Stock Up, Stock Down for Top Prospects

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJanuary 17, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top Prospects

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    This wasn't a particularly productive week for NBA prospects.

    I guess it's expected at this juncture of the year. Some teams are approaching the 20-game mark of their seasons. Bodies are wearing down, defenses are adjusting and slumps are developing.

    Georgetown's Otto Porter was one of the few players that had a big week, while a new name took over the No. 2 spot on the board. As for the No. 1 spot, Shabazz Muhammad maintained his stranglehold on the top billing. 


    Stats Updated as of January 16, 2013

20. Alex Poythress, Kentucky, SF, 6'7''

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Rank: 20

    Alex Poythress hasn't attempted more than nine shots in a game since December 1, mainly because he's incapable of creating his own offense.

    Poythress poses minimal threat off the dribble with the inability to change directions. He's limited to catching and finishing and spotting up from downtown. Although he's proven effective in both departments, neither justifies lottery consideration.

19. Tony Mitchell, North Texas, SF/PF, 6'8''

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Rank: 18

    Tony Mitchell is starting to resemble former second pick overall Derrick Williams for the worse. Mitchell is a candidate to land a "tweener" label without the quickness off the dribble to play on the perimeter or comfort to play in the post.

    His field-goal percentage has dipped from 57 percent to 46 percent, as he's not getting the easy scoring opportunities he was getting last season. Couple that with the fact that his jump shot is waning, and Mitchell has taken a serious step back.

    A former top recruit with devastating athleticism should be tearing up the Sun Belt Conference, but that just hasn't been the case.

18. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, SF, 6'5''

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: Unranked

    Jamaal Franklin has now gone for over 20 points in three consecutive games, including a 20-point, 18-rebound night against a Fresno State team that just knocked off Wyoming. He also scored 23 in an overtime win over Colorado State and 27 in a loss against UNLV.

    His length and athleticism were made for the NBA, and he's getting better at using them.

    In the process, he's desperately trying to prove he's a capable perimeter scorer. He's taken 25 three-pointers over the past three games—too much for our liking. He hit one against Colorado State, but he's a 26.9 percent long-range shooter, and that's unlikely to change much in the short-term.

    Franklin's appeal stems from his world-class athleticism, along with the ability to rebound and make plays off the ball. A three-point shot would give him more NBA tools than he would know what to do with. He should save it until it becomes a reliable offensive weapon.

17. Trey Burke, Michigan, PG, 6'0''

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Rank: 16

    Trey Burke had a game to forget in Ohio State, where he missed nine shots and committed four turnovers.

    Games like that happen on the road. It was an opportunity for Burke to boost his stock, but an off game won't hurt it too much. This was the first time since November 23 that Burke turned the ball over more than three times.

    He'll have plenty of opportunities to bounce back during conference and tournament play.

16. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina, SF/PF, 6'9''

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Rank: 14

    James Michael McAdoo continues to suffer from the struggles that have plagued him all year.

    He still looks like a lion lost in the Arctic. McAdoo is routinely the most physically gifted athlete on the floor, yet can't consistently find a way to take advantage of it.

    McAdoo plays the game off-balance, and it's hurting his offensive efficiency. He's putting up consistent numbers—he went for 14 points and eight rebounds in a win over Florida State and 14 points and six rebounds in a loss to Miami. Still, there's little fluidity in his offensive repertoire despite having the tools to make it work. 

    If it clicks for McAdoo, we could be talking about a steal outside the first 10 picks. There's still hope.

15. Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7'0'' C

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: 20

    Willie Cauley-Stein's statistics don't paint an accurate enough portrait of his contributions. He's getting better, whether the box score suggests it or not.

    Against Tennessee, Cauley-Stein went to the hop-step and lefty-hook, a new offensive move we haven't seen in his repertoire. He's learning on the fly, using his size and athleticism to create separation and gain familiarity in the post.

