NBA Draft pick-by-pick tracker

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The time for rumors, smokescreens and agents pumping up clients is gone — NBA teams are on the clock.

The 2013 NBA Draft is here.

In this post we will update you with every pick, telling you a little about the player your team just selected. We’ll also keep you up to date with all the trade action going on (and there could be a lot of that tonight). Just hit refresh and you’ll have the latest news and analysis as teams sort through a crop of players with a lot of potential but a lot of questions.

Let’s get this underway with the annual booing of David Stern (one last time).

FIRST ROUND

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Bennett (6’7” power forward, UNLV). This is a SHOCKER. Nobody had this, the Cavs really did hold their cards close to their vest. Bennett is long and strong and is a beast in the paint. He has a big physical frame who has thrown down some of the best dunks of the college season (Kyrie Irving is going to love throwing the ball to him in transition). He’s shown flashes of an outside shot and handles, but can he do that consistently at the next level against better talent? There are also questions about his defense, but the Cavaliers must have liked the answers they got.

2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo (6’4” shooting guard, Indiana). Maybe the most sure thing in this draft — he’s going to be good. A ridiculous athlete — he had a 42” vertical leap at the combine. Reports from a number of teams say he impressed in workouts. He’s strong and his physicality makes him a good defender and strong on the boards for his position. Plus, the guy is just active all the time. His shooting improved this season as he hit 44 percent from three and he’s a force in transition. But he’s not a guy who can create his own offense, particularly in isolation (he struggled in college, will be worse in the pros). But he is ready to step in and play minutes and could be the two guard of the future for the Magic.

3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter (6’9” small forward, Georgetown). He is probably the most polished and ready to contribute now player of the top picks in this draft, and he comes with the kind of motor that fans will love. He has good size and should be a solid NBA defender for his position, and he showed an improved shooting stroke this season (42.2 percent fro three). He is going to have to work off the ball in the NBA and that’s an adjustment. Understand he is a third or fourth option on a NBA team, but he can be a quality role player working with John Wall.

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Cody Zeller (7’0” center, Indiana). This was much higher than he was expected to go. He helped his cause with some with surprising athletic testing at the NBA Draft Combine. He has legit NBA center size and has good mobility for a big. He has quality posts moves plus he runs the floor well and can finish in transition. In college he struggled against stronger players, he’s going to need to show he can defend at the NBA level. He should be a solid rotation player off the bench and maybe develop into more down the line. This smells of a Michael Jordan, not a Rich Cho, draft pick.

5. Phoenix Suns: Alex Len (7’1” center, Maryland). This guy has all the physical tools you want in a center — moves well, soft hands, good touch around the rim, can pass, blocks shots, rebounds. He’s a bit raw offensively, but he’s got a lot of potential because all the tools are there. It was hard to read at Maryland how good he was because guards couldn’t get him the ball (the floor spacing was terrible). The questions are how tough he can be and why was his energy was inconsistent. Also, he had surgery on a stress fracture in his ankle, he should be fine but he hasn’t done any workouts and will not be playing in Summer League.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Nerlens Noel (7’0” center, Kentucky): The Pelicans have traded him to the 76ers for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday — a smart move, the Sixers need a center and the Pelicans already have Anthony Davis. The Pelicans also get the Sixers 2014 first round pick, although there are some protections on that.

Athletes like Noel don’t come along all that often — which is why he was so high on draft boards. Noel 7-feet tall with a 7’4” wingspan who runs the floor like a guard, can leap out of the building and has good shot blocking instincts. He’s got the potential to be a force on the defensive end and the glass. Offensively he can finish in transition but is otherwise raw and needs a lot of work. He also needs to add strength. How he develops on offense will determine how high his ceiling goes. But he is going to miss the first part of the season coming off ACL surgery and it is likely year three before he contributes much of anything.

7. Sacramento Kings: Ben McLemore (6’4” shooting guard, Kansas). The Kings wanted him, were considering trading up to get him, and he fell right to them. This is a great pick for the Kings. He’s athletic and has a silky-smooth shot that has led some to use a Ray Allen comparison. That’s a little steep for my taste, but he’s a late bloomer and a guy you can say the most overused of draft buzzword about — upside — and be right. But because he isn’t great at creating his own shot McLemore has disappeared in some big games and at the end of other key games. But he can shoot the rock, and the Kings need a guy who can space the floor with his shot.

8. Detroit Pistons: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6’6” shooting guard, Georgia). One of the best pure shooters in the draft — he has a pretty form and NBA range. He shot just 37 percent from three this past season (and had some struggles in workouts) but teams are sold on him as a shooter. He’s a solid athlete and could become a plus defender with work. He’s not going to create his own shots, get to the rim, nor is he the guy you want making decisions with the ball in his hands. But he can shoot.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Trey Burke (6’0” point guard, Michigan). He has been traded to the Utah Jazz, which makes a lot more sense — Utah needs a point and Burke can play right now. The Timberwolves get Utah’s No. 14 and No. 21 picks in this draft. Maybe the most household name in this draft thanks to his NCAA Tournament play. He may also be the rookie with the biggest impact next season. He is a very good offensive player, especially off the pick and roll. He can shoot with range or drive the paint and he has good court vision. The only questions are his height and how that impacts his defense. But nobody questions his heart, he is a leader.

10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum (6’3” combo guard, Lehigh). He had to do pretty much everything on offense in college and did it pretty well — he can penetrate with a quick first step, shoot off the bounce, plus he can work off the ball and knock down catch-and-shoot jumpers. He is more of a scoring point guard, less of a traditional point. There are questions about his defense at the next level. He had foot surgery but showed no signs of issues in workouts for teams. He had a constant green light in college, can he rein it in when he is not the elite player on the team?

