Dime Mock Draft 4.0: A Surprising Newcomer Crashes Into The Top 5

Does this draft class suck? Well, more than a few “experts” maintain it’s not one of the best you’ll ever see. That being said, we don’t really know what’ll happen until these young fellas get drafted and hit the floor. There are plenty of teams that could use Ben McLemore or Anthony Bennett or Alex Len. Now, after the lottery, we have a better grip on which teams will get them.

The NBA Draft Lottery is concluded and with that, here is Dime‘s third 2013 NBA Lottery mock draft.

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1. Cleveland: Nerlens Noel – Kentucky
7-0, C
19 years old, Freshman

The Cavs don’t need a star, just someone who can fit in. As long as the Kentucky big man (one of our writers called him a better version of Larry Sanders) passes his physical concerns, this should be a no-brainer. Suddenly, Cleveland could have a very interesting foundation. This pick fits because a) he’s the best player available if we’re talking metrics, something Cleveland acknowledges, and b) they’ve kept close tabs on his injury status. The only other players drawing interest here — Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore — just don’t make as much sense considering Cleveland already has Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.

2. Orlando: Victor Oladipo – Indiana
6-4, SG
21 years old, Junior

No one (repeat: no one) has any idea what Orlando is doing. They’re floating smokescreen after smokescreen, at one time thinking Trey Burke would be their guy then saying they’re looking to grab Ben McLemore. In the end, we’re thinking they pass on Burke and instead opt to try to acquire Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers, and then cement their backcourt of the future with a guy who’s still getting better: Oladipo.

3. Washington: Otto Porter – Georgetown
6-8, PF
19 years old, Sophomore

The Wizards vaulted up into the top three and now have a perfect situation lining up for them as they’re ready to draft the next Tayshaun Prince. They absolutely need a small forward. It’s probably the biggest hole on their roster. And Porter shoots it well and can play without the ball. This is a perfect fit. The team just has to hope Cleveland doesn’t buck the trend and take the wingman first overall.

4. Charlotte: Alex Len – Maryland
7-1, C
19 years old, Sophomore

If Oladipo falls to here, we get the feeling Michael Jordan would love him. The Bobcats/Hornets need to take the best talent available, and this is where it gets interesting. Charlotte is apparently trying to pry DeMarcus Cousins away from Sacramento. Most in the know in Sacramento don’t believe the Kings will trade him. If not, Charlotte could go with the guy who’s sliding because people don’t think he wants it bad enough (McLemore). But then again, big men always rise on draft boards as we get closer to the draft, and it seems everyone is starting to believe they’ll take one (Alex Len).

5. Phoenix: Anthony Bennett – UNLV
6-7, PF
20 years old, Freshman

The last time UNLV had a lottery selection, it was Marcus Banks back in the day. We’re pretty sure Bennett is going to be a little bit better than that. One of our writers called him another Paul Millsap, and that’s probably a worst-case scenario. Injury concerns aren’t stopping teams from looking at Bennett in the top five. Alex Len is also a possible pick here, but how can you pass up the next Larry Johnson?

6. New Orleans: Ben McLemore – Kansas
6-5, SG
20 years old, Freshman

Would the Pelicans take a guy who plays the same position as one of their best players (Eric Gordon)? They would if he’s available, first of all. And second, what has Gordon really proven since coming to New Orleans… other than that he has a shaky loyalty with the place and can’t seem to stay healthy? Trey Burke would be a possibility here, but we’re hearing the team is pretty happy with Greivis Vasquez and yes, they still haven’t given up on Austin Rivers. We’re guessing this is as far as the next O.J. Mayo falls on draft night.

7. Sacramento: Trey Burke – Michigan
6-1, PG
20 years old, Sophomore

This is probably the biggest fall you can expect Burke to take. With the influx of tremendous guards into the league in the last few years, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him sneak into the top three or four, ESPECIALLY if Charlotte makes a deal to move out of the No. 4 spot. The Kings could go a number of different ways with this pick. DMC could be on another team very, very soon. If that happens, expect Len to get drafted if he’s still around. The Kings once took Jason Williams at the No. 7 spot, and he immediately helped turn around their franchise. They won’t find anyone that exciting in this year’s class, but Burke is a winning playmaker who would help turn around their culture.

