Jim Sez for Wednesday, June 26 …





This just in:

Contrary to what you may be hearing about this year’s NBA Draft – on tap for Thursday night (7 p.m. ET) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn – there is lots of prime talent on hand and there’s certainly a whole lot of major intrigue too with a bevy of trades expected in Round I.

Okay, so no doubt you’ve been hearing/reading that this is the “weakest draft in memory” with word that next year’s draft will be way stronger from top to bottom but gotta say there’s 10 or 11 real-life difference-makers that will be called up to the stage to have their photo snapped with outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern and so let’s get the 2013 NBA Draft rollin’.

It’s the annual Jim Sez NBA Mock Draft for your entertainment pleasure:

1.      CLEVELAND – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky -- There’s late rumblings that the Cavaliers will go for Maryland C Alex Len but we ain’t buying it as the 6-foot-10 shot-blocking Noel is NBA-ready right now and he should be a 15-point, 10-rebound guy sooner than later.

2.      ORLANDO – Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown – The Magic throws an early “monkey wrench” into the draft proceedings as most folks believe they’ll go with a point guard here but this Hoya superstar is rated way too high to pass up in this No. 2 spot.

3.      WASHINGTON – Alex Len, C, Maryland – The Wizards weren’t planning on grabbing this 7-foot-1 local product but once Porter has been snagged with that second overall pick they’ll go for “Plan B” … but count us among the critics who don’t think this guy will be a big-time pro.

4.      CHARLOTTE – Ben McLemore, G, Kansas – The Bobcats need lots of help all around but they stay true to their draft board and go with their highest-rated player remaining here and now the one-two punch with G Kemba Walker could make Michael Jordan’s team one of the most exciting backcourts around.

5.      PHOENIX – Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse – No doubt this one-and-done ‘Cuse star has been rising the draft boards and point-guard-needy Suns snap him up over Michigan’s Trey Burke … Carter-Williams’ lanky 6-foot-6 frame is the key and we can’t quibble with this pick at all.

6.       NEW ORLEANS – Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV – The Pelicans surely need to “toughen up” and this former Rebel board-banger will give the team some help to Rookie of the Year runner-up Anthony Davis on the glass. Good fit even it at first it appears the Pelicans now have two power forwards.

7.      TORONTO (trade with Sacramento) – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan -- The Raptors don’t own a first-round pick this year but they will move some pieces to make this trade happen and thus snag the best remaining lead-guard in this lottery. Hey, gotta believe the Kings stockpile a couple of draft picks with a “warm body” or two here, folks.

8.      DETROIT – Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana – Now that Mo Cheeks is on board as the Pistons’ new head coach, he wants to fortify a backcourt that already includes Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey but needs a defensive force. Truth is the Motowners are pleasantly surprised that Oladipo is still sitting here with this eighth overall pick.

9.      BROOKLYN (trade with Minnesota) – Cody Zeller, C, Indiana -- The Nets have been working hard to move up in this draft (note that the draft hosts currently own the 22nd overall pick) and here they swap first-round spots with the Timberwolves and chuck in a body or two including underutilized G MarShon Brooks for the right to grab a big man. Yes, the Nets still have worries about Brook Lopez and his always-injured foot.

10.  PORTLAND – Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga – One of college basketball’s best players from a year ago stays put in the great northwest as the Blazers have Rookie of the Year PG Damon Lilliard and now another solid building block piece up front. Can we see a playoff berth sometime soon, T-Blazers?

11.  PHILADELPHIA – Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA – No matter how you slice it the Sixers need a legit scorer and this one-and-done former Bruins stud should be a 20 ppg guy providing he gets enough shots. Want to know a secret? The 76ers wanted Olynk here but were beaten to the proverbial punch. Tsk, tsk!

12.  OKLAHOMA CITY – Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville – All along we thought the Thunder would go here and grab this seven-footer and Scott Brooks and Company merely was keeping fingers crossed that stud shot-blocker would not get scooped up earlier. Remember OKC also owns pick #29 in Round One.

13.  DALLAS – Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany – The Mavs will give Dirk Nowitzki a gift here in fellow countryman will good ball skills but will his 6-foot-1 height hinder him on the defensive end?

14.  UTAH – Rudy Gobart, C, France – Hey, the Jazz go international here too and snap up this seven-footer and keep in mind Utah’s on the clock again with pick #21 just ahead.

