Dime Mock Draft 5.0: Ben McLemore Slides Out Of The Top 5 Picks

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 fifth 2013 NBA Lottery mock draft.

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

Earlier today, one of our writers wrote a piece explaining why there’s a great chance the Cavs surprise much of the nation and take Alex Len at No. 1. He’s huge, reminds everyone a little bit of Pau Gasol, and if you look at the Cavs recent drafts (Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters), they have a history of making eye-popping picks. That said, we still believe Noel is the guy here. 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. We also know the Cavs want a big man, having just tried to move this pick for LaMarcus Aldridge.

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. McLemore is a possibility here, but he’s had a rough workout circuit and there are a number of people who are questioning how bad he wants it.

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. We’ve also heard Anthony Bennett is a possibility here, but there are rumors the big man is WAY overweight (like 260 or so). If that’s the case, it’ll give the Wizards pause about spending a top pick on him.

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, ironically looking more like O.J. Mayo every day. 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). If Len goes No. 1, all bets are off here as we literally haven’t heard a peep from inside their war rooms.

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, even if the reports of his weight gain are true. 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 if he somehow falls this far, but how can you pass up the next Larry Johnson? We’ve had McLemore here in the past, but recent rumors indicate he was terrible in a workout with the Suns. That means one of two things: either he really was horrible, or the Suns are purposely trying to screw with his stock to make sure they can get him.

6. New Orleans: Trey Burke – Michigan
6-1, PG
20 years old, Sophomore

Would the Pelicans take a guy (McLemore) who plays the same position as one of their best players (Eric Gordon)? That’s a possibility. 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? At the same time, Burke plays the same spot as Greivis Vasquez and they’re happy with him so far. The team also still hasn’t given up on Austin Rivers. But what makes this one work is that Burke and Vasquez can play together. Burke is also a leader, a winner, and would be a great asset to have down the road next to Anthony Davis.

7. Sacramento: Ben McLemore – Kansas
6-5, SG
20 years old, Freshman

This is probably the biggest fall you can expect McLemore to take, given his tremendous talent and All-Star potential. 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 Bennett 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 McLemore is a fantastic shooter and a possible replacement for free agent Tyreke Evans. We’re guessing this is as far as the next O.J. Mayo falls on draft night.

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. Because he has so many haters, Muhammad could last until the second half of the first round.

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). We also already know there were rumors they tried to deal this pick for Marcin Gortat. 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. It could be Utah.

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: Lucas Noguiera – International
6-11, C
20 years old, Brazil

The Brazilian big man is rising quickly on draft boards, and if there’s anyone who likes to make a splash with flashy picks, it’s Danny Ainge. He also must know Kevin Garnett will be leaving one way or another. Noguiera has some of the same qualities — he’s long and athletic. With Boston firmly in rebuilding mode now that Doc Rivers has switched coasts, we’re betting they swing big here. Still, if they get rid of the Truth, we suspect Boston will look to add more depth on the wing here (Jamaal Franklin is a possibility).

17. Atlanta: Giannis Antetokounmpo – International
6-9, SF
18 years old, Greece

ESPN’s Chad Ford is reporting Antetokounmpo’s name keeps popping up in ATL circles. With the status of their roster all over the place (what’ll happen with Josh Smith? Jeff Teague?), a pick that won’t pan out for a few years seems like the typical Atlanta thing to do.

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. In the end, the Hawks probably don’t keep both of these picks anyway with their big free agency summer coming up.

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: Mason Plumlee – Duke
7-0, C
23 years old, Senior

An easy match, now that Omer Asik has moved on and the Bulls struggled to find a replacement. Plumlee isn’t a defensive monster, but he fits into this team’s culture and will automatically be better defensively in this kind of system.

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

Who knows what Amar’e Stoudemire‘s future holds? And at this point, you could say the same thing for Tyson Chandler. Dieng 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: 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. He could go as high as No. 16 to the Celtics because they need scorers more than anything else, and while Franklin can’t shoot, he can do everything else. But here he is in this mock. The Nuggets are so deep they really don’t need another rookie right now. We’d bet they either take an international project and keep him overseas, or trade this pick all together. Franklin is merely here as a placeholder because SOMEONE will take him in the first round.

28. San Antonio: Steven Adams – Pittsburgh
7-0, C
19 years old, Freshman

Is Tim Duncan coming back? We think either way, San Antonio will go with a big man like this if he’s on the table. Adams has some serious potential, and the Spurs aren’t afraid to take chances. Tiago Splitter wasn’t good for anything other than ending up on “Not Top 10s” during the Finals. Adams could be the long-term replacement.

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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