NBA Draft: Here they come

NBA Draft: Here they come
April 10, 2013, 10:45 am
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There are two parts required for a viable mock draft: the player pool and the draft order. The latter won't come until May 21. The former is starting to take shape now.

Over the last 24 hours alone two potential top-10 picks have declared their intention on entering the 2013 NBA  Draft: Indiana swingman and former DeMatha product Victor Oladipo, and Kansas freshman wing guard Ben McLemore. 7-footer Cody Zeller, Oladipo's teammate at Indiana, is expected to announce he will forgo his final two years of eligibility during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Previously UNLV's freshman forward Anthony Bennett, another projected lottery pick, entered the draft.

Of the four declared players, McLemore (No. 2 overall) is ranked highest by, followed by Bennett (4), Oladipo (5) and Zeller (6).

This quartet represents the only top-14 picks in Chad Ford's just released mock draft on ESPN that are actually in the draft pool, though several others are expected to join them before the April 28th deadline including Kentucky's Nerlens Noel and UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad.

Ford has Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter going to Cleveland with the fourth overall pick and Maryland sophomore center Alex Len being selected by Oklahoma City (via Toronto) with the eighth pick (the Wizards were ninth when Ford released his projections on Monday. Because of their top-10 status, it would be surprising if either Porter or Len stuck around in college for another season, especially the 7-foot-1 Ukrainian big man.

As for the Wizards, they would currently hold the eighth pick if the actual lottery does not change the order. However even with only four games remaining their slot could change significantly; Washington is a one-half game behind Minnesota, a full game back of Toronto. Going the other way, the Wizards are one-game ahead of Sacramento in the loss column and two ahead of New Orleans.

The Wizards primary needs entering the offseason include a scoring small forward, an athletic 4-5, and backups at both guard spots. Retaining upcoming free agents Martell Webster, A.J. Price and perhaps Garrett Temple could alter those priority needs. Washington also owns two second-round picks, their own and one from the New York Knicks.

Ford has Bennett sliding to Washington at nine with McLemore going at three, Oladipo at five, and Zeller 11. The 6-foot-8, 240-pounder is undersized to play NBA power forward and his low post moves are on the raw side, but Bennett is a tremendous athlete with length and good perimeter range. 

Of the four lottery types in the field, McLemore probably makes the least sense on paper for the Wizards considering his AAU teammate Bradley Beal plays the same position. Oladipo also plays the off-guard role, but he brings a defensive element. Zeller, who some consider the best rim-to-rim runner in the college game, is an on-paper fit. Those that witnessed his brutal performance against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament at the Verizon Center might think otherwise.