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Michael Carter-Williams (6’6” point guard, Syracuse). They just sent away Jrue Holiday in a trade, so they needed a point of the future. If you like tall point guards, he is your guy. That length helps make him a good perimeter defender. He has good ball handling skills, good court sense, he can get into the paint to create offense and put he up points at Syracuse — but he was not efficient doing it. He shot 43.8 percent on two pointers and 29 percent from three last season. However he was turnover prone, did not make good decisions in the offense, and teams will just play off him and dare him to shoot from the outside.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Steven Adams (7’0” center, Pittsburgh). They want some size in the middle (is this another sign Kendrick Perkins is on his way out? Adams has a lot of raw tools — legit NBA big man at 255 pounds, plus very mobile — and he climbed the ranks after the combine when he showed more skill than expected. He’s a bit of a project, especially on offense, but he has a nice ceiling and he can give you some defense and rebounding right away.

13. Boston Celtics (via the Dallas Mavericks): Kelly Olynyk (7’0” center, Gonzaga): We knew that Dallas wanted out, they get the Celtics No. 16 (which they likely trade) and two future second rounders. Olynyk is more than just that guy with long hair — he has size, moves well and has a really good scoring touch. In a league that values efficient scorers, Olynk is that (he shot 65 percent this season). But coming out of a small conference there are questions about how he deals with the size and athleticism he will see in the NBA. There are questions about his defense. They will love him in Boston, let’s see if he can perform at that level.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves (via the Utah Jazz): Shabazz Muhammad (6’6” shooting guard, UCLA). This pick goes to Minnesota as part of the Trey Burke trade with Utah. Coming out of high school Muhammad was considered a likely top three pick, but the combination of holes in his game, questions about his attitude and revelations he was a year older than advertised had him slide. He’s a more rotation player than a guy who can be a franchise cornerstone. That said he is athletic and strong, he knows how to score a variety of ways, and he can defend. He will work hard. But he doesn’t use his right hand well and doesn’t create off the dribble well. However, Ricky Rubio is going to love how he works off the ball.

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo (6’9” small forward, Greece). He is raw. He has the physical tools but this is all about upside (or whatever buzzword you want). His game is kind of a point-forward style. He has the physical tools to be impressive on both ends eventually — picture a Lamar Odom like guy who can get the rebound then lead the break himself. But he doesn’t have perimeter shooting skills yet, he has a long way to go on defense and there are questions about what his athletic ceiling is.

16: Boston Celtics (via Dallas Mavericks): Lucas Nogueira (7’0” center, Brazil). He will be traded to the Atlanta Hawks. He’s been described as a poor man’s Nerlens Noel — athletic, raw, skinny shot blocker but without Noel’s level of upside. He can defend once he gets stronger but offensively is a project (although he can finish around the rim). Our own Brett Pollakoff saw him at EuroCamp and broke him down in more detail.

17. Atlanta Hawks: Dennis Schroeder (6’2” point guard, Germany). Because of his style and his physical build — 6’2″ with a 6’7″ wingspan — he has some saying he’s a poor man’s Rajon Rondo. He has a very quick first step, he is a very good ball handler, and out in the open court he makes things happen. He improved a lot in the last year according to scouts, but there are questions about whether he is a score first or pass first guard, and how good the young player’s basketball IQ is. He wants to come to the NBA, not be stashed overseas.

18. Atlanta Hawks: Shane Larkin (5’11”point guard, Miami). He gets traded to Dallas as part of a pervious deal, and they want a new point guard there so he will get his chance. Yes, this Larkin is the son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin — and he has his father’s athleticism. He is a good pick-and-roll point guard who can bury the jumper if you go under the pick. He is quick with the ball and can get  in the lane if you give him room to attack off a pick. He can pass and score, but he doesn’t get to the line much. He’s undersized and that can cause finishing issues in the paint. Also, his size leads to some questions about his ability to defend in the NBA.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Sergey Karasev (6’7” small forward, Russia). He was good enough to make the Russian Olympic team at age 18. He’s also played at the highest level of the Russian league, so he is used to tough competition. In a draft of uncertainty he is considered a “safe” pick. Karasev is a shooter — he can knock down threes, is strong on the catch-and-shoot, and if you close out on him he is both a good passer and can put the ball on the floor and attack. Not a great athlete but he can carve out a place in the league.

20. Chicago Bulls: Tony Snell (6’7” small forward, New Mexico). He moved up draft boards after his Draft Combine and subsequent team workouts. He has a nice jump shot and does most of his damage from the perimeter — he shot 39 percent from three last season. But his ball handling is not where it needs to be for him to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot at the NBA level. Also, he needs to get stronger. If he works on his defense he could be a good 3-and-D player in the Association.

21. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Gorgui Dieng (6’11” center, Louisville). This is the second pick that goes to the Timberwolves as part of the Trey Burke trade with the Jazz. Dieng a raw offensive player who at 23 is on the old side for the NBA draft. Those things usually make you a second round pick, at best. But Dieng was an impressive defensive anchor for the national champion Cardinals and that pushed him higher because a lot of teams could use a defender like that. He can rebound and is a good passer but the defense is selling him — he can step in right now and give you some defensive minutes (behind Nikola Pekovic, if they re-sign him). Kind of Joel Anthony role (but maybe better).

