NBA Draft 2013: Latest Big Board and Top 30 Projections for Week of Dec. 4

Alex KayCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2012

Dec 1, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Shabazz Muhammad (15) prepares for a free throw against the San Diego State Aztecs during the first half at the Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

While we were quite satisfied with our initial big board when it was released last week, a number of players have made a strong case to be included (and a few were so awful we had to take them off), which is why we have updated the entire Top 30 and will continue to on a weekly basis for the rest of the season.

Let’s take a look at the updated rankings, and make sure you are aware of the changes to the right of the players' names, as many players’ stocks have risen and fallen dramatically over the past seven days.

Without further adieu, here’s our latest big board for the week of December 4.

Please note this isn’t a mock draft; prospects are ordered by overall grade and not by projected draft order. 


No. 1: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (Remains No. 1)

Despite Kentucky falling out of the rankings, Noel is still the best prospect in the class and has the best chance to go No. 1 overall.

Due to his second-nature shot-blocking, knowledgeable post-passing and freak athleticism, the true freshman just has the look of a stud NBA defender.

We’d love to see Noel work on his offensive game a bit more, and hopefully coach John Calipari teaches him a move or two during what will likely be a one-and-done season.

Grade: A+  


No. 2: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA (Remains No. 2)

At 6’6”, 225 lbs, the UCLA swingman has the physical stature to excel at the next level and will certainly be a nightmare for both SGs and SFs to guard professionally.

He’s improving nearly every time he’s out on the court, but UCLA can’t seem to find any consistency from its other players.

While Muhammad is shooting well and averaging a solid amount of points, we’d like to see him fill up the stat sheet and average a few more rebounds and especially assists.

Grade: A+


No. 3: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (Up from No. 4)

Zeller occasionally draws comparisons to Pau Gasol, a less-than-flattering remark considering the Los Angeles Lakers PF is greatly struggling right now.

Fortunately for the Hoosiers, the big man is playing as stellar as ever and looks to be a lock for the top five due to his polished game and basketball IQ.

At this point, on-court success can only carry the seven-footer so far.

What we need to see from Zeller is some beefing up over the course of the season and throughout the spring, as it’ll put his stock through the roof.

Grade: A


No. 4: Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky (Down from No. 3)

This swingman needs to work on consistency, as he does some amazing things out on the court, but also some things that just make observers shake their heads.

For example, in his most recent outing against Baylor, Poythress put together a solid 13-point, six-rebound, two-assist, two-block performance, but also turned the ball over five times.

In a loss to Notre Dame, he only took one shot, fouled four times and had three turnovers, a stat line that scouts will be wary of if they see it later in the season.

Poythress’ potential is still too great to ignore and he’s going to be a top-five pick, should he declare.

Grade: A


No. 5: Alex Len, C, Maryland (Up from No. 6)

At 7’1”, Len has a ton of potential, but there are concerns that he will not be able to measure up when he reaches the NBA.

He’s averaging some solid figures for the Terps (14.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per contest), and already showed he can ball against the best, including an incredible performance against Nerlens Noel to start the season.

If he continues to play like that against great competition, there’s no doubt Len will be a legit big at the next level.

Grade: A


No. 6: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (Up from No. 12)

Porter has developed into one of the best players in the nation and has prototypical swingman skills. He can score at will, rebound the ball, dish the rock, play defense and has a motor that doesn’t quit.

While his stats aren’t jumping off the page in comparison to last season, the sophomore is steadily improving in all areas of his game and will likely be selected in the top half of the lottery if he keeps it up.

Grade: A


No. 7: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky (Up from No. 10)

This athlete can straight-up ball and has great handling ability and a knack for making shots. However, he’s prone to wild play and bad decisions, which can hurt his team on the court and his stock in the draft.

Fortunately, Goodwin is showing an improved basketball IQ over the initial part of his freshman season, and is likely headed to an early lottery selection at this pace.

Grade: A-


No. 8: Rudy Gobert, PF, France (Remains No. 8)

Gobert, like most international big men, doesn’t have a ton of tape and is somewhat of a mystery—especially when you consider his competition.

He looks to be an elite rebounder and has great size, but must bulk up before teams seriously consider him this early in the draft.

Grade: B+


No. 9: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor (Remains No. 9)

Austin needs to realize he’s a big man and start playing like one. He has three-point range on his shot, but that should be an additional weapon, not his main threat.

While the Bears seven-footer may believe he’s a 2-guard (and can handle the ball and run like one), he has to work on his post game if he’s going to make it to the NBA. As a project, Austin deserves lottery consideration.