8. Detroit: Michael Carter-Williams – Syracuse
6-6, PG
21 years old, Sophomore

We’ve already seen how effective Brandon Knight can be at the two. Putting him next to MCW could be deadly. We’re hearing rumblings that Detroit still doesn’t believe Knight is a full-time lead guard. With this pick, suddenly you have a 6-6 player who is undoubtedly a lead guard, which gives you the defensive flexibility in the backcourt that you need. They either take a wing scorer, someone like Shabazz Muhammad, who we had here in the past, or they go for a point guard who can let Knight slide to the shooting guard spot at times.

9. Minnesota: Shabazz Muhammad – UCLA
6-6, SF
20 years old, Freshman

When asked what he wanted out of this draft, Kevin Love said he needs a shooter more than anything else. Muhammad has the type of credentials that could scream overrated or, perhaps, future All-Star.

10. Portland: Cody Zeller – Indiana
7-0, PF/C
20 years old, Sophomore

We’re putting Lil’ Zeller here because, honestly, we don’t have any idea what the Blazers will do with this pick. A big man makes sense considering the team wants to put another big man next to LaMarcus Aldridge (although it looks more and more like Zeller will be more of a stretch four). And Zeller has SHOCKED everyone with his combine numbers. Still, they might trade the pick altogether.

11. Philadelphia: C.J. McCollum – Lehigh
6-3, PG/SG
21 years old, Senior

From our perspective, the Sixers need to get more shooters and more players — outside of Jrue Holiday — who can create offense. McCollum is one of the hardest players to contain on the offensive end in this draft. He fits here.

12. OKC (from Toronto): Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga
7-0, C
22 years old, Junior

We think this pick will come down to one of two players: Gonzaga’s finest or Steven Adams from Pittsburgh. OKC needs help inside, and while many would conclude Adams is more of their style of pick (great talent and potential… a player who needs a few years before he’ll really blossom), the Thunder need any inside player who can score and do it right away. They’re on the cusp of a title, one they possibly threw away by giving up James Harden. We think they’ll play it safe here instead of swinging for the fences again.

13. Dallas: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Georgia
6-6, SG
20 years old, Sophomore

Now that Dario Saric has officially withdrawn from the draft, we’re betting the Mavs go ahead with one of their original plans and move this pick to clear up cap space for free agents (Dwight Howard and Chris Paul). If they do take someone here, Caldwell-Pope makes sense as insurance in case Mayo leaves.

14. Utah: Dennis Schroeder – International
6-2, PG
19 years old, Germany

Everyone seems to agree about one thing: Utah’s biggest hole is at the point guard spot. If the Jazz’s brass feels the same way, it’s probably either Larkin or Dennis Schroeder. Larkin is probably the safer pick and seems more ready to step in and play right away. But Sports Illustrated is reporting that Schroeder has an early first-round guarantee.

15. Milwaukee: Shane Larkin – Miami
6-0, PG
20 years old, Sophomore

Milwaukee can pretty much take the best player available, but they could use help in the backcourt. Caldwell-Pope is being talked about in some circles as a possible top-10 pick. He’d bring size to a backcourt that could use it, so if he’s around they’ll probably take him. In this mock, Larkin fits as insurance with so many moving parts in the Bucks’ backcourt this summer.

16. Boston: Jamaal Franklin – San Diego St.
6-5, SG
21 years old, Junior

We’ve been all over the place with this selection, but Franklin is one of the draft’s biggest risers. The Celtics need scorers more than anything else, and while Franklin can’t shoot, he can do everything else. If they get rid of the Truth, we suspect Boston will look to add more depth on the wing here.

17. Atlanta: Steven Adams – Pittsburgh
7-0, C
19 years old, Freshman

If Josh Smith leaves, as expected, Atlanta will be even thinner than normal upfront. Al Horford isn’t a center to begin with, and what they have behind him is not worth much. Adams would be a nice piece to add.

18. Atlanta (via Houston): Tim Hardaway Jr. – Michigan
6-6, SG
21 years old, Junior

Hardaway Jr. makes sense here, especially if they go big with their first pick. Plus, people at Michigan have been saying this guy already carries himself like a NBA vet.

19. Cleveland (via L.A. Lakers): Sergey Karasev – International
6-7, SF
19 years old, Russia

Karasev is a fantastic shooter, and could help down the road next to Irving and Waiters. He’s only 19, so it might take him some time but if he pans out, Cleveland will have solid potential players at all five positions.

20. Chicago: Gorgui Dieng – Louisville
6-11, C
23 years old, Junior

An easy match, now that Omer Asik has moved on and the Bulls struggled to find a replacement.

21. Utah (via Golden State): Tony Mitchell – North Texas
6-8, SF
21 years old, Sophomore

The Jazz need scorers and defenders on the wing, and could use someone to ultimately replace the minutes being given to Marvin Williams as he just hasn’t panned out. Mitchell is sort of an unknown at this point, but great combine results have some convinced he can be an effective wing. That’ll help on a team with a number of talented bigs. A point guard and a wing player in the first round would be great gets for Utah. Plus, this dude has UNREAL athleticism.

22. Brooklyn: Reggie Bullock – North Carolina
6-7, SF
22 years old, Junior

Bullock is a more athletic Jared Dudley: someone who can do a little bit of everything and won’t mind playing a utility role off the bench. His versatility would work well in Brooklyn. At this point, the Nets just need to take the best player available. Luckily for them, Bullock fits as someone who can take some minutes away from a disintegrating Gerald Wallace.

23. Indiana: Allen Crabbe – Cal
6-6, SG
21 years old, Junior

No one knows what’ll happen with Danny Granger next year, and whether he contributes in Indiana or not, they need another shooter anyway. Crabbe can stroke it, and is a surprisingly explosive athlete.

24. New York: Mason Plumlee – Duke
7-0, C
23 years old, Senior

Who knows what Amar’e Stoudemire‘s future holds? And at this point, Plumlee has fallen far enough. If you’re the Knicks, you have to grab him here.

25. L.A. Clippers: Glen Rice Jr. – Georgia Tech
6-6, SG
22 years old, D-League

Rice Jr. dominated at times in the D-League this year, and the Clippers need more shooting. Rice Jr. is already more of a pro than anyone they can get at this point. With Billups and Bledsoe both having cloudy futures, more backcourt help could be key for the Clippers.

26. Minnesota: Rudy Gobert – International
7-2, C
20 years old, International

If Minnesota tabs a wing player in the lottery, we could see them taking a flyer on Gobert in the late first round. He’s a big project, but if the ‘Wolves are thinking about the future, they must know this: it’s more than likely that at least one of their two inside pillars (Love and Nikola Pekovic) will probably move on to another team sometime in the next few years.

27. Denver: Giannis Antetokounmpo – International
6-9, SF
18 years old, Greece

The Nuggets are so deep they really don’t need another rookie right now. Antetokounmpo doesn’t have much experience, playing in a lesser division overseas. But he’s still a very interesting talent.

28. San Antonio: Lucas Noguiera – International
6-11, C
20 years old, Brazil

Because it only makes sense, right? The Brazilian big man is also rising quickly on draft boards… he might not even make it this far.

29. OKC: Tony Snell – New Mexico
6-7, SF
21 years old, Junior

Recently, we called him one of the biggest sleepers in the entire draft. OKC will almost assuredly draft a big man with their first pick. If they do that, a wing player who can eat into some of the minutes left by Harden would do wonders (don’t forget that Kevin Martin is a free agent as well). Snell also fits with the Thunder because the biggest criticism of his game — not taking over, fitting in too much instead of standing out — is actually a strength in this situation.

30. Phoenix (via Miami): Ricky Ledo, Providence
6-6, SG
20 years old, Freshman

We’ve had Kansas center Jeff Withey here in the past. But with Phoenix possibly taking a big man in the top five, it’s more than likely they find an athletic shooter who can attack from the wings here. Ledo is considered a top-15 talent by many GMs and scouts and our own draft analysts have been singing his praises all season long.

What do you think?

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