22 Brooklyn Nets: Mason Plumlee (7’0” center, Duke): After four years at Duke we know this guy pretty well (not a lot of upside surprise here). He’s athletic and with great leaping ability, which makes him a strong rebounder and shot blocker on defense. He doesn’t have much of a post game and his midrange is spotty, he’s not going to get you a lot of points. He needs to get stronger and tougher to defend in the NBA. If he can be a good backup to Brook Lopez (and maybe learn from Kevin Garnett) he could be a solid addition.

23. Indiana Pacers: Solomon Hill (6’7″ small forward, Arizona). This is a surprise, he was projected as a second rounder if he was picked at all. He has a versatile, all-around game, he shot 39 percent from three, and was a real leader at Arizona. But there are real questions about his defense (he can’t stop penetration, doesn’t close out well) and his level of athleticism.

24. New York Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. (6’6” shooting guard, Michigan): The Knicks got an outside shooter, which could be a good fit. Yes, he’s the son of an NBA legend, but he’s not his dad. He is a good shooter (particularly working off the ball on  catch-and-shoots) who can put the rock on the floor and attack the rim. But he makes poor decisions sometimes, particularly when he tries to create for himself and ends up taking tough, contested shots. Which is what the Knicks do not need more of.

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock (6’7” small forward, North Carolina). He can be a wing who stretches defense with his shot — he shot 42.9 percent from three last season and is good on the catch-and-shoot. The Clippers could use the shooting. However, he isn’t great from the midrange and he’s not great when he has to handle the rock. He works hard on defense, which Doc Rivers will demand. He has real NBA wing role player potential.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Andre Roberson (6’7″ power forward, Colorado). He is offensively raw — he’s athletic and can score around the basket but doesn’t have a jump shot, or the ability to put the ball on the floor, or polish, and didn’t seem to improve in the past year. But he works hard on the court, is a great rebounder and can certainly leap. He’s an athlete that OKC needs to mold and develop.

27. Denver Nuggets: Rudy Gobert (7’2” center, France): He has been traded to the Utah Jazz. Gobert turned a lot of heads at the NBA Draft Combine — he had a 7’9” wingspan and a standing reach of 9’7”. In drills at the combine he altered and blocked a lot of shots. He’s very raw on the offensive end and he needs to put on weight, but he’s seen as a guy who can be a big impact on the defensive end and has a lot of potential on the other side of the ball. Could be a steal in this draft, could go bust.

28. San Antonio Spurs: Livio Jean-Charles (6’9” combo forward, French Guiana). He put on a show at the Nike Hoop Summit back in April, looking good in practice and then dropping 27 points and 13 rebounds against the USA Junior National Select Team. He’s very long and very athletic, he has a great motor and works hard off the ball. He’s going to have to get a lot stronger without losing that quickness to hang in the NBA, he needs better outside shot, and his ball handling must improve. But this is a great potential upside pick in the second round.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Archie Goodwin (6’5” shooting guard, Kentucky). He was the inefficient leading scorer on an inefficient Kentucky team last season. He has all the physical tools you want in a two-guard — long, athletic, he is a good ball handler who can attack the rim. But he’s a shooting guard who doesn’t shoot well (44 percent overall, 27 percent from three). He also struggles to finish in the paint against good defenders. A lot of potential here but he is a raw product.

30. Phoenix Suns: Nemanja Nedovic (6’4” combo guard, Serbia). He’s a strong, athletic guard who turned a few heads at adidas Eurocamp, until he turned his ankle and was sidelined. He’s fine when attacking the rim and he is an aggressive player. But his pure point guard skills are in question and if you’re going to be a scoring point guard you need to finish and shoot jumpers better than he does. This is a pick about potential and upside down the line, he has the physical tools.

SECOND ROUND

31. Cleveland Cavaliers: Allen Crabbe (6’6” shooting guard, California). One of the best shooters in the draft — he can score in the midrange and has deep range with his shot. He averaged 18.6 points per game and is strong on the catch-and-shoot, which helped him become the Pac 12 Player of the Year. He’s got good size for a two guard but he’s not as explosive an athlete as the guys he will be matched up against (and have to cover). He can’t create his own shot and he’s not great when he has to finish inside. It’s all about the jump shot with him.

32. Oklahoma City Thunder: Alex Abrines (6’5” shooting guard, Spain). He played at the highest levels of Europe last season for Barcelona at age 19 (although in a reserve role), so you know he has some skills. The guy can shoot the rock with NBA three range, especially off the catch and shoot, and he moves well off the ball. He’s got a good IQ for the game. He’s a project still, he doesn’t create his own shot and often turns the ball over when he tries, plus there are defensive questions. Can be stashed in Europe for a couple more years to develop.

33. Cleveland Cavaliers: Carrick Felix (6’6” shooting guard, Arizona State). This was a bit of a surprise pick but he reportedly impressed teams during workouts. He’s an athletic player known for his defense. He averaged 14.6 points per game and shot 37 percent from three, and he’s a guy who works well off the ball (which is a good thing around Kyrie Irving).

34. Houston Rockets: Isaiah Canaan (6’0” point guard, Murray State). He climbed draft boards during workouts as he had strong showings against guys ranked ahead of him. He plays with a real intensity, has a good jump shot (with three point range) but can also but the rock on the floor and get to the rim. He looks to score but he’s not great at getting teammates involved. He’s not big for an NBA player, which leads to questions about how he can defend at the NBA level.

