Who would lottery clubs take No. 1? - Insider

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Who would lottery clubs take No. 1? - Insider

Figured someone would ask so here ya go!

We've had the LeBron Draft. The Blake Griffin Draft. The Anthony Davis Draft.

This year, well … it's the Player To Be Named Later Draft.

Typically, by February, one or two players have emerged as the consensus front-runner(s) for the top pick in the NBA draft. When it hasn't been a lone player like LeBron, Griffin or Davis, it's been a debate between two elite players like Greg Oden and Kevin Durant or Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley.

This year, not only is there no consensus No. 1, but most NBA GMs are struggling to come up with anyone who deserves to be the top pick in the draft.

"As you look at the guys atop your Big Board," one veteran GM said, "I'm struck with how depleted the talent pool is this year at the top. This is a pretty good draft if you want to talk depth. I just don't see a player who turns our franchise around at the top. I could be wrong. I didn't see Kyrie Irving doing what he's doing for the Cavs right now. But this year is especially troubling."

GMs have struggled with this dilemma before.

In 2006 there was no clear No. 1 pick, either. Andrea Bargnani, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and Tyrus Thomas were all mentioned as potential No. 1 picks. Of those four players, only Aldridge has made an All-Star team. Two lower picks, No. 6 Brandon Roy and No. 21 Rajon Rondo ended up on All-Star teams first.

GMs also struggled in 2001, when high school players like Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry competed to be the No. 1 pick. Of the top five players drafted that year, only Chandler and Pau Gasol, who was never seriously considered for the No. 1 pick, made an All-Star team.

The 1998 draft (in which Michael Olowokandi went No. 1 overall) and the 1995 draft (Joe Smith went first) suffered from a similar malady.

So you might understand why GMs on bad teams like the Bobcats, Magic and Suns are wringing their hands right now. Each team desperately needs a savior, and by the looks of things, a basketball messiah won't be shaking David Stern's hand on draft night.

Nevertheless, someone has to pick No. 1. And we know there's real talent here. It's just not a slam dunk.

This year, there is an unusually large group of contenders. In speaking with GMs over the course of the past few months, it looks like a total of six players are in serious consideration for the No.1 pick -- Kansas' Ben McLemore, Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, UNLV's Anthony Bennett, Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Maryland's Alex Len.

The six players couldn't be more different. McLemore is an athletic, sweet shooting 2-guard. Noel is a long, crazy athletic shot-blocker. Smart is a powerful point guard. Bennett is an explosive scoring forward. Oladipo is a high-motor, lockdown defender. Len is a traditional back-to-the-basket center.

Of those six, three of them -- McLemore, Noel and Smart -- are the heavy favorites to go No. 1 in the draft.

Two other players, Indiana's Cody Zeller and UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad, were mentioned earlier in the season as potential No. 1 picks but have recently slid out of consideration.

With the debut of our annual Lottery Mock Draft, Insider spoke to scouts or executives from almost every team projected to be in the draft lottery in an effort to determine their individual draft order for the lottery generator.

When there is no clear No. 1 pick, teams tend to focus on team needs instead of overall talent. So, as we expected, teams had various answers to the question: Who will go No. 1?

Charlotte Bobcats
Odds of winning the lottery: 25 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Ben McLemore

The Bobcats need help just about everywhere. They have the second-worst offensive rate and defensive rate in the league and have the lowest effective field goal percentage in the NBA. But with young players like Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist looking like keepers, and with a number of young projects, including Bismack Biyombo, on the front line, look for the Bobcats to try to add some shooting and athleticism to their backcourt. McLemore is in a bit of a slump, but when he gets it going he's got a little Ray Allen in him.

Orlando Magic
Odds of winning the lottery: 19.9 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Marcus Smart

The Magic could also use help everywhere on the floor, but with young players in place at center (Nikola Vucevic), power forward (Andrew Nicholson) and small forward (Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris) look for the team to try to juice up the backcourt.

While McLemore might be an option to replace Arron Afflalo, the money is on Smart. The Magic need a leader and a potential star, and while Smart's numbers won't always wow you, his leadership on the court and his power taking the ball to the basket could make him an All-Star someday.

