2013 NBA Draft Big Board: Sizing Up the Top 30 NBA Prospects

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterFebruary 10, 2013

2013 NBA Draft Big Board: Sizing Up the Top 30 NBA Prospects

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    Our 2013 NBA draft big board consists of the top 30 prospects, whether they're projected to leave this year or the next.

    Some of these guys haven't been given a full opportunity to show what they're made of, but they have flashed potential worthy of a spot in the top 30.

    With players allowed to declare just one year after high school, the overall talent across the college basketball landscape is lacking. Very few current college players have the ceiling to change the culture of an organization or to represent a centerpiece that teams can build around.

    The ones that do are atop this list.

30. C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State, 6'8'', SF/PF

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    C.J. Leslie has been on the NBA radar for years but hasn't yet fulfilled his potential as a prospect in college.

    The athleticism and talent are both there, but without much weight to his frame, some question how his game will translate to the pros.

    The good news for Leslie is that he's been playing more face-up basketball as a 3, something he'll have to do when he gets to the next level. He looks much more comfortable squaring to the basket and taking a jump shot—a tool he should get comfortable using.

    Leslie is a big-time finisher who plays high above the rim, but he will have to change up his game in order for it to translate.

29. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, 6'6'', SG

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    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has the perfect build for an NBA 2-guard with 6'6'' size, long arms and fluid athleticism.

    He's got a pretty stroke from long range that he sometimes falls too deeply in love with. He's not an adept shot-creator off the dribble, though he's capable of making line drives to the hoop and finishing with either hand.

    His physical tools project nicely on the defensive end, making him a two-way guard who can shoot, slash and lock down perimeter scorers.

    There's a place in the NBA for Caldwell-Pope.

28. Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State, 6'5'', PG

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    Lorenzo Brown is a crafty ball-handler who can manipulate the defense with the dribble. He has tremendous physical tools for a 6'5" point guard with excellent athleticism, which allows him to see over the defense and finish with ease at the rim.

    His jumper is improving, though he could add some range to his three-point stroke to make him more of an offensive threat with the ball in his hands.

    With so many point guards and so few openings, Brown's value is likely to exceed his eventual NBA draft position.

27. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, 7'0'', C

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    Steven Adams has crazy athleticism for a seven-footer. He runs the floor like a guard with effortless mobility.

    Unfortunately, he's not very skilled and has looked lost in Pittsburgh's offense. Right now, he's just relegated to finishing tip-ins and alley-oops, though he's shown some touch on the mid-range jumper.

    Adams is most certainly a long-term project, but one that could pay off if given the proper guidance and environment.

26. Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, 7'0'', C

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    Kelly Olynyk sat out last year figuring he wouldn't get much burn playing behind Robert Sacre, now of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Since that time, Olynyk has improved his game to the point where he's now a dominant offensive player and intriguing NBA prospect.

    Olynyk is a mediocre athlete but makes up for it with offensive instincts and excellent footwork. He has the countermoves on the interior that allow him to score when his first look at the rim is taken away.

    He also has a good-looking jumper that can pull larger defenders away from the basket.

    Olynyk went from virtually unknown to the center of every scouting department's draft boards. It wouldn't be a shock to see him drafted in the top 15.

25. Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, 6'5'', SG

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    Tim Hardaway Jr. has always had potential, but he's starting to fulfill it as a junior at Michigan.

    He's an attractive NBA prospect because of his ability to play on and off the ball. With it, he shows a solid handle and can attack the rim or separate as a shooter in the mid-range. Without it, he can spot up from downtown or slash toward the hoop.

    His stock has risen dramatically, and he's been a major factor in Michigan's success. Hardaway would be a steal in the second round if he slipped that far.

24. T.J. Warren, North Carolina State, 6'8'', SF

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    T.J. Warren's glowing strength is his ability to score at any angle from every spot on the floor. He's in scoring position whenever he catches the ball.

    Warren has excellent size for a 3 at 6'8'', and despite a somewhat thick frame, he moves well with and without the ball.