35. Philadelphia 76ers: Glen Rice Jr. (6’6” small forward, D-League). He has been traded to the Washington Wizards. The son of one of the better shooters the NBA has ever seen was booted off Georgia Tech after his junior season and went the D-League route to the NBA. He’s a 2/3 swingman who works hard at both ends of the court and has good size. He can shoot the ball (38 percent from three in the D-League) but can also put the ball on the floor and get to the rim (and draw fouls). He doesn’t really create his own looks that well. There are questions about how good his defense is, as well as his focus. He had off the court issues at Georgia Tech but not in the D-League.

36. Sacramento Kings: Ray McCallum (6’2” point guard, Detroit). He’s solid. Good size and athleticism for an NBA point guard, and he is strong. He’s got a good basketball IQ and is a pass-first point guard with good ball handling skills. He’s at his best in transition. But there are questions about how his game translates to the NBA (he wasn’t strong off the pick-and-roll). He’s a guy with a lot of good skills but none that are elite.

37. Detroit Pistons Tony Mitchell (6’9” power forward, North Texas). He has big talent but fell down draft boards pretty quickly after his game regressed last season. He has good size and good athleticism — when he uses that to rebound or score in transition he does well. But he turned the ball over on 18 percent of his possessions last season and shot poorly as he seemed to drift away from the basket. There are questions about his effort, his shot selection, and if he can add the polish his game needs. But the raw tools are there.

38. Washington Wizards: Nate Wolters (6’5” point guard, South Dakota State). He was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks and will play there. He’s a smart point guard who can shoot (38 percent from three last year), is a good ball handler, can score or set the table for others. The question is simply athleticism — he doesn’t have the quickness, strength or explosiveness of the guys that will cover him or that he has to cover. If his crafty play can overcome that he can carve out a reserve point guard role in the league.

39. Portland Trail Blazers: Jeff Withey (7’0” center, Kansas). This is a steal of a pick in the second round. He is a legit NBA center who can come in immediately and help defensively off the bench — he was the best defensive big in the NCAA last season. He is a good shot blocker and defensive rebounder. Get him the rock and he can finish around the rim. He is limited offensively and he’s not likely to develop into much more than he is now, but who couldn’t use a defensive big in the paint?

40. Portland Trail Blazers: Grant Jarrett (6’10” power forward, Arizona). A highly rated recruit out of high school, he didn’t blow anyone away as a freshman at Arizona (5.2 points a game on 40 percent shooting), so him coming out was a surprise. He could be a stretch four — he relies on the jump shot and did shoot 40 percent from three. Average athlete who is going to have to improve a lot to stick in the NBA.

41. Memphis Grizzlies: Jamaal Franklin (6’5” shooting guard, San Diego State). This is a fantastic second round pick, a lot of people thought he was first round talent. He’s one of the best athletes in the draft. He’s good in in transition, attacks the rim and can throw down dunks with anyone. He has real potential as a defender. But he’s a shooting guard who can’t shoot (40.4 percent shooting overall in college, 21 percent on contested jumpers, 23 percent on catch-and-shoots). He has to develop a shot.

42. Philadelphia 76ers: Pierre Jackson (5’10” point guard, Baylor). He’s athletic (44 inch vertical) and quick off the dribble, allowing him to split double teams and get into the paint. He also has three point range shooting you have to respect. His ball handling and speed get him into the lane, but he has trouble finishing consistently against length (and the NBA has a lot of length). Also, his size has scouts thinking he will be a defensive liability.

43. Milwaukee Bucks: Ricky Ledo (6’6” combo guard, Providence): He has been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Saying he played for Providence is a misnomer — he practiced with the team but was never cleared by the NCAA to play. The guy is very athletic and can score with his jumper or attacking the rim. He impressed scouts with those skills at the NBA Draft Combine. The question isn’t his skills, it’s his choices on the court and his choices off it. Maybe the best comparison is he could be a Lance Stephenson kind of impact if things go right, but he could be out of the league in two years.

44. Dallas Mavericks: Mike Muscala (6’11” center, Bucknell): He has been traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Muscala developed into a guy that could score inside or outside scorer who was the focus of the Bison offense. He’s got a lot of polish on his game, like you expect from a senior. He’s not strong or athletic enough to be a classic center in the NBA, but scouts think he could be a nice stretch four. Good second round pick.

45. Portland Trail Blazers: Marko Todorovic (6”11” center, Montenegro). He was good enough to play for Barcelona in Spain, so he’s got some skills. He’s got an NBA center’s body (240 pounds) and he moves well and can finish around the rim, but he is a project who lacks polish right now. He could be stashed in Europe for a few years.

46. Utah Jazz: Erick Green (6’3” combo guard, Virginia Tech). He has been traded to the Denver Nuggets. The ACC Player of the Year can score the basketball — he has a respectable outside shot (38 percent from three) and a very quick first step to get to the rim. He is very dangerous in transition yet made smart passes and kept his turnover rate down. But he’s a tweener, a scoring point who both needs to get stronger and finish better among the trees that patrol the lane in the NBA. Also there are questions about his defense.

47. Atlanta Hawks: Raul Neto (6’2” point guard, Brazil). He impressed our own Brett Pollakoff at EuroCamp, where he was more of a scoring point guard. He can penetrate and blow up defenses, plus he is a good passer with good vision. He plays in Spain and can be stashed overseas for a year or two.

48. Los Angeles Lakers: Ryan Kelly (7’0” power forward, Duke). This is a Mike D’Antoni pick — Kelly is a stretch four like the coach prefers. He shot 42 percent from three last season and offensively lives on the perimeter. He’s neither terribly athletic nor strong and there are questions about his defense.

