One of my favorite articles to read during the NBA offseason has always been the Chad Ford and Bill Simmons’ back and forth mock draft. The 2007 Oden vs. Durant is my absolute favorite. The two would trade GM caps, and insults to make for an intelligent, and entertaining assessment of the prospects. In honor of this piece, Sports-Kings co-founder Andy Flint and I have decided to trade some insults and analysis with our 2013 NBA Mock Draft. I, Frank Santos, have the odd numbered picks, and my better half Andy Flint will have the even numbered picks. Let’s get this 2013 NBA Mock Draft started! 1. Cleveland Cavaliers select: Nerlens Noel, C- Kentucky As the draft draws closer and closer, I believe Noel will emerge as the number one pick without much debate. The 6’11 talent out of Kentucky is not a true center, but will probably play the position like many others in today’s NBA. Coming off a torn ACL will present a mild amount of risk with the first pick, but given the general weakness of this class, it’s not like this is an Oden over Durant catastrophe if a guy like Trey Burke or Ben Mclemore pan out as studs. I see Noel’s ceiling being a slightly better offensive, slightly worse defensive version of Dikembe Motumbo; a player who can dominate on the floor for stretches defensively, but will never garner the offensive talent to carry a team. His offensive contribution will be on put-backs, and easy layups created by star Kyrie Irving. Think of what Chris Andersen (BIRDMAN BIRDMAN) does currently for the Miami Heat. 2. Orlando Magic select: Trey Burke, PG- Michigan Despite reports that the Orlando Magic will draft whoever they feel is the BEST player at whichever position, regardless of depth or need, I have based my choice on need, and nothing more. With Nerlens Noel off the board at #1, Orlando will need to combine potential and need. Burke has plenty of talent, averaging 18+ ppg in his sophomore season with Michigan; a season that saw Burke lead a young Wolverines team to championship against Louisville, only to come up a bit short. Burke has that cool confidence about him, and drafting a point guard in today’s NBA can never be an awful pick. The Magic are thin at the guard position, and with the aging Jameer Nelson being their only real suitable choice at point guard specifically, Burke should be a no-brainer at #2. 3. Washington Wizards select: Otto Porter, G/F- Georgetown I would just like to say: That was still a clean block by Trey Burke in the championship game. That is all. On to 3: The tough part about mock drafts is always balancing what you think a team WILL do, and what a team SHOULD do. Given the news that Otto Porter’s agent believes his client has a top three pick guarantee, the Wizards seem to be the logical destination. While the Wizards do have a need at the small forward position, they have a much more crucial need for a big man. Emeka Okafor is a serviceable center, but probably has never been, and will never be a quality starting center on a contender. Nene, while brilliant at stretches, is streaky at best, and that’s when he’s actually healthy enough to play, which seems to be a rare occasion. However, there isn’t necessarily a top five pick worthy big man in this class, unless the Wizards want to gamble on Alex Len, who is pretty raw, or if they love Cody Zeller, which I do not. If I were the Wizards, I am looking to get out of this pick if I can, and trade for a more established name that can help John Wall get this team to the playoffs next year. But, if not, Porter is not a terrible pick in this spot, though I think in the long-run, Porter or Bradley Beal, the team’s pick at number two overall just a year ago, would have to go. 4. Charlotte Bobcats select: Ben Mclemore, G/F- Kansas The Bobcats will be more than happy to have a skilled shooter, such as Ben McLemore fall into their laps at #4. Michael Jordan has long been criticized for his draft picks, but McLemore seems to be a can’t-miss shooter in the NBA. Mclemore will join Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the Bobcats look to build a contender from the ground-up. 5. Phoenix Suns select: Victor Oladipo, G- Indiana As I’ve mentioned, this draft class leaves much to be desired, and for that reason, I truly think Oladipo can easily turn out to be the best player of this crop. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a team trades up to grab Oladipo, which has already been rumored. Translation: I don’t think the Suns will have the option to steal Oladipo here at five, but if they do, it could be one of the few good things to happen to this franchise. Oladipo has the potential to be a dominant defensive player that can guard multiple positions, and that is invaluable in today’s league. While I don’t see him having the ability to create his own shot consistently, I believe he can eventually have the ability to do so in stretches. The key for Oladipo will be to improve his shooting, specifically master the NBA three-point shot. If he can do so, Oladipo can be the guard version of Kawhi Leonard, who is already blossoming in this league. Hopefully, Oladipo will have a situation similar to Leonard’s in San Antonio, and won’t be asked to do too much as he would be with the Suns. 6. New Orleans Pelicans select: Shabazz Muhammad, G- UCLA Mr. Santos doesn’t agree with my pick, which is fine. The issue at #6 really boils down to two things. Talent, which Shabazz clearly has (remember, this guy was projected top 2 just a month or so ago) and the need factor that you’ll hear me hammer away at often during this mock draft. There are two things I’m sure about at the two-guard position in The Big Easy. A) Eric Gordon (who will rake in $14,283,844 next season) is either going to be dealt elsewhere, or never going to suit up for more than 50 games in an NBA season ever again. Gordon has now played 49 games with the Pelicans out of a possible 142. B) Austin Rivers. He’s a tweener guard, whose game struggled miserably in his rookie season at the big dance. I personally like Rivers and believe he can be an impact player in the league, BUT, the real question is when? Rivers, at the moment, is a project, and the Pelicans need somebody who can give them productive minutes at the shooting guard position. Take it or leave it, my logic is sound and being that McLemore, Porter and Oladipo were all off the board, New Orleans taking Muhammed at number 6 makes the most sense to me. 7. Sacramento Kings select: Cody Zeller, F/C- Indiana First off: DID YOU REALLY JUST TAKE SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD?! I mean, if this were a baseball draft, and Muhammad were a Dominican player lying about his age, I can see the reasoning… but… it’s not. I am assuming there is some Harrison Barnes “his game will translate better in the NBA” logic there, but.. he ain’t no Harrison Barnes. On to Mr. Zeller If there is one thing that usually translates from college to the NBA, it is the ability to rebound, especially if the player possesses the necessary size to play in this league. Zeller meets all the criteria, and while I do not think he is going to be a consistent career starter, he will have a long, serviceable NBA career. I usually hate these kind of comparisons because I feel like they are really lazy, but Zeller does remind me of the last white guy who dominated in college like he has, Tyler Hansbrough. I would even go as far as saying he can be better than Hansbrough, largely based on the fact that he’s 6’11, and a bit more athletic. The comparison of Carl Landry (who is underrated) also comes to mind, and Zeller would be wise to watch some Landry tape and emulate his gritty style of play. As these things go, I believe Zeller is probably the “safest” pick in this draft, and the fact that he is going to the Kings and all of their recent chaos is just irony in its purest form. 8. Detroit Pistons select: CJ McCollum, G- Lehigh The Patriot League Men’s Basketball Player of the Year in both 2010 and 2012, McCollum will bring scoring to the Pistons’ backcourt, and this pick should mean less minutes for Rodney Stuckey. Although, who knows if CJ will ever become a true shooting guard for a Pistons’ club who desperately needs to get away from the “tweener” lifestyle they’ve been living with Stuckey, Will Bynum, and Brandon Knight. The introduction of McCollum would probably mean one of two things for Knight: Either the two will compliment each other in the passing and scoring departments, and relieve pressure from one another, or Knight will need to continue to improve as a passing point guard. That is unless the Pistons decide to try and re-sign Jose Calderon, and actually give the skilled passer a legit go, unlike Toronto had the past couple of seasons. 