The new year just started, and the NBA season hasn’t yet reached the All Star break, but that doesn’t mean it’s not time for Roberto Gato’s first 2013 NBA mock draft.
Keep in mind as you’re reading that this mock draft is based on the league standings as of January 4th, 2013.
The following picks are based on three things:
(If you see any inaccuracies as far as traded draft picks go, please email us with a link and we’ll correct any problems).
1. Washington Wizards Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
The Wizards have needs everywhere except point guard, and although Washington has a ton of money invested in Nene Hilario, I can’t see them passing up the opportunity to draft a guy like Zeller. He’s averaging 16.6 points per game on 62 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Cavs don’t need a point guard and they just drafted an athletic wing. Anderson Varijao is having a breakout season, but if they could, the Cavaliers would probably like to deal him for some talent, and replace him with their likely top five pick. Len is scoring 13.3 points per game on 58 percent shooting to go along with eight rebounds and over two blocks per game this season.
3. New Orleans Hornets Shabazz Muhammed, SF, UCLA
Dear God. What in the world could the New Orleans Hornets want in terms of position this draft? They drafted Austin Rivers and, of course, Anthony Davis last year, and they’ve got a good young shooting guard in Eric Gordon and a surprisingly good point guard in Grevis Vasquez. I’m not sold on Shabazz Muhammed, but he’s got a ton of talent just waiting to explode through him. If I were the Hornets I’d trade the pick.
4. Charlotte Bobcats Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Bobcats have gone from draft day failures to smart pickers with their moves in the past two seasons. Kemba Walker has turned into the best pick the team has made in a long time, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has met all the expectations that were put on him so far. Gerald Henderson might not be coming back next season, and McLemore has led Kansas to a 11-1 season so far behind his lights out three-point shooting and nearly 16 points per game. He’s also a solid rebounder and a good defender.
5. Detroit Piston Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
The Pistons need a scorer and Bennett will give them that. The Freshman is scoring 19 points per game and he’s also grabbing nine boards per contest too. He takes a decent amount of shots (third in the MWC), but he’s also shooting above 50 percent from the floor. It’s hard not to like Bennett and all the things he does well.
6. Phoenix Sun Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Porter is one of the most improved players in college basketball this year, and his new found production has come largely on the heels of an improved three-point percentage. Porter is also a great rebounder for his position and he’s more experienced than many of the players that will be drafted with him this year.
7. Sacramento Kings Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
It’s time to acknowledge the grand experiment has failed. No, not the DeMarcus Cousins one, the Tyreke Evans one. The Kings need a leader on the floor and they need a distributor as their point guard. Carter-Williams leads the nation in assists per game at 10.1, and he’s also scoring 12 points and grabbing 4.6 rebounds per game.
8. Orlando Magic Nerlens Noel, C/F, Kentucky
The Magic need a force in the middle of the paint on defense, and Nerlens Noel is certainly ready to be that guy on an NBA roster. He’s not really ready to be much else, though. I’m not convinced he’s a top five prospect right now, but there’s no way he falls this far in reality, because almost everyone else in the business thinks otherwise.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder (From Toronto; top 3 protected) Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
The Thunder, you might think, doesn’t really have any needs. But OKC does need help. They need their center of the future. Cauley-Stein could be that guy. In just 2o minutes per game, the seven-footer is averaging just under eight points, six rebounds and just over two blocks. He’s a horrible free-throw shooter, but he’s wildly efficient in the flow of the game, scoring on more than 60 percent of his shots.
10. Dallas Mavericks Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Oklahoma State
The Freshman from Flower Mound, Texas is second on Oklahoma State in rebounds, third in points, and first in assists. The Mavericks are an old team, and they should draft a young, local-ish player who can do it all to build around in the future.
11. Boston Celtics Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
Boston is another old team. The only difference is the C’s have a great young point guard in Rajon Rondo and other solid young players like Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnet won’t be around for much longer and the Celtics need to start looking for their replacements now. At 6-6, 210 lbs, Robinson is a big, Pierce-like small forward who could easily be groomed to become the starter upon that man’s departure.
12. Philadelphia 76ers Isaiah Austin, C, Baylor
Austin may be a horrible free-throw shooter, and a little trigger-happy from behind the arc for a seven-footer, but he’s still an efficient scorer and good rebounder. Who knows what’s up with the 76ers at center right now with Andrew Bynum out for the foreseeable future and Spencer Hawes not really being worth anything more than the novelty of his mullet. If Bynum decides to stick around, Austin would be a great backup. If he decides to go, Austin would be a serviceable starter.
13. LA Lakers Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
Goodwin is leading the Kentucky Wildcats in scoring and assists. The Lakers need to get younger desperately, and they should try to get younger scorers in the fold as Kobe Bryant somehow continues to defy the Gods.
14. Utah Jazz Dario Saric, PF, Croatia
If you’re like me and you haven’t heard anything about Saric before reading (creating) this post, then just take a look at this. Saric is big, he’s a good shooter, and he can score in multiple ways. The Jazz have Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson coming off the books this summer, so it might be smart for Utah to look for replacements asap.
