The lottery played out in such a fashion that it made mocking the draft much easier. Teams are now slotted to get good value at positions of need.
Of course, this probably means no team will make the obvious selection, and mock drafts will be even more inaccurate than ever. However, it is easy to make a case for the draft playing out a certain way, and I have done that below.
I’ll pay special attention to a few of the more interesting picks and mark them in italics.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Nerlens Noel’s upside is through the roof. He will be good on defense from Day 1, and he has the ability to be the league’s most dominant defensive player.
He needs serious work on his offensive game, but he has all the tools to be an excellent scoring option down low.
This is why the Cavs will overlook the fact that he is raw, too light and a big man with with knee problems.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Orlando Magic were sitting in prime position as the favorite to win the draft lottery. When this was the case, it seemed like the Magic would either take Noel, and hope for their next great center, or trade down.
The reason this team would have traded down is because they are in pretty good shape with youthful talent for the front line with Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson.
Kansas’ Ben McLemore makes much more sense, and that is evident in this tweet by Fox Sports’ Sam Amico:
The Magic need a dynamic player for the backcourt. Someone who can space the floor with their shooting and take it to the rack when the defense is tight.
So, this leaves the Magic likely to be deciding between McLemore and Michigan point guard Trey Burke, which is what ProBasketballDraft believes to be the case:
Whether this is legit information or not, it is sound logic.
However, I see the ultimate answer being McLemore. He has a higher ceiling, and he will instantly be a nice fit in Orlando.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
This pick makes a ton of sense. The Wizards have a need at the position, and Porter is clearly the cream of the small forward crop, as Shabazz Muhammad and Victor Oladipo are better suited to be a shooting guard in the NBA.
However, Porter may not make it this far. Michael Lee, who covers the Wizards for the Washington Post, hits us with this:
As you can see above, I don’t see the Magic passing on Noel. It is just too hard to pass on a big man.
So, that will leave Porter around for the Wizards, and they will gladly take him. Porter is NBA ready and he will fill up a stat sheet with his all-around skill set and lockdown defense.
Porter will never be an elite scorer, but with John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt, he doesn’t need to be. Porter also won’t stop the ball on offense. He will get his points in the flow of the offense.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Just thinking of Victor Oladipo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist playing alongside each other should be enough to throw perimeter offenses off their game. This will be an athletic and exciting duo for the Bobcats.
While it will lack a bit of shooting, point guard Kemba Walker can help ease those concerns.
5. Phoenix Suns: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
The Suns need offense. This team is hurting for playmakers, and there is no doubt that Shabazz Muhammad is one.
He needs to improve his overall game, but he knows how to score in a variety of ways.
6. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
The Kings frontcourt can get frightening in a hurry with this selection. Anthony Bennett is in the midst of rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he should have a full recovery. So there is little risk there.
He is an athletic prospect with the diversity in his game to play alongside DeMarcus Cousins.
7. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Point guard is not the biggest need for the Pelicans, but it’s not like they should be content with Greivis Vasquez for the long term either.
Burke is too talented to last past No. 7, and he will form a nice young tandem with Anthony Davis.
8. Detroit Pistons: C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh
This is a sound pick for the Pistons. C.J. McCollum will add some needed perimeter shooting.
He has the skills to be a true point guard, but even if he doesn’t develop into that, he will be a dynamic scoring option to bring off the bench.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
Nikola Pekovic has emerged as a solid starting center. He is a restricted free agent, but whether he comes back or not, this is a nice pickup.
Cody Zeller‘s athleticism will be a nice compliment to the bruising style of Pekovic.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Alex Len is a legitimate seven-footer who needs to develop but has already shown the foundation for a nice low-post offensive game, and he is a solid presence around the rim on defense.
That is exactly what the Blazers need.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
So, the Andrew Bynum experiment didn’t exactly work out last season, and no matter what happens with the free-agent big man this offseason, it would be wise for the 76ers to add depth to the frontcourt.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
I’m torn here between Michael Carter-Williams and Kelly Olynyk. In the end, I think the Olynyk‘s jump shot and size will present offensive versatility to the Thunder that they won’t pass on.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
If Michael Carter-Williams can develop into a consistent jump-shooter, he will be the steal of this draft. His size and athleticism are already intriguing, and he is a nice value at No. 14 here for Dallas.
14. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Dennis Schroeder caught scouts’ attention at the Nike Hoop Summit (in the above video). He went for 18 points and six assists in a win over Team U.S.A.
Schroeder has all the tools a team looks for in a point guard. He has good size, handles, quickness, passing and an outside shot. He does, however, face a giant curve transitioning to the NBA, which always adds an element of risk that will keep a player’s stock down.
It doesn’t sound like this is scaring off teams too badly. NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper has more:
Due to his quickness, long arms and big hands, Schroeder has drawn his fare share of comparisons to Rajon Rondo. However, Schroeder appears to be a better shooter.
Schroeder needs to add strength and maturity, but he is just 19 and these things should come with time.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Dario Saric is shrouded in mystery, and he doesn’t have any tape against elite players to help scouts solve the riddle.
He has amazing handles and passing skill for his size, but it remains to be seen if he can handle the physicality of the NBA.
16. Boston Celtics: Giannis Antetokoumpo, SF, Greece
Giannis Antetokoumpo is the classic European pick. He has great height at 6’9″, but at 215 pounds, he has to add strength.
He is a skilled player, and has nice passing ability. He has a nice shot, but is inconsistent. He also has been playing against weak competition, which explains why the Celtics have put in so much time scouting this talented youngster.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
The Hawks face a lot of question marks heading into next season, and they have back-to-back picks here. I see them mixing a project pick with someone who is a little more NBA ready.
Rudy Gobert would be the project part of that scenario. While he is raw, this seven-footer is natural shot-blocker, and could contribute some defensive minutes off the bench as a rookie.
18. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Jamaal Franklin will be able to contribute right away. He is an athletic spark plug. He can play tight, man defense and will be deadly in transition.
He badly needs to improve his jumper to be a starter in the NBA, but will be a nice role player regardless.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Allen Crabbe doesn’t have the quickness to be an elite scorer or defender in the NBA, but he can shoot.
He will be a nice bench piece for the young Cavs.
20. Chicago Bulls: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Gorgui Dieng can run and play defense. Coach Tom Thibodeau will have a hard time passing on that.
Dieng is one of the older players in this class at 23, but the Bulls are in win-now mode anyway, and Dieng will be able to contribute right away.
21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Jazz have to focus on upgrading their backcourt. With an improved ability to space the floor and penetrate into the lane, this can be a dangerous offense.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a bit of a risk, but he has a high ceiling.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
The Nets must add depth and toughness in the frontcourt. Jeff Withey is a perfect fit at No. 22.
Withey doesn’t have the quickness or shooting to be an NBA starter, but he does have good size, and he can block shots.
23. Indiana Pacers: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas
It’s hard to know what to make of Tony Mitchell. He is an insanely gifted athlete, but he played at a smaller school, and his points per game actually dropped 1.7 points to 13 this past season.
However, he certainly fits the Pacers mold, and he has a high ceiling.
24. New York Knicks: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
The Knicks need depth along the frontcourt, and with the run on centers earlier, they will be hard pressed to find any help here that is NBA ready.
Steven Adams could develop into a very good player, but his offensive game is terrible. He is a good rebounder and big body, and should find a role as a rookie.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia
Sergey Karasev is a marksman. He might not be much else than that, but the Clippers could use some shooting to help space the floor.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies): Glen Rice Jr., SF, Rio Grande Valley
Glen Rice Jr. has had an interesting path to the draft. He was kicked off Georgia Tech and then went to the NBA D-League where he had a nice run.
He is a risky pick and streaky shooter, but he’s shown potential.
27. Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
The blast from the past continues with this pick. Tim Hardaway Jr. doesn’t have his dad’s killer crossover, but he can shoot.
Denver has a deep and athletic team, but one thing they lack is ample shooting to spread the floor.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
Archie Goodwin is a great athlete and he has nice size at 6’5″. He needs development, and he’s an erratic shooter, but the Spurs have plenty of shooting.
