Amid all the NBA team workouts, here's how the first round has shaped With NBA team workouts now in full swing, it's time for another update of our mock draft. Over the course of the past few weeks I've been speaking with numerous NBA team sources about how the draft might play out on June 27. Here's our latest update on how we see things going.
1 Nerlens Noel Cleveland Cavaliers COLLEGE: Kentucky AGE: 18 HT: 7-0 WT: 206 POS: C
Analysis: Typically, by this juncture in the draft, we know who the No. 1 pick is. Right now, however, we're just offering educated guesses. That's because Cavs sources say that the team won't be close to making a decision until workouts are done and the team has a chance to make a thorough pass through the medical information. With three potential top picks unable to workout because of injuries, those reports have never been more important. Until we hear otherwise, Noel is the default pick here. General manager Chris Grant has been a fan of Noel's all year and even recommended his doctor. Assuming the rehab is going well (his doctor, James Andrews, insists Noel is ahead of schedule while other NBA team doctors are wringing their hands a little) Noel should come out on top. He's the top prospect in the draft and the Cavs can afford to be patient while he gets back to full health and gains a little weight. If the Cavs decide to go in another direction, Georgetown's Otto Porter and Maryland's Alex Len appear to be the top candidates to supplant Noel.
2 Victor Oladipo Orlando Magic COLLEGE: Indiana AGE: 20 HT: 6-4 WT: 213 POS: SG
Analysis: According to sources, the Magic, are still wide open. They say they have nine (gulp) players that they are considering. Michigan's Trey Burke was in this slot in Mock 3.0, but I'm hearing the Magic aren't sold on him as the second best player in the draft. They might take him, but he's not an outright frontrunner, despite the need. The Magic are eyeing other young point guards such as Eric Bledsoe. If they make a trade, starting two-guard Arron Afflalo will be the bait. Assistant GM Scott Perry (who helped Afflalo in Detroit) doesn't want to give him up, but given where the Magic are as team, it might be the only way to trade for a point guard upgrade. If Afflalo goes, the two-guard position opens up. Both Oladipo and McLemore would be upgrades long-term anyway. While McLemore is a better shooter, Oladipo's toughness, defense and leadership might be more appealing to a rebuilding team.
3 Otto Porter Washington Wizards COLLEGE: Georgetown AGE: 19 HT: 6-9 WT: 198 POS: SF
Analysis: The Wizards are sitting pretty at No. 3. The two players they really like -- Porter and UNLV's Anthony Bennett -- are both on the board here. The need help at both the 3 and the 4, and sources say their front office is split between them. Porter's versatility and his ability to affect the game without shooting the ball are major plusses on a team that already has several starters who like to score the ball. Bennett's ability to stretch the floor as a 4 is also appealing, as is his upside. Aside from Noel, many NBA GMs believe Bennett might have the highest upside of anyone in the draft. This one could go down to the wire, but I'm giving the edge to Porter because of the questions marks around Bennett's injured shoulder.
4 Anthony Bennett Charlotte Bobcats COLLEGE: UNLV AGE: 20 HT: 6-8 WT: 240 POS: PF
Analysis: Truthfully, the Bobcats need help at the two, the four and the five. I think this will come down to a choice between Ben McLemore, Bennett and Len. All three players are young and blessed with incredible upside. Sources say Bennett might have the edge right now for two reasons. First, the Bobcats have been completely devoid of frontcourt scoring and Bennett's ability to score both inside and outside is appealing. Second, the Bobcats front office (like a lot of NBA front offices) have questions right now about McLemore's mental approach to the game. Does he have the aggressiveness he needs to maximize his potential? Those questions are growing louder the closer we get to the draft. As for Len, the questions about his foot loom large as does the fact that he'd miss Summer League -- a critical development period for young players.
5 Ben McLemore Phoenix Suns COLLEGE: Kansas AGE: 20 HT: 6-5 WT: 189 POS: SG
Analysis: The Suns are another team that could go in just about any direction. Phoenix lacks young building blocks. But its biggest need might be a scorer in the backcourt. If McLemore is still on the board here, he'll be hard to pass up. He's one of the few players with All-Star upside. But don't count out Lehigh's C.J. McCollum either. McCollum is a better scorer and can play two positions on the floor.
