NBA Draft 2013: The Sixer Sense Mock Draft

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Apr 10, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Cody Zeller at his press conference for the NBA draft. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports



Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana

 Pick Made By: Emily Gruver (@EmilyGruver3)

We saw last year that the Sixers struggled tremendously on the boards, so Zeller could be the guy for the job. He can both grab rebounds and score the ball extremely efficiently. He has great size at 7’0”, and and an NBA ready frame at 230 pounds.

Zeller is the type of player that you would love to have on your team, and would be the perfect fit for Philadelphia. He has several great abilities and attributes, but most importantly, he makes winning plays. His numbers may not jump out at you at the next level, but Zeller has shown the tendency to make good decisions out of the post. Also, he runs the floor about as well as any big man in the draft, making him a reliable threat in transition, something the Sixers will more than likely need more post Doug Collins.

His feel for the game is remarkable for a player with just two years of experience at the college level. Time after time, he felt where the defender is on his back, made a quick spin move, and finished uncontested at the rim. Zeller doesn’t force his offense though. When his shot is not there or he is struggling, he seems to always get his teammates involved.



Oklahoma City Thunder: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh

 Pick Made By: Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck)

The Thunder are in an interesting position going forward. The talented members of their nucleus (Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka) are all under 25 years of age, so OKC are feasible contenders in both the short and long term.

This puts me in a position to grab Adams, a massive center who is going to take some time to develop. Adams is athletic and mobile, excelling in transition and on the defensive end, which will mesh well with OKC’s run and gun style. The Thunder’s strength in developing players will be needed to improve his raw offensive game, but having another big, agile body will benefit the Thunder. Any option that allows the Thunder to take minutes from Kendrick Perkins’ corpse should be explored.



Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse

Pick Made By: Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck)

At 13, the Mavericks are likely to go with an international player, as their desire is to pick a player they can stash overseas to maintain cap room in the pursuit of this year’s free agent class. Since I’m not concerned with such issues, I’m taking Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams.

Carter-Williams is a big point guard (6’6″) who does a lot of things well. He’s adept at creating offense for himself and his teammates with a smooth handle and above-average athleticism. Syracuse’s infamous zone defense is not the best showcase for a prospect’s defensive ability, but Carter-Williams has both the size and length to be an impact defender at the NBA level.

The primary concern is his lack of a jumpshot. Smarter teams will force him to shoot from distance rather than drive and dish. Luckily, shooting is one of the most easily remedied skills in the pros, as there are hundreds of examples of players (such as Jason Kidd) who have developed jumpers later in their career. If he can improve his jumper and keep up his pace of 8.3 assists per 40 in the pros, he’ll be a valuable player for Dallas during and following the Nowitzki era.



Utah Jazz: Mason Plumlee, Duke

 Pick Made By: Emily Gruver (@EmilyGruver3) 

Plumlee is overall a great basketball player who posts phenomenal numbers and is efficient. He can fill up the stat sheet; last season, he averaged 17.1 PPG and 10 RPG.

The second Plumlee to be drafted in as many years is also extremely athletic, can score down in the post, and can finish at the rim. He is great in the paint. He also has great size at 7’0”, 238 pounds, which will help him excel in the post and in the paint.

Ultimately, Plumlee will be drafted by a team in need of a ready-to-contribute big man to serve as a role player. Nobody is under the impression that he will be a superstar at the next level, but there isn’t much doubt among NBA brain trusts that he will produce. His effort and athleticism will be enough to make sure of that.



Milwaukee Bucks: Shane Larkin, Miami

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

With the potential departures of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, the Bucks will likely be in the market for another young guard in what is sure to be a rebuilding effort.

Larkin, the 20-year-old former Hurricane who helped carry Miami to a historic season including the highest tournament seed in school history, is a solid point guard who shot the ball efficiently in college and has a tendency to come away with steals.  Larkin is also the reigning ACC Player of the Year.

The Bucks would be wise to go with Larkin, who may not always light up the scoreboard but will certainly provide a great start to what is almost certain to be an almost unrecognizable Milwaukee team compared to years past.



Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville

Pick Made By: Spencer Layman (@NBA_Spen) 

At the 16th pick, I think the Celtics will take Gorgui Dieng. He is quite possibly the best defensive presence in the draft right now. “But Spencer! What about Nerlens Noel!?” Noel still needs time to develop into an all-around defender. Yes, his blocks are emphatic, but he needs to become an overall better defender, both in the post and as a team defender. Gorgui is 23, and at this point in their careers, more polished than Noel. Noel will be drafted on sheer potential, but with Gorgui you know what you are going to get right away. Gorgui is 6’11 with a 7’6 wingspan, and weighs in at 245. Those are pretty impressive numbers. I gave a whole detailed breakdown on Gorgui back in May here, so I won’t spend all day giving reasons why I think he should be their pick. If you read that, just basically change “Why he should be with the Sixers” to “Why he should be with the Celtics.”



Atlanta Hawks: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan

 Pick Made By: Curtis Jenkins (@PhillysPhinest7) 

According to most, this may be a bit of a stretch by the Hawks. However, Hardaway is a gym rat. He will likely be the first one to arrive and last one to leave immediately. His work ethic, basketball pedigree, and overall mindset is much appreciated by teammates, coaches, and scouts abroad.

At times at Michigan, Hardaway looked like an elite spot-up shooter. At other times, he looked like the exact opposite. Consistency shooting the basketball may have been an issue at the college level, but with the time that he puts in, it is bound to improve.

Atlanta is not in a bad predicament. Al Horford has established himself as one of the NBA’s best centers, Jeff Teague has grown into one of the up-and-coming point guards, and Louis Williams will be back for the 2013-2014 season after tearing his ACL. Hardaway would not be forced to contribute right away, and would likely be able to watch last year’s draft pick John Jenkins start, at least to begin the season.



Atlanta Hawks: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga

 Pick Made By: John Adair (@JohnAdairNBA)

 Atlanta already has Al Horford, and he is an established and productive NBA center. However, if Olynyk falls out of the lottery and all the way to the Hawks’ back-to-back first-round picks, it will be hard to pass up on him with both.

His overall skill level coupled with great size is what is most impressive. Some scouts and teams do not like Olynyk’s lack of strength, but nobody questions his toughness. Potentially, his greatest asset is as a high-post offensively efficient and playmaking big man. With the lack of skilled big men in the NBA today, Olynyk is intriguing.



Cleveland Cavaliers: Rudy Gobert, France

 Pick Made By: John Adair (@JohnAdairNBA)

 Mike Brown has made it know that he plans to add length to improve his team’s defense. The second-time Cavs coach has made it his specialty at increasing his team’s defensive numbers and overall tenacity.

Gobert has great length and rim protecting potential. At his size, there aren’t many prospects with his athleticism. His ability to get up and down the floor makes him a threat in transition, particularly in catch-and-finish situations, and an even bigger threat on transition defense with the possibility of him blocking a lot of shots from behind.

The French big man is not ready to contribute immediately, but that may be better for the Cavs at this juncture. Anderson Varajeo is set to return from injury and still has a few good years left in him, but is not getting younger. Dan Gilbert and company may decide to stash Gobert overseas until he is ready or Varajeo is done, whichever comes first.



Chicago Bulls: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State

 Pick Made By: Curtis Jenkins (@PhillysPhinest7)

Derrick Rose is set to return this season. The Bulls are set to return to contention in the Eastern Conference. With trade discussions surrounding veteran All-Star Luol Deng, Franklin may be a potential replacement for former reserve Jimmy Butler.

Butler impressed in increased minutes in 2012-2013, and is likely to return to the starting line-up, making Deng expendable. Regardless, if Deng is likely to be gone, Chicago will need someone to fill a bench role and produce quickly.

Franklin’s length and all-around game will make him a difference maker off the bench almost immediately, and potentially as a starter in the future. While he is not particularly great at one thing, his ability to do everything at a good rate makes him extremely valuable.

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