49. Chicago Bulls: Erik Murphy (6’10” power forward, Florida). He’s a big strong body who projects as a potential stretch four, he shot 45 percent from three his senior season. He moves fairly well for a big. Murphy can defend a guy in the post, but there are questions if he can defend at the NBA level and if he can provide much rebounding (stretch fours often have bad numbers here). If he can’t defend he will not last long with Tom Thibodeau.

50. Atlanta Hawks: James Ennis (6’7” small forward, Long Beach State). He has been traded to the Miami Heat. That said — YES! As a Long Beach State season ticket holder I was hoping some team would give Ennis a chance, he has developed a lot in the last couple years and can become a solid NBA player if he keeps working. Ennis has the athleticism the Heat will like — he is long and a great leaper, and because of that he can finish in transition. His future is as a “3 and D” guy, he shot 35 percent from deep last year and he is raw still on the offensive end and can improve. He came to basketball late (from track) and need time on the court to get used to the game more (he’s a good candidate to spend some time in the D-League). But he could develop into a solid NBA role player, the question is if the Heat will wait for him to develop, or do their roster spots go to veterans who can help right now?

51. Orlando Magic: Romero Osby (6’8” power forward, Oklahoma). He’s a bit of a surprise pick because the book on him is he doesn’t have NBA athleticism, but if every guy on your team played as hard as he does you’d win a lot more games. There are hustle guys that carve out niche’s and stick around in the league.

52. Minnesota Timberwolves: Lorenzo Brown (6’5” point guard, North Carolina State). His draft stock fell as his game seemed to regress this past season, but in the late second round this is a solid pick. He’s got good size as a point guard and is a quality ball handler who is quick with the ball. He has good playmaking skills but there are real concerns about him as a scorer — he shot 26 percent from three and had trouble finishing in the lane. If he can develop a jumper he is a steal.

53. Indiana Pacers: Colton Iverson (7’0” center, Colorado State). He has been traded to the Boston Celtics. Iverson is big, strong, physical and he works hard on the court. He’s got a solid back-to-the-basket game and he’s going to get you rebounds. But he is not near the level of athlete he will have to face at the next level, so we’ll see how he adapts. As a four-year senior, scouts wonder how much his game can grow.

54. Washington Wizards: Arsalan Kazemi (6’8” power forward, Oregon). He has been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Iranian born forward is a strong rebounder with the potential to round out the rest of his game. He’s a guy that the analytics guys (like the front office in Philly) liked as he graded out well.

55. Memphis Grizzies: Joffrey Lauvergne (6’11” power forward, France). He has been traded to Denver. He’s a good athlete and a mobile big man who style wise should fit in Denver that way. He’s raw offensively but improving, and he’s a guy who gets stashed away in Europe for a few more years.

56. Detroit Pistons: Peyton Siva (6’1” point guard, Louisville). He was the point guard who helped lead the Cardinals to the national title. He’s a very good athlete who uses that physicality well on the defensive end. But he doesn’t have much of a jump shot (he shot 29 percent on jumpers last season) and his overall offensive game is lacking. We’ll see if his D is enough to get him a roster spot.

57. Phoenix Suns: Alex Oriakhi (6’10” center, Missouri). He has good size and he brings a lot of effort to defense and rebounding. He doesn’t bring a lot of offense to the table.

58. San Antonio Spurs: Deshaun Thomas (6’7” small forward, Ohio State). While he really played a combo role in college, he’ll be more of a three in the pros. He can score inside and out, has an NBA body, and he has a good catch-and-shoot jump shot that you know the Spurs will put to good use. He has NBA three point range. The guy can score. But there are serious questions about both his defensive skills and his effort at that end of the floor. Great landing spot if he puts in the effort.

59. Minnesota Timberwolves: Bojan Dubljevic (6’10” power forward, Serbia). He played for Valencia at the top level of the Spanish league last year, and DraftExpress described his role as a “stretch 5,” so imagine him as a Euro stretch 4 in the NBA. He’s got some post moves as well as shooting range, and he plays a smart game. But he’s not an explosive athlete, not a great rebounder and there are questions about whether he can translate his game to the NBA.

60. Memphis Grizzlies: Janis Timma (6’7” small forward, Latvia). He will be stashed in Europe for a few years. He’s a good athlete who has the size to play the three in the NBA. He needs to work on his jump shot while he plays a couple more seasons overseas.

Timberwolves in turmoil

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NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Timberwolves won 47 games and ended a 13-year playoff drought last season, and their core group returns. Few teams can match the 1-2 star power of Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns. Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson are strong complementary pieces, and Andrew Wiggins has the tools to excel.

But it feels like Minnesota was decimated by a meteorite this offseason.

Butler’s unsatisfied trade request casts a shadow over the upcoming season. It has shined a spotlight on the discord permeating through this organization in so many directions – Butler and Wiggins, Butler and Towns, Towns and Tom Thibodeau, Tom Thibodeau and Glen Taylor.

Maybe Butler and Thibodeau can thrive in this chaotic, energetic, intense environment. It seems the weight of it could crush everyone else, though.

This all reflects terribly on Thibodeau, who let the Butler situation linger over the summer. Chemistry matters, and an unhappy Butler trying to torment Towns and Wiggins into playing with more fire could just burn everyone involved. It was bad enough last year when the young players thought Butler could be there a while. If they expect him to leave next summer in free agency, will they just tune him out until then? If that happens, will Butler become even harder on them? This could get ugly in a hurry.

That said, it’s not as if Minnesota had great chemistry last season, either. This is still such a talented team. Heck, even if the Timberwolves trade Butler by the trade deadline, he might first help them stack enough wins to make the playoffs. Hope isn’t lost.

Most importantly, Minnesota locked up Towns to a long-term extension. No matter what happens with Butler, the 22-year-old star is staying a while.

