Right Down Euclid Mock Draft: 2013 Edition Picks 1-20

Feb 9, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Auburn Tigers center Rob Chubb (41) and Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) tip the ball off at the beginning of the game at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Auburn 72-62. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2013 NBA Draft quickly approaching on June 27, the Right Down Euclid writer coup of Zak Kolesar, Trevor Magnotti, Dan Pilar and Chris Manning will be conducting the first-ever Right Down Euclid NBA Mock Draft. This series, in which the RDE writers will be selecting 15 picks for 15 NBA teams and giving their reason to why they chose that certain player in paragraph format, will span the three Fridays leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft. Starting on June 7, the picks 1-20 will be debuted. Following that, on June 14 picks 21-40 will be posted and on June 21 picks 41-60 will be posted. On June 26, a collaborated post will be put up with all 60 picks and additional analysis. Thanks for following our (what we hope to be) annual RDE Mock Draft, let us know your reactions to our picks in the comment section below and enjoy the Right Down Euclid Mock Draft: 2013 Edition Picks 1-20.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant was documented by Kentucky head coach John Calipari as being the most frequent visitor to Kentucky basketball games among NBA personnel who were immersed in studying potential prospects for the 2013 NBA Draft. Grant had good reason to do so, as Noel may be the most dominant shot blocker to come out of the draft in recent memory. His 12-block game against Ole Miss? Legendary. This game was proof that he doesn’t need to have the ball in his hands in order to have a full impact on the game. He took one shot (missed it) and scored two points in that same game, but it ended with an upset victory over the Rebels. His offensive game was extremely inconsistent and we didn’t get a full glimpse of him because of the season-ending ACL injury (in which he recorded 106 blocks in 24 games and was on pace for a while to break Anthony Davis’ single-season blocks record for Kentucky), but this scenario is similar in a way to how we went about drafting Kyrie Irving. Kyrie played in less games at Duke than Noel did at Kentucky, but was inconsistent from the defensive front rather than the offensive front. We’re not drafting Noel to be an offensive juggernaut, so I don’t see this being a possible problem at all. His inside game will flourish in the NBA because of his athleticism, and I think he is the perfect type of center for the modern day Association. He will clog up the middle for the Wine and Gold just as new head coach Mike Brown would want, and the defensive needs for this team far outweigh the help Cleveland needs at small forward. – ZK

2. Orlando Magic – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

A lot of ways the Magic could go here, as they are a team with a lot of needs to fill. They could take Otto Porter, but already have a pretty promising young small forward in Moe Harkless. Ben McLemore might make sense here, but they still have Arron Afflalo on roster for two years and potentially a third if he exercises his player option. Even though Afflalo looked really bad last season, I think he’ll rebound with a more mature supporting cast into what we saw from him in Denver. That’s why I have the Magic going with a bit of a surprise in Burke. The Magic have a gaping hole at the point, where Jameer Nelson hasn’t looked right in three years, and the Magic’s only other player you could consider a point guard would be E’Twaun Moore, more of a fit at the two. Burke has a high ceiling as an NBA point guard, thanks to a devastating pick-and-roll game, creative passing ability, and impressive length for someone at just 6’0″. He would be able to come in immediately and form a nice platoon with Nelson, then eventually take over full-time and create a nice core to build around alongside Harkless, Tobias Harris, and Nikola Vucevic. Magic GM Rob Hennigan has made several unconventional moves to create a fairly interesting unit in Orlando, and I think reaching a bit to grab the best point guard in this draft, which also fills a huge need, will do the Magic well. – TM

3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

Porter falls right into the lap of the Wizards.  He’s a familiar face to Washington, going to college down the street at Georgetown. Porter will have no problem fitting in with the backcourt duo of John Wall-Bradley Beal. They have Trevor Ariza locked up through next year and they will try and move him, but they are unlikely to find a team to take in his $8 million contract. This Wizards have been following a similar model the Cavs have by rebuilding their team through the draft after losing their All Star, Gilbert Arenas – that seems like a lifetime ago. Porter will give them a chance to compete in the Eastern Conference and will matchup with some of the best players in the conference like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.  If Porter falls to Washington at three, this would be the definition of a “run to the podium” pick. – DP

