Who is going to be the No. 1 pick in 2013 NBA Draft?

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Well, now that we got that draft behind us, time to think about next year…

Okay, maybe we shouldn’t skip ahead that fast. We’ve got Summer League to watch guys grow, a free agent season coming that will be a roller coaster, then a regular season and playoffs before we get back to this spot. But let’s peak around the corner and see who we will be talking about a year from now anyway.

Actually, first know it won’t be a deep draft like this years, says ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford. He says the top three stand out, then there is a big drop off.

The 2013 draft is so devoid of top returning underclassmen and has such a marginal freshman class, one NBA scout said our 2013 Top 100 list may be the weakest since the dreaded 2000 NBA draft.

So who are the top guys? Here is who DraftExpress has as its Top 5 right now for the 2013 draft (know this is going to shift a lot in the next year).

1) Nerlens Noel (6’11” center, will play for Kentucky). He’s been targeted for a while as a top pick to watch — he’s long, very athletic, defensive minded shot blocker who can finish with authority on the other end. If you think that sounds a lot like just taken No. 1 Anthony Davis, you are spot on. That’s the comparison. His recruitment was the focus of a New York Times piece that doesn’t speak well of college basketball.

2) Shabazz Muhammad (6’6” shooting guard, will play for UCLA). He’s not the biggest two guard, there may be better athletes at the two guard, but Muhammad is NBA level at both brings great energy at both ends of the floor, plus he just has a scorer’s instincts. He can flat out light it up. He will knock down threes or drive the lane. A complete offensive player. Let’s hope Ben Howland doesn’t crush that.

3) Cody Zeller (6’11” center, Indiana). He could have come out but decided to return for one more year in Bloomington. He is the younger, and frankly better, brother of North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller. Cody averaged 15.6 points per game while shooting a very impressive 62 percent last season. You’ll see him on your television a lot next year, Indiana is going to be very good.

4) Rudy Gobert (6’11” power forward/center, France). He measured a 7’9” wingspan at adidas EuroCamp and as you might imagine he can block a few shots. He got called up to the French national team after his play in some under-20 games.

5) James McAdoo (6’9” power forward, North Carolina). A fundamentally sound big man who moves well. He can rebound and defend, and if he can develop a steady midrange jumper he becomes a much-more dangerous NBA big man.

Lakers to break out powder blue Minneapolis throwback uniforms this season

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The Lakers have gone a few different directions with alternate uniforms in recent years, such as the black version, but when you have a classic brand you shouldn’t mess with it. Same with the Celtics, Bulls, Sixers, and other classic uniforms — if you’re going to go alternate then go older.

The Lakers are doing just that — going back to Minneapolis.

They are breaking out the George Mikan era jerseys, starting on Wednesday vs. Wizards and in four other games later in the season.

I like it.

Now if the Lakers could get George Mikan in the paint it would help.

PBT Podcast: All things Sixers with Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia

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The Sixers have started the season 0-3, Joel Embiid is frustrated about his lack of post touches, and Markelle Fultz‘s shot has gone funky…

Relax. The Sixers are going to be fine, and they still very well could be a playoff team in the East this season. It’s just three games (against teams expected to finish above the Sixers in the standings anyway).

Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia joins Kurt Helin on the Podcast today to talk all things Sixers. They discuss the things that have gone wrong, but also the culture Brett Brown has built, why the Sixers still have to be thought of as a playoff team, and why the future is bright. Also, there is a little discussion of the mess with the Phoenix Suns, their lack of a process, and how Eric Bledsoe could tilt things in the East.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (just click the button under the podcast), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Stephen Curry fined $50,000 for throwing mouthpiece

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Stephen Curry knew a fine was coming, the only question was how much? The NBA had established this precedent before: When Curry (or any player) threw his mouthpiece he got fined. That he’s done it before and threw it in the direction of an official this time meant the price could go up.

It did — Curry was slapped with a $50,000 fine for throwing his mouthpiece during the ejection from Saturday night’s Warriors loss to the Grizzlies. Curry felt he was fouled on a drive and didn’t get the call, and he lost his cool.

Andre Iguodala was also fined $15,000 for “verbally abusing a game official” during the same incident.

Some fans wanted a suspension for Curry, mostly because it’s trendy to hate on Curry and the Warriors in some circles. Reality is there is a precedent here, and the league office stuck with that. Now, if the mouthpiece had struck the official, Curry would have gotten a suspension. If you want to argue the intent was the same, call up the league. They make the distinction.

Reports: Knicks, Bucks, Nuggets among teams calling about Eric Bledsoe

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Eric Bledsoe is done with the Suns. His excuse that his “I Dont wanna be here” Tweet was about a hair salon is as believable as myself, Bruce Willis, and Andre Agassi Tweeting about our time in hair salons. The Suns have told him to go home, and they will work to trade him. Most likely, the Suns are going to get crushed in this deal — they have no leverage, Bledsoe is a free agent in less than two years (2019), plus most teams are not looking for another point guard. But he is being shopped, and he’d like to go to a winning team.

Where will Bledsoe get traded?

A few names have come up — the Knicks, Bucks, and Nuggets are the ones out in public now. There are more, but let’s take a look at those three.

The Knicks have one of the two worst backcourts in the NBA (the Bulls are in that mix, too) so they certainly could use Bledsoe short term. However, long term he doesn’t fit on the Kristaps Porzingis timeline so how much would New York give up to get him.

That price is too high, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

The Suns have asked about young Knicks such as Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez in trade talks about guard Eric Bledsoe, sources confirm. But New York have been opposed to trading either young player, sources told ESPN. Hernangomez has not been in head coach Jeff Hornacek’s regular rotation in the first two games of the season, which has left the second-year center frustrated. But Hernangomez’s lack of playing time isn’t a sign that the club is looking to move him. Ntilikina has dealt with several injuries early in his career but the point guard remains part of the young core New York wants to build around and management, as of Monday afternoon, did not want to move him in a Bledsoe deal.

Then there is Milwaukee.

On the court, this makes some sense. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the point forward who has the ball in his hands, but Bledsoe is adept off the ball and can hit the three. The move would send Malcolm Brogdon back to the bench, which he may not like but is a good thing for a team looking to bolster its depth.

The trade likely would involve Jabari Parker going West, along with salary filler such as Matthew Dellavedova. Parker is coming off multiple injuries, but he still knows how to score inside and in the right system has value. Whether that system is in Phoenix depends on what kind of system they want to run and roster they want to build.

Then there is Denver.

Denver likes Jamal Murray at the point guard spot and is ready to move on from Emmanuel Mudiay, so there could be a point guard swap but with some more salary coming back to Phoenix (Denver likely would want to dump Kenneth Faried but the Suns will want something that helps them out more than that). This makes some sense as it gives the Suns a young point guard with some skills to try out, while the Nuggets get deeper at a spot of need.

Other deals are lurking (yes LeBron James and Bledsoe are tight, but that deal is a long shot), and the Suns rightfully are going to take the best deal they can find, regardless of whether Bledsoe wants to be there or not. The only questions are how fast do they get it done, and what are teams offering?