Top selection in Thursday’s NBA draft still a mystery

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
More information NBA draft order First round 1. Cleveland 2. Orlando 3. Washington 4. Charlotte 5. Phoenix 6. New Orleans 7. Sacramento 8. Detroit 9. Minnesota 10. Portland 11. Philadelphia 12. Oklahoma City (from Toronto via Houston) 13. Dallas 14. Utah 15. Milwaukee 16. Boston 17. Atlanta 18. Atlanta (from Houston via Brooklyn) 19. Cleveland (from L.A. Lakers) 20. Chicago 21. Utah (from Golden State via Brooklyn) 22. Brooklyn 23. Indiana 24. New York 25. LA Clippers 26. Minnesota (from Memphis via Houston) 27. Denver 28. San Antonio 29. Oklahoma City 30. Phoenix (from Miami via LA Lakers and Cleveland)

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The one constant surrounding Thursday’s NBA Draft is that there is no clear-cut No. 1 overall pick that everyone can agree on, and thus no franchise-type player who will get folks talking around the water cooler.

No LeBron James. No Tim Duncan. No Shaquille O’Neal.

In short, anyone from Alex Len to Nerlens Noel to Otto Porter to Ben McLemore could become the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. That’s the decision the Cleveland Cavaliers — armed with the top selection — will have to make when the draft starts at 6 p.m.

The uncertainty could make a lot of owners and general managers lose some valuable sleep. But it also should make for an interesting draft, which consumes two rounds and 60 players.

“From a fan standpoint, from a scouting standpoint, I think the uncertainty of where everybody is going is what I like,” said Ryan Blake, the senior director of NBA scouting operations. “I think you’re going to see so many good players in this draft — I mean good players.

“They may not be franchise players, but that’s OK.”

In other words, if any team thinks it’s going to find the next James, Duncan or O’Neal in this draft, it should think again. But he added that quality talent is abundant.

“There are so many bigs, there are good point guards — every position that you can put in there is deep,” Blake said. “And then you add a decent international crop of kids.”

With no obvious No. 1 overall choice, Blake noted, there is immense pressure on the Cavs to make the right pick; assuming the Cavs don’t trade the pick.

“We don’t know who is going to be the first pick, and then every [general manager] has got to map out all these different scenarios,” Blake said. “There are just so many options.

“And if someone is falling, it’s going to be exciting.”

The NBA’s top scout, Blake will be behind the scenes at the draft Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’ll know a lot of the comings-and-goings before they’re announced to the public.

“For me, being underneath and listening to the trades before they come out, and listening to the picks beforehand, it’s exciting,” he said. “Then I can run a few steps away and stick my head out the door and then listen to everybody scream, holler and gasp or whatever.

“So I get a little bit of the best of both worlds.”

Mavs high on Schroeder

One of the players high on the Dallas Mavericks’ draft board is 19-year old Dennis Schroeder.

A 6-foot-2 point guard from Germany, Schroeder was selected the Most Improved Player and the Best Young German Player for his performance last season in the Basketball Bundesliga League. Some scouts compare Schroeder to Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.

“He’s very young and quick,” Ryan Blake said. “He has a little bit of Rondo in him, and a little bit of [Mike] Bibby.

“He’s inexperienced, but he can shoot and he can score. He’s a good player that could possibly come over for the minimum buyout, but I don’t think he’s ready for the NBA game. He’s going to be a work in progress, but he’s got loads of potential.”

Minor impact

The Mavericks have had very little contribution from their recent draft picks:

2012Tyler ZellerNorth Carolina17Draft day trade to Cavaliers
2012Darius Johnson-Odom Marquette55Draft day trade to Lakers
2011Jordan HamiltonTexas26Draft day trade to Nuggets
2011Targuy NgomboCongo57Draft day trade to Trail Blazers
2010Solomon AlabiFlorida State50Draft day trade to Raptors
2009Byron MullensOhio State24Draft day trade to Thunder
2009Ahmad NivinsSt. Joseph’s56Played in Europe
2008Shan FosterVanderbilt51Played in Europe, D-League
2007Nick FazekasNevada34Played four games with Mavs
2007Renaldas SeibutisLithuania50Two years in Summer League
2007Milovan RakovicSerbia60Draft day trade to Magic

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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