Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterFebruary 7, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects

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    Over the past two weeks we've changed our No. 1 overall pick and shuffled some of the other top prospects around the rankings.

    We should see a variety of unique talent grace the top of the 2013 NBA draft order. Our top five consists of a defensive game-changer, a potential go-to scoring option, an elite complementary scoring option, an explosive phenom and a post-scorer.

    This week we saw an upperclassman explode onto the NBA radar and a freshman point guard put a team on his back.

    It may not be a star-studded field, but it's deep and filled with dozens of potential rotational players.

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

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    Stock Report:

    We're coming to terms with the fact that Tony Mitchell's North Texas squad stinks and it's not necessarily because he's under-performing. 

    Mitchell is a solid prospect in an environment unsuited for a future NBA player. He was a top recruit out of high school and had originally committed to Missouri, but was eventually ruled ineligible and forced to relocate elsewhere.

    He hasn't found any form of rhythm as of late, and it's likely we're in too deep for that to change.

    Mitchell should already be looking forward to pre-draft workouts, where his off-the-chart athleticism has a chance at wowing scouts and evaluators.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Jamaal Franklin has been erratic as of late, but that's only a result of him juggling too many responsibilities. At the next level, a coach will ask him to make plays off the ball, stay active on the boards and cause havoc on the defensive end.

    He's only made five of his last 22 three-point attempts, and it's affecting the rest of his game. However, scouts are more likely to concentrate on his strengths as opposed to nitpick at his deficiencies because of the unique tools he brings to the table.

    Franklin's elite athleticism and fearlessness above the rim make him the sought out prospect he's become today. Lineups in need of life could call on Franklin as early as the mid-first round.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Though Glenn Robinson's numbers may not stand out, some of his individual plays do. Robinson has the chance to become one of the elite slashers in this draft class. He knows how to position himself off the ball in order to get open for three or score an easy bucket off a cut.

    Against Ohio State, he showed why he's an NBA-ready finisher when he drew an and-one at the rim with time winding down.

    Still a young kid, Robinson has time to work on his perimeter game and ball-handling. He'll be a regular rotation wing once he does.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Trey Burke's strengths and weaknesses each continue to stand out, keeping his draft stock level entering the final month before the madness.

    Burke was effective against Ohio State, finishing with 16 points on 12 shot attempts and eight assists with two turnovers.

    Though he scored 25 points against Indiana, he missed 15 shots from the floor—too many from a point guard for a team to overcome. At 6'0'', it's not so easy to create easy, uncontested shots on the perimeter, and that's one of the problems Burke will run into at the next level.

    However, he's still protecting the ball and has some of the best breakdown ability of any prospect in the draft pool.

    He's our third point guard off the board in 2013.

16. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, 6'5'', SG

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    Stock Report:

    Archie Goodwin is still in full-speed-ahead mode when his head should be looser and surveying his surroundings.

    However, there isn't a better guard at hitting the gap and exploding toward the rim. Goodwin averages seven free-throw attempts per game, which is essentially what makes him the prospect he is.

    His perimeter game calls for concern as he hasn't made a three-pointer since January 2 and his free-throw percentage has plummeted to 66.7 percent. But those are areas of the game that can be worked out over time.

    Goodwin isn't NBA-ready, but he'll have the opportunity to flourish when he is.

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

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    Stock Report:

    It was a great sign just to see Willie Cauley-Stein back in action after having a minor procedure on his left knee.

    He scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots in 22 minutes against South Carolina, constantly making his presence felt in the paint.

    Cauley-Stein uses his powerful 7'0'' frame to gain position down low and lets his coordination and athleticism do the rest.

    There are some similarities between him and Andre Drummond in terms of how they impact the game. Gigantic, powerful, athletic bodies like these were put on this earth to play basketball down low.

14. Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'4'', SG

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    Stock Report:

    Victor Oladipo might have been knocking for a while, but after his scintillating performance against Michigan, it's safe to say he's finally arrived.