If he can improve on the floor, he’s definitely going in the top ten.

Grade: B+


No. 10: James Michael McAdoo, PF, UNC (Down from No. 5)

McAdoo’s stock is falling, as he doesn’t seem to have his heart in the game and hasn’t improved much from his freshman season.

Until the undersized 4 develops some more devastating post moves that allow him to score at will and gets his motor running, he’s going to continue plummeting down the big board.

We expect coach Roy Williams to light a fire under this young man soon, as he has too much talent to let go to waste.

Grade: B


No. 11: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke (Up from No. 15)

It’s not too often that you can refer to someone as a garbage man as a compliment.

Plumlee isn’t the focal point of the Blue Devils’ offense, but he gets his points by working hard, finding a way to beat his man and out-hustling the competition.

We project the Duke product to be a better version of Kris Humphries, a player that busts his tail on every position and puts up solid stats in the NBA.

Grade: B


No. 12: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas (Down from No. 7)

This enigma has been puzzling scouts since he arrived at Missouri, and subsequently left, a few years ago.

Now that he’s with the Mean Green, Mitchell doesn’t have a chance to show his stuff against a high level of competition.

He had a chance against Doug McDermott and the Creighton Blue Jays, and put together a solid 18-point, seven-rebound, two-assist, two-steal performance—but found himself in foul trouble and finished with four.

North Texas was blown out of the water, 71-51, and it shows that Mitchell may not be able to carry a team against superior opposition.

Grade: B


No. 13: B.J. Young, PG, Arkansas (Down from No. 11)

While Young is looking more and more like a lottery pick, we’re just not sold on his ability to run a team.

He’s averaging a measly 2.8 assists per game right now as a ball-dominant guard, but doesn’t have the height (at 6’3”) to slide over to the 2.

We believe Young will make an outstanding energy player in the NBA and could provide a ton of energy and scoring off the bench, or start for a team that doesn’t need him to facilitate as much.

Grade: B-


No. 14: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State (Down from No. 13)

Smart was a highly touted high school recruit that is helping the Pokes to a strong start and is performing better than many expected.

He’s had to shoulder the scoring load, but hasn’t been afraid to bang for boards or pass the rock (averaging 14.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game).

This young man is highly coachable and has the size (6’4”, 225 lbs) to become a solid scoring guard or pass-first point at the next level. If Smart develops at his current pace, he’s a lock for the lottery.

Grade: B-


No. 15: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (Down from No. 14)

Once Bennett settles into a position that he will likely play in the pros, he’ll have a real chance to move up the big board.

Right now, he’s between a 3 and a 4, with glaring flaws at each position. If he wants to bang with the big boys in the paint, he needs to add some post moves to his massive frame.

Should he go the SF route, he needs more finesse and ball-handling skills to go with his above-average rebounding and jumper.

Whenever he figures this out, it’ll allow him to start taking the steps to become an NBA starter.

Grade: B-


No. 16: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia (Remains No. 16)

This young swingman has been dominating camps in Europe, and looks to be worth a mid-first-round pick at this juncture.

While he’s a project, a contending team willing to stash a highly valuable player overseas for a few years will likely get rewarded for taking a chance on Saric.

Grade: C+


No. 17: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse (Up from No. 27)

Carter has been off to a blazing start to the 2012-13 season, and is averaging 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and a crazy 9.5 assists through six games.

He’s proven that he can run an offense and has incredible height for a point guard at 6’6”. There’s no doubting he can play the position at the next level and would succeed as a ball-dominant guard.

If MCW’s jumper starts falling, this kid is going to move up to the lottery.

Grade: C+


No. 18: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh (Up from No. 19)

McCollum’s game against Duke in the 2012 NCAA tournament was absolutely incredible, and he’s parlaying that momentum into his senior campaign with the Mountain Hawks.

He’s averaging 25.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and shooting a blazing 52.1 percent from the field, while nailing 55.8 percent of his tree-point attempts.

While it’s a bit early to start comparing him to rookie sensation Damian Lillard, the parallels are certainly there.

Grade: C+


No. 19: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State (Unranked last week)

Franklin is playing his way into the top half of the first round, as the Aztecs junior guard has clearly dominated the early portions of the 2012-13 season.

He’s averaging 19.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.6 blocks and has helped his team beat some top-notch competition—including the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans.

If he can keep this pace, Franklin’s name is going to be in the same conversation with the other top-tier SGs of the class.

Grade: C+


No. 20: Ben McLemore, SF, Kansas (Up from No. 23)

McLemore is impressing scouts with his athleticism, shooting touch and ferocity on the defensive end.