The Timberwolves also did tinkering to help over the summer. Signing Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, two ex-Bulls, will generate plenty of laughs, but those two for the minimum is fine. So was drafting Josh Okogie No. 20 and Keita Bates-Diop No. 48.

Minnesota’s biggest signing was Anthony Tolliver for one year, $5.75 million – which, to stay under the luxury-tax line, required letting Nemanja Bjelica go. I considered Tolliver an upgrade as the Timberwolves’ stretch four, though part of that calculation considered Tolliver’s positive effect in the locker room.

In that area, it might be too little, too late.

Offseason grade: D   

NBA Power Rankings: The rankings are back and the Warriors are still on top

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The NBA season is back! And, with it, with it so are the NBC Sports NBA Power Rankings, put together by myself (and just myself) each week throughout the season. Sure, it’s a moot exercise because the NBA has standings and playoffs (it would be idiotic of a sport to use media rankings to determine who gets in a playoffs format… oh, sorry college football), but it’s a fun moot exercise. While I have a mathematical formula to help guide me, it’s pretty useless for the first quarter or so of the season, so this is more eyeball test and gut feel right now.

 
Warriors small icon 1. Warriors (Last season 58-24). If a team is the two-time defending champs and made four straight Finals appearances, they start on top. The only question is how motivated the Warriors are during the regular season — which may be less of an issue this time around, listening to the buzz around the team. Keeping Golden State healthy and not letting it build a bunch of bad habits while waiting for the games to really matter again has to be Steve Kerr’s focus. Don’t expect to see DeMarcus Cousins until after you’ve opened your Christmas presents.

 
Celtics small icon 2. Celtics (55-27). Don’t read too much into the preseason struggles — that was exactly what coach Brad Stevens needed to get this team’s attention and get them focused on the process. It turns out bringing two superstar players — Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward — back into the fold is not simply a matter of plug-and-play, it’s going to take some work. Plus, Hayward is not all the way back yet. Still, with all this depth, the Celtics should own the East.

 
Rockets small icon 3. Rockets (65-17). Carmelo Anthony has blended fairly smoothly in the preseason, accepting his role coming off the bench and as more as a shooter working off the ball, now we will see if that continues when opposing defenses start to care. A lot of lineup shuffling in the preseason, which leads to a question: Who will close games for Houston? Chris Paul and James Harden for sure, but after that which two of Anthony, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon, James Ennis, and Clint Capela will sit?

 
Raptors small icon 4. Raptors (59-23). Understandably a lot of the preseason focus has been on Kawhi Leonard, but there is another big question for this team (both early and for the full season): What kind of difference does new coach Nick Nurse make? He’s a rookie coach and he’s doing things like talking about changing the starting five based on opponent, but the hope was he would bring a less predictable offense (especially for the postseason). Nurse said he is going to be “fluid” with rotations — read: experimenting — for the start of the season, but this is a deep team that had the best bench in the NBA last season, and it could be better this year.

 
Sixers small icon 5. 76ers (52-30). Replacing J.J. Redick with Markelle Fultz in the starting lineup to start the season is an interesting tactic by Brett Brown (the Sixers starting lineup with Redick was +21 points per 100 possessions last season), but it should do one thing for sure: The Sixers’ defense should be better. And it was top five last season. The question becomes floor spacing on the other end: Ben Simmons is not a jump shooter, Joel Embiid can hit threes but needs to be around the basket, and Fultz doesn’t have the jumper of an NBA two-guard yet (he attempted just five shots from three in the preseason). Defenses will pack the paint on Philly. Also, teams that make the China trip in preseason tend to start slowly the next season.

 
Jazz small icon 6. Jazz (48-34). There are a lot of people on the Jazz bandwagon, some even suggesting they are better than the Rockets. What Utah has going for it is an elite defense (if Rudy Gobert can stay healthy) and continuity from the team that was so good the second half of last season. But after Donovan Mitchell, who is the other shot creator? Ricky Rubio can set guys up, but is he a secondary go-to guy? The Jazz bet big on Dante Exum this summer, he is a guy to watch.

 
Thunder small icon 7. Thunder (48-34).. Russell Westbrook is banged up to start the season (he had his knee scoped a month ago and will miss at least the opener), and Andre Roberson is out until December — that second part is a bigger blow than some fans realize. The injuries could lead to a slow start for the Thunder, which is dangerous in the very deep West. Can Terrance Ferguson step up on the wing and give them something?

 
Nuggets small icon 8. Nuggets (46-36).. Everyone is high on the Nikola Jokic/Jamal Murray/Gary Harris starting lineup, and with good reason, especially with Will Barton added to it. The Nuggets will have an elite offense. Two big questions loom for this team: Can their defense (bottom five last season) improve, even up to league average? And, with Isaiah Thomas out who will lead the bench unit? Can Trey Lyles step into that role and thrive?

 
Lakers small icon 9. Lakers (35-47). The Lakers are going to run this season (they likely will have one of the fastest paces in the league) and that combined with LeBron James distributing from the elbow should lead to an impressive offense, although the lack of true shooters could hold them back a little. The question is at the other end of the court, will the Lakers get enough stops to win? They were sloppy defensively in the preseason. Portland and Houston this week start off a brutal schedule to start the season.

Bucks small icon 10. Bucks (44-38 LW 18). This may be too low a ranking for a team I am high on. While we should take the preseason with a grain of salt, the Bucks looked like a modern offense under Mike Budenholzer, leaning on three pointers and getting to the rim, avoiding midrange jumpers — and they had an impressive offense because of it. Giannis Antetokounmpo was a flat out beast, showing more confidence in his jumper but also finding a lot more room to drive on a team with genuine floor spacing. We’ll see if it carries over, but the Bucks looked more like a threat to the 76ers/Raptors in the preseason.

