2013 NBA Draft Props and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/26/2013
It's time to put a cap on the 2012-13 NBA season with the NBA Draft, which is Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It's really the final tie to the previous season; the next big date on the calendar is July 1 when free agency begins. But barring a big Dwight Howard move from the Lakers to either the Rockets or Clippers, this is likely to be one of our final NBA props story for months.
The Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery in May, yet another season in which the team with the best record didn't (that would be Orlando). I say the Cavs deserve it, however, considering how LeBron James left the franchise in shambles and is now king of the pro basketball world. I guess you could say nearly the same about Howard and the Magic.
The Cavs hit a home run last time they won the lottery, taking Duke point guard Kyrie Irving. Now that pick looks like a no-brainer, but remember that Irving barely played during his one year at Duke because of a foot injury. That draft otherwise looks pretty weak at the top, with the other best picks being Kawhi Leonard at No. 15 by Indiana (traded to Spurs), Kenneth Faried at No. 22 to Denver and Jimmy Butler at No. 30 to the Bulls.
This draft is considered very weak at the top, but decently deep overall in the sense you could get a player at No. 25 who could have a lottery grade, like UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad. He was considered a potential No. 1 overall pick when he entered UCLA as a hyped freshman last season but underachieved and was accused of some attitude problems. Look for many teams to try and trade out of the first round Thursday to load up on picks for next year, when the draft is expected to be loaded with the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Marcus Smart (who might have gone No. 1 overall this year had he not surprisingly returned to Oklahoma State).
Both Bovada and Sportsbook.ag offer some draft props. One is who the first pick will be, and all reports are that it either with be Kentucky string bean Nerlens Noel or Maryland center Alex Len. Noel could be a defensive dynamo from Day 1 but is offensively raw and won't be ready for the start of the season due to a torn ACL. Len has major upside and you can't teach height. But he never dominated in college. Shoot, he wasn't ever even third-team All-ACC. He looks like a Michael Olowakandi-level mistake to me. The Cavs say they will draft the best talent – Noel has the top grade and is a poor-man's Anthony Davis. Noel is the -175 favorite to go first and I believe it's him. Len is +150. It won't be anyone else barring a trade.
Orlando would jump on Noel but not Len at No. 2. Victor Oladipo, who was a relative unknown entering his junior season at Indiana, is the -110 favorite to go there. I think Orlando goes with Kansas' Ben McLemore (+150), the best pure scorer in the draft who has been compared to a young Ray Allen.
Washington at No. 3 seems locked into a small forward, a glaring hole in the Wizards' lineup. Georgetown's Otto Porter seems like a lock here, and he's the -150 favorite. Porter is probably the most NBA-ready player in the draft. That Porter is drafted before McLemore is -200, with McLemore first at +150.
Charlotte has the No. 4 pick after missing out on Davis last year. The Bobcats need everything but I think they snatch Len, who is +350. The favorite is UNLV's Anthony Bennett at +140. Bennett is a monster talent but a bit of a tweener at his size. I think he is slow for small forward, too small to play at the No. 4.
The over/under for Oladipo's draft position is No. 3 (both -120), and I think he goes No. 5 to Phoenix, which also needs everything. Oladipo is the +125 favorite there. I would say this draft then really gets interesting after No. 6 because I presume Bennett doesn't slide past there. It seems like there's a bit of a gap between the Top 6 guys and the rest.
Muhammad is given an over/under position of 14.5. Yes, he moped on the court when teammate Larry Drew didn't pass him the ball and hit a game winning shot for UCLA last year. But Muhammad can score. He just can’t do much else. He will go ‘under’ that number.
How many freshmen like Muhammad will be first round picks? That total is listed at six. Muhammad, McLemore, Noel, Bennett and Pittsburgh's Steven Adams are locks. Which other frosh slips in? Most major mock drafts have only Providence's Ricky Ledo as a possibility. I think this is a push, honestly, but probably lean ‘over’ because I do think those six are sure things.
The international field is really weak this year, with the best prospect, Croatia's Dario Saric, pulling out. The ‘over/under’ for the first non-NCAA player drafted is 12.5. The one good thing with taking a Euro is that teams can stash the player overseas for a few years and not have to pay that guaranteed first-round contract. The three top non-NCAA players appear to be Brazil's Lucas Nogueira, Russia's Sergey Karasev and Germany's Dennis Schroeder. I don't think a non-NCAA player goes before No. 13. Take the ‘under’.
There's an over/under of 5.5 non-NCAA players going in the first round, with over a -140 favorite. The only other guys expected to go are Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo and France's Rudy Gobert, so take the ‘under’.
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