Analysis: Noel has been my top pick in every mock from 1.0 to 7.0. The Cavs, however, have yet to tip their hand. Various theories about Cleveland's attachment to Noel, Alex Len, Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter and Victor Oladipo abound. Here's what I know as of midnight Wednesday evening.
The Cavs' top option is to trade the No. 1 overall pick for a combination of a veteran plus a 2014 first-round pick. If they can pull that off, they'll move the pick. If they can't, they'll keep attempting to move whoever they draft until all their options have been exercised. And if they keep the pick? General manager Chris Grant has been a Nerlens Noel guy all year. Other people in the front office are pushing for Len. I even heard, somewhat convincingly, that owner Dan Gilbert loves Oladipo!
With a split front office, the final decision comes to Grant. I think he's a Noel guy … but we'll all find out whether I'm reading the tea leaves correctly around 7:35 p.m.
2 Victor Oladipo Orlando Magic COLLEGE: Indiana AGE: 21 HT: 6-4 WT: 213 POS: SG
Analysis: I continue to hear that if the Cavs pass on Noel, the Magic are leaning strongly toward selecting Noel with the No. 2 pick in the draft. If Noel is off the board? Things get a little tougher. Some favor Oladipo. Others McLemore. While McLemore is a stronger offensive player, Oladipo's defense and his crazy motor hold a strong appeal for the Magic. Culture matters in Orlando and I think Oladipo trumps McLemore by an edge.
3 Otto Porter Washington Wizards COLLEGE: Georgetown AGE: 20 HT: 6-9 WT: 198 POS: SF
Analysis: The constant that was Otto Porter has become less constant as several reports claim the Wizards now favor Anthony Bennett. I've heard both from inside the Wizards. Clearly, like most front offices in the league right now, there are two different factions. I continue to hear that Porter is the safer pick and better fits the team's culture and they will lean that way.
4 Ben McLemore Charlotte Bobcats COLLEGE: Kansas AGE: 20 HT: 6-5 WT: 189 POS: SG
Analysis: Some information is starting to trickle out of Charlotte. The team is looking at Len, Bennett, Porter and Cody Zeller. In fact, I think Zeller might be in the mix more than I once believed. But my most convincing source persuaded me the Bobcats won't pass on McLemore if he's here.
5 Alex Len Phoenix Suns COLLEGE: Maryland AGE: 20 HT: 7-1 WT: 225 POS: C
Analysis: The Suns' primary need is a scoring wing, but if Oladipo and McLemore are off the board, don't be surprised if the Suns grab Len here. New general manager Ryan McDonough is a fan of Len's, and with Marcin Gortat heading into the last year of his deal, Len quite literally could become the centerpiece of the franchise. Michael Carter-Williams and Zeller also are real possibilities here.
6 Michael Carter-Williams New Orleans Pelicans COLLEGE: Syracuse AGE: 21 HT: 6-6 WT: 184 POS: PG
Analysis: The Pelicans might be tempted by Bennett, but they have a bigger need at point guard. While they like Austin Rivers, Carter-Williams is more of the pure point guard they think could be the perfect set-up man for Anthony Davis. Trey Burke is an option here as is C.J. McCollum, but it looks like Carter-Williams might be the best fit.
7 C.J. McCollum Sacramento Kings COLLEGE: Lehigh AGE: 21 HT: 6-3 WT: 197 POS: PG
Analysis: The Kings are engaged in trade talks with a number of teams, and they might move this pick. If they keep it, McCollum makes sense. The team wants a point guard who can shoot the ball. That was supposed to be Jimmer Fredette two years ago, but it looks like the team might be moving on. I also wouldn't be surprised if Utah moved up to No. 7 to land McCollum.
8 Anthony Bennett Detroit Pistons COLLEGE: UNLV AGE: 20 HT: 6-8 WT: 240 POS: PF
Analysis: For a third year in a row, the Pistons are hoping that one of the top seven players on the board takes a surprise dip on draft night. They might get their wish. While the team is after a point guard, Bennett might be too good to pass up. He can play both the 4 and the 3 and gives them another great scoring option in their frontcourt. Carter-Williams would be another serious option here.
9 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Minnesota Timberwolves COLLEGE: Georgia AGE: 20 HT: 6-6 WT: 204 POS: SG
Analysis: Of all the picks in this mock draft, this is the one I'm most sure of. We've had Caldwell-Pope here for over a month and we're not moving him unless Minnesota trades up to No. 2, 4 or 5 to land Oladipo.
