2013 NBA Mock Draft: In top 10, beauty is in the eye of the beholder

USA TODAY Sports

Who will go No. 1? A more interesting question might be who goes 2-5, as the top nine players are all pretty even in terms of potential. Jonathan Tjarks lays out the entire first round in this mock draft.

The Cavaliers beat the odds on Tuesday, becoming only the second team in the lottery era with two No. 1 overall picks in a three-year period. Unfortunately for Cleveland, there doesn't appear to be any prospect as sure a bet as Kyrie Irving was in 2011.

Nerlens Noel is widely seen as the best player available, but does he really make sense next to Tristan Thompson long-term? A 205-pound center with no post game and no jump shot isn't necessarily someone I'd rearrange my roster for, no matter how good a shot-blocker he is.

At the very least, Cleveland will explore all their options with the pick. The Cavaliers front office has a history (Dion Waiters) of thinking outside the box, so tracking (read: blindly speculating about) their deliberations over the next six weeks should be fun.

In my opinion, there isn't all that much difference between the top eight to ten players available, anyway. In a draft like this, beauty is in the eye of beholder.

This mock is more who I think will be taken instead of who I think should be taken, though by the end of the first round, the rankings become so fluid that it's hard to say the difference.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

Here's my problem with Noel to Cleveland: there won't be a lot of space on the floor with Noel and Thompson upfront. Neither can force their man to leave the paint, which is bad when you have guards who attack the rim like Irving and Waiters. Down the road, that's a group less than the sum of its parts.

2. Orlando Magic -- Ben McLemore, Kansas

This is a great fit of player and team. McLemore, who is more finisher than playmaker right now, goes to a team that doesn't need him to create 15+ shots a game. Orlando gets a long-term answer at SG who can space the floor for its young frontcourt players.

3. Washington Wizards -- Otto Porter, Georgetown

Porter is a safe pick -- a local kid who fills an instant need on your roster. At the same time, that leaves you with a frontcourt of the future of Nene (30) and Emeka Okafor (30). If you have three top-three picks on your roster, it seems reasonable to make at least one of them a big man.

4. Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets -- Anthony Bennett, UNLV

The ideal scenario for Charlotte. Bennett is a 6'8, 240-pound forward who can play above the rim, knock down three-pointers and put the ball on the floor. He gets buckets, and this team really needs guys who can do that.

5. Phoenix Suns -- Alex Len, Maryland

Phoenix can take whoever they want here, since there's no one currently on their roster guaranteed to be there in two years. Len is a 7'1, 255-pound center who can make an impact on the game on both sides of the ball. A center is always a nice place to start a rebuilding effort.

DraftExpress on Trey Burke

6. New Orleans Pelicans -- Trey Burke, Michigan

Burke is one of the safest picks in this year's draft. That's a good thing for a team that drafted Austin Rivers. If Eric Gordon can live up to his max contract, the Hornets will have a nice squad.

7. Sacramento Kings -- Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

This could change, depending on who is running things in a month. Here are the Kings last four lottery picks: Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmer Fredette and Thomas Robinson. That's a front office drafting the biggest name available, without any regard to fit.

8. Detroit Pistons -- Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse

A 6'6 PG is the best way to salvage the Brandon Knight era. Carter-Williams can cross-switch defensively and let Knight play off the ball. That could be a really fun backcourt.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Victor Oladipo, Indiana

This is a probably a little low for Oladipo, but it would be a great pick for Minnesota if it came out this way. Ricky Rubio throwing oops to Oladipo would be something. Never forget.

10. Portland Trail Blazers -- Cody Zeller, Indiana

Picks nine through 11 are right about where this draft starts to tail off, so Portland is just taking whomever falls to them. Zeller and LaMarcus Aldridge would be a really interesting frontcourt tandem, at least offensively.

11. Philadelphia 76ers -- Rudy Gobert, France

It's hard to get a feel for what direction new management will go in here. Do they go with a safe, low-ceiling pick or swing for the fences? Gobert, and his 7'9 wingspan, definitely falls into the second category.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors) -- Gorgui Dieng, Louisville

Dieng is a 23-year-old center who can play defense and knock down a mid-range jumper. Just going to throw this out there, but I suspect he is already a better basketball player than either Kendrick Perkins or Hasheem Thabeet.

13. Dallas Mavericks -- Dennis Schroeder, Germany

Schroeder has as much talent as any PG in this draft. He has a good feel for the game, great size and athleticism (6'2, 180 pounds with a 6'8 wingspan) and a three-point shot. He could talk to Dirk in German during games. It would be like their own private code.