Goodwin will add versatility to the Spurs’ depth.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Shane Larkin is a smooth point guard, and the Thunder obviously need point guard depth. This team just wasn’t close to the same when Westbrook went down with injury.
It’s not like Larkin could fill Westbrook’s shoes, but he will be able to guide the Thunder’s offense.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat): Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State
The Suns must continue to look for offensive potential, and Deshaun Thomas has that.
There is a lot to dislike about his inconsistency, but there’s no doubting he can score when he’s on.
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If they stay at #1, the Cavs could take Nerlens Noel of Kentucky. But if they are scared off by his injury concerns, moving the pick would be a smart move The NBA’s Draft Lottery took place Tuesday in New York City, leaving the Draft hopes and dreams of a bunch of NBA teams to a random selection of ping-pong balls. And, like they did in 2011, the Cleveland Cavaliers — with a full army of owner Dan Gilbert’s sons – won the Lottery, giving them the top overall pick in June’s festivities at the Barclays Center. Even in a lesser-talented class like the one for this season, holding the first slot in the draft pecking order is a great advantage that allows teams either to pick whomever they could want, or trade the selection to another eager franchise for a lucrative haul in return. The Cavs are looking at both of those options now at this early stage. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, Cleveland is open to hearing trade offers for the No. 1 pick. Far …
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Every option for the Cleveland Cavaliers comes with its own set of issues.
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Exactly Last night at approximately 8:47 PM the Washington Wizards finally had a break go their way. When Adam Silver announced that the Detroit Pistons would be selecting 8th overall instead of the Wizards, a ton of excitement and and quite a bit of relief rushed over Wiz fans everywhere. It was exciting to move up in the top 3 of the draft, and a relief that Washington wouldn’t be selecting from the scraps of the lottery prospects come June 27th. Last night was the definition of a moral victory. And there is no better way to celebrate that moral victory than with a nice music video! The Wizards didn’t land the 1st overall selection, but I don’t think you’ll hear any fan complain about drafting 3rd. Not only does it give the Wizards a better chance to land a more quality talent, but increases the pick’s trade value if Grunfeld decides to wheel and deal. At this moment in time one thing is for certain: The Wizards own the 3rd, 37th, and the 54th picks in the 2013 draft. We all know …
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Next time I hit up the the poker room and blackjack tables in Vegas, remind me to stop off in Cleveland to rub Dan Gilbert’s son’s lucky little head.
The Cavaliers won the lottery for the second time in three years, though this year’s prize isn’t as appetizing as the one they got in 2011. In fact, nobody is even sure who that prize will be.
By getting the first pick, Cleveland sets the tone for the rest of the first round.
If Cleveland selects Nerlens Noel…
Nerlens Noel seems like the best bet to go No. 1 with Cleveland winning the lotto. The injury-prone Andrerson Varejao will be entering the final year of his deal before the team has an option, and Noel could replace him as that interior anchor and rim protector.
And no, Tristan Thompson, who averages less than a block a game, is not the Cavaliers’ center, so keep that argument in your pocket.
If Noel goes No. 1, Orlando controls the next few picks. They’ll have the choice of grabbing arguably the top prospect on the board in shooting guard Ben McLemore, or filling a need with point guard Trey Burke.
The Charlotte Bobcats picking at No. 4 will have their eyes on Orlando. Chances are Washington, whose backcourt seems set, won’t be in the market for McLemore. The Wizards are likely to have Otto Porter, Anthony Bennett and Victor Oladipo atop their draftboard.
If Orlando goes with Burke at No. 2, there’s a good chance McLemore could be available for Charlotte at No. 4. This would be a great get for the Bobcats after falling two spots from their lottery-projected draft slot.
Regardless, with Cleveland snagging Noel at No. 1, the Bobcats and the Suns (No. 5) should be able to guarantee themselves a shot at either McLemore, Bennett or Oladipo.