10 Steven Adams Portland Trail Blazers COLLEGE: Pittsburgh AGE: 19 HT: 7-0 WT: 255 POS: C
Analysis: The Blazers are hoping McCollum or Caldwell-Pope are on the board. But if they aren't? It will come down to Trey Burke, Steven Adams and Cody Zeller. It's a tough three-way race, but I give the edge to Adams. Given his size, Burke might struggle to play in the same backcourt as Damian Lillard. On the surface Adams might look a lot like last year's pick Meyers Leonard, but the Blazers could use more bigs, and Adams wowed them in workouts.
11 Cody Zeller Philadelphia 76ers COLLEGE: Indiana AGE: 20 HT: 7-0 WT: 230 POS: C
Analysis: Zeller is getting a lot of buzz now with the Bobcats, Suns and Blazers. We've had him here in every mock draft, and this is the first time I feel like he won't be there. If the Bobcats or Suns swap picks with the T-Wolves, Zeller could be their guy. I'm told Sergey Karasev, Kelly Olynyk and Mason Plumlee are options here, but probably only if Zeller is off the board.
Analysis: The Thunder have a lot of interest in Steven Adams, but in this scenario, he's gone. Sergey Karasev and Kelly Olynyk are other possibilities, but if Burke is here, he might be tough to pass on. With Russell Westbrook coming back from injury, Burke would give them a game-ready point guard who could play right away. This is a situation where the team simply can't pass on the talent.
13 Sergey Karasev Dallas Mavericks COUNTRY: Russia AGE: 19 HT: 6-7 WT: 197 POS: SF
Analysis: The Mavericks continue to lean heavily toward trading the pick (if they haven't already). According to various reports, one scenario floating around has them swapping picks with the Cavs. If that happens, it's almost certainly to be for Karasev. There are several other teams who are after Karasev, including the Bucks, Hawks and Nets, and they could be great trade partners. If the Mavericks keep the pick, Michael Carter-Williams and Dennis Schroeder also would be possibilities here.
14 Lucas Nogueira Utah Jazz COUNTRY: Brazil AGE: 20 HT: 7-0 WT: 220 POS: C
Analysis: Not much has changed here since the last mock. If C.J. McCollum, Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams (probably in that order) are on the board, the Jazz go point guard. If they're gone? The team isn't in love with any of the point guards left. They also need bigs (both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are free agents this summer) and it looks as if they're open to using the draft to help address that need. Nogueira isn't the only guy they'll look at here. Kelly Olynyk and Mason Plumlee also have a shot. But I think Nogueira is the most intriguing of the group.
15 Shane Larkin Milwaukee Bucks COLLEGE: Miami AGE: 20 HT: 6-0 WT: 171 POS: PG
Analysis: If the draft plays out this way, the Bucks are looking at three names -- Larkin, Dennis Schroeder or Glen Rice Jr., who came in for a second workout Tuesday. It's hard to say which way the Bucks are leaning, but it looks like Larkin has the slight edge.
16 Kelly Olynyk Boston Celtics COLLEGE: Gonzaga AGE: 22 HT: 7-0 WT: 234 POS: PF
Analysis: The Celtics are in full rebuilding mode, but I'm not sure how that affects the draft. I keep hearing four names: Adams, Dennis Schroeder, Larkin or Olynyk. Over the course of the past 24 hours, it seems like Olynyk is gaining momentum there. He's a very skilled big man who would add size and scoring to the Celtics' front line.
Analysis: I continue to hear Antetokounmpo's name here. The Hawks can stash him overseas, let him develop, and in a few years he could be the steal of the draft. Or we'll all forget they drafted him. Either scenario probably works for Atlanta.
18 Shabazz Muhammad Atlanta Hawks COLLEGE: UCLA AGE: 20 HT: 6-6 WT: 222 POS: SF
Analysis: There's a point at which a player's reward outweighs the risk. I'm not sure where Muhammad's floor is, but it has to be pretty close. Yes, there are flaws in his game, but at some point you can't ignore his scoring abilities. The Hawks have been doing a lot of research on Muhammad the past few days. Plumlee, San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin and Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. also are possibilities.
19 Reggie Bullock Cleveland Cavaliers via Los Angeles Lakers COLLEGE: North Carolina AGE: 22 HT: 6-7 WT: 200 POS: SF
Analysis: If the Cavs grab Noel at No. 1, look for them to add a small forward or shooter with the second first-round pick. They would love to get their hands on Karasev if they could; they are trying to move up to grab him. Moving to No. 13 seems to be the consensus of where they need to get to, and it looks as if they are willing to eat Shawn Marion's salary for a year to get there in a trade with Dallas. If they can't get to No. 13, Bullock is another shooter on whom they really are high. Bullock shot 44 percent from 3-point range this season and has the size to play both wing positions.