 
Pacers small icon 11. Pacers (48-34). Preseason wasn’t kind to the new players who are expected to push this team forward, Tyreke Evans and Doug McDermott, nor did the man with the new contract Myles Turner impress. We’re going to overlook all that for now, this is a team on the tier behind the big three in the East (some think they can push Philly/Toronto) and they should be a tough out every night. Interesting first week game Friday night in Milwaukee.

 
Pelicans small icon 12. Pelicans (48-34). I am high on this team coming into the season — I predicted Anthony Davis to win MVP — but the preseason defensive performance gave me pause. It’s just preseason, but Elfrid Payton is a turnstile (that’s not new) and they were getting torched in the paint to the tune of 65 points a game. We’ll see if that continues when the games matter, but a tough opener against Houston doesn’t help.

 
Blazers small icon 13. Trail Blazers (49-33). The entire NBA, and particularly the Blazers community, is mourning the passing of one of the best and classiest owners in the league in Paul Allen. Making the playoffs 23 times in 30 seasons, doing things the right way, he’s a model owner. The road forward will be interesting (the league would not allow this team to be moved, and the lease runs through 2025 anyway). The Trail Blazers open the season on national television Thursday night against LeBron James and the Lakers and can make a statement then.

 
Spurs small icon 14. Spurs (47-35). Injuries have decimated the guard rotation: Dejounte Murray out for the season with a torn ACL, his backup Derrick White tore his plantar fascia, and Lonnie Walker IV tore the meniscus in his right knee (the latter two are 6-8 weeks, maybe a little more. In a West with little margin for error, is that enough to keep the Spurs out of the playoffs for the first time since 1997? DeMar DeRozan is going to have to be the primary playmaker for this team now.

 
Wizards small icon 15. Wizards (43-39). Dwight Howard missed all of preseason (with an injured butt, insert your own joke here), but is now practicing with the team and could play in the opener, just in a more limited role. Once again we enter the season saying we like the Wizards players individually — John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter — but as a team how do they really take a step forward from good to great?

 
Heat small icon 16. Heat (44-38). The Jimmy Butler trade saga hangs over this team a little (nobody likes hearing their name in trade talks), but this is a solid team and it’s Dwyane Wade’s “One Last Dance” so its worth tuning in to watch him put on a show. Get wins against Orlando and Charlotte the first week of the season and it will be easier to tune out all the trade chatter (which has died down a little of late anyway).

 
Clippers small icon 17. Clippers (42-40). Their starting five has potential — Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris, and Marcin Gortat — if they can stay healthy. Off the bench is the Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, plus Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who impressed at Summer League and through the preseason. Healthy, this could be a playoff team, but the Clippers are littered with players prone to injury and not living up to their potential. Brutal first few weeks of the schedule for Los Angeles, including the Nuggets, Thunder, and Rockets this week.

 
Grizzlies small icon 18. Grizzlies (22-60). One of a few teams in the West (along with the Clippers and Mavericks) where I can envision a scenario where they make the playoffs, but everything has to go right for them. That means Marc Gasol and Mike Conley stay healthy, Jaren Jackson Jr. plays like a rookie of the year, and Chandler Parsons gives them something (he’s looked passable in the preseason). That’s a lot of “ifs” in a conference with no margin for error.

Pistons small icon 19. Pistons (39-43). They have been penciled in to the final playoff spot in the East by a lot of pundits (myself included) based on the potential of Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, and Andre Drummond together (especially with Dwane Casey as coach). It’s also a work in progress that didn’t look very smooth in the preseason. Depth questions also are out there for the Pistons. Still, if they can be solid defensively, they should make the postseason.

 
20. Timberwolves (47-35, LW 13). Is this too low a ranking, much of it based on the Jimmy Butler trade drama? Maybe. With Butler in the lineup last season the Timberwolves looked like a 3/4 seed kind of squad. On the flip side, chemistry matters in the NBA and good luck finding a team with a worse locker room right now. Also, Butler is going to get booed and it’s going to get ugly Friday night in Minnesota’s first home game (vs. Cleveland). Without Butler in the preseason the Timberwolves defense was a disaster, it’s just preseason but that’s not a good sign.

 
Hornets small icon 21. Hornets (36-46). What will new coach James Borego bring to the table? If was can read much into the preseason it’s more three point attempts (and less long twos) and better ball movement and tempo. Rookie Miles Bridges showed some preseason promise and could play his way into the starting lineup eventually. Relatively soft schedule the first month of the season, get off to a fast start and it will keep the “will they trade Kemba Walker?” questions at bay.

 
Mavericks small icon 22. Mavericks (24-58). Fun start to the season Wednesday: Rookie of the Year favorites Luka Doncic and Deandre Ayton face off (although the matchup to watch in that game is how Ayton handles the strength and athleticism of DeAndre Jordan). Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. started to show some chemistry in the preseason, but lets see what happens when the games matter and the defenses start to care.

 
Cavaliers small icon 23. Cavaliers (50-32). Kevin Love says he is ready to return to the role of a No. 1 option — and the Cavaliers are certainly paying him like one — but the game has evolved and Love has gotten older since he last time that burden fell on his shoulders. There is still potential on this roster in terms of good shooting, at least until Cavs management starts trading them for young players and picks. After opening in Toronto, pretty soft schedule to start the season.

