Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 1:07PM; Updated: Wed May 29, 2013 7:55PM
Chris Mannix
Chris Mannix>INSIDE THE NBA

2013 NBA Mock Draft 2.0

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Alex Len has been shooting up draft boards despite an ankle injury
Alex Len has been shooting up draft boards despite an ankle injury that will keep him out of workouts.
Jason Szenes/Getty Images

It has been six years since there have been this many questions at the top of the draft. In 2007, the Trail Blazers faced a tough decision: Ohio State phenom Greg Oden, the defensive-minded center many compared favorably to Bill Russell, or Kevin Durant, the smooth, explosive scoring forward from Texas.

Then, though, the Blazers believed they were choosing between two players who were close to can't miss. This year, there is much more uncertainty.

The Cavaliers are one month away from being on the clock and there is still no guarantee that they will keep the pick, or if they do, which player they will draft. Kentucky center Nerlens Noel is the safe pick, but, said a Western Conference executive this week, "if I could get a young starter for him, I'd really consider it." Similarly, Orlando, with holes everywhere, faces a difficult decision at No. 2.

With individual workouts in full swing, here's SI.com's Mock Draft 2.0.

 
1
Nerlens Noel
PF/C Kentucky
Freshman7-0206
   
The Cavs have acknowledged that they will listen to offers for the top pick, and rival executives say they are looking for an established scoring forward in return. Should they keep the top pick, the expectation is that they will go big. The backcourt is locked in, with the top pick in 2011, Kyrie Irving, and the fourth pick in '12, Dion Waiters. Expect the Cavs to snap up Noel, a 7-foot defensive menace who will solidify the middle, either at power forward or center, and fortify a defense that ranked last in the NBA in field-goal defense (47.6) this season.
 
2
Ben McLemore
SG Kansas
Freshman6-5189
   
The Magic aren't revealing much, but rival executives believe this isn't an easy decision. Orlando has a hole at point guard and National Player of the Year Trey Burke is out there, but would GM Rob Hennigan take him at No. 2? Victor Oladipo is a superior athlete and defender, but several executives expressed reservations about his ability to be a consistent perimeter shooter. Incumbent shooting guard Arron Afflalo has three years and $23 million left on his contract, but it will be difficult for the Magic to pass on McLemore, a Ray Allen-type shooter with superior athleticism.
 
3
Otto Porter
SF Georgetown
Sophomore6-9198
   
The Wizards need a small forward, and GM Ernie Grunfeld got a good look at Georgetown's Otto Porter all season long. Porter is a versatile forward with an excellent mid-range game. But UNLV's Anthony Bennett -- who is unable to work out for teams because of a shoulder surgery -- has monstrous potential at either forward spot. Still have to pencil in Porter, a more traditional small forward, here for now, but don't expect it to be an easy call.
 
4
Alex Len
C Maryland
Sophomore7-1255
   
The Bobcats badly need a big man to shore up a frontcourt of a team that ranked last in points in the paint (25.3 per game), 23rd in opponent points in the paint (39.5) and 27th in rebounding (40.3 per game). Oladipo will get strong consideration, but two team executives believe Len -- a physical 5-man who rebounds well, protects the paint (2.1 blocks per game) and can play with his back to the basket -- is on the rise, despite the fact that a stress fracture in his left ankle will keep him out of individual workouts. And remember this: New coach Steve Clifford has an excellent reputation when it comes to developing big men.
 
5
Victor Oladipo
SG Indiana
Junior6-4213
   
The Suns' roster is a mess, so Phoenix can afford to go with the best player on the board. Oladipo was one of the biggest stars at the combine, and teams that interviewed him came away impressed with his maturity. Oladipo is renowned for his work ethic, and though questions about his jump shot linger -- last season was the first in which he consistently knocked down threes -- his defense and athleticism make him a hot commodity.
 