15.  MILWAUKEE – Allen Crabbe, SG, California – Not quite sure the Bucks were originally gonna go this route but now that G Monta Ellis is likely bye-bye they decide two-guard is the best option here and we like this kid save for his occasional mood swings. Or was that simply a case of Cal coach Mike Montgomery acting up last year?

16.  BOSTON – Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas – The post-Doc Rivers Era begins with a bit of a reach here but what are the Celtics supposed to do after the five or six guys that they had penciled in here were already picked? This kid is raw but still growing (he’s 6-foot-8, 240 pounds right this minute).

17.  ATLANTA – Mason Plumlee, C, Duke – Note the Hawks own these next two picks and one should be a “size” pick and the other a scorer and so former Blue Devils’ banger gets the nod here as he should assist Al Horford on the glass, right?

18.  ATLANTA – Reggie Bullock, SG, North Carolina – How about a Duke-UNC one-two draft punch here for a Hawks bunch that never seems to be able to get over the hump in the East? The Hawks need a light-‘em-up guy especially if Josh Smith exits via free agency and Bullock could give Atlanta instant three-ball specialist with other skills.

19.  CLEVELAND – Jeff Withey, C, Kansas – Maybe this seven-footer lacks great offensive skills but he’s a keen shot blocker/intimidator and a hustle guy who will infuse even more energy into the Cavs lineup. Now, Cleveland will have to learn how to play both Noel and Withey at the same time.

20.  LOS ANGELES LAKERS (trade with Chicago) – C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh – Hey, the Lakers have been sitting around waiting for pick #48 (their lone draft choice this year) but here’s the Bulls not loving anything on the board and so a match is made where LA can grab up a point guard who should have been a borderline top 10 pick. Don’t ask exactly what the package will be but at least the Lakers’ draft picks for next year will be part of the deal.

21.  UTAH – Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence – Here’s a 6-foot-7 two-guard who has a major upside and Jazz make the tough choice to do the Ledo shuffle over Miami PG Shane Larkin.

22.   MINNESOTA (earlier trade with Brooklyn) – Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky – The T-Wolves have so many guards on their roster but they add one more here. Hey, expect Minny to pull the trigger on some minor deals on this draft night while exiling the likes of J.J. Barea (likely to Brooklyn) and Luke Ridnour (possibly to San Antonio).

23.  INDIANA – Shane Larkin, PG, Miami – Anyone that watched the Pacers’ playoff run deep into the Eastern Conference Finals knows that turnovers were a major bugaboo and so Frank Vogel’s team addresses that problem here. Gotta believe they tried to trade up for McCollum, but no dice.

24.  NEW YORK – Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State – If there’s one thing the Knicks have to do this summer it’s get a trustworthy second scorer behind Carmelo Anthony and this 6-foot-5, junior fits the bill nicely plus NY believes he has some characteristics similar to another San Diego State guy named Kawhi Leonard.

25.  LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia – Most draft boards have this former Dawgs star going somewhere in the top 15 picks but he slides way down and new Clips boss Rivers and Company tabs him to be catch-and-shoot guy for all those Chris Paul passes. Is he the missing puzzle piece for a Clips club that should be better than they are.

26.  MINNESOTA – Tim Hardaway, Jr. – The T-Wolves could play lots of three-guard looks next year and this former maize-and-blue star could slide over and cover some small forwards with his wing span.

27.  DENVER – Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh – Raw seven-footer is a real project but new head coach Brian Shaw will get “honeymoon period” here and so the Nuggets pass on “best available scorer” and go for size with a kid who can run the floor.

28.  SAN ANTONIO – Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State – The Spurs always draft smartly and now they capture major gem here as we’ve been talking up this former four-year starter who averaged 22 ppg last year.

29.  OKLAHOMA CITY – Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State – No question the Thunder must take some of the offensive onus off the shoulders of Kevin Durant and this former Buckeyes star could be “instant offense” guy utilized off the bench.

30.  PHOENIX – Glen Rice, Jr., SF, Georgia Tech – The Suns are rebuilding big-time and it never hurts to bring in a sniper who learned some valuable lessons playing in the D-League this past year.

Now hear this …

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out loads of Major-League Baseball Winners all summer long and so check with us right here online at or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners.

Plus, the Football Season isn’t that far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear in early August – can’t wait! So, pile up the greenbacks while you’re kicking back this summer of 2013!

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