 
Bulls small icon 24. Bulls (27-55).. No Lauri Markkanen to start the season (elbow, out at least a few weeks) but there is promise on this roster: Zach LaVine showed some athleticism and looked healthy and efficient in the preseason, and Wendell Carter Jr. continues to impress and is now the starting center for this team (although rough “welcome to the NBA” start in Game 1 against Joel Embiid). How will Jabari Parker look in a Sixth Man role?

 
Suns small icon 25. Suns (21-61). Firing GM Ryan McDonough nine days before the season started — after letting him make all the off-season moves for the team, including hiring the new coach — is a “the emperor has no clothes” moment for owner Robert Sarver. Deandre Ayton has put up numbers and impressed in the preseason, and Devin Booker will return from hand surgery and be ready for the opener. Jamal Crawford is not a point guard but may end up playing one anyway.

 
Nets small icon 26. Nets (28-54). Coach Kenny Atkinson has done in Brooklyn what the new coach across the bridge in Manhattan needs to do this season — develop a culture where the players go hard for him within the system. Now the question in Brooklyn is about the talent. How good is D’Angelo Russell really, is he worth a big new contract next summer (he’s a restricted free agent)? Where does Spencer Dinwiddie fit in that mix? Jarrett Allen is expected to make a leap at center, but will he. Where do Caris LeVert and Ronde Hollis-Jefferson fit in? Some potential there, but a lot of questions, too.

 
Knicks small icon 27. Knicks (29-53, LW 22). For new coach David Fizdale, this is a season about building the culture and getting players who will play his way and play hard. Rookie Kevin Knox needs to be part of that and will be thrown into the deep end to sink or swim for the Knicks. Frank Ntilikina has yet to impress me, but then again Emmanuel Mudiay does not look like the answer at the point guard spot either. Just my guess, we see Kristaps Porzingis return this season for the last dozen games or so, not to make a playoff push (the Knicks won’t be that good) but to hit the ground running for his summer work, and to show free agents he will be ready to go next season.

 
Magic small icon 28. Magic (25-57). As discussed on the PBT Podcast on teams to watch, I think Orlando will be an interesting team this season — not good, but worth watching. Specifically, when the big and athletic front line of Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, and rookie Mo Bamba are paired. Can those three play together and make it work (it pushes Gordon to the three when he is better as a four)? The Orlando defense should be pretty good this season, the question is where the points are going to come from?

 
Kings small icon 29. Kings (27-55). Harry Giles impressed in both Summer League and preseason and could be a sneaky candidate to make All-Rookie teams at the end of the season. Marvin Bagley III showed the potential to go get buckets during the preseason, and I like using Buddy Hield more as a floor-spacing three (at least on offense, nothing worked for the Kings on defense). Rough way to start the season: Jazz, Pelicans, Thunder.

 
Hawks small icon 30. Hawks (24-58). It’s going to be all Trae Young all the time in Atlanta as they let him be the man and take all the shots — and that worked for a game winner against the Spurs in the preseason. It’s also going to mean some growing pains when the real games begin. Rough to have John Collins and Dewayne Dedmon out to start the season with injuries.

Bradley Beal admits he gained 20 pounds of sympathy weight with pregnant partner last year

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If you’ve had a pregnant wife/girlfriend, you know what Bradley Beal went through. I added 15 pounds when my wife was pregnant with our second daughter — a pregnant woman’s metabolism needs more calories and for energy, “they’re eating for two,” and often what they want is comfort foods. And deserts. Put that around a non-pregnant person and the temptation can be overwhelming at times, leading to simple overeating.

Washington’s Bradley Beal says he gained 20 pounds of sympathy weight last season while his partner Kamiah Adams was pregnant with their son Bradley Beal II. He spoke about it to TuAnh Dam of Yahoo Sports.

“Oh, pizza. It was always late-night pizza for me,” Beal said. “It was just pizza and ice cream. That’s all we ate — pizza and ice cream, pizza and ice cream.”

He said those extra 20 pounds went straight into his legs, but even that wasn’t enough to slow Beal down too much. The guard had one of the best years of his career, starting all 82 games while averaging 22.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

He’s lost the weight though, starting his cleaner diet the first week of the offseason, so don’t expect to see him waddling around the court this year.

Every training camp we hear about players having lost 15 pounds or gained 10 pounds of muscle and never having been in better shape. Veteran observers greet these proclamations with shrugs — some of them are true, but if everybody says it every year there’s some boys crying wolf out there.

Beal I believe. Nobody wants to admit to gaining sympathy weight.

Beal and the Wizards enter another season with their core intact, a new piece added (this year Dwight Howard, once he gets healthy), and questions believers pointing out on paper they should be a threat in the East. At this point, it’s like a player saying he lost 20 pounds in the offseason — fine, but show me how things are now going to be different on the court because of it. I’m not sold these Wizards are much different than the previous versions. They need to prove it.

Devin Booker to play in Suns’ opener Wednesday

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Devin Booker — the Suns’ newly minted max contract player — had been working hard to recover from off-season hand surgery in time for the opening of the season (the original timeline after surgery had him missing the first week or two of the season).

Looks like he made it, according to coach Igor Kokoskov, via Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.

Booker is young, 21, and hopefully he just healed quickly. There is no reason to rush Booker back here, the Suns need to approach this season with a long-term view, not thinking win now.

This is going to be an interesting young Suns team with Booker, rookie Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren, Mikal Bridges, and now with some veteran voices in Trevor Ariza and the newly added Jamal Crawford in the locker room. This team is not playoff bound in the West, but nightly they will be improved and not a pushover.