The New Orleans Pelicans’ pick will also depend heavily on what direction the Orlando Magic go in. If Orlando takes Trey Burke, the Pelicans are likely to think big with either center Alex Len or Cody Zeller. Chances are Oladipo and Porter will be gone by No. 6. Anthony Bennett could also be a fit if available, but Len or Zeller would fill a more immediate need.
If Orlando goes with McLemore, then Trey Burke will almost be guaranteed to be available at No. 6 to New Orleans. Washington, Charlotte and Phoenix all seem committed to the point guards on their roster.
Though Greivis Vasquez was a pleasant surprise for New Orleans this year, Burke is more of a floor general and leader at the position. Vasquez’s size could also allow him to play the 2 in a combo-guard role, a move that’s becoming more and more popular amongst NBA coaches.
Say that New Orleans chooses to stick with Vasquez at the point and go with an offensive center. That would leave Burke for Sacramento, who would probably throw an all-night celebratory rager if this ended up being the case. Burke would give the Kings a high-character individual who’s qualified to run a team.
Detroit will be hoping a guy like Otto Porter or Anthony Bennett somehow slips through the cracks, but if not, Shabazz Muhammad, Cody Zeller and C.J. McCollum could all be viable options.
If Cleveland selects Ben McLemore…
Though Cleveland drafted Dion Waiters in 2012, the Cavaliers aren’t in a position to pass on talent to fill a specific need. If they feel McLemore is the top prospect on the board, then that’s who they should go with.
That would leave Orlando in a pickle, who would have the choice of taking Burke to replace Jameer Nelson or Nerlens Noel as the top talent. You can’t argue either play here, as they seem like the only legitimate options given their roster and who’s available.
Once again, New Orleans will be paying close attention to Orlando to see if they scoop Trey Burke or let him slide down to them at No. 6.
If Orlando goes with Noel, the rest of the field would be in a similar situation as they would have been had Cleveland selected the Kentucky standout. If Orlando takes Burke, then Sharpie in Nerlens Noel to Washington at No. 3.
This would leave Charlotte with the choice of Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo and Anthony Bennett. Phoenix at No. 5 would surely be happy with any of these three. If not, they could always go big with Len or Zeller.
New Orleans would once again decide between Burke, a wing or a big, while Sacramento would cross their fingers and hope the Pelicans address their frontcourt.
If Cleveland selects Otto Porter…
Otto Porter is probably the best fit for Cleveland, though his upside doesn’t typically justify a first-overall selection.
Still, it’s a possibility Cleveland is reluctant to choose an injured player in Noel or a shooting guard in McLemore when they already have Arron Afflalo.
If Porter goes No. 1, it would have the same impact on the rest of the first round as it would if McLemore went No. 1.
Now that Cleveland has the first pick, everyone knows who to call when looking for a trade partner. The Cavaliers have cap room, plus another first-rounder they got from the L.A. Lakers.
Expect a team like Minnesota to be very active in trade talks. You can bet the Wolves have heavy interest in Ben McLemore, and with Derrick Williams and the No. 9 pick as a potential package, they’ll be looking to move up.
Don’t be surprised to see the Boston Celtics make a push for Nerlens Noel as well, who they interviewed at the NBA Combine despite not having a pick until No. 16.
Without a guaranteed stud in this draft, the Cavaliers could be inclined to drop a few spots and acquire some established talent in the process.
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The 2013 NBA draft lottery will take place on Tuesday night, finally cluing in the teams participating in the event as to where and what order they will pick in come June’s draft.
It’s an exciting occasion for fans as well, as they can view the results of this drawing in multiple ways, including television and live stream fashion. Finding out whether your team landed a top pick can be quite a thrill, especially with some great players available at the top of this class.
Let’s take a look at where you can catch the lottery, what the odds are for each participant to win, some of the prized prospects waiting for the victors and more.
2013 NBA Draft Lottery Info
When: Tuesday, May 21, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Disney/ABC’s Times Square Studios, New York City
Live Stream: ESPN3 (Blacked out in several states, please check coverage map here)
Each Team’s Chance to Land Top Pick
Odds and trade notes courtesy of USA Today.
Chance of No. 1 pick
New Orleans Pelicans
Portland Trail Blazers*
*If Portland’s pick falls outside of the top 12, it will be sent to Charlotte.