    He doesn't have many go-to moves and relies on his feel for the rim and offensive instincts. But when Warren starts getting touches in a more featured role as a sophomore, he should begin to develop a more refined scoring repertoire.

23. Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, 6'0'', PG

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    With a strong frame and low center of gravity, Isaiah Canaan has the look of an NBA point guard. He's a bulldog, with the strength to take it right at the defense and the athleticism to finish in traffic.

    Canaan is also one of top shooters in the country. Considering the offense will run though him, his three-ball off the dribble will be one of his more valued strengths.

    Murray State likes to run the pick-and-roll offense, so he should be familiar with his responsibilities at the next level.

    If you're looking for a player comparison, Raymond Felton is your guy.

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

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    Tony Mitchell entered his sophomore year as a top-10 candidate after averaging a a double-double as a freshman.

    But for whatever reason, his rebounding rate and three-point percentage took major hits, and his natural position is being questioned.

    Even as a tweener, Mitchell's ferocious athleticism and ability to play above the rim will be coveted.

    The only fear here is that he gets stuck between positions like Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Williams went No. 2 overall.

    Mitchell is worth the risk as a mid-to-late first-rounder.

21. Alex Poythress, Kentucky, 6'8'', SF

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    Alex Poythress has been somewhat disappointing, but the potential hasn't been sucked out of him.

    He's a talent at 6'8'' with face-up athleticism and is a mean finisher who isn't bothered by contact.

    Poythress has shown he's capable of stretching the floor and converting spot-up jumpers, but he will need to extend his range to be an effective NBA stretch 4. 

    Without the ability to change directions or create shots off the dribble, Poythress will be somewhat limited at the next level, just like he is now. But teams will covet his athleticism in a gap-filling role.

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

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    Teams looking for athleticism on the wing will have Jamaal Franklin highlighted on the board.

    He's a playmaker who doesn't disrupt flow by overusing the dribble, and he makes routine plays off the ball as a high-flier around the rim.

    Franklin's hops and superior athleticism keep his activity rate high and his presence felt. Just 6'5'', he's averaging over nine rebounds per game with the ability to rise up and make plays above the rim.

    At 17.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, Franklin is one of the most productive mid-major prospects with an array of NBA tools.

19. Rudy Gobert, France, 7'2'', PF

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    Rudy Gobert is a top-20 prospect based solely on intrigue.

    At 7'2'' with an unprecedented 7'9'' wingspan, Gobert should make an impact even if his skills aren't up to par. He's a fluid runner and makes plays above the rim with the ability to get higher than anyone else on the floor based on his reach.

    Gobert is currently playing in France but has expressed his desire to play in the NBA next season.

    Just the thought of a guy with his physical measurements and mobility is scary.

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

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    Trey Burke made a wise move by returning for his sophomore year, and he'll earn more draft-day dollars because of it.

    He's established himself as a first-round lock with his consistent display of leadership and production. Burke has become a better all-around playmaker in 2013, using his quickness off the dribble to break down the defense and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

    His jumper has also improved, especially off the dribble—something he'll live off when seeing ball screens on a routine basis in the pros.

    Whoever takes Burke is going to be thrilled with their selection, whether he turns out to be a starter or a spark off the bench.

17. Glenn Robinson, Michigan, 6'6'', SF

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    Glenn Robinson III is an NBA athlete with the ideal size to occupy the wing. He's an off-ball scorer in the mold of Andre Iguodala who finishes at the rim with authority and flexibility.

    He hasn't shown much in terms of creating offense, generally relying on point guard Trey Burke to set him up. But once he's in scoring position, chances are Robinson is going to convert.

    With his three-ball working, he's one of the top off-ball contributors in the draft pool. It could be a few years before he's playing regular rotation minutes, but Robinson is an excellent prospect and one who could generate lottery attention based on his ceiling.

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

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    Archie Goodwin flashes his potential at least a few times a game with vicious takes to the rack that result in finishes above the rim.

