It’s never too early to begin looking towards the future, and with the 2013 NBA Draft approaching, fans should be excited about the potential influx of talented youngsters.
Although some of the top players have yet to even step foot on their college campus, their upside alone will garner NBA lottery aspirations.
As with any mock draft, it’s important to realize these players are being drafted according to their future projections, regardless of their skill set at this point.
Obviously there is no way to realistically set the draft order, so the picks will be listed in accordance to the team’s 2012 record.
Here are a few players to be aware of before the draft.
Nerlens Noel, 6’11”, 216 lbs., Kentucky, Freshman
Noel is built in the Anthony Davis mold. He features a 7’4” wingspan and although his offensive game may need some polish, he controls tempo with his freakish shot blocking.
He is a mobile big man who is also a proficient passer from the post. With his size and speed, Noel entered Kentucky as the No. 1 center, according to Scout.
With Kentucky’s team largely opting to play in the NBA next season, count on Noel to occupy a major portion of playing time for the Wildcats next season.
With his mobility and uncanny shot blocking ability, Noel can control the paint and run the floor.
He certainly isn’t about to win any scoring titles in the short-term, but he will instantly benefit a team’s defense.
Shabazz Muhammad, 6’ 6”, 225 lbs., UCLA, Freshman
Muhammad is quite the all-around player leading up to his freshman year. He does a lot of things well, including getting to the hoop, defending, shooting and has a sneaky set of post moves.
He looks very similar to James Harden, but he is an inch taller and perhaps a step quicker. He is also a deceptive lefty, much like Harden.
He has an NBA-ready body and will succeed at the next level with his work around the hoop.
He needs to improve his accuracy from the outside, as he lacks a consistent three-point stroke, but the rest of his game is on point.
Look for him to thrive at UCLA this year, alongside fellow freshmen Kyle Anderson and Tony Parker.
Muhammad will undoubtedly provide some highlight reel dunks along with solid defense, but teams should expect to get a very talented wing player who can score in a number of different ways.
Cody Zeller, 7’0”, 237 lbs., Indiana, Sophomore
Zeller is the first player thus far who has actually appeared in an NCAA game.
Compared to his other brothers, Luke and Tyler, Cody is the most impressive one in the minds of NBA scouts. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season as a freshman, including a 20-point performance against Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
Zeller is a talented big man, who is decisively mobile for his size, and is great at running the floor, much like his brother Tyler. But he is also a dangerous scorer, with both his back to the basket and in the mid-range game.
He was heralded as a proposed top-10 pick in the 2012 draft by Chad Ford of ESPN, yet decided to prolong his NCAA career and return to school.
With another year of polish on his already impressive game, Zeller could be selected in the top five.
James McAdoo, 6’ 9”, 225 lbs., North Carolina, Sophomore
McAdoo was largely a role player for the Tar Heels last season. But this year should be his time to shine.
With the departures of Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes to the pro ranks, McAdoo should be the featured player on North Carolina.
He is a versatile player who can play both the 3 and the 4, and is strong enough to fight for rebounds under the basket.
He seems to be similar to Danny Granger, without a three-point shot but with better defensive instincts. He is skilled at getting to the basket for his size and looks to attack the rim any chance he gets.
The biggest thing he has going for him is his basketball IQ, as he is a willing passer on the block, and rarely forces shots when he is defended.
All in all, he is already a very talented player, but with the right team he could become even better.
|1||Charlotte||Shabazz Muhammad - Freshman, UCLA|
|2||Washington||Nerlens Noel - Freshman, Kentucky|
|3||New Orleans||Cody Zeller - Sophomore, Indiana|
|4||Cleveland||James McAdoo - Sophomore, North Carolina|
|5||Sacramento||Ben McLemore - Freshman, Kansas|
|6||Brooklyn||Alex Poythress - Freshman, Kentucky|
|7||Golden State||Isaiah Austin - Freshman, Baylor|
|8||Toronto||Adonis Thomas - Sophomore, Memphis|
|9||Detroit||Ricky Ledo - Freshman, Providence|
|10||Minnesota||Tony Mitchell - Sophomore, North Texas|
|11||Portland||Rudy Gobert - International|
|12||Milwaukee||C.J. McCollum - Senior, Lehigh|
|13||Phoenix||LeBryan Nash - Sophomore, Oklahoma State|
|14||Houston||Rakeem Christmas - Sophomore, Syracuse|
|15||Philadelphia||Steven Adams - Freshman, Pittsburgh|
|16||New York||Otto Porter - Sophomore, Georgetown|
|17||Dallas||Mason Plumlee - Senior, Duke|
|18||Utah||Patric Young - Junior, Florida|
|19||Orlando||Jamaal Franklin - Junior, San Diego State|
|20||Denver||Isaiah Canaan - Senior, Murray State|
|21||Boston||Joshua Smith - Junior, UCLA|
|22||LA Clippers||Aaric Murray - Junior, West Virginia|
|23||Atlanta||Kyle Anderson - Freshman, UCLA|
|24||LA Lakers||LaQuinton Ross - Sophomore, Ohio State|
|25||Memphis||Jeff Withey - Senior, Kansas|
|26||Indiana||Trevor Mbakwe - Senior, Minnesota|
|27||Miami||Dario Saric - International|
|28||Oklahoma City||Andre Roberson - Junior, Colorado|
|29||Chicago||Trey Burke - Sophomore, Michigan|
|30||San Antonio||C.J. Wilcox - Junior, Washington|