    He's raw but promising. NBA teams that can afford to be patient and aren't in a rush to see immediate results could stash Cauley-Stein and allow him to develop into a dominant interior presence.

14. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, SG, 6'4''

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Report: 7

    Archie Goodwin hasn't been very good since the Louisville game, making just 13 of his last 40 field-goal attempts.

    Once Goodwin decides on a move, there's no turning back, and it's costing him. He needs to do a better job of recognizing when to pull back and restart and when to attack.

    His jumper and shaky mechanics are getting exposed as well. He's made only one of his last 11 three-point attempts.

    Goodwin is an extraordinary athlete with excellent scoring tools, but has a lot to work on before he can be deemed NBA-ready.

13. Mason Plumlee, Duke, 6'10'', C

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Last Week's Rank: 13

    Duke fell to the NC State Wolfpack, but it wasn't Mason Plumlee's fault. The senior double-doubled with 15 points and 11 boards.

    If Plumlee can get the shot off, odds are, it's going in. College is a guard's game—big men don't get as many opportunities to create their own offense. As long as he's converting his chances and rebounding consistently, Plumlee will be a lottery target from now until late June.

    Plumlee is a safer pick than Alex Len, but his ceiling is a floor or two lower. 

12. Isaiah Austin, Baylor, PF/C, 7'1"

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Rank: 9

    Isaiah Austin's numbers may not be down—he went for 15 points and 11 rebounds in a loss to Kansas—but his impact doesn't necessarily reflect his statistics.

    Austin's rare size and length allow him to score a few easy baskets a game, but he isn't really creating opportunities for himself.

    He's actually gotten rejected, despite a 7'1'' frame and 7'3'' wingspan, on multiple occasions operating in the post because of his slow delivery.

    Austin has plenty to work on, but has the tools necessary to craft a product worthy of a lottery selection.

11. Glenn Robinson III, Michigan, SF, 6'6''

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Last Week's Rank: 11

    Glenn Robinson's offense is likely to fluctuate without the freedom or polish to create on his own. He wasn't much of a factor in Michigan's loss to Ohio State, though he did nail two of his four three-point attempts.

    Robinson's athleticism and coordination make him flexible as a finisher, and his touch on the perimeter adds to his versatility as a wing.

    Unfortunately, his talents are hidden playing alongside Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway. Sometimes you see potential, even if it's in small sample sizes.

10. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, PG, 6'6''

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Last Week's Rank: 10

    Michael Carter-Williams went for 17 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals in a complete two-way performance against Providence. This game was sandwiched between a 1-for-13 night (vs. South Florida) and a 3-for-12 night (vs. Villanova), so Carter-Williams' consistency is starting to flicker.

    Creating for others comes a lot easier to him than generating points for himself.

    Developing some go-to moves for offense, like a pull-up or step-back jumper off the dribble, will help complete his as a guard.

9. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG, 6'3''

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: 12

    Sometimes, not playing at all can give your stock a boost. Just ask Dion Waiters. 

    The good news for McCollum is that he can't be exposed sitting on the sidelines. There isn't much NBA talent in this crop of prospects. Laying low and letting everyone else weed themselves out might actually be a winning strategy this year, even if was accidental.

8. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, PG/SG, 6'4''

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: 9

    Marcus Smart didn't have a great week, but neither did his direct positional competitors. 

    As a freshman, Smart has been put in the driver's seat of a team with high aspirations. His leadership qualities stand out whether his jumper is falling or not.

    Smart makes plays as a scorer or facilitator, depending on what the game situation calls for.

    Stats won't make or break Smart's draft stock. Teams will find a way to overlook the numbers and focus on the unteachable intangibles he brings to the table.

7. Otto Porter, Georgetown, SF, 6'8''

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: 15

    Otto Porter turned it up this week after suffering back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh and Marquette. 

    He went for 19 points and 14 boards against St. John's and 20 and eight over Providence.

