the Suns need a “guard of the future”, so to speak. Trey Burke went bananas in the Big Ten last season. Leading a great Wolverines team to the title game, Burke shows great leadership ability and maybe an early favorite for rookie of the year.

He without a doubt is considered one of the best point guards in the draft. His numbers may not blow you away but he has the intangibles to become a great player in this league. Burke’s efficiency in the pick-and-roll is what makes him such an intriguing prospect. If he can develop at the pace that he did at Michigan, Phoenix will be taking a step in the right direction. Perhaps they will enter the Trey Burke era a year removed from the Steve Nash Era?

Not only is he efficient with the ball in his hands, but he has range on his jump shot out to the NBA three-point arc and beyond. His ability to spot up, shoot off the dribble, and get to the basket makes him nearly impossible at times to guard. While he lacks elite lateral quickness, his shiftiness and ball-handling make him just as effective.


New Orleans Pelicans: Victor Oladipo, Indiana

Pick Made By: John Adair (@JohnAdairNBA)

 The newly named Pelicans would be thrilled if Oladipo fell this far in the draft. While it is highly unlikely, Oladipo could be a great asset to a struggling franchise. A year after adding Anthony Davis with the No.1 pick in the draft, Oladipo would just add to the defensive pedigree of a young team.

Athleticism, work ethic, and lockdown perimeter defense are what NBA scouts love about Oladipo. This makes him a safe pick for any team. These three things are never inconsistent. Night in and night out, whatever team gets Oladipo will get effort and a guy capable of shutting down the opponent’s best perimeter scorer.

Even LeBron James and Kevin Durant struggle shooting the basketball at times. However, effort doesn’t show up in the box score and is something that never disappears. It is always there, always impactful, and always an x-factor. Not to say that NBA players can tend to be laid back, Oladipo competes as hard as anyone in the association, if not harder.



Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, UNLV

 Pick Made By: John Adair (@JohnAdairNBA)

Kings’ fans will have one more thing to be excited about if Bennett falls to them with the 7th pick. With the recent news that the team will not be moving to Seattle, attendance and appreciation for the team should increase.

The new ownership group has proven that they are looking to contend sooner rather than later. They have hired Mike Malone, one of the top NBA assistants over the past few years, as their newest head coach, cut ties with longtime general manager Geoff Petrie to make room for Pete D’Alessandro, and have asked Chris Mullin to take on a consultant’s role.

With offensive talents such as DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, Anthony Bennett could be the third piece of one of the most explosive trios in the NBA if any of them fulfill their potential. Bennett’s versatility on the offensive end makes him a constant match-up nightmare. With the ability to score inside and out, both smaller and bigger defenders have issues trying to slow him down. He may have to try to avoid the “tweener” label early in his career, but if he can, look out Kings fans.



Detroit Pistons: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

 Pick Made By: Curtis Jenkins (@PhillysPhinest7)

After a some what bizarre freshman season at UCLA, Shabazz thought it was best to throw his name in the mix of a relatively weak draft class. He may little undersized for the small forward position in the NBA, but his huge 6’11” wingspan along with his bulky 223 pound frame will surely help him bulldoze his way to the basket.

He is not much of a floor general at this point, nor does he have superior quickness, but he is a ruthless attacker of the rim. At best, Muhammad could resemble a Danny Granger type of player, a small forward that used his strength advantage to get his points rather than his quickness.

Muhammad competes on every single possession. More often than not, draft prospects either have the skill or competitiveness, but not both. The UCLA standout isn’t the most skilled player in the draft, but given his competitiveness and work ethic, he’s head and shoulders above most.



Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia

 Pick Made By: Spencer Layman (NBA_Spen)

The Wolves are rumored to be infatuated with Victor Oladipo, and are looking to move up in the draft to get him. If they are unable to do so, KCP is a nice consolation prize. KCP is every bit of an athlete Oladipo is, and is easily the better offensive player. Last year, all I ever read from Zach Harper (@talkhoops) is how the T’Wolves desperately need three-point shooting and perimeter scorers. KCP can come in and fill that role immediately while playing off Ricky Rubio. KCP is also a very good defender thanks to his above-average length and athleticism.

Caldwell-Pope is a fluid scorer with a solid shooting stroke. He averaged 18.5 points on 44% shooting, including 38% from behind the arc this past season at Georgia. Per 40 minutes, KCP averaged 21.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.4 steals. Also, the former-Bulldog has the ever important ability to get to the free-throw line, averaging over six free-throw attempts per contest.

KCP fits in with the Wolves right away. The Wolves can get away from the 2 guard backcourt of Barea and Ridnour, and have a traditional shooting guard step in and play, allowing one or the other to come off the bench in a more traditional back-up point guard role.



Portland Trailblazers: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh

 Pick Made By: E.J. Aguado (@aguado91)

Portland was reportedly extremely high on Dario Saric and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the draft approached. Saric officially withdrew from the draft on June 18th, and in this particular circumstance, Caldwell-Pope was snagged up by the Timberwolves one pick before the Blazers could think about selecting him.

That left McCollum, the 6’3″ combo guard from Lehigh University. The 21-year-old McCollum shot a whopping 51.6% from beyond the arc last season in college hoops, while attempting over 5 per game. That stout shooting ability, coupled with his excellent offensive efficiency, should make him a dangerous offensive weapon for the Blazers.

One of his major flaws in scouting reports is that most of his offensive production came off the ball in college. Luckily for McCollum, the reigning rookie of the year Damien Lillard will be running point for the Blazers, opening up the opportunity for some excellent two-guard sets in Rip City this season.

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