May 16, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Shabazz Muhammad is interviewed during the NBA Draft combine at Harrison Street Athletics Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA Draft is in two days. With the Celtics’ coaching situation in flux, this is a very, very important draft for the Celtics’ brass. It will determine how quickly they will be able to get back on their feet without Doc Rivers and it will determine the fates of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. See how we think the pieces fall on draft night.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
I’m not buying into all of the Alex Len hype here. Noel was the pick at the beginning when the Cavaliers first landed this first pick and I don’t think that things have changed too much since. Len is pegged by some as the safer pick because of Noel’s ACL injury. Noel is going to have to concentrate on bringing himself back into game shape, but so will Len. Len has a stress fracture injury that he’s dealing with and there are possible longterm problems that can come from that.
Noel has more upside defensively than Len. Even though Len’s 7’1, 260 pound frame is nothing to scoff at, I think he could still use some work on that defensive end. He’s very fleet of foot and can move quickly when screening, but the Cavaliers don’t have a problem scoring the ball. If you can pick up a rim protector with the #1 pick, you always should.
2. Orlando Magic
Oladipo’s draft stock has steadily risen as Ben McLemore’s has dropped because of poor workout performance. Jordan comparisons aside, Oladipo has a lot of potential as a defensive swingman and has plenty of offensive tools to work with and develop. The defensive wing combination of Oladipo and Arron Afflalo should be really fun to watch.
I think its likely that Orlando trades this pick because of their need for a point guard. Though Oladipo is talented, he isn’t at their position of need right now. Unless the Magic can make a deal for Eric Bledsoe–which is totally possible–I can’t see them keeping this pick. They need a point guard desperately.
3. Washington Wizards
Otto Porter fills the need that the Wizards may have at small forward if Martell Webster can’t come back. Porter isn’t the player that the Wizards need most–that would be Anthony Bennett. But as far as being the best pick available, that is definitely Otto Porter here. Porter has the do-it-all ability of an Andre Kirilenko or a Tayshaun Prince. He is 6’9 with a 7’1 wingspan and has plenty of ability on the defensive end.
He’ll need to work on his shooting form to become a mainstay in the NBA and his ball handling ability is something that he should work on as well. But if he can come in and take some time to adapt to the league instead of being thrown into the fire, he should pan out with time. He’s got tremendous upside at only 20 years old and should be a very good player in the NBA.
4. Charlotte Bobcats
The Charlotte Bobcats have been longing for some offesnive production outside of Kemba Walker since, well, really forever. McLemore would provide the Bobcats with the shooting touch that the sorely lack on the wing. Over time he should develop his defensive skills and the rest of his offensive game.
5. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns dealt with inconsitency at the center position all of last season. Marcin Gortat had a year that ended up being riddled with injuries and his starting job was on the line because of that. Gortat is also 29 and is going into the latter part of his career. If this past year is any indication, it may be time to look for a future replacement for Gortat.
Len can be that replacement. With his huge frame and quickness at his position, he would be perfect in the Suns offense. He’s got the pick and pop jumper that Marcin Gortat has and he’s a monster on the boards–something that the Suns struggled with last season. Len is a talent at the center position. Antyime you can find that in the draft you take it.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
CJ McCollum is one of my favorite prospects in this draft class. The Pelicans don’t really need another combo guard because they have Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon on tap already. However, with Gordon’s shaky injury history–and history period–with the organization it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Pelicans go in this direction.
Also, I’m not sure if they believe in Greives Vasquez as their point guard going forward. I think that they’ll end up taking McCollum as a backup option at least. He’s a solid player and should be a phenomenal shooter when he gets to the next level. He has rare ability to pull up and shoot off the dribble. The Pelicans will need scoring either way and McCollum should bring that to the table.
7. Sacramento Kings
Anthony Bennett will be the pick here for the Kings at seven. He’s going to provide them with another scoring option as a combo-forward to pair with Demarcus Cousins should Cousins remain a king.
They’re going to need his offensive ability in the pick and pop with Isaiah Thomas. He should be able to stretch the floor for them beyond the three point line and force defenses to respect his jump shot.
