It’s less than 24 hours until the 2013 NBA Draft. There was plenty of talk involving the draft with the usual questions of, who will be chosen or what team will make the big trade?
Of course, the biggest question is, “is the talent even there?”
The short answer is no. The 2013 NBA Draft will be a depth-heavy event. The difference between the lottery picks and the latter part of Round 1 may be negligible. To get a good idea on the depth, look no further than the first five picks of the draft. There is a mix of upside and safety picks. If teams get a little risky, the draft will get exciting.
As of right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers hold the first pick overall. It is another stroke of good fortune for a club that went through “The Decision.”
1. Cleveland Cavaliers — Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Noel should be the first pick. There are talks of a potential pick for Maryland’s Alex Len or even Georgetown’s Otto Porter. The fact that Noel, who missed nearly half his freshman season at Kentucky, was the unanimous first pick for the majority of the pre-Draft talks is revealing.
The Cavs cannot afford to pass on the defensive-minded Noel because of the injury concerns to Anderson Varejao. The combination of Noel and Tristan Thompson gives the Cavs a great frontline foundation and should give Cleveland some more hope for the future. Noel’s the best player in the draft with a small consolation shout-out to San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin.
2. Orlando Magic — Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
You won’t see Burke going to the Magic in many mock drafts for ridiculous reasons. Most of these reasons do not involve the words, “team needs.” Burke fills the point guard void for Orlando and the popular mock pick, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, already fills a position the Magic have.
But, Burke is the 2013 NCAA National Player of the Year and one of the biggest reasons that March Madness was so fun to watch. Burke has plenty to learn as he has a lot of holes in both his defensive and offensive game, but that’s where the tutelage of Jameer Nelson comes in.
3. Washington Wizards — Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Most drafts have Porter heading back to Washington. He’s versatile, a hometown hero, and arguably the best small forward in the draft. Not much needs to be said because the Wizards need a small forward and Porter is a small forward. If the Wiz do not resign Martell Webster, Porter may see starter minutes immediately.
4. Charlotte Bobcats — Alex Len, C, Maryland
Yes, Oladipo is still on the board, but this is hope pick for the Bobcats to pick up Len. This team screams for big men help. The roster “boasts” Tyrus Thomas, Byron Mullens, and projects Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts. If Len falls to the Cats, he can contend for starter minutes at either the power forward or center positions.
Len may very well be the NBA Rookie of the Year because of the opportunity and potential. As for Len, he’s big and athletic with a polished offensive game. He’s also a two-way player and a perfect building block for a team that is not set in anything but the backcourt.
5. Phoenix Suns — Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
The mock draft darling, Oladipo should fall to Phoenix. Many have the second-best shooting guard in the draft, Kansas’ Ben McLemore to the Suns but they can’t pass up on Oladipo. While McLemore is a straight shooter, Oladipo is a slasher with amazing athleticism.
He is a great two-way player and improved both free-throws and jump shot percentage in the last season as a Hoosier. Oladipo’s strengths fall under his relentless defense, work ethic, and movement without the ball. The Suns need an athletic playmaker and either McLemore (shooting) or Oladipo (everything else) falls under that.
Photo Credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images
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