4. Charlotte Bobcats – Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV 

This is where I think things get very interesting in the draft. The Bobcats, stuck in the difficult four spot, have two options as far as I’m concerned. They could select Indiana’s Victor Oladipo as the safe pick. That selection would allow them to have a pretty solid young perimeter nucleus of Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Oladipo. But here’s why I think Bennett is the pick – even with the shoulder injuries. His upside is probably second only to Nerlens Noel and he could give them real versatility with their lineups. He could play the three and move Kidd-Gilchrist to the two, giving the Bobcats a bigger lineup that could still stretch the floor They could play him at power forward and go small, giving them a lineup that could let Walker thrive in an up tempo offense. Even if it isn’t the safest pick, I think this is the only pick for the always dreadful Bobcats. – CM

Mar 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore (23) lays the ball up against the Kansas Jayhawks in the first half during the semifinals of the South regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

5. Phoenix Suns – Ben McLemore, G, Kansas

If this is truly how the chips fall on draft day, this is as good as it gets for Suns fans. If McLemore falls to the fifth pick, then they will get a player who many have said is a more athletic version of future Hall of Famer Ray Allen. He’s a deadeye shooter with an overall solid offensive game. Couple that he still has room to improve all around and this is a slam dunk pick for Phoenix. If he’s gone however, look for them to target Indiana guard Victor Oladipo. He would provide a real defensive presence on the wing – something this franchise has long been lacking. But, again, if McLemore is there, they have to take him. It should take no effort to send in that draft card come June 27th. – CM

6. New Orleans Pelicans – Alex Len, C, Maryland

Last year the Pelicans, formerly known as the Hornets, selected two players in the top ten: Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. We all know about Davis, but Rivers has struggled in his rookie season. They need help on the wing, but with Bennett off the board, there is a big drop between small forwards now. They could pick up Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams, but Greivis Vazquez has been a star for them at point guard. I believe they go big, and select Maryland center Alex Len. He’s a true seven footer who can effect a lot of games in the post. During his sophomore season is has been a little inconsistent, but was still one of the best centers in college basketball. With Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis, and there ability to stretch the floor, it can give the Pelicans a deadly frontline. – DP

7. Sacramento Kings – Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

If the draft does indeed work out this way, Sacramento has to be very, very happy. Oladipo fits exactly what they need: A superior athlete at guard who is a devastating perimeter defender and is incredibly selfless. While the Kings ideally would have the option to take a center or small forward, they luck out with the best player left on the board. With Oladipo, the Kings can theoretically switch Tyreke Evans back to the point, keep Marcus Thornton coming off the bench (Something that actually worked pretty well for stretches last year), and use Isaiah Thomas off the bench as well. If the Kings are smart, they go with a lineup of Evans/Oladipo/Free Agent SF X/Patterson/Cousins, spread the floor, push the pace, and try to use the athleticism of Evans and Oladipo together while simultaneously attempting to mask the defensive deficits this team certainly has. That’s an ideal situation for Sacramento. However, this is the Kings we’re talking about, so watch as they draft Shabazz Muhammad about 6 picks too early here. – TM

8. Detroit Pistons – Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

The Pistons are in a similar situation as the Cavaliers regarding what money they have at their disposal and overall direction of both teams. Detroit has around $30 million to spend this offseason, and I think that the organization will use their prime financial situation to bring back Jose Calderon, as it seems like the Pistons faithful is unsure of whether or not Detroit plans on keeping Brandon Knight for the team’s future. Wing is a position that is incredibly lacking on the Pistons’ roster, as Kyle Korver cannot serve as the starting three for this team moving forward. C.J. McCollum could go here, but I think his limitations as a passer are deterring Detroit from choosing him. Trey Burke would go here, but he’s too good a fit in Orlando for the Magic to pass on. With Marcus Smart withdrawing from the draft, it pretty much put the Pistons in a position to focus on drafting a SF. Even with the lies about his age and accusations about his nifty backpack, I still believe that Shabazz is one of the top three most talented players in this draft class. This doesn’t necessarily mean he will achieve the most success out of his classmates, but it means that he should. He’s one of the best shooters coming out of the draft and just needs a great mentor (because Ben Howland is terrible in that department) to keep him level headed. That, however, is still to be determined. I feel like Detroit’s defense is in a pretty good position to build around, but a player like Muhammad, who tends to want to know where the ball is at all times and often loses sight of his man because of it, will not help the Pistons in that department. He will be the wing scorer that this team needs, but he has a ways to go in his defensive development. – ZK

