The Cavs have been lucky enough to get No. 1 pick 3 times in 11 years. However, the Cavs have also been bad enough to get No. 1 pick three times in 11 years.
Unlike last year when Anthony Davis was the clear cut top prospect, a number of players are in consideration this year including Kentucky‘s Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore of Kansas, and even Michigan‘s Trey Burke or Georgetown‘s Otto Porter. More than likely, team need will play a huge factor in terms of which player hears their named called first on June 27th.
Let’s take a look at what each team’s odds were, and who they would have likely drafted if they ended up with the top pick. Go here for The Sports Bank’s 2013 NBA Mock Draft.
Orlando Magic (25%): Nerlens Noel
The Magic have some quality young pieces like Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, and Tobias Harris but no future franchise player which is why they sorely need the ping pong balls to bounce their way. Noel would be the likely selection since Orlando doesn’t really have an athletic, shot blocking big man inside to protect the rim. If the Magic are more inclined to look for an offensive weapon, they could lean towards McLemore or Burke.
Charlotte Bobcats (19.9%): Nerlens Noel
BJ Mullens, Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood, Tyrus Thomas. Charlotte easily has one of the worst frontcourts in the NBA and sorely needs an upgrade in talent at that spot. With Ben Gordon entering the final year of his deal and Gerald Henderson a restricted free agent, McLemore would be a possibility as well. Best bet for Charlotte; draft Noel, milk his ACL recovery, hope to finish the worst record in the league, land the 2014 top pick, and draft Andrew Wiggins.
Cleveland Cavs (15.6%): Otto Porter
I’ve been saying this for months that Otto Porter is the perfect fit for the Cavs. They have two ball dominant young guards with Kyrie Irving (Cavs #1 overall pick two years ago) and Dion Waiters and could sorely use a glue guy like Porter who does a little bit of everything. The Cavs already have somewhat offensively challenged big men like Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller so I’m not sure how Noel would fit into that mix. Another option would be drafting Noel and trading Varejao for another young piece.
Phoenix Suns (11.9%): Nerlens Noel
The Suns have a roster filled with decent-solid role players but no true superstar. Getting the top overall pick would be huge for them but I’m not sure they’ll find the next face of their franchise in this draft. If their looking for the best all-around player; that’s Noel. If they want to add an offensive minded wing; McLemore is the guy. I’d lean towards Noel.
New Orleans Pelicans (8.8%): Trey Burke/Otto Porter
This would be the most intriguing scenario for me if the Hornets, er, Pelicans won the NBA Draft Lottery (but no way David Stern lets that happen after rigging it for them last year, right? Right?) Since they just selected Anthony Davis last year, and Noel is a less offensively talented version of Davis, I can’t imagine him being the pick. It would provide New Orleans with two elite shot blockers though.
McLemore wouldn’t make sense either since the Hornets have Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers, though Gordon was banged up most of last year and Rivers really struggled during his rookie year. Greivis Vasquez had a breakout year at the point so I’m not sure how Burke would fit into the equation. By process of elimination that leaves Porter who would certainly fill a need at small forward since Al-Farouq Aminu is a free agent. This would be a serious decision for the Pelicans to ponder but like I said, no way they land the top pick. Right?
Sacramento Kings (6.3%) Nerlens Noel
For a franchise that has seemingly no direction, this should be an obvious choice if the win the NBA Draft Lottery. Noel and DeMarcus Cousins would be a dynamic young front court and the duo would compliment each other perfectly.
Detroit Pistons (4.3%): Ben McLemore
The Pistons already have a young nucleus inside with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond so adding Noel would crowd things inside a bit especially when their biggest need is on the wing. That would give McLemore the edge but the Pistons could be inclined to keep Burke in the state especially with Jose Calderon a free agent. Porter would provide a needed boost on the wing.
Washington Wizards (2.8%): Nerlens Noel
This is a no brainer since the Wiz already have their backcourt of the future in John Wall and Bradley Beal. Washington’s power forward production was pretty abysmal last season so Noel would immediately fill a role and with Emeka Okafor entering the final year of his deal, serves a shot blocking presence as well.
Minnesota Timberwolves (1.7%) Ben McLemore
The biggest positive if the T-Wolves won the NBA Draft Lottery would be the fact that David Kahn couldn’t butcher the pick since he was canned this off-season. Unless Minnesota doesn’t plan on re-signing restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic or is ready to trade Kevin Love in the next year, Noel wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. The Timberwolves have been searching for an answer at the shooting guard position which is why McLemore gets the nod.
Portland Trail Blazers (1.1%): Nerlens Noel
Depth was a major weakness for Portland last season so they could really use any of these guys (except Burke probably since they just took Damian Lillard last year.) In terms of immediate need, the Blazers could be losing J.J. Hickson to free agency. While Noel doesn’t possess the physicality inside that Hickson does, the former Kentucky Wildcat adds a needed defensive dimension and would certainly be an upgrade over Portland’s other first rounder last year, Meyers Leonard.
Philadelphia 76ers (0.8%): Nerlens Noel
Philly’s two biggest needs entering the off-season are size inside and perimeter scoring. Therefore, both Noel and McLemore would be in play if the Sixers won the NBA Draft Lottery with Noel getting the nod.
Toronto Raptors (0.7%): Nerlens Noel
This would be a biggie for the Raps whose first round pick will go to Oklahoma City if it falls out of the top four. Toronto already has solid young talent on the wing with Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, and last year’s first round pick, Terrence Ross so McLemore wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. Noel would be the athletic, shot-blocking force inside that the Raptors lost when they dealt Ed Davis to Memphis and could be a nice compliment to Jonas Valanciunas inside. If the team is not sold on Kyle Lowry as their long-term solution at point, Toronto might take a more serious look at Burke.
Dallas Mavericks (0.6%): Trey Burke
The biggest need entering this off-season for Dallas is in the backcourt where O.J. Mayo will almost certainly opt out of his deal and Darren Collison is a restricted free agent. The Mavs could also use an inside presence like Nerlens Noel but with Mark Cuban’s desire to win now, there might not be the patience to draft Noel with his ACL injury status uncertain. I could see Dallas pulling the trigger on Burke and handing him the keys to the offense.
Utah Jazz (0.5%): Nerlens Noel
With both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap free agents, Noel would seem like a no-brainer if the Jazz won the NBA Draft lottery. He would provide depth inside and add to a young frontcourt of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. With that being said, Utah also has a huge void at the point guard position so they might take a seriously look at Burke as well.
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks