With the NBA regular season winding down, it's time for some fans and analysts to look ahead to the 2013 NBA Draft. To that end, Chad Ford of ESPN Insider débuted his first 2013 mock draft on Tuesday, based on the league's standings after Sunday's action. With the league's second-worst record, the Orlando Magic own the second pick in Ford's mock, though it's important to note that the NBA does not allot Draft position based on standings: with the second-worst record, Orlando could pick anywhere from first overall to fifth overall.
In Tuesday's mock, Ford has Orlando selecting Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart, a freshman. Ford touts Smart's physical strength, "great motor," and "toughness," as well as his "leadership." Ford also notes that Orlando already has "promising young players" at small forward, power forward, and center--one can assume he means Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris, and Nik Vučević, respectively--so Smart would address Orlando's need for guard help.
Smart averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game for the Cowboys, shooting 40.4 percent from the field, 29 percent from three-point range, and 77.7 percent from the foul line. While jump-shooting is a weakness of Smart's, it's a skill that can improve over time, and his high rate of free throws--he averaged one free-throw try for every 1.7 field goals attempted--suggests that he has the tools to get into the paint and draw contact.
Smart did his draft stock no favors in the NCAA tournament, shooting 5-of-13 from the field for 14 points, with four assists and five turnovers, as the 12th-seeded Oregon Ducks upset his fifth-seeded Oklahoma State squad.
Ford selected center Nerlens Noel for the Charlotte Bobcats with the first pick in the mock draft. After Smart, the next three players off the board were Kansas Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore, Georgetown Hoyas swingman Otto Porter, and Indiana Hoosiers swingman Victor Oladipo.