9. Minnesota Timberwolves – Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

When I look at the younger Zeller I see an accelerated form of his brother. They both do similar things very well: running the court, moving from the offensive glass to the defensive end, diverse shooting range and lanky frame. We saw the weaknesses that Tyler had with these intangibles, but Cody would be walking into a slightly better situation with a healthy Kevin Love. Love has the option to leave the Timberwolves in the summer of 2014, and with Nikola Pekovic being a free agent this summer, Minnesota won’t be able to afford both of their frontcourt starters. What Cody needs to do is bulk up as much as he can in the waiting period between now and summer league, unless he will be just like his brother on the offensive end and will get bullied all season long. The problem with the Zellers is that I think neither of them are set out to be starting NBA centers, rather rotational bench players that provide mismatches for other team’s benches. Drafting Cody at No. 9 would almost solidify that he would be expected to be the starter in the near future. He can succeed on this team; he just needs a healthy Kevin Love. – ZK

November 13, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Lehigh Mountain Hawks guard C.J. McCollum (3) brings the ball up court against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. The Pittsburgh Panthers won 78-53. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

10. Portland Trail Blazers – C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

Portland’s really excited that Minnesota passed on McCollum. While many mock drafts have Portland grabbing a post player to replace J.J. Hickson, Portland has a little bit of cap room to grab an inexpensive post player in free agency. They also have Meyers Leonard, who probably isn’t ready to be a full-time starter, but should be vastly improved from his rookie season. Here, Portland lucks into one of the best players left on the board, who can play both guard positions, and should be able to make up for their past failures at drafting guards in the 1st round. The Blazers are likely losing Eric Maynor, Nolan Smith, and Elliott Williams, which leaves a gaping hole in the backcourt behind Damian Lillard. McCollum will be able to fill that void immediately, and could eventually replace Wes Matthews alongside Lillard in the starting lineup. At the very least, McCollum makes sure that Portland has some roster flexibility, and ensures that Lillard won’t be leading the league in minutes again. McCollum is a smart choice for Portland to snag here. – TM

11. Philadelphia 76ers – Allen Crabbe, SG, California

This pick will be based on what Andrew Bynum does in free agency. If he leaves, obviously I think they go big and draft the best power forward or center available. But if Bynum does stay, I believe they go after a swing man. Unfortunately McCollum went off the board a pick before Philly.  Jamal Franklin from San Diego is a name everyone may look at for the Sixers to select,  but I’m going to reach a little bit and select California guard Allen Crabbe. He has nice size at 6’6 and has a nice shooting touch, much better than Franklin. He will be a nice complimentary backcourt player to Jrue Holiday. Crabbe might be a reach here but with Zeller and McCollum off the board, the Sixers may have to dig a little deeper in the draft to find the right guy for them. – DP

12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

Dieng is a perfect fit for the Thunder. He should be able to come in immediately and help improve what is probably the weakest part of the Thunder’s roster. Guys like Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison have helped make them a top tier team, but if that Grizzlies series taught me anything, it’s that the Thunder need to improve their front line if they want to win a title. Dieng is young, rebounds and won’t be asked to score much on a team that has Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I’d fully expect Dieng to come in and be a quality big off the bench right away. One note: If both Cody Zeller and Dieng are available at pick #12, then I’d pick Zeller. His offensive game would be too much to pass up for a team lacking down low. – CM

13. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse 

Since Jason Kidd left, the Mavericks have been looking for a point guard to lead their team. They certainly don’t have a starting caliber floor leader on the roster right now and Carter-Williams could start right away. I’m not sold that he’ll ever be a Top 10 point guard, but I do believe that he will be a solid guard. And at 6’6, he is going to have a height advantage over essentially ever guard he goes up against. One note: I really believe Dallas is going to do whatever it can to move this pick. Considering Dirk Nowitzki is heading into the latter stages of his career, I expect this pick to be used to help acquire a veteran that will improve them in the short term. And FYI, I openly offered this pick to the entire RDE staff and no one bit. I’ll be interested to see if Dallas ends up in a similar position come draft night. – CM

Mar 24, 2013; Austin, TX, USA; Miami Hurricanes guard Shane Larkin (0) drives against Illinois Fighting Illini guard Tracy Abrams (13) during the first half in the third round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at Frank Erwin Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

14. Utah Jazz – Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (FL)

Two of Utah’s key players will be free agents this summer, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, and you would have to figure they go after one of them and sign them to a deal.  They still have Enes Kanter – who hasn’t really panned out since he was drafted in 2011 – and Derrick Favors.  They don’t have a pure point guard on the roster and that’s the direction I believe they go.  If you look at the Pacific Division they are in each team has a point guard that runs the offense.  Russell Westbrook, Ricky Rubio, Damian Lillard and Ty Lawson. Right now, Utah can’t compete with these point guards.  Next point guard to go off the board I believe will be Shane Larkin.  His size is a definite concern, but his you can’t deny his skills.  He was one of the best ball handlers in college basketball last season, has a great shot and was a fantastic leader for his Hurricane basketball team.  Utah hasn’t had a point guard since they dealt Deron Williams.  Since then, their offense hasn’t had an identity.  By drafting Larkin, Utah will finally gets a crafty point guard who can create off the dribble.  – DP

15. Milwaukee Bucks - Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany

Milwaukee’s in a weird situation, because we have no idea what they’re going to do with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Ellis has an $11 million player option that he should be taking, and Jennings is operating with a $4 million offer sheet, which he has said he will sign and then he’s ditching Milwaukee. Even if both of them stay on their current contracts, Milwaukee will likely be moving one of them. The Bucks could use a small forward, but have a fair amount of cap space, which I think they will opt to use on a free agent. What Milwaukee really needs is a backup point guard that isn’t Ish Smith. That’s why I have the Bucks taking Schroeder, a point guard much in the mold of Jennings, except a much better defender. Schroeder will be able to create some interesting looks for Milwaukee as he is also an adept shooter off the ball, and will be able to strengthen what is already a strong Bucks defense. Also, he’s a bit raw, so the year spent as Jennings’ understudy will serve him well before he takes over full-time in 14-15. I think this is the safest option for Milwaukee to take, and if Utah doesn’t grab him (Which I think they will if MCW is gone), Milwaukee will be very well advised to grab the undersized German. – TM

16. Boston Celtics – Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

I really liked Trevor’s profile of Olynyk, and I agree that he would make a good fit with the Celtics and would fit the team’s needs. He showed this past season that he could lead a No. 1 ranked team after sitting out the season before to help polish his game. His ability as a shooter would help compliment last year’s first rounder Jared Sullinger, as he converted on 62.9 percent of his field goal attempts during his redshirt junior season. When Kevin Garnett is ready to call it quits, the frontcourt tandem of Sullinger and Olynyk (if drafted) would be a great transitional duo to fill in the already depleted big men corps. His redefined explosive offense allowed him to climb from averaging 5.8 points and  3.8 rebounds to 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. If Olynyk can work on his aggressiveness on defense, then he will have no problem being the role big that the C’s will need as they move forward from the glory days of the original Big Three. Improving on his upper body strength helped him to move from more of a power forward to a center between his season off from playing for Gonzaga. Sullinger would be more of the driving force on the boards, but Olynyk’s offense is what makes him such an intriguing prospect. His outside and inside game will both prove helpful to a team like the Celtics at the NBA level, as Olynyk ranked second in the nation in two-point percentage (66.1 percent). – ZK