**If Toronto’s pick falls outside of the top three, it will be sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder via the Houston Rockets.
Potential No. 1 Picks
Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Despite an injury that may keep him sidelined through Christmas, Noel is the closest thing to a consensus top pick this class has to offer.
The Wildcats’ big man is a shot-blocking phenom that already brings plenty to the table and has the potential to add much more to his game in the near future.
Noel is extremely athletic and uses his great leaping ability to sky for rebounds on both ends of the floor. He utilizes big, quick hands to come up with steals in the low post and isn’t afraid to provide quick help on a defensive rotation.
He has two major areas of concern, though, as Noel only weighed in at 206 pounds at the combine. That’s painfully thin for a power forward prospect, let alone a center—which is the position the UK star has been listed at.
Noel is also extremely raw offensively, although his high ceiling, athleticism and non-stop motor should help him to improve rapidly in that department.
While he’s not an immediate game-changer, some work in an NBA weight room, a new diet and a lot of time in the gym will turn Noel into a starting-caliber big man that helps a contending team for years to come.
Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Oladipo is an intriguing prospect that is generating small but significant buzz as a potential top pick in the draft.
ESPN’s Chad Ford is reporting (behind Insider pay wall) that the Hoosiers star did well for himself at the combine in Chicago, measuring out better than expected, performing well during the interview process and blowing away observers with his athletic abilities.
A number of anonymous general managers commented that Oladipo is their favorite player and has the most upside, but none committed to having him as their No. 1 prospect on the big board.
Regardless, much could change in the next five weeks.
This young man’s defensive mindset and ability to impact a game in a positive manner without the ball in his hands are two things most teams in the lottery are looking for.
Add in the fact that he’s a freakish athlete that can knock down open shots with ease and you are looking at a complete 2-guard in the modern NBA.
Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
The Wolverines point guard led his team on a magical run to the national championship game, but fell just short on the biggest stage.
Regardless, the sophomore phenom is ready to take the next step and join the Association. Burke not only thinks he’s capable, but also should in fact be made the No. 1 pick come June.
As per Ford, Burke said:
I feel like I can be [the No. 1 pick], absolutely. It depends on where the [lottery] balls drop, and depending on that team’s needs, I definitely feel like I can, and I won’t disappoint.
Burke may not be the most athletic or absurdly sized for the position, but he’s a proven winner that has plenty of intangibles that scouts have a hard time putting into concrete terms.
Regardless, shrewd GMs will see the value and upside in having this young man on their roster, and one many even make him the top pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
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The NBA draft lottery is nearly upon us, but before May 21, when we officially learn where each non-playoff team will be making its selection in the 2013 NBA draft, it’s worth a quick look through the current odds for each squad to land the No. 1 pick.
Plus, we’ll give you an idea of what each team needs in this year’s draft.
Remember, though, being a mathematical favorite hasn’t led to actually landing the top selection very often in the past. In fact, the team that finished the season with the worst record—and, therefore, the best odds—has only ended up securing the No. 1 pick twice in the past 22 seasons.
Coincidentally, the last team for whom the odds actually worked out, the Orlando Magic in 2004, have the best statistical chance of winning the lottery this year.
Utah Jazz: 0.5 Percent
Depending on what the Utah Jazz do with their free-agent duo of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, this could be a team in need of a big man. Young studs Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors will be around no matter what, but if the Jazz opt to let the aforementioned veteran tandem walk away, they’ll be in the market for someone to step in and absorb some bench minutes in the frontcourt.
If either Jefferson or Millsap ends up re-signing, the point guard position is another major need here.
Dallas Mavericks: 0.6 Percent
Dirk Nowitzki is willing to take a pay cut in order to lure a free agent to join him in Dallas, but even if the Mavericks end up bringing in a high-quality player, they’ll still need to bolster their stable of young talent through the draft.
With a ton of free agents, including O.J. Mayo (player option), Darren Collison, Chris Kaman and Brandan Wright, the Mavs are firmly in best-player-available territory. Don’t be surprised to see them trade down in the draft in order to procure a few more picks to fill out the roster.