Washington Wizards
Odds of winning the lottery: 13.8 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Nerlens Noel

The Wizards have their backcourt of the future with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Now they need some young bigs to swat shots and run the floor with them.

While Noel's ACL injury has put a small damper on his stock, NBA GMs aren't worried that it will affect his performance in the long term. He could be a perfect long-term fit next to Wall and Beal and give the Wizards a young big three to build around for the next decade.

Phoenix Suns
Odds of winning the lottery: 9.6 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Ben McLemore

The Suns are one of the most messed up teams in the NBA. They don't really have anyone on their roster to build around. Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat are their best players, but are not terrific building blocks for the future.

Their other young players, including Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall, are major works in progress. So … it's really wide open in Phoenix. While the Suns could certainly go in a variety of ways, one source says that McLemore is currently atop their board.

Sacramento Kings
Odds of winning the lottery: 9.6 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Marcus Smart

The Kings are loaded with young talent. What they need are high-character winners who bring leadership to the table. Smart looks like the perfect fit there. He's an upgrade over everyone else at the position and brings the sort of work ethic and team-first mentality to Sacramento that everyone else desperately needs.

New Orleans Hornets
Odds of winning the lottery: 9.6 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Marcus Smart

The Hornets won the draft lottery last year and brought home a potential franchise-changing prize in Anthony Davis. If they win it again this year, look for them to try to connect him with a point guard who can deliver the ball to him in the right places and defend both spots in the backcourt. Greivis Vasquez has been good, but he doesn't have the two-way potential of Smart.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Odds of winning the lottery: 3.6 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Nerlens Noel

With the Cavs' backcourt set with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, look for them to try to fill a need in their frontcourt. While Shabazz Muhammad and Georgetown's Otto Porter are likely selections if the team drafts in its current spot, the Cavs might swing for the fences with Noel, or possibly Len, if they land the No. 1 pick.

Paired in the frontcourt with a young Tristan Thompson, the Cavs could be a LeBron James defection away from dominating the league.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Odds of winning the lottery: 3.5 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Ben McLemore

The Wolves have been looking for a shooter to pair with Ricky Rubio in the backcourt. While rookie Alexey Shved has been good for them, he doesn't have McLemore's athletic ability or jump shot. Noel and Oladipo are options here, but this one looks like a no-brainer for McLemore.

Detroit Pistons
Odds of winning the lottery: 1.7 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Ben McLemore

Detroit is feeling good about its young frontcourt of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond and is still high on the long-term potential of Brandon Knight.

McLemore or Oladipo will make a tough choice for them. McLemore is a better shooter and a smoother scorer, while Oladipo brings that nastiness and defensive intensity that the Pistons once dominated the league with.

Toronto Raptors
Odds of winning the lottery: 1.1 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Marcus Smart

Kyle Lowry has been good for Toronto, but Smart has a lot more long-term upside. He packs the same power and intensity that Lowry brings but does it in a bigger package with more offensive game.

Philadelphia 76ers
Odds of winning the lottery: 0.8 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Nerlens Noel

Doug Collins is still smarting over his decision to pass on Derrick Favors and take Evan Turner with the second pick in the 2010 NBA draft.

Don't expect him to make the same mistake twice. The Sixers really want an elite athlete in the frontcourt, and Noel could be a Marcus Camby for them.

Dallas Mavericks
Odds of winning the lottery: 0.7 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Nerlens Noel

Dallas has been looking for a permanent big man in the middle for a while now. Tyson Chandler thrived there, but got too expensive to keep long term.

If the Mavs can land Noel, they have the first piece around which to rebuild.

Portland Trail Blazers
Odds of winning the lottery: 0.6 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Ben McLemore

Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and, to a lesser extent, Nicolas Batum are the long-term fixtures in Portland. I'd put Noel here, but after the Blazers' last experience with a young injured big man, I'm not sure they'd have the stomach for Noel right now.

While Wesley Matthews has been solid for Portland, McLemore offers more size and athleticism with a similar shooting touch.

Phoenix Suns (via Lakers)
Odds of winning the lottery: 0.5 percent
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Ben McLemore

See Suns description above.

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Not sure how Ben Mclemore

Not sure how Ben Mclemore offers more size than Wes Matthews when he's listed at the same height and is 25 lbs lighter but anyway...

Good article if someone predictable. One thing I disagree with is NO going for Smart as a PG over a swingman. Rivers does not look like a future starter, and EG hasn't seemed too keen on sticking around for the long term. If I was NO and ended up with the first pick I'd probably lean towards someone like Mclemore or Muhammed.

Then again what do I know, I still have Shabazz as my #1 prospect overall, lol.

King Calucha
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I think some teams would take

I think some teams would take Shabbaz with the first pick. Noel is now too much of a risk because of the injury.

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i think this year we're gonna

i think this year we're gonna have to wait to see what happens in the march madness and see who stands out...

watch out for willie caulley-stein... shabazz might be hungry and eager to shut some mouths...

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I can't see any way Noel goes

I can't see any way Noel goes #1. he has no real offensive skills and now he is injured as well.

Forte IV
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His defense, even though his

His defense, even though his offense lacked in the games he played in you are high if you don't think he oozes with defensive potential, not to mention his passing game for a big man could be developed.

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This years draft is not very

This years draft is not very deep and next years draft is stacked with starpower potential. I would definitely go for a solid piece in this draft apposed to a gamble on potential, or meaningless stats. Marcus Smart and Ben Mclemore would be definitely be up there on my list but Zeller could not be counted out in my opinion. The NBA does not have very many dominate post players left with his size and athletisism. The point in my opinion would be to acquire the MKG type "know what your getting" piece is acquired so you can put yourself in a position to draft a star in 2014 and have some talent

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Even though its a very low percent chance, i dont think the raptors would take another pg as number 1. if they raptors got the first overall pick, i dont see them keeping it to begin with. Bryan would prob trade it away to maybe a later round pick like 8-16 and get some pieces maybe even some second round picks. and then take canadian anthony bennett, or even like a otto potter, or cody zeller. Bryan is gunna start going into the combo positions the 2/3 3/4 4/5 players and not the only be able to play the point or the 3.

but if they had to take someone i think its noels. they traded jose just to give lowry the handle and he has played well not putting up 20 10 but played well none the less. they would need another player there cuz as much as amir is playing great he is a 6 man..

PG- Lowry/ Kobongo (Second Round) (if they get a second round pick)
SG- Derozen/ Ross
SF- Gay/ Fields
PF- Noels/Johnson
C- Jonas/ (later pick or free agent)

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How has Muhammad slid out of

How has Muhammad slid out of consideration for the #1 pick? I think he has been just as consistent as Smart and Mclemore.

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I think there are two

I think there are two misconceptions. One by users, the other by these NBA draft prognosticators.

The first is: The idea that Muhammad is going to go No.1. Muhammad is fairly one dimensional, isn't an "elite" athlete by NBA standards, and really just looks like a decent individual player who will rot away on a lottery team because he does litterally nothing to make your team better. He's been selfish at times, and I think that in terms of "Swingmen" all the NBA teams seem to be favoring McLemore.

The second is: The idea that Noel is going to go No.1. I understand that NBA teams must invest for the long term and I'm sure Noel will bounce back from the injury. But there are so many bad teams, I am hard pressed to believe one of them is going to get the first pick, be able to pick ANY of these guys, and they are gonna be first in line to pick a player who will probably miss half the season at least. And the thing is, this guy really wasn't pulling away as the No.1 pick BEFORE he got hurt. His game is incredibly raw offensively, yes, hes a good passer, but he has no real way of scoring beyond dunks and put backs. I just see Joakim Noah in him, and thats fine, for picks 6-10. But you are going to use your number one pick on a guy who cant give much offensively and has a TORN ACL? I just think its kind of ridiculous, but like that guy up there said, what do I know? I'd take Bennett over all these guys and I seem to be alone in that regard.

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