17. Atlanta Hawks – Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia

Although he didn’t get a ton of playing time for Team Russia in the 2012 Olympics, Karasev is one of the most intriguing international players in this year’s draft class. Because of the lack of talent at the small forward position in the 2013 class, Karasev is near the top of most team’s list of threes that they think will have an impact in the Association. And the thing is he is only 19-years old, which means that he has a lot of time to learn and develop himself within the NBA community in America. Knowing Karasev’s background as a catch-and-shoot shooter and looking at his shooting statistics from his past season with Triumph Moscow  for 11 games (49.0 percent from three) and how often he shot from long range (4.6 three-pointers per game) proves that his quick, lefty release will bode well for Karasev as a wing player in the NBA. He is a unique international prospect because there has been no talk of a holdout upon being drafted in June and he has many polished tools for a player coming from overseas and who isn’t even 20 yet. It would be nice to see the Cavs grab him at 19, as he shows promise in other areas, such as his passing, that may scare NBA GMs from picking a SF at this position in the draft. – ZK

18. Atlanta Hawks – Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State

Atlanta’s big weakness was wing play this season, as John Jenkins was their only real two-guard, and they played Devin Harris extended minutes out of position. With the small forward hole left by a likely-departing Kyle Korver filled, I think Atlanta jumps on Franklin, who compliments Jenkins beautifully, and will create a nice two-guard platoon for them. Franklin is a tremendous defensive prospect, a two-guard who can potentially guard four positions because of his absurd 6’11″ wingspan at a height of 6’5″. He’s a tremendous competitor as well, and a surprisingly excellent rebounder for a guard. Franklin is really like a longer Tony Allen, and if the Hawks grab him, I think he’s going to be a great fit, giving the Hawks three guys who can combine to do everything you need from the off-guard position. Jenkins will give them shooting and creating ability, Franklin adds defense and rebounding, and DeShawn Stevenson brings irrational confidence and threes. That’s a great position for Atlanta to be in going forward. – TM

February 26, 2012; Denver CO, USA; North Texas Mean Green forward Tony Mitchell (13) during the scond half against the Denver Pioneers at Magness Arena. Denver defeat North Texas, 64-52. Mandatory Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

19. Cleveland Cavaliers – Tony Mitchell, SF/PF, North Texas

The Cavs’ biggest need this offseason is small forward.  With them taking Noel with the first overall pick, they still need to address the small forward position.  With Mike Brown bringing a new philosophy to this team, defense will be in the mind of Chris Grant when he makes his pick.  For me, I think Tony Mitchell scream Mike Brown.  He has ideal size for a small forward, 6-9, 235 lbs.  Mitchell saw his stats decrease in his final season at North Texas, but he was still very productive.  He played power forward in college, but with his athleticism, he is expected to switch to the small forward position.  If you’ve watched the NBA playoffs this season, you would see that the small forward position is taking over the league.  LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George are all guys the Cavs are going to have to go up against if they want to win in the playoffs.  Mitchell can match up with these players immediately, and with some coaching form Mike Brown, he can become a top-tier defender. Mitchell will need to work on his offense, but if he develops a good perimeter shot, he can be exactly what this team needs. – DP

20. Chicago Bulls – Mason Plumlee, C, Duke

With a lot of the young talented bigs off the board, this is a tough pick for the Chicago Bulls. Unfortunately for them, they absolutely need to take a big man to bolster their front line. At this point in the draft, the best available is Mason Plumlee from Duke. He’s a seven footer with limited athletic potential, but he’s still worthy of a first round selection. He’ll provide a depth to a front line that is likely to lose Carlos Boozer in one way or another this offseason. Their biggest strength (without Derrick Rose) is their deep front court and that should continue to be their strength as they look to build for the future. Plumlee, unless something crazy happens, is at best a backup center. As he was in college, he’s could be a role player on a contending team. – CM

Thanks for following along with the first part of the RDE Mock Draft and make sure to check back on the website on June 14 to read about the next 20 picks! Also, comment below to let us know how we did.

Topics: Ben McLemore, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA Draft, Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, Tony Mitchell, Trey Burke

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