Toronto Raptors: 0.7 Percent
The Toronto Raptors aren’t really that far away from competing for a playoff spot in the East. The acquisition of Rudy Gay and his bloated contract was a major mistake, but there’s real talent here.
Unfortunately, if this selection falls outside of the top 12, it’ll belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder. If Toronto keeps it, look for it to use the pick on a backup point guard. Currently, free agent Sebastian Telfair is the only experienced floor general behind Kyle Lowry.
If OKC ends up with the selection, it’ll likely be looking for a center like Cody Zeller or Alex Len to absorb some of the minutes Scott Brooks has been wasting on the woefully ineffective Kendrick Perkins.
Philadelphia 76ers: 0.8 Percent
With Jrue Holiday at point guard, the Philadelphia 76ers are all set. Wait, what’s that? There are four other positions? Oh, well, then the Sixers need help just about everywhere.
Evan Turner hasn’t shown the ability to be the No. 2 option the team needs, and outside of Thaddeus Young, who might be better used as a scoring threat off the bench, Philly simply lacks top-tier talent. Expect new president and GM Sam Hinkie to put all of his analytical power into this selection, as the Sixers really can’t afford to botch the first draft of an exciting new regime.
Portland Trail Blazers: 1.1 Percent
Hey, we’ve finally cracked the one-percent barrier. The Portland Trail Blazers did a nice job with their selection last year, nabbing Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard with the No. 6 pick, so there’s good reason to believe that this team has a good head for talent evaluation.
Meyers Leonard still feels like a project and J.J. Hickson is certain to cash in on his big contract-year performance elsewhere, so look for the Blazers to shore up their big-man rotation with a front-court selection.
Minnesota Timberwolves: 1.7 Percent
Even if Kevin Love rediscovers his broken three-point stroke after an offseason to mend his busted hand, the Minnesota Timberwolves desperately need a long-range shooter to help stretch the floor. No team shot the ball worse from beyond the arc than the Wolves did in 2012-13 (30.5 percent), so a long-range bomber would be an ideal selection.
Then again, if Nikola Pekovic ends up signing with another club as a free agent this summer, there’ll be a pretty big hole in the middle as well.
Yeah, the T-Wolves have a few problems.
Washington Wizards: 2.8 Percent
Let’s see, the Washington Wizards got a great second half from John Wall and a nice rookie campaign out of last year’s No. 3 pick, Bradley Beal. So it seems safe to assume the team won’t use its lottery selection on a guard.
Power forward is a major void for the Wiz, so depending on where they end up in the lottery, Washington will have to take a long look at guys like UNLV’s Anthony Bennett or Michigan’s Mitch McGary.
Detroit Pistons: 4.3 Percent
Unlike the Wizards, the Detroit Pistons are fixed nicely in the big-man department. With Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe looking like a fearsome duo for years to come, expect the Pistons to target talent on the wings and possibly at the point guard spot.
Brandon Knight looks to have some promise, but he hasn’t yet shown he’s capable of developing into a starting point guard on a good team. The 2 and 3 spots are an abject disaster here, as the combination of Kyle Singler, Kim English and Rodney Stuckey simply lacks the defensive chops or playmaking ability the Pistons need.
Sacramento Kings: 6.3 Percent
What don’t the Sacramento Kings need? The most talented player on the roster, DeMarcus Cousins, is an unmanageable headcase, and everyone else is out to get his own numbers at the expense of the team.
Truthfully, the Kings have an environment that would stunt the growth of even the most down-to-earth, level-headed prospect. Just ask Thomas Robinson, last year’s No. 5 overall pick, how glad he is to be free of the toxic locker room in Sacramento.
If there has to be one, I guess the best suggestion for this team is to find a big man capable of picking up the minutes Cousins will vacate if the team can ever find a way to trade him. Yuck.
New Orleans Pelicans: 8.8 Percent
Blessed with unlikely lottery luck last year, the New Orleans Pelicans will be looking to find a capable shooting guard or small forward to pair with the developing Greivis Vazquez and the transcendent Anthony Davis.