20 Mason Plumlee Chicago Bulls COLLEGE: Duke AGE: 23 HT: 6-10 WT: 238 POS: PF
Analysis: Every mock draft, we alternate between a big and a wing for the Bulls. They need both. Plumlee is an interesting case. Lots of teams like him, few love him. But I think it would be hard for the Bulls to pass on Plumlee's value at No. 20. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jamaal Franklin are other possibilities.
21 Isaiah Canaan Utah Jazz via Golden State Warriors SCHOOL: Murray State AGE: 22 HT: 6-0 WT: 188 POS: PG
Analysis: If the Jazz pass on a point guard at No. 14, they have to be content with what's left at No. 21. This one might come down to Schroeder and Cannan. Schroeder is bigger, but Canaan is a much better scorer. It's really tough to pinpoint who they'd choose, but I think Canaan has the edge. Nogueira and France's Rudy Gobert also are potential picks here if the Jazz go with a point guard at No. 14.
22 Gorgui Dieng Brooklyn Nets COLLEGE: Louisville AGE: 23 HT: 6-11 WT: 230 POS: C
Analysis: Dieng has slid in the draft thanks to concerns about his knees, but a number of teams in the 20s still seem willing to take the risk. With Minnesota in serious talks to swap this pick for the Nets' MarShon Brooks, I could see the Nets grabbing another big to fill out their front line.
23 Dennis Schroeder Indiana Pacers COUNTRY: Germany AGE: 19 HT: 6-2 WT: 165 POS: PG
Analysis: The Pacers are looking at point guards and bigs. If Schroeder falls, he seems like a no-brainer to the Pacers. He's long, young and athletic and can really get to the basket. He won't be ready to contribute for Indiana now, but in the long term, he could be their best pick here.
24 Jamaal Franklin New York Knicks COLLEGE: San Diego St. AGE: 22 HT: 6-5 WT: 191 POS: SG
Analysis: Franklin is super-athletic and can play multiple positions. He's not a need pick per se. The Knicks could really use a power forward, but Franklin has more upside and adds a toughness that Knicks fans will love. Tony Mitchell also is a possibility here.
25 Tim Hardaway Jr. Los Angeles Clippers COLLEGE: Michigan AGE: 21 HT: 6-6 WT: 199 POS: SG
Analysis: The Clippers are going for it and are going to need all the help they can get. That might force them to take a veteran guard who can give them shooting and minutes. Hardaway is a coach's favorite, and I could see the Clippers thinking he'd make a great fit at No. 25.
26 Allen Crabbe Minnesota Timberwolves via Memphis Grizzlies COLLEGE: Cal AGE: 21 HT: 6-6 WT: 197 POS: SG
Analysis: Minnesota wants shooting and they need help at the 2 and 3. I think they could grab another shooter, even if the take Caldwell-Pope at No. 9. Crabbe has the size to play the 3 and would add another target for Ricky Rubio. Rudy Gobert also is a possibility here.
27 Tony Snell Denver Nuggets COLLEGE: New Mexico AGE: 21 HT: 6-7 WT: 198 POS: SG
Analysis: The Nuggets are in danger of losing Andre Iguodalathis summer after he opted to become a free agent. What they really need is a shooter. Snell and Ricky Ledo are the best shooters left on the board.
28 Rudy Gobert San Antonio Spurs COUNTRY: France AGE: 20 HT: 7-2 WT: 238 POS: PF
Analysis: The Spurs need size and have never shied away from taking international players. What Gobert lacks in athletic ability, he makes up with extreme length for his position. The Spurs also can stash him overseas if they need the cash.
29 Ricky Ledo Oklahoma City Thunder COLLEGE: Providence AGE: 20 HT: 6-6 WT: 197 POS: SG
Analysis: This might be a bit of a reach. But the Thunder have been looking for an elite shooting guard, and Ledo is as talented as several players in the lottery. He has lots of off-court issues, but the Thunder might try to rehabilitate him in their excellent D-League franchise.
30 Erick Green Phoenix Suns via Miami Heat SCHOOL: Virginia Tech AGE: 22 HT: 6-3 WT: 178 POS: PG
Analysis: Green was one of the best scorers in the country this season and some teams think he can make the transition to point guard in the pros. The Suns are down on last year's lottery pick Kendall Marshall. Green could provide some scoring punch to the backcourt.