6
Trey Burke
PG Michigan
Sophomore6-1187
   
Austin Rivers did little last season to suggest he is the long-term solution at point guard, and though Greivis Vasquez was effective, he may not be the answer either. Burke is the kind of dynamic playmaker/scorer whom the Pelicans need to boost an offense lacking in weapons.
 
7
Anthony Bennett
SF/PF UNLV
Freshman6-7239
   
The standard opinion on Bennett from team executives: Some concern about his occasionally uneven play at UNLV, but man, what potential. Bennett is a 6-7 239-pound man-child whom some scouts believe will be the best player in the draft. An explosive athlete, he has a credible back-to-the-basket and face-up game and legitimate three-point range (38.3 percent last season). He's something of a tweener, but the Kings have holes at both forward spots.
 
8
Michael Carter-Williams
PG Syracuse
Sophomore6-6185
   
With Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Pistons are solid up front. Detroit took Brandon Knight at No. 8 in 2011, but Carter-Williams, arguably the best pure playmaker in the draft, could be too good to pass up. The Shaun Livingston comparisons are easy to make -- how many 6-6 point guards are there to compare him to? -- but two executives said they liked Livingston's potential more coming into the draft. Still, Carter-Williams has superior point-guard instincts, and if he can harness his size and improve his jump shot, he could develop quickly.
 
9
C.J. McCollum
PG Lehigh
Senior6-3197
   
Timberwolves star Kevin Love didn't hesitate when asked what the team needs in the draft. "A lights-out shooter," Love said. McCollum has been compared favorably to Damian Lillard, though he isn't as comfortable at the point-guard position as Lillard was coming out of Weber State. In Minnesota, McCollum doesn't have to be a playmaker, not with an emerging star in Ricky Rubio entrenched at the position. McCollum has NBA range and plays well in the pick-and-roll.
 
10
Cody Zeller
PF/C Indiana
Sophomore7-0230
   
Zeller picked up some momentum from the combine, and it's unlikely he will slip out of the top 10. Teams still want to see how advanced his perimeter game is in workouts, but his tremendous athleticism and productivity in college are impressive. The Blazers are set at power forward, but with the dwindling number of power centers in the NBA, a Zeller-LaMarcus Aldridge frontcourt would have enormous offensive potential.
 
11
Kelly Olynyk
C Gonzaga
Junior7-0234
   
With the future of center Andrew Bynum in doubt and with a hole at power forward, the Sixers badly need frontcourt help. There are questions about Olynyk's strength and concerns about how, after three years at Gonzaga, he will match up with bigger, more physical defenders. But there is no denying Olynyk's offensive skills. He has a variety of moves in the post and showcased guard-like perimeter shooting at the combine.
 
12
Gorgui Dieng
C Louisville
Junior6-11230
   
Pick acquired from Raptors via Rockets: The Thunder need muscle up front, either to replace Kendrick Perkins, an amnesty candidate, or to complement him. Dieng, 23, has a defensive reputation (he was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year last season after swatting 2.5 shots and pulling down 9.4 rebounds per game) but his offensive game is better than most think. Dieng is a strong passer with a decent mid-range jump shot. Scouts also say he is one of the best screen men in the draft, a skill that will be valuable in Oklahoma City.
 
13
Dario Saric
SF Croatia
19 years old6-10223
   
The Mavs have one of the best international scouting departments in the NBA, spearheaded by GM Donnie Nelson and personnel executive Tony Ronzone, and Saric is considered the top foreign talent in the draft. He's a smooth, mobile big man one executive described as "the best passing big man in the draft." Saric can play behind Dirk Nowitzki now and be groomed to replace him later.
 
14
Dennis Schroeder
PG Germany
19 years old6-2165
   
Rumors around the league persist that Schroeder has an early first-round promise, and the Jazz make as much sense as any team. Schroeder, says an Eastern Conference scout, "is a miniature [Rajon] Rondo." At 19, he has natural point-guard instincts, superior speed and an improving jump shot. Several teams in the 20s would love for Schroeder to fall, but don't expect him to get past too many point-guard-starved teams.
 
