2013 NBA Mock Draft: Who's Turning Heads in Tournament Play?

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterNovember 27, 2012

2013 NBA Mock Draft: Who's Turning Heads in Tournament Play?

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    With so many tournaments taking place before conference play gets underway, scouts are being given the chance to evaluate prospects under unique and unforgiving circumstances.

    Prospects who normally don't go head to head with each other are getting the opportunity to do so, which is proving beneficial for some and harmful to others.

    Here is our latest NBA mock draft, which includes the most up-to-date results from all your preseason college tournaments.

     

    All statistics accurate as of Nov. 16, 2012.

1. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

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    Shabazz Muhammad's Bruins suffered an ugly loss at home to Cal Poly; however, that shouldn't hinder Muhammad's draft stock.

    Both he and UCLA are trying to figure out who goes where and when, resulting in poor floor-balance and ineffective shot-selection.

    Muhammad is still making a No. 1 overall impression, producing regardless of how often his shot is falling. Despite shooting 4-13 Sunday night, he still managed to pull in 10 boards and finish with 15 points to go with it.

    He scored 21 a few days before and is averaging 17 points and five boards despite minimal practice time and conditioning work.

    Without anyone else standing out, there's no reason to slide Muhammad down the draft board. He'll remain our top dog until someone actively knocks him down.

2. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

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    Nerlens Noel continues to impress against inferior competition after going for 18 points, eight boards, five assists and five blocks against LIU.

    He's scoring and finishing at a high rate inside and remains noticeably active on both sides of the ball.

    The impressive 3.6 blocks per game he's averaging shouldn't be a surprise, but the 12.4 points on 62 percent shooting could be.

    Between his offensive improvement and defensive impact, Nerlens Noel has leapfrogged James McAdoo as the second-best prospect in the country.

3. Cody Zeller, Indiana

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    With so much hype entering the year, Cody Zeller has had a target on his head the second he steps foot on the floor.

    He's still averaging 15 points and seven rebounds on 64 percent shooting, illustrating his effectiveness and efficiency as a top scoring option.

    I'd still like to see him become more of a presence on the glass and increase his threat as a shot-blocker (only 1.2 a game). The fact that he's a finesse scorer who isn't an impact rebounder or defender makes me think all too much of Brook Lopez.

    He put up 17 and eight in a win over Georgetown and should remain a lock throughout the year as a top-five pick.

4. James McAdoo, North Carolina

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    Despite a strong start to the year, James McAdoo has taken heat for his decision-making and offensive ineptitude.

    He turned the ball over seven times in a bad loss to Butler, scoring only 10 points in 31 minutes. It was a game in which it needed someone to step up, and as newly-appointed leader of the team, McAdoo was a no-show.

    Scouts have mentioned that while his body and athleticism are both NBA-caliber, they aren't sure what he brings to the table skill-wise.

    Expecting him to score 20 a game is simply naive, so don't get caught up with his numbers. McAdoo's ability to impact a game playing off better players will be his role at the next level. I can't imagine he strays too far from the top five.

5. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

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    After I prematurely ranked him fifth just a week into his freshman year, Marcus Smart justified my position by manhandling North Carolina State's Lorenzo Brown.

    Smart contributed across the board, going for 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, four steals and four blocks while holding the highly-touted Brown to six points, one assist and seven turnovers.

    His body is NBA-ready, and so is his mind. Combine that with a pass-first mentality, scoring and defensive tools, and Smart is a no-risk, game-changing point guard with long-term starter potential.

6. Alex Poythress, Kentucky

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    Alex Poythress continues to light up scoreboards after going for his fourth consecutive 20-point game.

    He's doing it with ridiculous efficiency, shooting 67 percent from the floor in a small forward body. Poythress continues to finish at the rim, possessing the strength of a 4 and the mobility of a 3.

    If there's an under-the-radar candidate to shoot up to the No. 2 spot, it's Alex Poythress, who has been playing the role of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist early in his sophomore year.

7. Tony Mitchell, North Texas

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    I first docked Tony Mitchell for his team's early-season woes, but I've since backed off that stance.

    He's scoring, rebounding and blocking shots all at a high rate and challenges Minnesota's Rodney Williams for title of best athlete in the country.

