With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, future NBA hopefuls have their eyes set on the pre-draft combine that is set to take place June 27 in Chicago.
As usual, there will be approximately 60 stars from the college ranks, D-League and international game competing against one another and themselves over the course of two days.
While the NBA’s combine may not have the luster of the NFL’s, it’s still an important affair that showcases everyone from consensus top five picks to fringe second-rounders.
With that being said, here is my latest 2013 NBA Mock Draft-Pre-Combine edition.
1. Orlando Magic
Player Name: Nerlens Noel
Position, School: PF, Kentucky
The Magic have a ton of holes to fill and they are in a fortunate situation where they can take the best player on the board. If his knee passes all of the test, that guy is Noel. He is an excellent shot-blocker who should develop a better than average offensive game. Knee injury or not, Noel has the makings of a dominant NBA big man. He has more upside than anyone in the draft and will look very nice paired with Nikola Vucevic.
2. Charlotte Bobcats
Player Name: Ben McLemore
Position, School: SG, Kansas
The Bobcats have a couple nice young pieces in place with Kemba Walker and Michael-Kidd Gilchrist. Now it’s time to address the need for a productive shooting guard. With great athleticism and an elite scoring ability, he could be a go-to player early in his career. While he was a bit inconsistent last season, McLemore still has plenty of room to grow and his natural skill translates well to the next level.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
Player Name: Otto Porter
Position, School: SF, Georgetown
The Cavs have their backcourt for the future set with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters and also have some nice frontcourt players in Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Anderson Varejao. What Cleveland needs is a productive 3 and Porter could be the perfect fit. He can do it all at both ends of the court and is a future NBA star.
4. Phoenix Suns
Player Name: Victor Oladipo
Position, School: SG, Indiana
Oladipo is the best on-ball defender in this class, which will greatly improve what was a horrible Suns’ defense. He is an explosive athlete and if his offensive game continues to improve, Phoenix could have themselves a future star.
5. New Orleans Hornets
Player Name: Shabazz Muhammad
Position, School: SF, UCLA
The Hornets could look at Michigan’s Trey Burke here, but the need for someone that can put the ball in the basket is too great. Greivis Vasquez proved that he can be a solid point guard and by adding Muhammad, they get themselves a guy that can create his own shot and finish as a shooter or near the basket. He also is a guy who can help take some of the scoring pressure off of Eric Gordon.
6. Sacramento Kings
Player Name: Anthony Bennett
Position, School: PF, UNLV
Bennett is one of the most versatile players in the draft. He has the strength to play inside at power forward and the handle and shooting ability to play small forward if needed. He is currently injured, but the Kings need help at both positions and his upside is too great to pass on.
7. Detroit Pistons
Player Name: Trey Burke
Position, School: PG, Michigan
The Pistons can use a true point guard that will allow them to move Brandin Knight off the ball. Burke is a point guard how can pass as well as he scores and has a very bright NBA future ahead of him.
8. Washington Wizards
Player Name: Alex Len
Position, School: C, Maryland
The Wizards have their backcourt for the future in John Wall and Bradley Beal, so here is an opportunity to add a big man that can complement those guys. Len didn’t put up the greatest numbers in college, but he had to deal with poor guard play. His athleticism and ability to finish near the basket should work out great in Washington.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
Player Name: C.J. McCollum
Position, School: PG/SG, Lehigh
This is probably a reach, but I like McCollum a lot and think he’s a great fit in Minnesota. I don’t view McCollum as a point guard in the NBA but think he could be very good off the ball. The Timberwolves are still searching for an answer at shooting guard and have shot only 30 percent from behind the arc on the season. McCollum is a guy who can really knock down the long-range shot, connecting on 51 percent on his three-point attempts. He will be this year’s Damian Lillard.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
Player Name: Cody Zeller
Position, School: C, Indiana
The Blazers have a great starting five but no depth at all. Zeller gives the Blazers some addition height and a guy that runs the floor very well. He can finish around the basket and has a nice mid-range game. He’s the best player left on the board here and could turn out to be a steal for the Blazers.