15
Shabazz Muhammad
SG/SF UCLA
Freshman6-6222
   
The more executives you talk to about Muhammad, the more likely it seems he slips out of the lottery. Muhammad is a scorer who prefers to play the 2-guard spot, but he has the size and strength to play small forward, too. Questions about Muhammad's attitude and one-dimensional play linger. "He just doesn't do a lot of things," an Eastern Conference executive said. "If he's not a great scorer, he doesn't help you much." The Bucks ranked 21st points per possession this season, so a productive Muhammad will help.
 
16
Steven Adams
C Pittsburgh
Freshman7-0255
   
With or without the core of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce -- two players who may not be in Boston when training camp opens -- the Celtics need size. Adams is a project; the consensus among executives is that he will spend most or all of next season in the D-League, where he can get used to the speed of an NBA-level game. But Adams oozes potential. At 7 feet, 254 pounds with a wingspan of 7-5 and enormous hands (9.5 inches long, 11 inches wide), Adams is a physical specimen with extraordinary athletic ability who showed nice range for a big man at the combine.
 
17
Mason Plumlee
C Duke
Senior7-1238
   
If Josh Smith departs as a free agent, the Hawks could move Al Horford to power forward -- his more natural position -- and search for a more traditional center. They will go hard after Dwight Howard this summer, but Plumlee, an athletic 7-footer who has developed a solid low-post game, is someone Atlanta can develop.
 
18
Jamaal Franklin
SG San Diego State
Junior6-5191
   
Pick acquired from Rockets: Franklin, San Diego State's leader in points, rebounds, assists and steals last season, can do a little bit of everything. He doesn't shoot three-pointers particularly well, but he plays with energy and is a solid defender. The Hawks have nine free agents this summer and new coach Mike Budenholzer can develop Franklin to fill the hole left by Joe Johnson at shooting guard.
 
19
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SG Georgia
Sophomore6-6204
   
Pick acquired from Lakers: The Cavs badly need another perimeter scorer. Caldwell-Pope made huge strides as a sophomore, surging up a few teams' draft boards late in the season. The Cavs drafted Dion Waiters at shooting guard last year, but Caldwell-Pope is probably the best player on the board here and they can't pass that up.
 
20
Allen Crabbe
SG California
Junior6-6198
   
The Bulls ranked 29th in three-pointers made and 21st in long-range percentage this season, and Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli could both be gone this summer. Enter Crabbe, who has legitimate NBA range. Crabbe's three-point percentage last season was his lowest in three seasons at Cal, but he shot well at the combine, has good size for his position and has shown an ability to use screens well. It's worth noting that the Bulls have an excellent track record at the back end of the first round (Taj Gibson at No. 26 in '09, Jimmy Butler at No. 30 in '11).
 
21
Rudy Gobert
C France
20 years old7-2238
   
If the Jazz snap up Schroeder early, they can take a flyer on Gobert, a long-considered lottery talent who has slipped on a few teams' draft boards the last few weeks. Gobert is impossibly long at 7-2 with a 7-8½ wingspan and a 9-7 standing reach, both combine records. He didn't show much offensively at the combine, though, and several execs expressed concern about his slender frame. The Jazz have depth in the frontcourt, with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter under contract, and they face decisions on free agents Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.
 
22
Shane Larkin
PG Miami
Sophomore6-0171
   
The Nets would love a big man like Gorgui Dieng to slip this far. Brooklyn has Deron Williams signed to a long-term contract at point guard, but Larkin is a quick, change-of-pace point guard who could be groomed to back up the three-time All-Star. Larkin is a phenomenal athlete -- he topped the combine in the three-quarter-court sprint (3.08 seconds) and vertical leap (44 inches) -- and an excellent ball handler who projects to play well in the pick-and-roll. He is one of several point guards who should be on the board here.
 