6 Alex Len New Orleans Pelicans COLLEGE: Maryland AGE: 19 HT: 7-1 WT: 225 POS: C
Analysis: The Pelicans will take a long, hard look at both Burke and Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams. But I'm not sure they'll bite. This team drafted Austin Rivers last year to be its point guard of the future and sources say that the team hasn't given up on Rivers, despite a miserable rookie season. With Greivis Vasquez also in the backcourt, point guard isn't a huge need if they're happy with Vasquez and Rivers. That makes Len an attractive option here. The Pelicans see Anthony Davis as a four in the NBA and aren't convinced Robin Lopez is the long-term answer at the five. Len has enormous potential at the five. He can score, rebound and block shots. If his foot wasn't injured, I think he'd get much more consideration at No. 1. He could be a steal for the Pelicans here.
7 Trey Burke Sacramento Kings COLLEGE: Michigan AGE: 20 HT: 6-1 WT: 187 POS: PG
Analysis: It's hard to project anything for the Kings right now until a new GM is in place. The truth is, whoever comes in is likely to clean house. The Kings will be starting over to some extent. Other GMs are salivating at the possibility of DeMarcus Cousins being available, but unless the Kings are blown away with an offer, I doubt they trade him before the draft. So, I'm just placing the next player on our Big Board here. However, Burke actually does make sense for Sacramento. He's more of a true point guard than anyone currently on the roster, and he's a winner -- something the Kings need.
8 Michael Carter-Williams Detroit Pistons COLLEGE: Syracuse AGE: 21 HT: 6-6 WT: 184 POS: PG
Analysis: The Pistons have a lot of interest in grabbing a small forward here, but right now I don't think there's anyone on the table except for Shabazz Muhammad, and I'm not sure that's the right play for Detroit. I'm hearing with increasing frequency the Pistons might target a point guard. The team thinks Brandon Knight might be more effective at the two, and if they could get a big point guard like Carter-Williams, he could be the perfect fit in the backcourt with Knight. They really would like a pure playmaker who can help their young guys get better. Given Carter-Williams' significant upside, he might be a great play here.
9 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Minnesota Timberwolves COLLEGE: Georgia AGE: 20 HT: 6-6 WT: 204 POS: SG
Analysis: New Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders has made no secret of his desire to acquire a shooter on the wing. He's already auditioned several in Minnesota (Caldwell-Pope, Allen Crabbe and Tim Hardaway Jr. worked out for him on Thursday) and traveled to Vegas to see Russian Sergey Karasev on Friday. I think Caldwell-Pope might have the most upside of any shooter left on the board. I'm hearing the Wolves agree.
10 C.J. McCollum Portland Trail Blazers COLLEGE: Lehigh AGE: 21 HT: 6-3 WT: 197 POS: PG
Analysis: The Blazers would like to continue to add shooters. Enter McCollum. While he commonly gets compared to Damian Lillard, they are different players and could nicely complement each other in the backcourt. I'm also hearing Croatia's Dario Saric is a strong possibility here, too.
11 Cody Zeller Philadelphia 76ers COLLEGE: Indiana AGE: 20 HT: 7-0 WT: 230 POS: C
Analysis: Zeller will start showing off his hitherto unseen 3-point jumper to teams in workouts starting this week. What I saw in Santa Monica was impressive, but shooting it in an empty gym and doing it in games are two different things. If the GMs working out Zeller think he's going to make a seamless transition to the four, he's probably gone before he reaches the Sixers. But if he isn't, he's a great fit in a depleted Philly frontcourt and could be a real steal for the Sixers. I'm hearing Saric is another real possibility here.
Analysis: The Thunder have the luxury of patience, and if there's a guy worth being patient with in this draft it's Adams. He already has the NBA body, a killer motor and a terrific work ethic. If and when he starts figuring things out offensively (and it's going to be a process) he could be Oklahoma City's long-term answer in the middle.
13 Dario Saric Dallas Mavericks COUNTRY: Croatia AGE: 19 HT: 6-10 WT: 223 POS: SF
Analysis: As we reported on the night of the draft lottery, the Mavs are likely to trade this pick at some point in an effort to clear more cap space for a run at Dwight Howard/Chris Paul. Given NBA rules, Dallas technically can't trade the pick until after the draft, but it can reach a deal in principle before it. Sources say the Mavs have been making calls gauging interest. However, the other option is taking Saric. Dallas can get him off the cap with an agreement from Saric that he won't come to the NBA this season. The Mavs actually love Saric, so it might work for both parties. And even if they trade the pick, Saric appears to be a hot name right now. The Pelicans, Blazers, and Sixers all have significant interest in him as well and might be great trade partners.
14 Dennis Schroeder Utah Jazz COUNTRY: Germany AGE: 19 HT: 6-2 WT: 165 POS: PG
Analysis: The Jazz's biggest need is at the point, and it's increasingly likely the team will have to use this pick to draft a top-ranked point guard. Schroeder is interesting because of his speed and length. He's not as NBA-ready as some of the other point guards in the draft, but one of the Jazz's priorities is to get more athletic. Miami's Shane Larkin is another possibility here.
15 Shane Larkin Milwaukee Bucks COLLEGE: Miami AGE: 20 HT: 6-0 WT: 171 POS: PG
Analysis: With the Bucks hesitant to make a big free-agent offer to point guard Brandon Jennings, that position might immediately become a need for Milwaukee. Sources say Larkin's workout in Milwaukee was a "wow" for the Bucks. Pairing him with Monta Ellis would make for a pretty small backcourt, but Larkin's ability to run the pick-and-roll is very appealing to them.
16 Shabazz Muhammad Boston Celtics COLLEGE: UCLA AGE: 20 HT: 6-6 WT: 222 POS: SF
Analysis: Muhammad might be the most difficult player in the draft to place right now. After coming in with enormous hype, scouts are obsessed right now with the weaknesses in his game. Can he shoot off the bounce? Can he go right? Does he have the athleticism to defend? Is he a selfish player? Muhammad is working hard to answer his critics and these workouts will go a long way to determining where he ultimately lands. But with Paul Pierce's run with the Celtics nearing an end, Muhammad might be worth the risk here if the Celtics' preferred target, Schroeder, already is off the board.
17 Rudy Gobert Atlanta Hawks COUNTRY: France AGE: 20 HT: 7-2 WT: 238 POS: PF
Analysis: Roy Hibbert's stellar performance in the NBA Eastern Conference finals helps a player such as Gobert. Yes, Gobert will be drafted largely on sheer size. He doesn't have a great motor yet nor does he know what he's doing. But you can't teach 7-foot-2. With the Hawks in the process of clearing the deck in Atlanta, I'm not sure they can pass him. However, he's a major work in progress.
18 Jamaal Franklin Atlanta Hawks via Houston Rockets COLLEGE: San Diego St. AGE: 21 HT: 6-5 WT: 191 POS: SG
Analysis: Franklin still is hobbling around with a bad ankle. He wasn't able to work out for a collection of NBA GMs in Las Vegas this weekend and was relegated to shooting only jumpers. However, Franklin showed he hasn't been just laying around for the past month. His jumper has improved considerably. At 18, he becomes a talent grab for the Hawks. His upside is significant.
19 Sergey Karasev Cleveland Cavaliers via Los Angeles Lakers COUNTRY: Russia AGE: 19 HT: 6-7 WT: 197 POS: SF
Analysis: If the Cavs grab Noel at No. 1, look for them to add a small forward or shooter with their second first-round pick. Karasev is interesting. His performance in Vegas on Friday wasn't stellar thanks to some jet lag, but scouts are very high on him at the moment. He has the size to play both wing positions, is a terrific shooter, has a high basketball IQ, and at 19, already has significant professional experience averaging 18.4 PPG in the Russian League. A few scouts compare him to smaller version of Toni Kukoc. Karasev could go as high at No. 9 to the Wolves but would be a great get here by the Cavs.
20 Mason Plumlee Chicago Bulls COLLEGE: Duke AGE: 23 HT: 6-10 WT: 238 POS: PF
Analysis: The old adage in the draft is that "bigs rise" (I think Tom Penn said it at least a dozen times in our NBA draft combine broadcast) -- and it's true. But it's interesting to see which bigs are rising -- it's the young ones like Adams and Gobert, not the older ones. Plumlee had a season worthy of being a lottery pick, and he would be a great get here if he falls this low. The Bulls need support for Joakim Noah, and Plumlee excels in getting up and down the floor.