14. Utah Jazz -- C.J. McCollum, Lehigh

The Jazz have nice young players at the other four positions, so they will just take whichever PG falls to them at 14. McCollum's shooting would be a good complement to Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.

15. Milwaukee Bucks -- Sergey Karasev, Russia

Karasev, a 6'7, 205-pound wing with a great feel for the game, is one of the best shooters in the draft. He's a smart player who can fit in almost any situation, which is good considering how unsettled the Bucks future is.

16. Boston Celtics -- Tony Mitchell, North Texas

Danny Ainge has never been afraid to take risks, and someone needs to go full YOLO and take Mitchell. He is a 6'8, 235-pound forward with a 38' vertical who averaged three blocks a game and shot 34 percent from three. Just from alley-oops alone, Rajon Rondo would make him a useful player.

17. Atlanta Hawks -- Allen Crabbe, California

Crabbe is one of the most underrated players in the draft. He's a pure shooter with athleticism and size (6'6, 200 pounds with a 6'11 wingspan). He has a lot of Richard Hamilton in his game.

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets) -- Mason Plumlee, Duke

Plumlee will be a solid center in the NBA for a long time. He would be a safe pick the Hawks can fit around Al Horford and whatever else they decide to do with all their cap space.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via LA Lakers) -- Reggie Bullock, UNC

Whatever the Cavs do at No. 1, they should grab a three-and-D wing player at No. 19 to round out their starting five. Bullock, a 6'7, 205-pound guard who shoots 44 percent from three, is a bigger and faster version of Danny Green, another former Tar Heel.

20. Chicago Bulls -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia

Caldwell-Pope is an athletic guard with size (6'6, 200) who can shoot threes (37 percent this season). In the draft, it's usually one or the other. That combination alone will make him a useful player in the NBA.

DraftExpress on Giannis Antetokoumpo

21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors) -- Giannis Antetokoumpo, Greece

A little reading between the lines here. Utah is comfortable with international players and they don't need any more young guys on their roster. Antetokoumpo, an 18-year-old from Greece who will stay overseas for a few seasons, has the chance to be a crazy-nice player down the road.

22. Brooklyn Nets -- Dario Saric, Croatia

Saric is a good gamble for a Brooklyn team that doesn't have many ways of upgrading their talent base. If he can develop a consistent outside shot, he will be a really good player. That's a big if though.

23. Indiana Pacers -- Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga

I could see Olynyk slipping pretty far. With a 6'9 wingspan, he doesn't have the length to play center, and I'm not sure he's quick enough to play as a four in the NBA. For one thing, T-Rex arms means he won't be able to shoot over smaller players' heads. I'd still take him over Psycho T though.

24. New York Knicks -- Erick Green, Virginia Tech

Erick Green was the ACC Player of the Year. He's an athletic 6'4, 185-pound guard who averaged 24 points and four assists a game on 48 percent shooting. He has a lot of potential as a bench scorer in the NBA. Let's not hold his bad teammates against him.

25. LA Clippers -- Kenny Kadji, Miami

The one piece the Clippers really need is a big man who can stretch the floor for Blake Griffin. Kadji is a 6'11, 245-pound center who shoots 35 percent from three. He may only do one thing, but it's a valuable thing to do.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies) -- Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State

Carmichael is one of the safest picks left on the board. He's a 6'9, 240-pound big man who can play both interior positions and step out and hit a mid-range J. He dropped 20 and nine on Louisville and 22 and nine on Wichita State this season.

27. Denver Nuggets -- Steven Adams, Pittsburgh

Adams has potential, but let's not act like he had any business going pro after what he did this season. Denver can afford to draft him with eyes wide open. Send him to the D-League and hope for the best, because he may never make it back.

28. San Antonio Spurs -- Brandon Davies, BYU

Davies is another guy I think people will come around on. He's an athletic guy with really good size (6'10, 240 pounds with a 7'1 wingspan) who can hit a mid-range J and play with his back to the basket. I could see him having a Carl Landry-like career out of the second round.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State

Franklin led San Diego State in points, rebounds, assists and steals this season. He'll figure out a way to help at the next level, especially on a team with as little punch on the bench as Oklahoma City. First, though, he'll need to get rid of the long-sleeve undershirt.

30. Phoenix Suns -- Shane Larkin, Miami

I like Larkin's game as much as the next guy, but he's a 5'11, 170-pound guard with a 5'10 wingspan. Even with the massive vertical, how's he ever going to guard anyone in the NBA? Larkin will be a really good backup PG, but those guys are pretty replaceable.

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