    You rarely see guys Mitchell's size who can sky above the rim, so he's attractive even without any basketball talent.

    Mitchell is averaging 15 points, eight rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game and is likely to stick around the top 10 regardless of his team's performance.

8. Mason Plumlee, Duke

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    It's rare that a prospect raises his ceiling from one year to the next, no less in their senior year of college.

    Plumlee went from off-ball contributor to on-ball threat, which is illustrated by his 19-point average and 7.5 free-throw attempts per game.

    The fact that he's maintaining his efficiency (67 percent from the floor) is a sign that he's found a way to get himself easy points, something that should raise his value substantially.

    He put up 20 and 17 against Minnesota, 17 and 10 against VCU and 16 and seven against Louisville, all resulting in wins.

    The No. 9 spot is nearing his peak, so sustaining this type of productivity will be the challenge moving forward.

9. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse

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    It's rare to find a combo-guard with a pass-first mentality and shooting guard size, but that's what Syracuse has in Michael Carter-Williams.

    A scorer in high school, Carter-Williams has already established himself as a legitimate point guard who can create and pass with the best in the country. His passing skills and vision are second to none, and his willingness to dish over score has already been established.

    He actually leads the nation in assists after dropping 13 dimes on Colgate Sunday afternoon.

    With Carter-Williams'  6'5'' size, length and athleticism, he'll have a distinct advantage over NBA point guards who generally max out at 6'3''. He's averaging four steals a game, using his lengthy wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and blanket his man.

    Jim Boeheim mentioned Carter-Williams is playing the position as well as you can play it, which is hard to argue when you consider his 9.3 assist average.

    He and Marcus Smart look like the top two point guard prospects in the nation early on.

10. Isaiah Austin, Baylor

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    Isaiah Austin continues to look sharp offensively, though he hasn't hit a three in consecutive games.

    He's still averaging 14 points and eight boards on the year, and has shown a versatile skill set rarely seen on seven-footers.

    Though more of a perimeter-oriented face-up forward, we'd still like to see him contribute on the defensive side of the ball. Despite regularly being the tallest guy on the floor, he's gone without a block in four of his five games played.

    If he's going to portray himself as a one-way prospect, he better be excellent in that one particular direction.

11. Alex Len, Maryland

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    Alex Len is only playing five more minutes than he did last year, but he's attempting six more shots per game. That speaks volumes about his confidence and ability to create offense, which is what was missing from his game as a freshman.

    Len hasn't faced any serious competition since dominating Nerlens Noel in Brooklyn, but his numbers have remained steady, averaging 15 points and eight boards on the year.

    Whether or not Len reaches that top tier of prospects will depend on his consistency battling in the ACC.

12. Otto Porter, Georgetown

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    Otto Porter rose to the occasion in front of a boatload of NBA scouts, when he dropped an 18-point, 11-rebound, five-assist, five-block, three-steal line in a win over UCLA.

    Porter is the type of kid who will be a factor night in and out, regardless if his jumper is going down. Fortunately for him, he's 6-for-8 on three-point attempts and is displaying a sound balance of versatility and efficiency across the board.

    There's a lot to like and little to pick at. Right now, he's looking like the top role player in the draft class, which isn't a bad label to have.

13. Rudy Gobert, France

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    Rudy Gobert will remain a fixture in our first-round mock drafts, so get used to hearing me talk about his unprecedented 7'9'' wingspan.

    His arms resemble two long strands of fettuccine that he can whip up and down or side to side in order to take up space and cause defensive clutter. The ability to block shots while out of position will surely frustrate penetrating guards and frontcourt scorers.

    Offensively, he's a target above the rim, has the mobility to get up and down the floor and keeps balls alive on the glass.

    We don't know what he'll look like as a finished product, but it's possible that Gobert is something never before seen.

14. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh

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    At this point in his career, typical mid-major competition is just wasting C.J. McCollum's time.

    He's already scored at least 35 points twice, once against No. 19 Baylor at the time, and is averaging 25 for the year shooting 50 percent from the floor.

    There's nobody doubting his basketball talent; just the transition it takes to go from scorer to all around playmaker.

    His draft stock will remain the same for much of the year before the microscope is installed and conference tournament play arrives.

15. Ben McLemore, Kansas

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    Ben McLemore struggled to shoot the ball Monday night against San Jose State, missing all seven of his three-point attempts.

    He still managed to score five field goals and looks like he'll be a stud once the tweaks are made and kinks get worked out.

    For a player like McLemore who thrives off rhythm, it could be tough to get going in the methodical college game.

    Let's see how he bounces back against a tough Oregon State team Friday night.

16. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky

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    It's been a huge week for Archie Goodwin, whose talent shined against inferior competition.

    Goodwin went off for 28 points against Morehead State, getting to the rim at will with a quick first step and explosive upward liftoff. He attempted 17 free throws, which illustrates his scoring instincts and offensive abilities.

    All the top perimeter scorers know how to get easy points at the line, and this is something Goodwin should take pride in moving forward.

    He followed up his 28-point game with a near triple-double, going for 22, nine and nine in a blowout over LIU.

    You should expect Goodwin to improve as the season progresses. I have a feeling he's a candidate to be a serious midseason riser.

17. LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State

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    Sometimes, it just clicks.

    That looks to be the case for LeBryan Nash, who finally figured out how to get himself easy points.

    Nash is averaging 19 points a game, with eight of them coming from the foul line. The stripe has become his new best friend considering the amount of time he's spending with it.

    He's taking 9.6 free-throw attempts per night and is hitting 85 percent of them.

    As a result, his field-goal percentages are all improved, and his team is winning games.

    The Cowboys beat two solid teams in North Carolina State and Tennessee and have done it with Nash as their top offensive option.

    Don't expect Nash to be any lower than No. 20 all year.

18. Adonis Thomas, Memphis

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    After watching Memphis a few times this weekend, I just can't imagine Adonis Thomas returning.

    He was Memphis' best player in a loss to VCU, scoring 19 points despite the disappointing outcome.

    Thomas' game is clearly a poor match for the college setting. With one of the most complete basketball bodies you'll see, he's most effective using his strength and athleticism off the ball and operating in space with it.

    Thomas won't get many opportunities to work in space; however, he showed some nifty moves this weekend that were sure to grab scouts' attention.

    With everyone in Memphis' lineup a potential scoring threat, Thomas' numbers are bound to be flushed out. Assuming he enters his name, he'll be looked at as a mid to late first-rounder throughout the year. 

19. Anthony Bennett, UNLV

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    Anthony Bennett scored 22 points in back-to-back games against Oregon and Iowa State, moving his average up to 19.5 through four games.

    Though a small sample size, Bennett looks like a seasoned veteran big man with a soft touch to compliment a powerful demeanor.

    It would be hard to imagine Bennett keeps scoring at this rate, but he's at least caught our attention as a face to post atop the bulletin board.

20. Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

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    Willie Cauley-Stein won't get many opportunities to dominate a game at the college level playing next to Nerlens Noel in a deep rotation.

    You won't find many scouts analyzing his stat sheets either, rather observing his individual offensive spurts throughout a game.

    He continues to show activity when given time. Cauley-Stein scored 12 points, grabbed eight boards and blocked four shots against LIU and should remain a mid-to-late first rounder until I hear otherwise.

21. Isaiah Canaan, Murray State

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    Isaiah Canaan can't seem to shake the doubters, who are starting to look foolish.

    Those expecting him to start playing true point guard better think twice. At this point, there's no reason for him to ever give up the ball after scoring 30 and 32 points in two consecutive wins.

    He looks like a Raymond Felton replica, only a better shooter from downtown. He's once again raised his three-point percentage over 40 percent, a number he's stayed above in all three years at Murray State. It's an incomprehensible stat when you consider how many threes he takes.

    Canaan is averaging over 22 points a game and 3.5 assists, a meaningless number under the circumstances.

    He's an NBA point guard with starter potential.

22. Doug McDermott, Creighton

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    Doug McDermott has found the touch, and it's reflecting in both the box score and the win column.

    He's scored 30 in an excellent win against Wisconsin and then dropped 29 in a decisive win over Arizona State.

    His ability to score at the college level is undeniable. McDermott has a feel for the game, along with unpredictable countermoves that allow him to score and elude defenders despite playing under the rim.

