With the 2012-13 college basketball regular season winding down and conference tournaments getting ready to begin, it’s an extremely important time to evaluate the stock of some of the top prospects in the nation.
The 2013 NBA draft picture is going to change drastically over the next few weeks, as heroes emerge and goats reveal themselves in the NCAA tournament. Of course, our big board will be updated to reflect the ebbs and flows of these stock movements.
For the last time in February, here’s a look at the latest Top-30 prospect rankings.
Last week’s big board can be found here. Please note this is not a mock draft, but an overall ranking based on grade.
No. 1: Ben McLemore, SF, Kansas (Remains No. 1)
Kansas continues to remain one of the most dominant teams in the country and McLemore is the catalyst behind the program’s success.
If he can finish the regular season strong and put together a solid run through the NCAA tournament, he has a strong chance to go No. 1 overall in the 2013 draft.
No. 2 Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State (Remains No. 2)
I’ve been high on Smart all year, and it seems this young man is finally getting the credit he deserves.
The Pokes' guard has the size (6’4”, 225 lbs.), court vision, playmaking ability and pure scoring touch to do everything from the PG position and do it all well. If a team that needs a facilitator selects him, expect Smart to make an immediate impact in the NBA.
No. 3: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (Up from No. 4)
Despite Noel’s injury, we still believe he’s a top five pick in the draft.
We’re seeing plenty of young players recover fully from ACL issues at an extreme pace, and we have no reason to believe this 19-year-old center will have any complications. As long as he remains on the right path, expect the Wildcats' star to come off the board early.
No. 4: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (Up from No. 10)
Oladipo has been rising up draft boards for a month now and legitimately looks to be a lock to be selected in the early lottery.
The Hoosiers' star possesses a great combination of pure athleticism, innate defensive ability, basketball IQ and motor. If he brings all those traits with him to the next level, the sky is the limit for this young man.
No. 5: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (Down from No. 3)
Bennett possesses the raw power and physical strength to excel in college, but his 6’8” height has some scouts worrying about his ability to succeed in the Association.
If he’s not able to outmuscle opponents, the UNLV product is going to need to rely on his finesse around the basket—an aspect of his game not yet fully developed.
No. 6: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (Up from No. 8)
Well before he returned for his sophomore campaign, we knew Porter was a do-it-all-type player that could make his mark in a game in many different areas.
What we weren’t sure about was his ability to take over and dominate by becoming an elite scorer, but his 33 points against Syracuse recently proved he’s more than capable.
No. 7: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA (Down from No. 5)
Muhammad still grades out as an elite scoring prospect, but it’s going to take some great performances over the next few weeks to convince scouts that this kid is a legitimate top five pick.
There are a lot of holes in this kid’s game, and he hasn’t shown the improvement many were expecting over the course of a season at UCLA. That could change under the bright lights of the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.
No. 8: Alex Len, C, Maryland (Down from No. 6)
Len has a great post game, but he has to be more vocal in calling for (and demanding) the ball.
If this Terrapins star could receive more entry passes and get fed down low, the big man would not only help his stock, but also help the team win more games.
No. 9: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (Down from No. 7)
We’re just not sold on Zeller’s NBA potential.
The Hoosiers' sophomore can run the floor well and has good size, but he lacks the potential and upside of many elite prospects. We expect he’ll still fall in the lottery, but not until the latter portion.
No. 10: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse (Down from No. 9)
Carter-Williams is prone to inconsistent play from time-to-time, but the Orangeman is easily the best facilitator in the class.
The sophomore has insane court vision and the ability to set up anyone on the court in a great spot to score, but he has to improve his handle and shooting if he’s going to be an actual threat in the NBA.
No. 11: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke (Remains No. 11)
Plumlee can tear it up from time to time, but he really doesn’t need his name called or plays run in order to make an impact.
As long as this Blue Devil is on the court, he will be hustling, grabbing boards and finding ways to get open for easy scores. Nothing should change after the senior gets selected in the draft.
No. 12: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky (Remains No. 12)
Cauley-Stein has had a chance to shine with Noel out, and he’s responded with some nice performances.
His 20 points and seven rebounds against Vanderbilt were great, and his 12 boards and seven blocks against Missouri helped change the game, but he has to develop into a better scorer. Until the seven-footer starts getting buckets with ease, he’s a mid-to-late first-rounder.
No. 13: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Up from No. 15)
Burke is one of the best collegiate players in the nation and has been helping the Wolverines remain atop the polls with great scoring and facilitating skills.
However, this prospect is just 6’0”, 190 lbs., and simply doesn’t possess the prototypical size teams covet in its point guard. There’s nothing Burke can do but play harder to overcome this.