    Oladipo has been spectacular in every facet of the game. And it's not like he's just sprinkling these babies in, either. Oladipo is putting on a show night after night in the toughest conference in college hoops.

    Just one year ago he was limited to simple line-drives to the hole. Now, he's crossing up defenders and changing directions at full speed. Add a three-point shot and the same suffocating defense as usual, and Oladipo has established himself as a legitimate top-20 prospect.

    I wouldn't mind having some of whatever Oladipo has been eating for breakfast.

    We recently moved Victor Oladipo up to No. 13 overall in our 2013 NBA mock draft,

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

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    Stock Report:

    Even if you've jumped off the bandwagon, it would be tough not to admit that James McAdoo has been looking sharp.

    He's coming off a 20-point game over Wake Forest after going for three consecutive double-doubles.

    McAdoo's offense is coming around and he's creating it on his own. He's nailing this baseline fall-away jumper that could end up being a real dangerous weapon if he can make it with some consistency.

    He's also attacking the rim with purpose, instead of just putting his head down and plowing through.

    McAdoo's versatility should allow him to earn an NBA role whether he's selected in the lottery or not.

12. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3'', PG/SG

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    Stock Report:

    C.J. McCollum is likely to sit comfortably in the 10-to-20 range while he recovers from a broken foot that should sideline him for the rest of the year.

    McCollum doesn't have the point guard instincts of Michael Carter-Williams or the strength and physicality of Marcus Smart, but he's the most polished scoring guard of anyone in the draft. He was the second-leading scorer in the country before going down with the injury.

    A team who already has a point guard can feel comfortable taking McCollum because of his ability to play off the ball.

11. Isaiah Austin, Baylor, 7'1'', PF

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    Stock Report:

    The good news is that Isaiah Austin is rebounding like his height suggests he should. He's coming off three double-digit rebounding games, one of which was a 20-spot.

    But he's struggling to find easy ways to score despite having a release point that's nearly impossible to contest.

    He looks sharp as a stretch-4, showing fluid mechanics on his three-ball and an accurate stroke as a result. But down low he takes too long to execute his move, allowing defenses to anticipate.

    The intrigue should keep him lottery-bound despite nobody having a clue as to how his game will eventually translate.

10. Mason Plumlee, Duke, 7'0'', PF/C

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    Stock Report:

    Mason Plumlee went off for 32 points on 12-of-15 from the floor against Wake Forest, looking like an NBA player who walked into the wrong gym.

    Plumlee couldn't be stopped at the rim, finishing at all angles while getting there with ease. He's shown tremendous confidence in his jump hook in the lane, a move he's worked on all summer.

    Between Plumlee's rebounding dominance, expanded offensive post game and above-the-rim off-ball tools, he's looking more and more like a multidimensional contributor at the next level.

    He's a better athlete than the majority of backup NBA centers, and should be gunning for a starting gig by 2015.

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

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    Stock Report:

    After flying through a patch of turbulence, Otto Porter has helped Georgetown turn the heat back up.

    Porter went for 17 points and 12 boards in a win over Louisville, and followed with 20 points and four steals in a beat-down on Seton Hall.

    There's nothing new to report on Georgetown's most versatile asset. He's scoring when his number is called, rebounding at a high rate, and defending for 33.7 minutes a game.

    He's a safe bet for 10 good seasons as a valued role player in an NBA rotation.

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

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    Stock Report: ↓

    Michael Carter-Williams' assists numbers have dropped ever since defenses began taking away his dribble penetration. Coincidentally, the Orange offense has failed to find a rhythm as a result.

    He hasn't tallied over five assists in his last three games, and is shooting a putrid 8-of-32 from the floor over the stretch.

    Without a reliable jumper, Carter-Williams is overly reliant on his ability to get into the paint. He'll need to pose a bigger threat from long range (28 percent on threes) so defenses can't sit back and clog the paint.

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

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    Stock Report: ↓

    Nineteen shot attempts over the last three games just isn't good enough. Alex Len needs to be more assertive on the offensive end and recognize when a scoring opportunity presents itself.