9. Minnesota Timberwolves select: Alex Len, C- Maryland I love that McCollum pick for Detroit, especially if it means less Rodney Stuckey. Because, let’s be honest, any pick that makes you play Rodney Stuckey less is a good pick. I think that is in the GM rule book somewhere. Alex Len is the X-Factor of this draft in my eyes. He’s either going to be the best, or worst pick of the draft, and I have no idea which one that will be yet. However, I don’t necessarily love anybody else behind him, so the risk is worth taking, especially for the young T’Wolves, who already have a capable center in Nikola Pekovic. The best part for the Wolves is that if Len pans out as their star piece in the middle, Pek has great trade value in this league. However, we are obviously talking a couple of years down the road. Unlike Noel, Len has the potential to be a true center, and those are few and far between in this league, so the risk is well worth it at nine for Minnesota. 10. Portland Trailblazers select: Anthony Bennett, F- New Mexico Anthony Bennett is believed, by a lot of people, to have the most upside in this entire draft. I pick Bennett here strictly as a value pick. The kid is just too good, and has too high of a ceiling to drop out of the top 10, in my opinion. Bennett’s versatility should be what sells a team like Portland on the young fella. Even though they seem set at the PF and SF starter positions, Bennett will be hard to pass up if he’s still there at number 10. His ability to play down low with exceptional athleticism, and his legit range from even three-point distance is what will have teams looking to add Bennett to their roster. He reminds me somewhat of Derrick Williams in the sense that I’m not 100% sure what position (SF, or PF) best suits him, but I do know that his talent is undeniable. 11. Philadelphia 76ers select: Gorgui Dieng, C- Louisville After Bennett, this draft takes another drop in talent, and with Andrew “YOLO” Bynum being the ultimate wild card for the Sixers, the center position certainly has the potential to be a need. Dieng is the logical fit in this spot because of his defensive mentality, and Spencer Hawes’ uh…not defensive mentality. At this point on in the draft, I don’t see many of these guys starting three years from now in this league, and Dieng is no different, BUT he could potentially be a defensive specialist in this league. Just ask Reggie Evans, if you can do ONE thing REALLY well in the NBA, you can have a career. That’s Dieng’s upside; while he may not be able to do anything of merit offensively, he has the potential to be the Reggie Evans of big-man defense. That’s really all you can ask for in a late-lottery pick of a weak class. 12. Oklahoma City Thunder select: Shane Larkin, G- Miami My boy! Larkin has impressed with his athleticism, quickness, and overall ball-handling capabilities. The undersized guard out of Miami may have a tough time claiming his footing in the NBA because of his aforementioned lack of size. However, Larkin will appeal to teams with his athletic prowess and his insane confidence and leadership, but it could boil down to simply getting a chance to play consistent minutes. While I’m not a fan of Larkin heading to OKC, there is legit room for playing time behind Russell Westbrook, as we’ve watched the Thunder struggle to find balance off the bench over the past years with a cast of Reggie Jackson, Eric Maynor and Derek Fisher. It’s going to be about will and determination for Larkin as a pro, and I see a lot of Ty Lawson in him. Extremely quick and athletic, with the confidence and ability to take the big shots; something OKC has lacked outside of Durant and Westbrook. It will be interesting to see what kind of “it factor” Larkin will provide in the NBA, but the talent and will certainly don’t seem to be an issue. 13. Dallas Mavericks select: Michael Carter Williams, G- Syracuse Almost every mock draft has MCW going here to the Mavericks, and it is probably because he is the prototypical Mark Cuban type of player. I watch a ton of Big East, and Syracuse basketball, and I just don’t see it for MCW. He can be explosive at times, and horrific at others. The Mavericks definitely have a need at point guard, but there is just one problem… Carter-Williams isn’t a point guard. His handle is extremely questionable, and his decision-making is even worse. While he can pass, he consistently is trying to make plays that just aren’t there, and I could make a “Lord of the Rings” length highlight of how many times MCW unnecessarily jumps in the air with no one to pass to. That won’t fly in the NBA the way it did in the Big East. Ultimately, I see MCW as an overall bust, but possibly as a guy who can provide a scoring spark off of the bench. Also, Flint may have to edit his top 20 ugliest players list if MCW sticks in the league.. Sam Cassell has some competition! 14. Utah Jazz select: Mason Plumlee, PF- Duke With the plausible exit of power forward, Paul Milsap, and the rumors swirling around a possible Al Jefferson trade, the addition of a big man to play behind Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter should take priority given the way this draft has went down so far. I would have liked a versatile scorer like Anthony Bennett to be available here, or even a guard like Shane Larkin, or Michael Carter Williams, but I work with what I have, and what I have is the prospect of Utah drafting a big man, after we all complained the entire season that they had a log jam full of too much talent between the four and five positions. You like irony, don’t you? I believe Plumlee has the ability to be a serviceable backup for both the 4 and 5 spots. The 7-foot Plumlee already comes with exceptional size, something NBA teams do not mind at all when drafting a potential center, or power forward prospect. He does have limitations offensively, but seems to know where they are. He’s also and excellent rebounder, which can’t hurt if you’re the Utah Jazz. 15. Milwaukee Bucks select: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG- Georgia As we exit the lottery, you’re really just looking for best player available, as most playoff teams don’t have a glaring need. The Milwaukee Bucks, however, are not most playoff teams. This team is in complete flux, and their roster may be completely different come opening night of the 2013-2014 season. Between Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, and JJ Redick, at least two of these players are going to be gone, making a guard a glaring hole on the roster. My guess is that Jennings is the only one that realistically sticks around, making the two-guard the real hole in the lineup. It was a toss up between Caldwell-Pope and Tim Hardaway Jr. here, but while both have very good size, I couldn’t pass up the athleticism and strength of Caldwell-Pope. The frustrating part about his game is despite his athleticism, Caldwell-Pope is far too reliant on his perimeter game. I don’t see his game translating as well on the next level, but he can get buckets. 16. Boston Celtics select: Tim Hardaway Jr., G- Michigan If you scroll down to number 17 real quick, you’ll notice Santos is complaining about my picks again. I took Tim Hardaway Jr. here because I believe he can provide the Celtics with a great outside shooter (knocked down 37% of threes on over 5 attempts per game). Hardaway has great size for the two-guard position at 6-6 and seemed to play well and accept his role at Michigan. He’ll need to add weight to his game, but can run the break and finish at will, which works out great if you happen to play with Rajon Rondo. I’m not sure what Hardaway will ever be able to give in a consistent starters’ role, but the upside is there, and coming in as a capable shooter will help his draft stock. 17. Atlanta Hawks select: Kelly Olynyk, C- Gonzaga I was hoping Hardaway Jr. would still be here for the Hawks, as I think it is a great fit, but GM Flint hates me, so I am stuck with a dude that won’t be in the league in three years. The best thing Olynyk has is that he is 7-feet tall. He also has some offensive post moves, but not enough to have lasting power in the league. That, along with his below average athleticism (and that’s being generous), and you have yourself a recipe for a nice long career… in Europe. Maybe he can win a championship with Jordan Farmar in Turkey or something. That could be fun. 18. Atlanta Hawks select: Allen Crabbe, G- California With the departures of Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford last off season, along with the untimely injury to Lou Williams early this year, the Atlanta Hawks showed their glaring weakness to be a player with the ability to create. The Hawks are now looking down the barrell at their current cornerstone, Josh Smith, departing. If that were to happen, they really seem to be in a full-on rebuild mode, and a player like Allen Crabbe could be exactly what they need to mix in alongside Al Horford. Crabbe has the potential and size to be a starting two-guard in the NBA. He can create his own shot, and his length and speed in the open court will make him formidable in fast break situations. 19. Cleveland Cavaliers select: Giannis Adetokunbo, F- Greece Our first international player! Seems like it’s too late in the draft for that. These guys are always a mystery to me.. I watch five minutes on YouTube and I fall in love, forgetting they are playing against guys that couldn’t get off the bench in the D-League. You can put Adetokunbo in this category, because YouTube man-crush has been fully activated. Look, the kid is 18, and there is no way he is ready for the league, but if you’re comfortable with a Eurostash deal, his physical build gives him potential. There’s a lot of Kawhi Leonard/Nic Batum in his build and game. Whether that develops is to be seen, but for the Cavs, you are building for the future anyway; if you can bring this kid in two years from now and have a Nic Batum stopper at the 3, that’s a win for the 19th pick, especially since you’ve hopefully nailed the first pick with Noel already. 20. Chicago Bulls select: Isaiah Canaan, PG- Murray State A steady handed, shoot first point guard who can provide the Bulls with valuable scoring minutes off the bench behind Derrick Rose. Probably a career backup, Canaan will not shy away from taking shots when called upon. Perhaps even able to provide the Bulls with a shooting option in spurts alongside Rose, as his jumper is impeccable. One thing I will always say about college players who come into the league with reliable jumpers is that there will always be a place for them to grab minutes if they show the ability to adjust to the NBA’s pace, and Canaan has the shooting down. 21. Utah Jazz select: Sergey Karasev, SG- Russia My reaction to Flint’s pick the moment I saw it: YOU BASTARD! (That’s literally what I said in my mind…and to him.) LOVE Canaan, hopefully he doesn’t get the unfair expectation of the last four-year guy from a small school that plays point guard AKA your reigning Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard. Anyway, I am on an international roll! This time with Karasev from Russia. As Flint could tell you, I was on an insane “Jazz are going to the Western Conference Finals!” tangent early in this season. In my defense, I did say it would be dependent on them trading one of their four bigs for a quality guard, which never happened. The team had success with Andrei Kerilenko, so they may be willing to take the gamble on Karasev. He has good size (6’7), but his athleticism is questionable, and like most international guys, he has yet to be challenged by elite competition. I have a lot more excitement about Giannis Adetokunbo, but hey, roll the dice Utah…LIKE YOU SHOULD HAVE AT THE TRADE DEADLINE! Not that I’m mad or anything. 22. Brooklyn Nets select: Dario Saric, F- Germany Saric is looking like he’ll stay Europe at this point, but I made the pick, so I shall live with it. Saric has the ability to be an effective wing player in the NBA. Yes, I said wing player. While Saric has spent most of his time at the power forward, let’s face the facts and act like we all know Europe is a different cup of tea. Saric’s skinnier frame and his lack of strength inside will ultimately surrender to his exceptional ball handling and passing for a player standing 6-10. We see this often in European players, but Saric is one of the more talented ball handlers I’ve seen at his size. This could be an X-Factor at the NBA level. Editor’s Update: Saric has indeed withdrawn from the draft. Since Flint made the pick beforehand, I will substitute a pick instead, as I am the resident Nets fan. Given their cap situation, and owner Mikheil Prokhorov’s “global mentality,” I still see the Nets going international. I will substitute France’s Livio Jean-Charles instead. YouTube man-crush part deux may be activated here. 23. Indiana Pacers select: Lorenzo Brown, PG- NC State The most intriguing thing about Brown is his height for a point guard. Standing at 6’5, Brown can see over the defense, and crowd you at the other end as well. His age and lack of a shooting touch makes his ceiling questionable, but he could blossom into a solid backup point guard. That possibility isn’t too bad of a shot to take at 23 for the Pacers, who may lose current backup DJ Augustin to free agency this off-season. 24. New York Knicks select: Rudy Gobert, C-France I simply look at Gobert’s potential in the NBA and wonder how in the world he fell all the way to number 24. Standing 7-2, with an oustanding 7-8 wingspan, and great movement and quickness for a player his size, Gobert continues to impress me. Although he never really blossomed into much of an offensive threat for Cholet, his size and potential simply knock it out of the park in terms of ceiling. 25. Los Angeles Clippers select: Reggie Bullock, G/F- North Carolina Calling Bullock’s college career disappointing is probably something even he would agree with. However, he does have NBA size and athleticism, which is desirable I suppose. I think his draft stock will largely depend on how he worked out and interviewed for teams, along with what former coach Roy Williams said when teams called about Bullock. I would be surprised to see him pan out, but playing with Chris Paul can do amazing things for people. That is, if he’s playing with Chris Paul in LA… 26. Minnesota Timberwolves select: Archie Goodwin, G- Kentucky I really would have liked Bullock here. His size and athleticism kind of remind me of Moe Harkless, but alas, Frank decided he was the better fit for the Clippers, and the Timberwolves and I are left with Archie Goodwin. Goodwin slips because Kentucky, a perennial powerhouse, well, sucked. That is an immediate red flag, and I believe impacts the reason why Goodwin has fallen so far. Like Bullock, Archie already has exceptional size and athletic ability, but also reminds me of a player who may struggle to grasp the NBA. I could see Goodwin finding minutes with a young Timberwolves team, who lacks athletic scorers from point guard, all the way down their bench. Archie’s skill-set is exactly what a team like Minnesota lacks, the only question is, will he put it all together and provide them with what they’re looking for in a wing player? 27. Denver Nuggets select: Jamaal Franklin, G/F- San Diego State Franklin seems like a Nuggets kind of player; likes to drive to the rim and constantly on the attack. I will be curious how Franklin will adjust from being the alpha-dog at SD State to being a role player in this league. He is being classified as a guard/forward, but at 6’5, I don’t see him playing much at the 3. Then again, as you watch this year’s NBA Finals, he could probably play center.. 28. San Antonio Spurs select: Steven Adams, C- Pittsburgh No-brainer as far as I’m concerned. The Spurs don’t have a real center on their roster who plays any minutes. Adams is extremely raw and will need time to molding, and what better place to get that than San Antonio. He’ll have guys like Tim Duncan to learn from, and the best coach in the NBA to teach him the NBA game. Adams has shown glimpses of what could be a serviceable 7-footer in the league, but again, I must pound away at the fact that he is a project. Nothing the Spurs aren’t capable of handling. 29. Oklahoma City Thunder select: CJ Leslie, F- NC State Let me be blunt: I have a mancrush on CJ Leslie’s game. To me, he is the Draymond Green of this draft: a superb college player that I can’t figure out why his stock is so low. As soon as the Warriors got Draymond Green in the second round last year, I automatically thought: STEAL. I merely selected Leslie here to explain that he IS a first round talent, and if any team is going to steal him here, it would probably be OKC. However, he will more than likely be a second round pick, and the steal of the draft for whatever team gets him. He has excellent athleticism, defensive instincts, and can rebound the ball. Leslie was the alpha-dog for an overachieving NC State team, and was asked to pretty much everything. I’ve seen his motor questioned, but I don’t see it. In the right situation, especially is he were to go to a winning environment with the Thunder, he could be a rotation/borderline starter minutes guy for their championship caliber team. 30. Phoenix Suns select: Dennis Schroeder, G- Germany Perhaps THE most underrated player in the entire draft. There will not be a single shocked bone in my body if Schroeder ends up being the best point guard to come out of this draft. I can’t see a realm in where Schroeder is still hanging around for the Suns at number 30, but if that happens, they’ll take it. Schroeder is an unlikely combination of quick, aggressive, ball handling mechanic, who can also shoot the ball when defenses try and check him a different way. He reminds me of a guy who can come in and start for an NBA team right now. This means Goran Dragic better work hard this summer, because if Dennis Schroeder ends up being picked by the Phoenix Suns, Dragic could be out of a job by January. By: Frank Santos and Andy Flint The post 2013 NBA Mock Draft- 1st Round appeared first on Pass The Pill - Kings of Hoops.