15. Charlotte Bobcats (From Portland Trailblazers) Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Plumlee is probably going to end up like the rival Tarheels’ Tyler Hansbrough, but the Bobcats need some talent in their frontcourt, and this guy would give them that. If Charlotte does end up with Portland’s pick this year, I think they’ll go with most talent on their first pick and team need with their second.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves Alex Poythress, PF, Kentucky
The TWolves are already loaded in the frontcourt, but a guy like Poythress will be hard to pass up. He’s not just a powerforward, by the way. The kid can play small forward too and he’s shooting 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from three this season.
17. Denver Nuggets Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas
Mitchell is averaging about as close to a double-double as one can average without actually getting there. His 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds lead North Texas, and he’s also a halfway decent three-point shooter.
18. Brooklyn Nets C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
McCollum is a deadly three-point shooter, a solid scorer and a serviceable point guard. Right now I have questions about his ability to perform consistently against the best competition in the world, but if he does fall to 18th, whoever grabs him will be quite lucky.
19. Milwaukee Bucks Rudy Gobert, C, France
I’m going to be honest; I don’t know much about Rudy Gobert, but he’s a legit seven-footer, and most mock draft experts have him in their top 20. Milwaukee could certainly use some stability at the center position, and who knows, maybe this guy could give them that.
20. Atlanta Hawks (From Houston Rockets) Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
The only thing hurting Burke is his size. The six-footer is a good scorer (18 points per game), a very good shooter (40 percent three-point shooting), and a very good point guard (seven assists per game). He’s the leader on the No. 2 team in the nation, and without him, Michigan might not be a title contender.
21. Chicago Bulls James McAdoo, PF, North Carolina
Much like Harrison Barnes before him, McAdoo leaves a lot of people wanting more. He’s got the size and talent to absolutely dominate most of his opponents, but he doesn’t. He’s scoring 14.8 points per game to go along with just over eight boards per contest, and while those numbers are far superior to the ones he put up a year ago, they might not be enough to see him drafted in the top 20.
22. Indiana Pacers Doug McDermont, SF, Creighton
You heard it here first: McDermont will be the biggest steal of the draft. As a Bobcats writer I hope the Trailblazers somehow end up with a pick in the 20s just so Charlotte would be justified in taking him. No one has him going before the 20th pick, and realistically I don’t see any team in the top 20 taking that chance. They should, though, because whoever lands him could end up with one of the best players of the 2013 draft. Oh. Why Indiana? I think you know the answer.
23. Atlanta Hawks Andre Roberson, SF, Colorado
This cat, er, uh, Buff, can play. At 6-7, Roberson is one of the leading rebounders in the nation with 12 boards per game. He’s also a 50+ percent shooter, a 45 percent three-point shooter and a double digit scorer. He’s one of the few first-round draftable players in the country averaging a double-double, and while he may never become a great scorer, it’s hard to imagine him turning into anything less than a solid NBA rebounder.
24. Utah Jazz (From Golden State Warriors) Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State
Canaan is a score first, pass second point guard, and he’s pretty good at that. The Racer is scoring 20 points per game this year and averaging just under four assists per contest. This late in the draft the Jazz will be hardpressed to find great frontcourt talent to potential replace their two big men, but Canaan could turn into a solid young piece to build the backcourt around in the future.
25. New York Knicks Jeff Whitey, C, Kansas
The Knicks need to get younger, and they need to get younger in the frontcourt fast. Whitey is a 58 percent shooter who’s averaging just over 13 points and just under eight rebounds per game to go along with 4.9 blocks per contest. Yes, the Knicks are pretty set at starting center for the foreseeable future with Tyson Chandler manning that position, but Whitey would be a terrific backup.
26. Phoenix Suns (From Minnesota Timberwolves/Memphis Grizzlies) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Since the Dawgs are so terrible this year, many people have forgotten about this diamond in the rough that will be the late 20s of the 2013 NBA draft. At 6-5, 205 lbs, Caldwell-Pope is one of the best rebounding guards in the entire country, and he can also put the ball through the rim. He’s averaging over 17 points per game and grabbing 7.2 boards per contest to go along with a couple assists and a couple steals per game. He’s become a more efficient scorer, too, scoring four more points per game than last season on just 1.5 more shots per contest.
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (From Miami Heat) Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardway Jr. can score, he can rebound and he’s becoming a better shooter. The junior is averaging 16 points and five boards per game on 48 percent shooting. His three-point percentage has improved from under 30 percent last season to 39 percent this year.
28. San Antonio Spurs Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas
Kabongo has had a rough year dealing with the NCAA, but that shouldn’t take away from his talent. The Longhorn hasn’t played a game this season, but late in the draft he could be a solid option for a team looking for a young point guard to be groomed into replacing an old one.
29. LA Clippers C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington
Wilcox can score and he’s a decent rebounder, but that’s about all he can give an NBA team right now. His career 3pt shooting percentage is around 40 percent and at 6-5, 195 lbs, he could add to the show that is Lob City in transition.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
I’m not sure how this kid isn’t supposed to be a first round pick, but in my mock draft that’s exactly what he is. From the shooting guard position, Oladipo is a better than 60 percent shooter, and he hits more than 45 percent of his three pointers. He’s the second leading scorer on a very good Indiana team and he’s a junior, so he’ll be more experienced than almost all the players taken in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft.