By Tom Ziller on Jun 27 2013, 10:03a @teamziller
Who's going No. 1? Is the 2013 NBA Draft really as bad as everyone says? We answer those questions and more in our NBA Draft primer.
The NBA Draft is the league's annual paean to tomorrow. Fans barely get an opportunity to celebrate the champions of last season before watching the stars of the future go through the sorting hat ritual. Coverage of the 2013 derby begins Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, with the first pick coming shortly after 7:30. SBNation.com will, of course, provide comprehensive coverage.
To help you prepare, we've compiled this primer on the event. Enjoy!
No one knows! This is actually pretty rare in the annals of the NBA Draft. There is almost always a clear-cut, consensus choice at this point, if not in May. Nerlens Noel is certainly the favorite to go No. 1, but repeated reports have suggested the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the No. 1 pick for the second time in three years and third time in the past decade, are undecided and looking at trades to get out of the choice. (In fairness to Cleveland, the trades that have been leaked out would get the Cavaliers a very good veteran.)
Noel is a big man out of Kentucky. He was injured late in the Wildcats season and may not play until December, adding some concern to his status as a top prospect. He's an excellent shot blocker and projects as a top defensive big man. His offense, however, currently leaves a lot to be desired. Also, he has a killer haircut. Better than Norris Cole, not quite to the level of Iman Shumpert.
Other options at No. 1 appear to be Alex Len, Ben McLemore and Otto Porter.
DOES THIS DRAFT SUCK?
Yes, in a way! There are no surefire stars. There may be no stars period. It happens. But there is some solid depth and plenty of intrigue. Because of the unsettled nature of the lottery, we may see a bunch of trades. Also remember that free agency begins on Monday -- this could turn into a week or two of heavy movement as teams look to prep for stricter salary cap and trade rules. The Mavericks, for instance, have openly discussed trading out of their lottery spot.
But yes, it's unlikely we'll have many, if any, All-Stars from this draft, and that does put a damper on the whole thing. All we can hope for is fun during the event itself.
WHO ARE THE BIGGEST SLEEPERS?
We had a stunner at No. 4 in 2012 as Cleveland took Dion Waiters, leaving Thomas Robinson and Harrison Barnes on the board. This year, two guards that could end up going surprisingly high are C.J. McCollum of Lehigh and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Georgia. Both are good shooters and versatile. McCollum in particular is seen as a Damian Lillard doppelgänger, mostly owing to backcourt impurity (they are combo guards) and small-school heritage. KCP is a more traditional two-guard with great peripheral numbers. It's hard to imagine KCP going any higher than No. 7, and the same can likely be said of McCollum. But we'll see.