    He'll be forced to spend most of his time on the perimeter at the NBA level, so raising that three-point percentage from 30 to 40 should be a goal of his moving forward.

23. Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati

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    Sean Kilpatrick returns to the top 25 with another impressive week, this time featuring a masterful performance in a win against Iowa State.

    Kilpatrick scored a career-high 32 points; however, the most impressive statistic of all is that only six of them came from behind the arc.

    He got to the line 16 times, and nailed all 16.

    I mentioned last week he's no longer a one-trick pony, and this is proof. Kilaptrick has expanded his offensive repertoire and now has a dynamic off-the-dribble game to go with a lights out perimeter stroke.

    He's averaging 21 points per game through six so far this year.

24. C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State

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    C.J. Leslie had a setback against Oklahoma State after fouling out in the second half with two points and a technical.

    We're still looking for him to take that next step both mentally and physically, as his appeal is beginning to fade.

    He's an NBA talent when you consider his athleticism and offensive skill set. Putting that to good use continues to be his challenge.

25. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State

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    Jamaal Franklin's athletic ability has gotten him 18 points and 10 rebounds a game, because it sure hasn't been his shooting.

    He's currently attempting five three-pointers a game, only making one. However, his physical tools allow him to make up for misses with put-back dunks, slashing conversions and an excellent rebounding rate.

    NBA teams won't be asking him to create his own offense, which is where he struggles, especially on the perimeter. Making plays off the ball and cleaning the glass is his calling at the next level.

    He'll remain in our first round unless something goes terribly wrong.

26. Myck Kabongo, Texas

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    Things haven't gone smoothly since Kabongo entered college, and it seems more and more likely he'll try and get out while he can.

    Still ineligible due to another NCAA investigation regarding his relationship with an NBA agent over impermissible benefits, this was supposed to be the year Kabongo put it all together.

    A top high school recruit, Kabongo struggled adjusting to the pace of the college game as a freshman, but still showed promise as an NBA-caliber point guard.

    He might just be better off leaving school, with potential being his selling point.

27. Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan

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    Tim Hardaway, Jr. has looked as NBA-ready as any 2-guard in the country. I went ahead and jumped the gun and moved him into the first round after watching him perform a number of next-level moves on a helpless Kansas State team.

    He's cooled off from downtown, missing eight of his last 10 before making eight of his first 11, but Hardaway is still finding ways to score elsewhere. At 18 points a game on 61 percent from the field, it's tough to knock him for a few off-shooting nights.

    What's really going to catapult him to the next level is the step-back jumper he's been knocking down. He gets substantial separation and elevation going up for a shot, and with good size and athleticism, Hardaway creates open looks for himself in the half court.

    He still needs to tighten up his shot selection and decision-making, but from a talent perspective, he looks like an NBA guard.

28. Reggie Bullock, North Carolina

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    Reggie Bullock is working towards earning that specialty label that helps limited players find long-term jobs.

    He looks as smooth as any shooter in the country in catch and release situations, and is shooting a scorching 51 percent from downtown on over five attempts per game.

    At 6'7'' with above-average athleticism and an NBA frame, Bullock presents himself as a stretch-3 with defensive tools and the ability to shoot and slash.

29. Jeff Withey, Kansas

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    What a week it has been for Jeff Withey, who followed up a 25-point, seven-block game against Saint Louis with a 12-block, triple-double performance against San Jose State.

    His shot-blocking numbers have been off the charts, and it's starting to become hard not recognizing him as one of the best defensive players in the country. Withey is averaging a staggering 6.2 blocks in 28 minutes over the first six games of the year.

    Though obviously an extremely gifted post defender, it will be tough to move the needle on him until he's this effective in the Big 12.

    Withey will still maintain backup center value when his numbers inevitably tail off.

30. Pierre Jackson, Baylor

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    The fastest guard in the game with the ball in his hands, there's no mystery in Pierre Jackson's awaiting role at the next level.

    Maybe he's a scorer at heart, but his quickness off the bounce creates opportunities for everyone, not just him.

    Jackson is averaging 20 points and nearly seven assists per game, showing balance as a ball-dominant playmaker.

    There could be 29 teams out there who have no interest in Jackson's services. All it takes is one.