Robin Lopez is an adequate stopgap in the middle, but it’s possible that New Orleans will be in search of a similarly bulky big man with a higher ceiling to play alongside the increasingly perimeter-oriented Davis up front.
Also, doesn’t it feel good to call them the Pelicans? I sure enjoy it.
Phoenix Suns: 11.9 Percent
If the front office consulted Michael Beasley, he would probably suggest picking whichever player in the draft was most likely to pass him the ball and get the hell out of the way.
But, because just about everyone knows that management hasn’t spoken to the enigmatic Beasley in months, it seems more likely that they’ll target a player capable of taking shots away from the selfish forward.
Kendall Marshall got a chance to prove he could handle the team’s point guard duties down the stretch last year, but his shaky jumper and lack of top-end athleticism showed that the Phoenix Suns might need to use another pick on a ball-handler.
Who are we kidding? This team has needs everywhere.
Cleveland Cavaliers: 15.6 Percent
Kyrie Irving is a superstar in waiting, and the Cleveland Cavaliers seem committed to Dion Waiters as the future at shooting guard. With a healthy Anderson Varejao at center and a developing Tristan Thompson at the 4, small forward seems like the obvious area of need here.
The Cavs have a great chance at a high pick, so someone like Georgetown’s Otto Porter or Shabazz Muhammad from UCLA would be an ideal fit.
If Cleveland chooses wisely here, there’s no reason the team can’t make a big leap and rejoin the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference.
Charlotte Bobcats: 19.9 Percent
With the Charlotte Bobcats’ luck, they’ll probably end up winning the lottery in one of the worst drafts in recent memory. After all, they were aced out of a chance to take Anthony Davis last year when the Pelicans (then the Hornets) swooped in and snatched the top pick from right under their noses.
Not even the worst winning percentage in the history of the league was enough to shake the mewling Kitties out of their string of bad management decisions and worse fortune.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, last year’s top pick, spent his rookie year revealing as many flaws (shooting, ball-handling) as strengths (hustle, rebounding), so his position is hardly safe. No matter where they pick, the Bobcats simply have to focus on finding the most talented player available. Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore and Porter are all in play here.
Orlando Magic: 25 Percent
You know, there’s actually a lot to like about the Orlando Magic. Nikola Vucevic is a double-double machine at center, Moe Harkless has the makings of a legitimate two-way threat as a forward and Tobias Harris blew up after coming over from the Milwaukee Bucks at the deadline.
The backcourt is definitely an issue, as Jameer Nelson is severely overpaid at more than $8 million per year, and there’s no true shooting guard on the roster. It’s possible that a healthy Arron Afflalo could slide into that role, but if the team would rather start him at the 3 and use Harris or Harkless off the bench, someone like McLemore could be a solid pick.
Alternatively, Trey Burke could step in to take over from Nelson if the team is able to eventually ship him out as it rebuilds.
*Lottery odds via USAToday.com
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Several candidates have emerged as possible top pick
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Andrew Wiggins’ announcement is set for Tuesday, and that leaves one last crazy day of the guessing game we’ve been playing for months.
Whichever school Wiggins picks, get ready for its fans to tell you we should have seen the signs and known all along.
The odds are that NOBODY REALLY KNOWS where he’s headed, but that hasn’t stopped us from offering up predictions. So let’s give the odds for each team one final time.
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High school prep star Andrew Wiggins has narrowed his choices down to four, and there’s a good chance we find out which school he will be playing ball at next season before the May 15 NCAA deadline.
If Wiggins wants the true designation of being a go-to option, the unquestioned best player on his team and the chance to prove that he’s truly a transcendent player during his freshman season in college, his choice is actually pretty simple.
The decision is Florida State.
Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina are the other three schools still officially in the mix for Wiggins, but the consensus around college basketball is that the Seminoles hold the edge going into the final few days of this recruiting saga.
247 Sports’ No. 1 player in the 2013 recruiting class, Wiggins played his high school ball in West Virginia at Huntington Beach Prep, where some of the best players in the world now go to get ahead of the hoop curve.