What isn’t helping his cause is his age (a 20-year-old freshman) and his perceived low basketball IQ. While he can’t help the former problem, the latter is fixable and should improve over his initial campaign with the Jayhawks.

Grade: C-


No. 21: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh (Down from No. 18)

While Adams is a fan favorite, we struggle to see how he’s going to adapt to the rigors of an NBA schedule and playing against the powerhouse big men in the league.

He has the body, but the talent simply isn’t there yet and may never be.

His inconsistent outings (12 minutes, 1-of-2 from the field, two points, three rebounds, two turnovers, two fouls against Howard; and 10 minutes, 0-of-1 from the field, one rebound, two fouls, zero points against No. 4 Michigan) are highly concerning, but there is no doubting the potential.

We are giving Adams a high D based solely on his size and upside for now.

Grade: D+


No. 22: Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas (Down from No. 20)

We loved Kabongo’s pure point skills last season but unfortunately haven’t had a chance to see him in action yet this year. An NCAA investigation is keeping him sidelined as they look into a questionable professional relationship with an NBA agent.

While that is not helping his stock, it’s certainly not hurting it either. What we saw from Kabongo had him in the late first round to second in the 2011 draft, and he should go higher based on the dearth of talent this year.

There aren’t many college point guards with his court vision and passing ability, which are assets needed by many pro teams.

Grade: Incomplete


No. 23: Le’Bryan Nash, SF, Oklahoma State (Down from No. 21)

Nash has drawn a ton of comparisons to Ron Artest, from his gritty defense and muscular frame right down to his actual appearance.

He’s been up and down during his time with the Pokes, but the bottom line is this kid can play basketball. He has the body to do so and certainly the skills, but must get his head in the game in order to succeed.

If he can put this package all together, Nash will be a star at the next level.

Grade: D+


No. 24: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State (Up from No. 28)

Harris’ athleticism and IQ are rock solid, but he’s a bit too streaky of a shooter to be a reliable scoring threat in the NBA right now.

If he can work on that jumper and make it a serious, long-range weapon, plus bulk up to account for his smaller stature (6’4”), the Spartans 2-guard will be a first-round pick.

Grade: D


No. 25: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Down from No. 22)

Withey’s defensive presence and seven-foot frame almost ensure he will be taken somewhere in the first round, but he has the ability to improve his stock even further.

The senior needs to get more involved on offense and continue to call for the basketball, as his offense is what scouts are turned off by. He projects as nothing more than a backup big body in the NBA unless he can start making some tough shots down low.

Grade: D


No. 26: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Unranked last week)

This sophomore earned his way onto our big board after putting together a brilliant 18-point, 11-assist performance against NC State last week.

The Wolverine is a great setup artist and has no problem penetrating into the lane and either taking an easy shot or dishing it out for a wide-open three.

If he reduces his turnovers—he had zero against the Wolfpack—a franchise will take a chance on him in the first.

Grade: D


No. 27: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky (Unranked last week) 

Noel stole the spotlight for the Wildcats, but Cauley-Stein has arguably been just as an effective big man for the program.

The 19-year-old is extremely raw, but his upside is through the roof. He’s a freakish athlete with incredible speed, shot-blocking and leaping ability, but has to work on his timing and basketball IQ.

If he accomplishes this, Cauley-Stein could vault up to the lottery.  

Grade: D


No. 28: C.J. Leslie, PF, NC State (Down from No. 25)

Leslie hasn’t been dominant, and the Wolfpack have struggled alongside their forward.

If the team and player can find a rhythm, they’ll be much better off and it will help the inconsistent tweener’s stock immensely.

Scouts are in love with this kid’s potential, but he hasn’t lived up to the hype.

Grade: D-


No. 29: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia (Remains No. 29)

The Bulldogs sharpshooter is firing nearly nine three-point attempts per game, and knocking down 35.5 percent of those.

He has to improve his all-around game and become more of a threat from areas inside the perimeter if teams are going to respect him in college, let alone the NBA.

Caldwell-Pope has the size to play the 2 at any level, and he’s an above-average defender, but his one-dimensional game isn’t going to cut it for long.

Grade: F+


No. 30: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA (Remains No. 30)

This unique forward hasn’t exactly excelled for the Bruins, but his upside and mind-blowing abilities for a man of his size are likely worth a first-round flier.

Anderson needs to improve in all areas of his game, but his facilitating alone is keeping him on the radar of every team in the league.

Grade: F


Dropped from the Big Board

No. 17: Adonis Thomas, F, Memphis

No. 24: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville  

No. 26: Patric Young, C, Florida