NBA Draft Lottery: Top 3 Projections

Each team that didn’t make the NBA playoffs was entered into the NBA Draft Lottery. For the second time since 2011, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery. This means that they will select first in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Orlando Magic, who were favored to win, will pick second, and the Charlotte Bobcats, who are changing their name back to the Charlotte Hornets next season will pick fourth. Charlotte can never catch a break when it comes to the draft lottery. Last year they won the second pick, but that meant they lost out on Anthony Davis who was the number one overall pick and who has since been an Olympian  Winning a surprising spot in the top three was the Washington Wizards; who were projected to be drafting eighth overall. If they can add a power player in the draft, they might be able to make a potential playoff run.

The Cavaliers have many options with the number one pick. They can choose Nerlens Noel in order to upgrade the power forward/center position. However, with his season ending ACL tear earlier in the year, he may not be ready for the beginning of the season. Another option would be drafting shooting guard Ben McLemore or small forward Otto Porter. Either of these players would work great with point guard Kyrie Irving and both would greatly help the team. The last option would be trading the pick. Certainly, they will listen to offers, and if the right offer comes up they may take it. Unless a great trade comes up I think they will take Noel. If Noel misses some of the season then Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller are more than capable of filling in. Varejao was leading the league in rebounds last season before he got injured and Tyler Zeller can step in and play big minutes and stay consistent. The Cavs have picks 19, 31 and 33 as well. If they draft Noel, then they will probably look to draft a small forward for sure as well as a shooting guard and big man for extra depth. The Cavs have Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson all returning and all three of them were top five picks in the past two drafts. The Cavs future looks very bright. The Thunder drafted Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden in the top five three straight years and they turned their franchise around. Once this draft is over, the Cavs will have made four top five picks in only three seasons.

If Nerlens Noel goes number one overall I fully expect Orlando to pull the trigger and draft Ben McLemore, a Kansas freshman. He would fit very well in the Magic rotation that already has Mo Harkless, Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson. Adding McLemore would make them one of the most young and exciting teams in the NBA. The Magic could possibly have their own Big Three within a few seasons. However, it is not a given that Noel goes number one. If the Cavs take McLemore then it looks like the Magic would take Noel. Another possibility would be to take Trey Burke at pick two. Right now, the point guards in Orlando are Beno Udrih and Jameer Nelson. Burke would certainly be an upgrade and at the same time, he would be able to learn under veterans Udrih and Nelson.

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel

The first two picks will be certainly interesting, especially if Noel and McLemore go one and two in either order. Washington will be waiting eagerly at pick three. If the Cavs or Magic pass on either player then I expect the Wizards to draft them in a heartbeat whether its Noel or McLemore. If the draft goes as planned, then I expect the Wizards to really do their homework and look at every option possible. Besides John Wall, no player in Washington is safe. Drafting Otto Porter third would probably be the best pick, however they will consider power forward Anthony Bennett as well. Right now, their big men are Nene and Emeka Okafor who both have more than one year left on their contracts. For now, those guys will probably work, which leads me to think that they will draft Otto Porter third overall to round out the top three draft picks.

You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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