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NBA Lottery Mock Draft: Players and Trade Watch - Alex Len to Phoenix Suns?

USA TODAY Sports


I can't seem to sleep tonight, so why the heck not? I'll give my pick based on position, and then thoughts on potential trades.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Nerlens Noel

Noel and McLemore are the 1st tier in this draft, and the Cavs just drafted a SG at #4 last year, who they are unlikely to give up on so quickly. Cleveland needs a real center, as both Anderson Varajao and Tristan Thompson are really power forwards, so Noel it is.

Trade Watch: Cleveland also needs help at SF, and could potentially trade down to get Otto Porter.

2. Orlando Magic - Ben McLemore

Because Noel is already off the board, and he's the other best player in this draft.

Trade Watch: Orlando needs PG help, and some mocks even have them taking Burke at #2. Doubt it - if they want Burke, I think they trade down a few spots.

3. Washington Wizards - Otto Porter

The primary need for the Wizards is shooting. Porter shot 42% on the long ball on over 3 attempts per game. The secondary need for Washington is to replace or extend Trevor Ariza and/or Emeka Okafor, as their contracts will expire after this season. Porter may replace Ariza, for cheaper, freeing them up salary to extend Wall, which is another need.

Trade Watch: The Wizards could really use a frontcourt player who can shoot, and it is conceivable that they could trade their suddenly-valuable pick in order to acquire veteran help there.

4. Charlotte Bobcats Hornets - Victor Oladipo

The Bobcat/Hornets are set at PG and SF, with gaping holes everywhere else, but especially at SG, as they don't currently have a classic SG on roster that's worth mentioning. Oladipo's also ready to contribute now, which the Horn-cats need, as they are in win-now mode (lol) as evidenced by their pulling their coach... again.

Trade Watch: The Cats have a long and glorious history of trading back into the bottom of the 1st round to pick up marginal wing players, who they then give major minutes to. Carolina sharpshooter Reggie Bullock is a hot local player who fills a need, and should be somewhere near the bottom of the 1st.

5. Phoenix Suns - Alex Len

New GM McDonough needs to build a completely new team, not patch the existing one up, and those sorts of projects often start with a big man. With Marcin Gortat set to be an unrestricted FA after next year, and Jermaine O'Neal potentially retiring, the Suns also address a need. The Suns legendary training staff and willingness to suck next year to get another high pick make Len's injury less worrisome.

Trade Watch: This is a fire sale, so the possibility of existing players being dealt for current/future draft picks is certainly there.

6. NOLA Pelicans - Shabazz Muhammed

The Pelicans are stacked with young talent in the frontcourt, and appear committed to the Austin Rivers experiment at shooting guard, based on comments from their brass at the draft lottery. With Xavier Henry and Al-Fariq Aminu's contracts expiring, Muhammed addresses a positional need.

Trade Watch: Shabazz is a little stretch at 6, and it would make sense for the Pelicans to trade down a few spots to acquire him, netting them perhaps another pick.

7. Sacramento Kings - Anthony Bennett

Let's assume they pass on Trey Burke, given that undersized guards Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette, and Aaron Brooks are already on roster, and the Kings are finally Maloof-free. Bennett is the best talent in the mock here, having dropped somewhat, and UNLV is close enough to Sac for people there to know who Bennett is.

Trade Watch: The Kings roster is filled with marginal contributors. The Kings need to move some of those contracts out, and contending teams might be tempted to take a Travis Outlaw or a Patrick Patterson in exchange for their late 1st rounder.

8. Detroit Pistons - Trey Burke

Detroit needs backcourt help. Burke is a local hero after playing at Michigan. Is there any way the P's don't take Burke if he's on the board?

Trade Watch: With almost $34M coming off their books in free agency, the Pistons are ready to make a run at free agency. Can't see them tying up much of that space with trades, until after they've been passed over by the Dwight Howards and Chris Paul's of the world.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves - Sergey Karasev

Kevin Love says the Wolves need a shooter to space the floor, and with Kahn out, and nice-guy coach turned first time GM Flip Saunders manning the chair, I think Love and Adelman may actually be calling the shots at this point. Karasev fits the bill as a good shooter, and can come over from Russia immediately. He would also be the 3rd Russian on the team (Kirilenko, Shved) which probably doesn't hurt any.

Trade Watch: 4 rotation-worthy PG's on the Wolves roster. Somebody's gotta go...

10. Portland Trailblazers - Rudy Gobert

For all the Blazers posturing about moving up to get Oladipo, what they really need is a paint presence. Their interior defense was pitiful last year. International pick Gobert will play immediately and patrol the paint. The Blazers continue their long, glorious history of picking, and then breaking, elite big men in the draft.

Trade Watch: Rumors are that Portland is looking to trade up to get Oladipo. Which means they are really trying to get someone else to drop... who is that? Shabazz?

11. Philadelphia 76ers - Steven Adams

With the failure of the Andrew Bynum experiment, the Sixers need frontcourt help in a big way, and Adams is nothing if not big, clocking in at 7' and 255, and posting impressive measurables at the combine. Adams also played at Pitt, nearby, so the gigantic Kiwi is already acquainted with Pennsylvania hospitality.

Trade Watch: The Sixers will have some capspace and a need to address at SG.

12. OKC Thunder - Cody Zeller

Zeller is ready to help a team now, and OKC could use interior help. The Gazelle(r)'s transition game could also be a draw for the Thunder, who might look to change up their style if they let Perkins go.

Trade Watch: Perkins.

13. Dallas Mavericks - CJ McCollum

Dallas is trading out of this pick. Take a look at their roster, and the only players under contract are Nowitzski, Marion, Vince Carter, and 2 rookie scale contracts. Nowitzski is offering to take a pay cut to bring in talent. Mark Cuban fancies Dallas as a big-market team that can draw premier free agents, and the Mavs roster the past few years reflects preparation to make that splash in free agency. If, however, the Mavs decided to keep the pick, then they do need a guard, and McCollum has fallen about as far as he can fall.

Trade Watch: Dallas would like to trade back this pick for either a cheap role player or a future year pick. If McCollum falls this far, someone will make that deal to trade up for him.

14. Utah Jazz - Dennis Schroeder

Their PG's this year were Randy Foye and Jamaal Tinsley. And neither is under contract next year.

Trade Watch: The Jazz play hardball in trade talks, which is why most of the time, the rumors about Jazz trades don't come to fruition. More of the same.

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