He emerged early as a candidate for the label of being the best player in the nation. He went out at his high school, in AAU games and in various combines across the nation and cemented that fact—taking care of business and proving he’s a complete player on both ends of the court.
A 6’8″ small forward, Wiggins shows great promise as an individual scorer. His first step is outstanding, there are very few forwards who can get to and above the rim like he can in the open court and his on-ball defense will help whichever coach lands him to fine-tune the D.
Yet, to fully realize that he is the “best” player in the country in the freshman class, Wiggins cannot go to the three schools with established and incoming talent already in place—Roy Williams’ Tar Heels, John Calipari‘s Wildcats and Bill Self’s Jayhawks have just that.
Those three programs also have a pedigree for success.
Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina have combined for four of the last nine NCAA tournament championships, and continually send prospects to the NBA each season—largely because the collection of talent is so great on campus.
Not the case at Florida State.
Coming off an 18-16 season, Leonard Hamilton’s ‘Noles are losing their best player to the NBA draft (Michael Snaer) and have only a few recruits heading to town anywhere close to the likes of the Harrison twins, Julius Randle, Wayne Selden and Kennedy Meeks—all heading to the other three schools mentioned—and will have to contend with Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville in the coming seasons.
Simply put, Wiggins will either make or break himself as the best overall player in the country next season.
As it is right now, he’s assuredly a top-five pick in the 2014 NBA draft, and barring any unforeseen changes in his game after the high school-to-college leap, that won’t change when March Madness is completed next season.
If he’s a Seminole at the time of that announcement, he could very well be the consensus No. 1 pick—bar none.
It’s an idea that analysts are saying plays a huge role in Wiggins’ final choice.
ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan wrote a detailed piece on how Wiggins helps each of the four colleges amongst his final choices, and in the Florida State section, he explains how Wiggins can be the center of attention while not losing any of his value as the No. 1 option in Hamilton’s offense:
So what makes FSU Wiggins’ most interesting potential destination? All of the above! If you are willing to accept the premise that an 18-16 team ranked No. 124 in the Pomeroy rankings is essentially a blank slate, what better chance to measure Wiggins’ talent, to see how much better he can individually make a team, than at Florida State?
It could be our second chance at Kevin Durant‘s insane one-year stop at Texas, or a facsimile of all those hypothetical LeBron James fantasy arguments we seem to have every March. (What if his 21-6-6 rookie season had been in college instead? If we put 2012-13 LeBron on 2012-13 Grambling, could it win 25 games? The national title? I spend too much time thinking about this.)
CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello confirmed this idea, looking at what the programs in question will look like both with and without Wiggins next season. All three of the other groups are likely top-10 teams if Wiggins is in the fold, but the leap between a Wiggins-less Florida State and one with him is greater than any of the other options:
Wiggins would immediately vault Florida State into the top 25 for next season, as he would give Leonard Hamilton arguably the best player in the country. He’s the type of player who can carry the Seminoles’ offense for long stretches, and would combine with Rathan-Mayes to form an extremely potent wing tandem. If Florida State gets back to usual Hamilton defensive standards and he finds consistent point guard play, a Wiggins-led Seminoles team could be a Sweet 16 threat.
If he goes to Kentucky, he’ll not only have to earn his minutes alongside 10 other blue-chip prospects, he’ll also have to learn how to share the ball with four other guys who have been No. 1 options their entire life.
While he’s going to have to do some of that at any school, the dissension at Kentucky has the potential to completely devalue one or a few of these top-flight prospects.
Elsewhere, North Carolina and Kansas are in similar boats.
At Florida State, though, Wiggins could both follow the legacy of his athletic parents while establishing himself as a top-flight teenager playing in college. He would take every coaches, players and road fans’ best shot—as a freshman, no less—and would receive no breaks on either end with the ‘Noles.
The choice is coming down to the wire, but it’s really simple if Wiggins wants to do anything other than join up with top prep stars to create the sort of one-year dynasty we’ve become accustomed to in the NCAA.
If he’s the competitor that many feel he is, then Florida State appears to be the place where Wiggins will start his NBA career path off on the right foot.
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