2013 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Next Year's 14 Lottery Picks
The 2012 NBA draft is only a couple weeks in the past.
Anthony Davis was a no-brainer first pick.
As always, there were draft-night surprises and head-scratching moments.
Dion Waiters at No. 4, Cleveland? Really?
Perry Jones III at No. 28? Can you say "free fall"?
A year from now, the 2013 NBA draft will have similar instances.
Here's what the lottery picks could look like.
Good Enough to Go but Might Stay in School
The following is a short list (in alphabetical order) of outstanding players that are good enough to be selected as 2013 lottery picks but may stay in school for at least another year:
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Otto Porter, Georgetown
Alex Poythress, Kentucky
Patric Young, Florida
Cody Zeller, Indiana
It doesn't take a lot of imagination to think that Zeller could even be selected in the top three of next year's draft.
Honestly, though, I think that he is the kind of student-athlete that might stay at IU all four years.
The following is a list of players (in alphabetical order) who could make up the rest of the first round (non-lottery) of the 2013 NBA draft:
Anthony Bennett, UNLV
Kenny Boynton, Florida
Trey Burke, Michigan
Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Myck Kabongo, Texas
C.J. Leslie, NC State
LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State
Mason Plumlee, Duke
Michael Snaer, Florida State
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
Jeff Withey, Kansas
B.J. Young, Arkansas
Most of these players, if they bump up their game just a little, will easily be in the lottery discussion come next year.
14. Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Tony Mitchell is the best player in UNT hoops history.
The 6'8", 235-lb (with a 7'3" wingspan) Dallas native is quickly entering the conversation about being one of the top power forwards in 2012-13 college basketball.
He was the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, averaging 14.7 PPG and 10.3 RPG.
Though he has a powerful post-up game, Mitchell also owns a sweet stroke from downtown (43.9 percent from beyond the arc) and consistently knocks down his FTs (73.9 percent).
ESPN's Reggie Rankin noticed this summer that Mitchell isn't just an offensive force:
Mitchell was impressive on the defensive end of the floor as he worked to push the offensive player out of his sweet spot, gapped the live dribble in order to not get beat with a quick spin and doing a great job holding his position to make the offense shoot over him. His blocked shots often resemble a volleyball spike and he has the ability to defend both forward positions.
With Mitchell primed for a super sophomore season, new Mean Green head coach Tony Benford has arrived in Denton at a very exciting time.
13. Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
Isaiah Canaan is coming back for his senior season at Murray State to continue to develop his game and attempt to improve on what was the Racers' best season (31-2; 15-1 OVC) in school history.
The 6'0", 193-lb guard led MSU in scoring (19.2 PPG) and assists (3.7 APG) while shooting a sizzling 45.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Canaan has been impressive this summer, as ESPN's Reggie Rankin commented:
Canaan is a strong and powerful point guard who can handle, pass and knock down open jumpers with 3-point range. He plays in attack mode and dribbles through contact with ease where he scores, draws a foul or both.
Defensively, he pressures the ball, is an alert help-side defender, and understands help and recover situations.
Some players just know how to win. The returning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and CBSSports.com first-team All-American is one of those.
Over his three seasons at Murray State, the Racers are 85-16 and have won the conference title all three years.
Not too shabby!
12. Steven Adams, Pitt
The Pitt Panthers lacked aggressiveness and toughness in 2011-12, which translated into a mediocre season (22-17; 5-13 Big East).
Enter Steven Adams.
The 7'0", 240-lb New Zealander has a nonstop motor and lunch-pail work ethic that will be contagious with the rest of the Pitt squad.
This season, Adams will do nothing but sharpen his already super skills as he faces Dante Taylor, Talib Zanna and Malcolm Gilbert every day in practice.
As Adams helps the Panthers claw their way back to the upper tier of the Big East, he will have ample opportunities to showcase his game every night in conference play.
11. Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona
Kaleb Tarczewski will be a dominant force in the Pac-12 paint in his first (and most likely only) season for Arizona.
The seven-footer from New Hampshire will help the Wildcats return to the national conversation in 2012-13.
He impacts the game on both ends of the court. He is an aggressive defender who consistently crashes the glass.
Tarczewski's footwork and low-post moves are advanced, and he has a nice touch around the basket.
10. Isaiah Austin, Baylor
Baylor fans better get a quick look at Isaiah Austin because he may not be in Waco for more than a single season.
There's more than a good chance that he will help Scott Drew's Bears not miss a beat even though they lost Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller from this past year's team.
Austin has a unique skill set for a young seven-footer.
While he can do it all around the basket, the Dallas-area native can put the ball on the deck and penetrate or pull up from the perimeter with authority.
9. Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Kyle Anderson has a rare mix of guard skills with a forward's length.
At 6'7", 210 lbs, he will create matchup nightmares from the time he steps on the collegiate court for the first time this fall.
Anderson sees the court exceptionally well and delivers the ball to his teammates so that they can score.
Having legendary Bob Hurley Sr. (St. Anthony High School) as his coach means that Anderson is more than solid on the fundamentals of the game.
Hurley said of Anderson, "Unquestionably the most unique kid I have ever coached. Other than the little guys, who were just great passers, there is no better passer we have ever had. For his size, it's ridiculous how he sees plays when he's playing."
Anderson will, without question, help Ben Howland and UCLA get back on track in 2012-13...and possibly challenge for a 12th NCAA national championship.
8. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
C.J. McCollum has been tearing it up at Lehigh for three years.
He is coming back for his senior season to get his degree and finish an illustrious collegiate career that has already garnered him two Patriot Conference Player of the Year awards.
McCollum, who averaged 21.9 PPG and 3.5 APG as a junior, grabbed the national spotlight with his 30 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Mountain Hawks upset Duke in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA tournament.
Already considered lottery-pick material this year, McCollum decided that another year of college would be beneficial on and off the court.
Sounds like a talented guy with a good head on his shoulders.
7. Rudy Gobert, France
After his performance at Adidas Eurocamp 2012, Frenchman Rudy Gobert is rocketing up the charts for NBA scouts.
Looking ahead to the 2013 NBA draft, the 7'1" physical freak has quickly become one of the top international prospects.
His elite-level mobility and shot-blocking instincts help him dominate the paint.
If the rest of his game catches up to his exceptional athleticism, Gobert could become virtually unstoppable.
6. Adonis Thomas, Memphis
Even a couple years ago, when he was still in high school, everyone could tell (as the video shows) that Adonis Thomas was special.
His freshman season at Memphis was negatively impacted by a serious ankle injury that sidelined him for more than half of the 2011-12 season.
Because of the inevitable questions that followed, the 6'6" SF was wise to return to play for the Tigers in 2012-13.
With the early departure of NBA draftee Will Barton, Thomas has an excellent opportunity to demonstrate his mad skills.
Predicting that Thomas will go this high in the draft is unquestionably the biggest reach on this list.
5. Mike Moser, UNLV
Mike Moser was one of the true breakout performers in the 2011-12 CBB season.
After transferring to UNLV following a less-than-spectacular freshman season in 2009-10 at UCLA, Moser became a top-10 rebounder (10.6 RPG) and a consistent double-double dude.
With the Rebels pulling in 5-star recruit Anthony Bennett and Pitt transfer Khem Birch, the 6'8", 210-lb combo forward will get the chance to show his perimeter skills this coming season.
4. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
Jamaal Franklin returns to San Diego State to be a part of what could be one of the best teams in the west in 2012-13.
Franklin averaged 17.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore last year, and he was the 2012 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year—the first sophomore to earn the honor since Utah's Andrew Bogut was named the league's player of the year in 2005
He was also selected as an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American.
He's a fantastic slasher who gets to the line more than six times per game and shoots 80 percent.
To predict that Jamaal Franklin goes this high might seem a bit of a stretch to some. But if Dion Waiters can go No. 4 this year, then...
3. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina
We've only had a preview of how good James Michael McAdoo is.
In that role (15.6 minutes per game), JMM was solid, averaging 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest.
Late in 2011-12, because of an injury to Henson, McAdoo's minutes and production improved, averaging nearly 11 points and six rebounds.
This coming season, he will have a featured role in the Tar Heels attack. The 6'9", 220-lb PF will be expected to step up his scoring and boarding...and he will.
McAdoo has the skills, heart and hoops IQ to become a double-double guy in 2012-13.
And then? Hello, Mr. Stern.
2. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Muhammad's offensive skills are unlike any other player in 2012-13 CBB. He has the full arsenal of weapons, being able to take opponents in every way imaginable.
His decision alone to go to UCLA puts it back into the national conversation. Add Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker and Jordan Adams to the mix, and the Bruins could be penciled into the Final Four pairings.
If he had been eligible to go straight to the Association out of high school, he would have been a top-five lottery pick this year.
1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Nerlens Noel may never be a super scorer, but he is the kind of player that will impact games in college and then in the NBA with his defense and shot-blocking.
At 6'10", 215 lbs, Noel has ample room to continue to build on what is already an impressive frame.
His athleticism and length make him a threat all over the court.
He already possesses the defensive instincts of a much more experienced player.
With Kentucky's entire championship front line gone, Noel will have an immediate opportunity to show the CBB world what he's made of from the very onset of the 2012-13 season.