    Len scored four points in a loss to Florida State and eight points in a loss to Duke. If you're auditioning for a spot in the top five, general managers are going to want to see a little more substance.

    Portland Trail Blazers rookie Myers Leonard has a similar outlook to Len, and he's still a few years from earning a regular rotation role. Len is a project who lacks NBA-readiness, but could make a Zydrunas Ilgauskas-type of impact after a few years of developing. 

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

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    Stock Report: ↑

    Not many freshman in the country are forced to handle a bigger load than Marcus Smart, who is operating as Oklahoma State's primary scorer, distributor and defensive ball-stopper.

    The fact that he leads the Big 12 in steals at three per game is just a side note.

    Oklahoma State is coming off two impressive wins—the first over then-No. 2 Kansas, and most recently Baylor.

    With the ball in his hands for the majority of the game, Smart's efficiency numbers aren't the greatest. But he's making plays to win games—most of which don't show up on the stat sheet.

    There's a scouting team out there who is recognizing Smart's intangibles and is circling his name on its draft board.

5. Cody Zeller, Indiana, 6'11'', C

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    Stock Report:

    Cody Zeller played great against Michigan, finishing with 19 points and 10 boards while only missing two shots from the floor.

    That was a game scouts wanted to see, however Michigan doesn't have anyone inside who can physically match up.

    Regardless, the full range of post moves were on display, and he even added a one-handed put-back slam, really highlighting his coordination and athleticism.

    Zeller seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, looking noticeably more into the heat of the game. The more fire he shows, the more fans he'll attract in NBA front offices.

4. Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'7'', SF/PF

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    Stock Report:

    Anthony Bennett has cooled off from downtown, but he's not letting it affect the rest of his game. If he's not scoring, he's rebounding. And if he's not rebounding, he's scoring.

    This week he went for 25 points and six boards against Air Force, and 15 and nine against Fresno State.

    Bennett's toughness and interior presence allow him to impact a game whether his offense is on or not. He's leapfrogged Ben McLemore for that very reason, who might not make an impact if his three-ball isn't falling.

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

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    Stock Report:

    This was not a good week for anyone associated with Kansas basketball.They dropped a game at home to Oklahoma State and lost a head-scratcher on the road to a previously 0-8 TCU.

    Ben McLemore shot 0-of-6 from downtown in the loss to TCU. There's no doubt he's an elite prospect and should land a starting gig with whoever ends up drafting him.

    But without the ability to create his own shot off the dribble, McLemore could struggle in a lineup without playmakers.

    He can still go anywhere from Nos. 1-5 depending on the needs of the teams drafting at each position.

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

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    Stock Report:  ↓

    Shabazz Muhammad's stock is more steady than down, but while he sits in traffic on the highway, he's getting passed by competitors in the HOV lane.

    He's scoring with consistency, though not with the volume that allows him to take over a game. In UCLA's last two games, Muhammad scored 22 points in an overtime loss to USC, and 18 points in a blowout loss to Arizona State.

    Teams looking at Muhammad are going to want a guy who can generate offense in the half court and provide a consistent scoring presence. If they're looking for a more complementary scorer, they might lean toward Ben McLemore.

    Though Muhammad's numbers are solid, he's not impacting games like Nerlens Noel is for Kentucky. UCLA has lost three of its last four.

1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 6'11'', C

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    Stock Report: ↑

    Nerlens Noel has turned the switch that takes most raw big men much longer to locate.

    It's no longer a case of whether or not he'll make an impact; rather, it's how many different facets of the game he'll impact.

    Noel was a force on three separate fronts against South Carolina. He finished inside for 10 points, cleaned up the glass with 10 boards, and protected the rim with five blocks.

    He went for 19 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks on the road at Texas A&M just a few days after piling up 12 rejections in a win over Ole Miss.

    He's changing games and giving Kentucky the edge, and he's still far from polished. Just wait until he starts making the jump hook with some consistency.