No. 14: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor (Down from No. 13)
Austin may have the seven-foot frame that organizations covet, but he’s lacking any sort of bulk whatsoever.
There is no way he could play the 4 or 5 in the NBA until he gains a significant amount of strength and weight, but the potential is there for this Bears product to become something special.
No. 15: Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky (Down from No. 14)
Poythress has no motor, which is usually a bad sign for a player’s projected NBA career.
Unless the UK swingman begins hustling and playing with intensity like his predecessor—No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist—he’s going to continue to slip down the big board.
No. 16: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State (Up from No. 28)
Harris shot up our big board this week, even though the Spartans fell twice to Big Ten opponents.
The shooting guard did his best to keep MSU in these games, and he’s developed into a leader, scorer, passer, defender and all-around player.
Any team that needs a 2 should feel comfortable drafting Harris at the tail end of the lottery.
No. 17: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh (Down from No. 16)
McCollum isn’t playing due to a broken foot, but his stock shouldn’t change much.
He can thank Damian Lillard, who proved mature guards from small schools that can score with ease have skills that transfer over to the NBA.
No. 18: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State (Remains No. 18)
Franklin is an elite rebounder with insane athleticism and a willingness to hustle on each possession.
If he becomes a better shooter and more consistent offensive player, a team will have a steal on its hands.
No. 19: Rudy Gobert, PF, France (Remains No. 19)
Gobert’s wingspan is all the rage for those talking about international prospects, but we’re not yet sold on this big man.
Until he arrives on American shores and shows he has the skills to actually play in the NBA, we don’t believe he’s worth anything more than a late first-round pick.
No. 20: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky (Down from No. 17)
Goodwin is raw. Plain and simple.
While he possesses the out-of-this-world athleticism that franchises are looking for in their guards now—to either defend all the top-tier PGs and SGs in the league or attempt to become one themselves—he just doesn’t have the maturity.
One more year at Kentucky would do this kid wonders.
No. 21: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia (Down from No. 20)
Saric is a bit young, but looks to be one of the better playmakers available in 2013.
We suspect a deep team with little roster room will gamble on the Croatian, stashing him in the EuroLeague until he’s ready to come overseas.
No. 22: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan (Down from No. 21)
Robinson’s NBA pedigree and scoring touch are certainly going to be a major factor on where he gets his name called on draft day.
If he continues to help Michigan by putting the ball through the hoop, plus rebounds at an above-average level, the forward could fall in the top half of the first round.
No. 23: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas (Down from No. 22)
Mitchell shows flashes of greatness, but he’s not dominant enough all the time to warrant a lottery pick.
Considering he’s mainly going up against the Mean Green’s Sun Belt conference competition, this scoring swingman should be stuffing the stat sheet on a nightly basis. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.
No. 24: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga (Up from No. 26)
Olynyk is one of the better big men scorers in this class, as most of the PFs and Cs rely on athleticism or are more known for defense in 2013.
The Zags center uses a variety of low-post moves to fake out his opponent and carve his way to the hoop for easy buckets. That alone should warrant him first-round consideration, despite being a mediocre (at best) athlete.
No. 25: James Michael McAdoo, PF, UNC (Down from No. 23)
McAdoo should have jumped to the pros in 2012, as the forward has shown hardly any improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore year.
That’s killing his stock and nothing short of a few masterful showings in the tournaments will save this Tar Heel.
No. 26: Patric Young, C, Florida (Down from No. 24)
Young’s been flirting with the draft for a couple of years now, and we truly think this Gators stud is ready to go in the first round.
He can rebound, he can shot block, he can score, he can run, he can jump and he can do everything else a big man needs to do to succeed in the Association.
No. 27: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Down from No. 25)
Withey, unlike Young, is a much more one-dimensional player.
The Jayhawks' center is best known as a shot-blocker and defender, and direly must improve his offensive game.
No. 28: B.J. Young, PG, Arkansas (Down from No. 27)
Young projects as a high-energy guard coming off the bench, as he is too selfish to facilitate and start at the next level.
Many NBA teams would love to have his scoring ability and instant offense on the pine, but counting on this Razorbacks star for anything more than that would likely wind up unsuccessful.
No. 29: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA (Unranked last week)
Anderson has one of the more unique games in the NCAA right now, and he may just impress scouts enough to wind up in the top 30 come draft day.
He plays with a slow and deliberate pace, but also makes a few flashy passes per game and does things that just make your jaw drop.
If he can remove some of the faulty parts of his game (bad jumper, etc.), the Bruins' do-it-all standout will be a top pick.
No. 30: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh (Remains No. 30)
Adams possesses great height, but would benefit from another year in school.
If he declares for the draft, expect him to come off the board in the first round largely due to his seven-foot stature. However, it will take years of development before he’s not being posterized and actually contributing.