23
Sergey Karasev
SG/SF Russia
19 years old6-7200
   
Front offices love the versatility of Karasev, an NBA-ready swingman. He faced quality competition in the PBL, Russia's top league, and reportedly looked sharp at the Nike Hoops Summit in April. Karasev is an excellent catch-and-shoot player, and Indiana loves to play inside-out.
 
24
Jeff Withey
C Kansas
Senior7-1222
   
The Knicks desperately need young, active big men and Withey fits the bill. Withey is a skilled defender who is athletic enough to play either power forward or center. He doesn't create much offense for himself, but the Knicks' offense revolves around Carmelo Anthony. If Withey can rebound, defend and finish around the rim, he could be a steal for New York.
 
25
Pierre Jackson
PG Baylor
Senior5-11176
   
Jackson took a risk last week when he showed up in New Jersey at an organized group workout composed mostly of second-round-level picks. But he was one of the best players at the workout, impressing with his speed and half-court efficiency. Jackson is undersized, but with Eric Bledsoe likely on the trading block, Jackson offers the Clippers insurance.
 
26
Reggie Bullock
SF North Carolina
Junior6-7200
   
Pick acquired from Memphis: Bullock didn't exactly receive a ringing endorsement from Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, who said recently that he was more worried about Bullock going to the NBA than any of the 11 other players who left early under Williams. But Bullock can shoot from deep -- something Minnesota sorely needs after hitting an NBA-worst 30.5 percent from three-point range this season -- and rebounds well for his position. If new president Flip Saunders fears losing restricted free-agent center Nikola Pekovic, massive French center Mouhammadou Jaiteh could be considered.
 
27
Glen Rice Jr.
SF Georgia Tech
22 years old6-6211
   
With Andre Iguodala considering opting out of the final year of his contract and Danilo Gallinari likely out for the early part of next season with a knee injury, Rice is a solid pick. After a checkered career at Georgia Tech that ended in a dismissal from the team last year, Rice thrived in one season in the D-League, averaging 25 points and 9.5 rebounds for Rio Grande in the playoffs. More important, he stayed out of trouble, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by NBA executives.
 
28
Tony Mitchell
PF North Texas
Sophomore6-9236
   
It's tough to get a read on what direction the Spurs will go here. They could opt for a raw international talent such as Greece's Giannis Adetokunbo or France's Mouhammadou Jaiteh, someone they could stash overseas for a year or two years like Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter or Luis Scola. Or they could opt for someone who can play right away. Mitchell doesn't fit the Spurs' mold -- he admitted he didn't always play hard last year at North Texas -- but he is a 6-9, 236-pound man-child with undeniable inside-out skills and tantalizing talent (he compares himself to Denver's Kenneth Faried). Those abilities could make him worth the risk.
 
29
Tony Snell
SG New Mexico
Junior6-7198
   
The hunt for a replacement for James Harden continues. Snell is a rangy 2-guard with decent offensive skills and the physical tools to be a solid defender. His three-point shooting steadily improved over three years at New Mexico, topping out at 39 percent last season. Providence's Ricky Ledo, who dazzled scouts with his shooting potential at the combine, is another option here, as is Kentucky's Archie Goodwin.
 
30
C.J. Leslie
SF/PF North Carolina State
Junior6-9209
   
Pick acquired from Miami: New GM Ryan McDonough has a sharp eye for talent -- as an assistant GM in Boston he was a strong advocate for the Celtics drafting Avery Bradley in 2010 and acquiring Rajon Rono in a draft-night trade in 2006 -- and he will need that eye here. The Suns have holes everywhere, so position isn't really relevant. Leslie battled inconsistency at NC State, and there are questions about his attitude and work ethic. But he is a tremendous athlete -- he ran a 3.1 in the three-quarter-court sprint at the combine, second only to point guard Shane Larkin -- and showcased a versatile game in college.
 
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