We’re at the eve of NBA draft 2013. There are many questions, storylines, and rumors that have come and gone in the weeks leading up to this heavily anticipated day.
One of the bigger, if not the biggest question on many people’s minds is “Who will be picked first overall?” Even though the general consensus is that Nerlens Noel (208 cm, Kentucky’13) will be picked first, he’s not a 100-percent lock as the top pick. Noel is recovering from a torn ACL. The Cavaliers are in desperate need of a scoring forward and not a defense-oriented big man. Cleveland has been shopping its first pick around like it was a hot potato lately. Well at least a potato they don’t want to undervalue. Yes, they’re actually trading up their first pick. Clever. They’ve made a play to acquire Kevin Love (208 cm, UCLA’08) from the Minnesota Timberwolves, packaging the first pick along with Tristan Thompson (203 cm, Texas’11) and Dion Waiters (193 cm, Syracuse’12). The T-Wolves declined. The Cavs also tried to acquire LaMarcus Aldridge (211 cm, Texas’06) from the Portland Trail Blazers for draft picks. Portland likewise declined as well. The Cavaliers have been saying that they’re “keeping their options open,” and invited other top prospects like Ben McLemore (196 cm, Kansas’13) to work out for them. The names of Ukrainian Alex Len (216 cm, Maryland’13) and Victor Oladipo (196 cm, Indiana’13) have been recently floated as being on their radar. IF they do find a taker for their pick it will be likely to a team that does want a defensive stopper and intends to maximize Noel. IF not, Cleveland still may or may not pick him at number one.
Speaking of Len and Oladipo, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been recently trying to maneuver themselves into top-five draft position, purportedly to target either of those two players. They’ve been offering Kendrick Perkins (208 cm) and possibly the expiring contract of Kevin Martin (201 cm, Western Carolina’04). One of their potential trade partners would be the Orlando Magic who hold the second pick in the draft. Magic GM Rob Hennigan is said to be entertaining three to four serious offers for their pick and is exploring all available options.
Aside from Alex Len, some other foreign players who are projected to make a splash in the first round of the draft are Germany’s Dennis Schroeder (181 cm) who is said to be on Dallas’ watch list and Canadian Kelly Olynyk (213 cm, Gonzaga’13) who could possibly go as early as 12th. Russia’s Sergey Karasev (2o2 cm) and Greek-Nigerian Giannis Adetukonbo (206 cm) could be interesting dark horse picks as well.