21 Kelly Olynyk Utah Jazz COLLEGE: Gonzaga AGE: 22 HT: 7-0 WT: 234 POS: PF
Analysis: Olynyk is another big projected as a potential late lottery pick who's struggling to find a home right now. I doubt he slides past the Jazz if they get a point guard at No. 14. With both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap hitting free agency, Utah will need frontcourt help, and Olynyk's ability to both shoot the basketball and put it on the floor would give the Jazz's front line another wrinkle.
22 Gorgui Dieng Brooklyn Nets COLLEGE: Louisville AGE: 23 HT: 6-11 WT: 230 POS: C
Analysis: The Nets got a great season out of Brook Lopez, but they don't really have a credible backup for him. Dieng's play in the NCAA title game gave him a big boost in his draft stock. Not only can he block shots, but he's also a surprisingly good passer and is developing a nice face-the-basket game. Maybe more important to the Nets, he should be able to play right away.
23 Reggie Bullock Indiana Pacers COLLEGE: North Carolina AGE: 22 HT: 6-7 WT: 200 POS: SF
Analysis: The Pacers have an elite starting five, but they need depth at every position. They could especially use a shooter or two -- the team ranked just 22nd in the league this year in 3-point field goal percentage. Bullock might be the best shooter left on the board. He's a bit one-dimensional, but he can play two different positions and should be able to play from day one.
Analysis: The Knicks have never shied away from taking a risk on a player. Mitchell has the upside of a top-10 pick, but he was in an awful situation in North Texas last season and might have responded as well as he could have. He's an elite athlete and a terrific rebounder -- the Knicks could use both in its frontcourt.
25 Allen Crabbe Los Angeles Clippers COLLEGE: Cal AGE: 21 HT: 6-6 WT: 197 POS: SG
Analysis: The Clippers have recently been hit with the news that Chris Paul was unhappy with members of the organization over the way they handled the Vinny Del Negro firing. So a point guard like Pierre Jackson is a possibility. But the Clips also have need at both the two and three. Crabbe's shooting ability, especially at his size, could be a great fit for L.A.
26 Jeff Withey Minnesota Timberwolves via Memphis Grizzlies COLLEGE: Kansas AGE: 23 HT: 7-0 WT: 222 POS: C
Analysis: Wolves big man Nikola Pekovic is a free agent this summer. So is his backup, Greg Stiemsma. Withey was one of the best shot blockers in college basketball last year and could add some defensive toughness to their front line.
27 Ricky Ledo Denver Nuggets COLLEGE: Providence AGE: 20 HT: 6-6 WT: 197 POS: PG
Analysis: Really, the Nuggets are set at every position and have a lot of flexibility to draft based on pure talent. They don't have immediate needs. That should give them the option to take another young player who they can patiently develop. Scouts feel like Ledo is a top-15 talent. He could be the next Lance Stephenson.
28 Lucas Noguiera San Antonio Spurs COUNTRY: Brazil AGE: 20 HT: 6-11 WT: 218 POS: C
Analysis: Noguiera is drawing rave reviews from teams that scouted him in Europe this year and in recent workouts. He needs to add a ton of weight, but think of him as a Brazilian Nerlens Noel. With patience he could have a bright future and would have the perfect mentor in fellow countryman Tiago Splitter.
29 Giannis Antetokounmpo Oklahoma City Thunder COUNTRY: Greece AGE: 18 HT: 6-9 WT: 215 POS: SF
Analysis: Again, the Thunder have a ton of flexibility right now and with two first-round picks, they don't need a player to come right now. Some scouts believe Antetokounmpo has as much upside as anyone in the draft, but he's years away from realizing it. If the Thunder are patient, grabbing him could pay off big down the road.
30 Glen Rice Jr. Phoenix Suns COLLEGE: Georgia Tech AGE: 22 HT: 6-6 WT: 211 POS: SG
Analysis: If the Suns get their two guard with its first pick, don't be surprised if Phoenix tries to add another wing who can shoot the ball with its second first-rounder. Rice dominated the D-League last season and probably is big enough to spend time at the three. He's also one of the two or three most NBA-ready prospects in the draft.