The 2013 NBA draft will be low in depth and big names. There are bad draft years, and this year may very well be one of them. Thankfully for the Los Angeles Clippers and their 25th pick in the first round, there’s plenty of depth.
To put this year’s draft in perspective, this year’s AP National Player of the Year, and one of the most exciting players to watch in the NCAA March Madness tournament isn’t even projected in the top-five. Yes, Michigan’s Trey Burke, may end up as the sixth player off the board to the New Orleans Pelicans. The favorite for the top spot is Kentucky’s talented big man, Nerlens Noel. Other players that may be ahead of Burke? Georgetown’s Otto Porter, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, and Kansas’ Ben McLemore.
Noel is coming off an ACL tear that sidelined him for the rest of the NCAA season in February. His optimistic return date is set to December, but conservative reports have him missing the entire 2013-14 season. Not to mention, that he’s 19 and extremely raw — putting up 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.4 blocks per game. Despite the red flags, Noel’s potential is definitely worth gambling over.
The Clippers need a shooting guard or athletic wing. A good-shooting center or big man will be difficult to find as Maryland’s Alex Len and Indiana’s Cody Zeller should be gone before the 10s even begin. That leaves the shooting guard position or an athletic three remaining. Shooting guards are heavy in this draft and good small forwards are rare.
The best option may be Jamaal Franklin from San Diego State. He may be the most underrated player in the draft with little to no publicity on a player that led his school in scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals. The second option for small forward is North Texas Tony Mitchell. Mitchell is dropping because of a drop from his rookie year and an admitted lack of intensity.
But, the most likely scenario will be a shooting guard pick-up. The two players that may be available in the mid-20s are Allen Crabbe from California and Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin. Crabbe has a lower ceiling than Goodwin, but he’s a great system player. Goodwin needs to work on finding his shot and creating, but he’s got a strong touch. Crabbe is a shot maker and works well off screens.
Ideally, the Clippers pick up either Franklin or Mitchell, but most likely it will be a player like Crabbe. The needs are there and last season, it was more obvious than before.
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