8. Detroit Pistons
Trey Burke will be the pick for the Detroit Pistons. With questions surfacing about retaining Jose Calderon, the Pistons are going to need a point guard to go into the future with. They’ve made it clear that Brandon Knight plays better off of the ball than being on the ball. He struggles with decision making at times and has been slow to pick up any offense.
Burke’s expertise in navigating the pick and roll will come in handy here. He and Andre Drummond in pick and rolls will be a thing of beauty. His knowledge of the floor’s dimensions is impecable and something that a lot of point guards don’t have at Burke’s level.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
Caldwell-Pope should be a no-brainer for the Timberwovles here. They’ve needed a swingman for the last few years and to have one as talented as Caldwell-Pope fall into their lap is exactly what the doctor ordered. He’ll be able to stretch the floor with his three point shot and also will be a great piece for Ricky Rubio to get the ball to. He knows the floor well and will know how to move off of the ball in order to get open. This is what Rubio really needs playing in the backcourt next to him.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trailblazers will probably lose J.J Hickson to free agency in this offseason. They are going to need Meyers Leonard to step up and hopefully be productive as their starting center. In case he doesn’t work out there, the Trailblazers will draft Steven Adams as a contingency plan. Adams is a huge body with a lot of potential as a center in the NBA. He’s a 7’0, 260 pound behemoth with some athleticism to boot. He’s worth the pick even if its off of potential alone.
11. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers will take Cody Zeller with their first round pick. Zeller will immediately start at the center position with Andrew Bynum likely leaving Philadelphia. Even if Bynum doesn’t leave, Zeller will be able to slide over to the power forward position in most lineups and give good minutes there. If he brings a three ball to Philadelphia, that’s only sweetening the deal for them.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto)
Olynyk will be the pick for the Thunder at 12. The Thunder have long been looking for a replacement of Kendrick Perkins. If they can draft Olynyk, it will only speed up that process because of how cheap his contract will actually be when compared to Kendrick Perkins. Olynyk is big, physical and efficient. This is exactly what the Thunder are looking for.
13. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are very weak at the point guard position right now. There is no apparent trust in Darren Collison from Rick Carlisle, Mike James isn’t going to work out in the long term and there aren’t many options in free agency outside of Chris Paul when considering the amount you would have to pay.
If Dallas does not trade this pick, I fully expect Dennis Schroeder to be there guy. They desparately want a pick and roll partner to pair with Dirk. Shroeder’s advanced knowledge in the pick and roll will come in handy here.
14. Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz need a point guard here because they’ll probably lose Mo Williams in free agency. They’ll pick Michael Carter-Williams here as their point guard of the future. Carter-Williams is a long, lanky point guard that seems to have a lot of potential defensively. The way that he knows the floor as a point guard is pretty phenomenal. He knows how to use his length to get around his opposition. He should be fine in the Jazz’s system.
15. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks are going to go with the forward from out of Greece, Giannis Adetokunbo. Giannis is going to be a very valuable pick here. He has shot creation and guard skills and isn’t afraid to set anyone else up. He’s got loads of potential as an international player and should be able to be a pretty good rotation player in this league.
16. Boston Celtics
Muhammad was looked at as one of the better talents in this draft only a few months ago. If he falls to the Celtics here, they would really have no choice but to take him. Though its been revealed that he does have his flaws as a player, he still has loads of talent and a lot of potential as a 20 year old.
Muhammad’s character issues are something that can be worried about, but he’s never really done anything that involved the law. Convicting him because of his competitive nature is valid, but its something that is coachable. He needs to learn how to play better off of the dribble and create his own shot, but that can also come with time.
17. Atlanta Hawks
Sergey Karasev, Intl
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston)
Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles)
Allen Crabbe, California
20. Chicago Bulls
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State)
Tony Mitchell, North Texas
22. Brooklyn Nets
Jeff Withey, Kansas
23. Indiana Pacers
Shane Larkin, University of Miami
24. New York Knicks
Tony Snell, New Mexico
25. Los Angeles Clippers
Erick Green, Virginia Tech
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis)
Mason Plumlee, Duke
27. Denver Nuggets
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State
28. San Antonio Spurs
Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
Rudy Gobert, Intl
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami)
Isaiah Canaan, Murray St.