    But he's been shaky in other areas of the game, most notably as a decision-maker and jump shooter.

    Still, he's one of the most athletic guards in the country with a ceiling that could justify a selection in the top 10.

    Goodwin isn't NBA ready, and it could affect his draft stock with teams looking for immediate production. But his potential is very recognizable.

15. Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'5'', SG

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    Victor Oladipo has transformed from a raw athlete to a skilled, two-way lottery prospect.

    He's tightened up his handle, and that has allowed him to change directions off the bounce. He's getting to the rim easier, and with exceptional athleticism and explosiveness, he's capable of finishing in traffic.

    Oladipo has also developed a reliable three-point jumper, something he'll surely take with him to the next level.

    He has the reputation of being the most relentless perimeter defender in all of college basketball. There's no doubt that teams looking for a motor at the 2-hole are already giving Oladipo looks.

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

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    C.J. McCollum is the most polished scorer in the country, though there are question marks that surround his natural position.

    At 6'3'', McCollum has the ideal size for a point guard but is much better at putting the ball through the rim than setting up his teammates.

    He broke his foot in January and will be out for the rest of the year, but chances are that scouts have seen all they need to.

    McCollum will likely start off as a combo guard off the bench, but his ceiling is high enough to get a legitimate shot at a starting gig he if he lands in the right place.

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

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    Isaiah Austin is a sought-after prospect because of his ridiculous size and ability to play on the perimeter. He has a sweet stroke from behind the arc, and with extreme length, he can finish over defenders with a ridiculously high release point.

    He's a bit slow in his overall delivery, particularly in the post, which neutralizes the advantage his length should present.

    But 7'1'' athletes who can play face-up basketball 25 feet from the rim just don't come around that often. Austin has top-five upside, but he is somewhat risky with a frame that isn't built for contact.

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

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    Seven-foot athletes with athleticism and strength are naturally meant to excel in basketball. Willie Cauley-Stein may not have the post moves of Cody Zeller, but he has the muscles and coordination for getting himself easy buckets at the rim.

    Cauley-Stein doesn't get starter minutes at Kentucky, yet he seems to produce with every opportunity he's given. He's a space-eater down low who can protect the rim and finish above it.

    Cauley-Stein will use his physical tools to drive his production, the way Andre Drummond is doing with the Detroit Pistons.

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

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    Mason Plumlee is one of the most improved players in the nation, transforming from strictly a finisher to an offensive machine.

    He's scoring in the post in the half court and finishing on the break in transition. Previously, Duke rarely fed Plumlee the ball and let him go to work. He's now facing the rim and attacking off the dribble or going to the over-shoulder-hook for points in the paint.

    With the ability to play high above the rim, Plumlee is dominating the glass and protecting the goal.

    He's an explosive athlete at 7'0'' and could be the most NBA-ready center in the draft class.

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

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    Anytime the 7'1" Alex Len shows offensive promise, it's going to get scouts excited.

    He's agile and nimble when dealing in the paint, with the ability to spin off defenders to separate in the post.

    Len could use a jumper to threaten the defense a little bit more, but he has the touch and mechanics that bode well for future success in this department.

    He's had some moments this year that have generated No. 1 overall conversation. However, without many offensive touches and a small sample size of production, he's more likely to land somewhere between the No. 4 to No. 10 range.

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

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    James McAdoo has had his struggles as a sophomore, adjusting to a heavier workload and added responsibilities.

    But he's creating his own offense in NBA fashion. McAdoo is comfortable taking fadeaways in the post or facing the rim and attacking off the bounce.

    At 6'9'' with small forward athleticism and power forward strength, he's a mismatch at whatever position he plays. Once he figures out how to get himself easier points in the half court, McAdoo will be a two-way asset that every rotation can use.

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

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    Michael Carter-Williams isn't NBA ready, but you have to wonder what he'll look like when he is.

