C.J. McCollum of Lehigh.
Mike Barrett's 2013 Mock Draft
Oh yes. It’s my turn.
Anyone who’s anyone takes a swing at the NBA Draft in the months and weeks leading up to the actual event. What does it all mean? Zippo. But, you knew that already.
As much as I squawk about the pointlessness of this whole exercise each year, each day leading up to the draft I’m pulled, like metal to a magnet, to the various mocks issued by the various media-types. I look through them, analyze them, compare them to mine, and then chuckle at the time I’ve just wasted. I guess it’s really not that different from other forms of entertainment. But lets be clear, at this point, that’s exactly what this is.
Last year, like many others, I correctly predicted the Blazers would take Damian Lillard sixth, and Meyers Leonard 11th. That was extremely easy, evidenced by the number of mocks that said the same exact thing. I did get a kick out of the comments, even some that I’ve read lately, that I knew something. That I was given that information, or had some back-channeled envelope handed to me so that I would land on the correct draft picks.
Let me pull back the curtain and go ahead and end any such drama. It doesn’t work that way. It didn’t then, and it doesn’t now.
Only once was I told what the Blazers would definitely be doing on draft day, and that was on draft morning, and I didn’t dare go public with it (there was no such thing as Twitter then anyway). That was when, at around 9 o’clock in the morning, I was told the team was going to execute trades to select both LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy.
Now then, I think it’s fairly well known that I am given the privilege of being in the gym during the pre-draft workouts. I’ve seen just about every workout in the last 13 years. Some years, like last year, and in other years, like when Martell Webster came in and was simply brilliant, I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. Rock-solid intel? No, probably not. In a position to be able to make a fairly-educated guess? Okay, probably so.
You still never really know, because unless you’re in the top few spots, this thing is fluid, even on draft day. So then it becomes a game of “if this happens, then what?” The guys making the actual decisions even deal with that.
This draft is unique, at least as it relates to mock drafts, because I truly don’t think anyone knows. Cleveland? Maybe they know. But, I’d even be surprised if they’ve settled on their guy, and according to rumors, they’re taking phone calls and offers for that top pick. If they bite, then everything changes and everything you’re about to read becomes mostly moot. It probably is anyway.
Let me put this another way. I don’t know. This draft is as clear as mud. If you’ve heard that other places (and you probably have), believe it. If you’re someone in my position, and you take great pride in having an accurate mock draft, this might be the year it ends up in pieces (along with your NCAA bracket) after the first three selections on June 27th.
And, let me state something else before we begin. This isn’t what I necessarily want to see happen, or think should happen, especially as it concerns the Blazers, this is just something I could see possibly happening. Get it?
Ever see those ads for some new prescription drug in a magazine and then see the entire next page that follows with small print outlining the side effects and legal talk that is meant to give you the rest of the story? That’s what this has been.
Here we go.
Ben McLemore of Kansas.
1. Cleveland—Ben McLemore (SG)—Kansas
Go ahead and consider McLemore the top pick even if Cleveland doesn’t end up keeping the spot. In a draft that has very few sure things, he’s as close as it gets.
2. Orlando—Nerlens Noel (PF/C)—Kentucky
This was actually very tough, and we’re only at number two. But, even with the gamble that Noel appears to be due to his knee injury, Orlando is one of the few teams up this high that can afford to roll the dice at this position. They’ve got low expectations, and given the season Nikola Vucevic just had, they don’t need an immediate starter at center (not that Noel has to play center).
3. Washington—Victor Oladipo (SG/SF)—Indiana
I know, I know. There will be pressure in the D.C. area for them to take Georgetown’s Otto Porter, but I think Oladipo is very close to a sure thing and his stock has been rising in the last month. I think Washington makes the playoffs in the east next year, by the way. They aren’t that far away.
4. Charlotte—Otto Porter (SF)—Georgetown
Charlotte simply needs players, and since they can’t seem to get lucky in the draft lottery, will probably go with Porter. I’d trade this pick if I were making the decisions, but being this is a buyer’s market, they’ll probably just keep it.
5. Phoenix—Anthony Bennett (SF/PF)—UNLV
I have no idea what Phoenix is trying to do, but this seems like a logical choice. He’s the best available talent at this point and that usually wins the day when you simply need players.
Trey Burke of Michigan.
6. New Orleans—Trey Burke (PG)—Michigan
Yes, I know they’ve got Greivis Vasquez, who was very surprising last season, along with Eric Gordon, but you can’t pass on a point guard like this. Gordon’s run in the Big Easy is probably coming to an end anyway, and Burke could learn the ropes from Vasquez who would happily return to the bench once the kid is ready to start.
7. Sacramento—Alex Len (C)—Maryland
Mike Malone has said in recent days that he’s keeping DeMarcus Cousins, and thinks he can work with him, and even if that’s the case (which I don’t think it is) they take Len here.
8. Detroit—Cody Zeller (PF/C)—Indiana
Zeller, like his brother last year, is probably ready to be a rotation player in this league. Detroit has bigs, but they don’t have a guy like Zeller.
9. Minnesota—Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)—Georgia
Only because Portland is rumored to like him.
C.J. McCollum of Lehigh.
10. Portland—C.J. McCollum (PG/SG)—Lehigh
I know that many people are predicting that the Blazers will move this pick. But, as I’ve mentioned, there are a lot of teams looking to do that, which makes it buyer-friendly. At some point this becomes more about diminishing returns and you’re better off keeping the pick. If that’s the case, why not go with a four-year guy who appears to be NBA-ready? I think that worked pretty well last year, and Lillard was also a mid-major guy, like McCollum. If you think McCollum could step in and be the back-up point, and also play a little two, is he a better backup for Lillard than what you’d find on the open market? He wouldn’t cost you as much either.
11. Philadelphia—Kelly Olynyk (C)—Gonzaga
I know the long hair would play better in the NW, and they’ve already got an offensive-minded Spencer Hawes down low, but this Andrew Bynum thing isn’t going to work and they’ve got to start making plans. If they would have just stayed out of that trade that cost them Vucevic they would have made the playoffs in the east. Even if Bynum were healthy I’d rather have Vucevic (easy to say that now, I know).
12. Oklahoma City—Steven Adams (C)—Pittsburgh
They’ll go big, for obvious reasons. Hasheem Thabeet got minutes in the playoffs, and it’s possible they’ll amnesty Kendrick Perkins. They tossed Cole Aldrich into the James Harden trade, and I think he would have actually gotten some time last season as a backup big. Adams can be that guy.
13. Dallas—Michael Carter-Williams (PG)—Syracuse
Dallas may indeed dump this pick, but if they don’t, Carter-Williams makes sense for them. He’s different from Darren Collison, and even if they don’t consider him to be their PG of the future, he’s good enough to get rotation minutes now.
14. Utah—Shabazz Muhammad (SF)—UCLA
Shabazz is one of those guys who’s been projected by some to go in the top 10, but I certainly think he’ll be available at 14. There will probably be a few quality big guys on the board at this point, but I think Utah goes for a scorer. Muhammad can certainly score.
Feed your need for more mocks here in the Mock Draft Database to see who the best draft gurus have Portland taking. And don't miss the mock drafts from Mike Rice and Dustin Hawes from trailblazers.com.