    Attacking the rim, Porter's length makes it easy for him to finish around defenders and over outstretched arms. He's doing a little of everything—slashing, spotting up, rebounding and passing.

    He'll be much better off getting drafted by a team with established talented around him.

6. Alex Len, Maryland, C, 7'1''

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Last Week's Rank: 6

    Alex Len finished with the game-winning put-back to defeat North Carolina State, but he wasn't much of a factor offensively during the previous 39 minutes.

    Part of that has to do with Maryland not making a conscious effort to get him the ball and giving up too soon once the post is denied. 

    He showed fire and a motor that was noticeable, raising his arms to pump up the crowd and yelling furiously after a blocked shot or dunk.

    Len is so incredibly tall and long that he'll be able to get shots off at will once his offense develops. He looks locked in for the top 10 at the moment. 

5. Cody Zeller, Indiana, C, 7'0''

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Rank: 4

    In a way, Indiana's loss to Wisconsin was a reflection of Cody Zeller's lack of presence. He was great in the first half, converting every touch into points.

    But then, he checked out for a good portion of the second half, and the Badgers took the lead, which they ultimately sustained.

    David Copperfield thinks Zeller disappears a lot

    — Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) January 16, 2013

    With a 35-second shot clock and a 6'11'' frame, you'd think Zeller would find a way to get off more than 9.2 shots per game. 

    Zeller is a big-time talent, and whoever ends up drafting him will receive some rare offensive services. But his lack of aggression might not lend itself to primary or secondary scoring responsibilities.

4. Anthony Bennett, UNLV, SF/PF, 6'8''

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: 5

    Anthony Bennett's eye-opening start to the year has given him cushion from here on out. No longer are scouts looking at stat-lines, but individual plays within a game that flash his future and potential. 


    NBA scouts down the row from me chuckling and scribbling furiously after Anthony Bennett's last jump shot.

    — Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) January 17, 2013

    The jumper Jeff Eisenberg was referring to was a pull-up off the dribble, something we haven't seen all year from Bennett. He's showing more with each game and is a sleeper candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft.  

3. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, C, 6'10''

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Rank: 2

    Nerlens Noel's downgrade isn't a result of poor play, but rather, a competitor making a statement that was too bold to ignore. 

    Noel has met expectations as a defensive specialist. He blocked 16 total shots in three games this week, using his instincts and his physical tools to deny looks at the rim.

    Offensively, he's still shying away from contact, which will be a problem in his first few pro seasons.

    The team picking will have to determine the value of an offensive-oriented two-way prospect, such as Ben McLemore, versus a defensive-oriented one-way prospect like Noel.

    If Noel bulk ups and develops offensively, his upside will reflect No. 1 or No. 2 overall value.

2. Ben McLemore, Kansas, SG, 6'5''

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: 3

    Ben McLemore has been a standout prospect all year, but sometimes, all it takes is one performance to solidify scouts' opinions.

    His 33-point effort to beat Iowa State in overtime will be one of those defining performances when he looks back on his career.   

    He shot 6-of-6 from downtown in picturesque fashion, complementing a sweet outside stroke with a smooth yet explosive attack-game. 

    McLemore is a bright young kid who was, at one point, referred to by Bill Self as someone whose talent was "off the charts." He's got All-Star potential at a position that lacks talent across the NBA landscape.

1. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SG/SF, 6'6''

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Last Week's Rank: 1

    Shabazz Muhammad had a rough week at the office, but the Bruins fared pretty well overall.

    UCLA came up with road wins over Colorado and Utah; however, Muhammad shot a combined 9-of-29 from the floor during the trip.

    But it's all good. It's really the only sour patch that Muhammad has hit all season. Downs are expected with the ups, especially for freshmen, as long as they don't put the team in jeopardy.

    Muhammad still presents teams with the most favorable risk-to-reward ratio of anyone in the draft class. Expect a bounce-back week with two home games against Oregon and Oregon State.