    At 6'6'' with disruptive length and bounce to his step, opposing teams have to game-plan around how they want to defend him.

    He can slice though the defense and finish in the paint or dish it off to an open teammate.

    Carter-Williams can be labeled as a "playmaker," something teams drafting in the lottery could all use more of. With a few years to tighten up his ball-handling, jumper and overall decision-making, he can develop into a difficult mismatch and compelling offensive weapon.

    He currently leads the country in assists at 8.5 per game.

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

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    Otto Porter will be a safety pick for a team looking for reliability and a consistent presence.

    Porter is the jack of all trades and master of none. He has an NBA frame with substantial length that he uses to slash off the ball and finish at the rim. With a good motor and strong instincts, Porter is a force on the glass despite lacking the power of a 4.

    When he's making spot-up jumpers, which he's fully capable of doing, Porter makes the offense a lot tougher to defend.

    He'll get lottery looks as a versatile combo forward who brings more than just one dish to the table.

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

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    Without visible improvement from one year to the next, Cody Zeller's stock has slipped since the start of the season.

    But it's not like he's playing worse. Zeller is easily the most impressive post player in the country, with the ability to score over his shoulder, on fall-away jumpers or spinning baseline for a layup. He has soft hands in the paint and can generally score at any angle.

    He'll need to work on his face-up game to pose more of a threat offensively, but teams looking for a post scorer will start with him.

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

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    Anthony Bennett exploded onto NBA radars, giving off superstar vibes in just a few months on the job.

    He has the versatility to play multiple positions, with the foot speed of a 3 and the power of a 4.

    Bennett has shown a little bit of everything offensively, from spot-up threes to runners in the lane to dunks attacking the rim.

    The only question mark is whether he'll get stuck in between positions at the next level, but his overall talent suggests that's a long shot. Consider Bennett a lock for the top 10 and one of the few college basketball players with NBA All-Star potential.

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

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    Good things usually happen when the ball is in Marcus Smart's hands.

    He's a playmaker with a team-first attitude and has no limitations or physical restrictions. At 6'4'' with a strong NBA frame that he's not afraid to use, Smart is capable of taking it to the defense and finishing after contact.

    Though not a natural point guard, his intangibles and basketball IQ makes him someone you want handling the rock.

    This is the the type of guy teams could eye to right the ship. He's been a winner at every level, and there's no reason to suggest that will change in the pros.

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

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    There's no question that Shabazz Muhammad has the drive and mindset of a top NBA scoring option.

    But does his game translate?

    Muhammad is an unorthodox scorer, though he gets the job done. He's often caught shooting 15-foot, one-handed push shots because he knows he can get them off, and he's confident in his feel for the rim.

    He's also lighting it up from behind the arc and moves freely without the ball, hoping to see the ball off every screen.

    With the ability to attack facing the rim, spot up from three or play with his back to the basket, Muhammad is a multidimensional scorer who offers a multitude of offensive services.

    Muhammad is averaging 18.5 points per game on 42.9 percent from long range.

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

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    You can argue that Ben McLemore presents the most favorable risk-to-reward ratio of any NBA draft prospect.

    He has the body and skill set to last 15 years in the league with a three-point stroke he'll have for life.

    McLemore has the ideal build and skill set for an off-guard and would thrive playing alongside a breakdown playmaker.

    Without the ability to create perimeter offense off the dribble, McLemore lacks the takeover skills you'd typically want from a top-two pick, but he offers a level of reliability you may not find anywhere else in the draft.

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

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    We've been waiting months for an NBA prospect to emerge from the pack. And like a winning racehorse coming down the final stretch, Nerlens Noel has separated himself from everyone else.

    He's changing games defensively while showing offensive promise.

    You won't find a next-level game-changer with this type of certainty anywhere in the rankings. Even if his post game never comes around, his above-the-rim presence and rim protection are both valuable assets to have.

    Noel is averaging over nine boards and shooting almost 60 percent from the floor, and he leads the country in shot-blocking at 4.5 per game.