Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterMarch 7, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects

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    The top of the 2013 NBA draft board continues to shuffle around.

    Ben McLemore has regained his status as a potential No. 1 overall pick with a performance to remember earlier in the week.

    Trey Burke and Otto Porter are some of the latest risers in the field, while Cody Zeller and Shabazz Muhammad can't seem to get a grip.

    Without the lottery set, it's difficult to pinpoint where everyone will end up. Skies should be a lot clearer after May 21 when we find out who gets the No. 1 overall pick.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Jamaal Franklin's stock remains steady as we approach the postseason. His perimeter game hasn't been nearly as efficient as it was in years past, but his strengths as an off-ball playmaker are still intact.

    He grabbed 14 rebounds, dished out four assists, recorded three blocks and two steals against Air Force in a game that sums up just what kind of player Franklin is.

    Though he's averaging 17 points per game, he doesn't project as a scorer at the next level. Making plays by injecting his energy and athleticism into a lineup will be his role in the NBA.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sure did pick the right time to find the zone.

    He went for 25 points, nine boards and four steals in a strong win over Tennessee, and he has now scored at least 15 points in 14 of his last 15 games.

    Typically you get inconsistent results from perimeter-oriented scorers, so to see this type of production is a good sign moving forward.

    Caldwell-Pope has been rebounding the ball (20 points, 14 boards against Vanderbilt) and getting to the line, adding to the services he brings to the table.

    NBA teams who lack athleticism, depth, defensive tools and shot-making could target Caldwell-Pope as early as the middle of Round 1.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Rudy Gobert's production has fluctuated overseas; however, teams that are targeting him won't be worried about his current numbers.

    Because of Gobert's skinny, underwhelming frame, he doesn't project as a rebounder or intimidating post defender. He'll be used to finish plays above the rim, keep balls active on the glass, disrupt passing lanes and alter shot attempts.

    A team who feels there isn't any American prospect in Round 1 who can help them will be the team that eventually selects Gobert in the draft.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Glenn Robinson III has one of the tougher draft stocks to evaluate given his limited role in Michigan's offense. He's now scored in single digits in three consecutive games and hasn't hit a three-pointer in over a month.

    Does a team give him a promise based solely on potential? Does the likely departures of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. give Robinson a reason to leave or a reason to stay?

    These are questions we can't answer yet.

    But only five times all year has Robinson taken double-digit shot attempts, a pretty wild statistic for a potential lottery pick.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Michael Carter-Williams' stock continues to fall, as do his numbers along all the major categories across the board.

    We're starting to wonder whether his hot start as a distributor was more of a result of mediocre non-conference competition, consisting of teams who weren't prepared for the 6'6'' playmaker.

    Defenses have begun to key in on Carter-Williams' breakdown ability, and he's struggled to adjust as an offensive orchestrator.

    He's turning the ball over 3.3 times per game (Trey Burke is averaging only 1.9 turnovers per game) while shooting it just 38 percent from the floor and 28 percent from downtown.

    Without many lottery teams in the market for a point guard, Carter-Williams could slip if he's passed over for Marcus Smart and Trey Burke.

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

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    Stock Report:

    C.J. McCollum has been out since early January with a broken foot, and he will not return for the Patriot League conference tournament. McCollum called the injury a "blessing in disguise," something I've been saying since the injury occurred.

    If it makes any sense, he broke his foot at the perfect time. His stock had peaked while he was averaging nearly 24 points per game. By going down, he eliminated the chances of being exposed.

    Dion Waiters sat out the entire draft process last year only to see his stock soar in value. Kyrie Irving did the same the year before and went No. 1 overall. Enes Kanter played one game at the Nike Hoops Summit and never suited up once in college, only to be taken No. 3 overall.

    Ending on a high note leaves a favorable taste in scouts' mouths. McCollum essentially put on one hell of a show, dropped the mic and left the stage.

14. Mason Plumlee, Duke, 6'11'', PF/C

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    Stock Report:

    Mason Plumlee hasn't shown much in terms of generating his own offense lately. He's getting a good portion of his offensive production as a catch-and-finisher instead of as a go-to scorer.

    He's shown the ability to create his own offense down low, but only in isolation when he can turn into the lane without a help defender present.

    He doesn't have the upside of an Alex Len, but he offers reliability as a coordinated, 6'11'' athlete who can get up and down the floor, control the glass, protect the rim and finish above it.

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

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    Stock Report:

    James Michael McAdoo has a bag full of tricks. He just can't find the instruction manual. He continues to use the wrong tools for the wrong job, but the fact that he has them is the important part at this stage in his career.

    McAdoo went for 21 points on 10-of-15 from the field against Florida State, but he then shot 3-of-11 against Maryland.

    Personally, I think he's being written off too quickly, struggling in areas that can be fixed while excelling in the ones that can't be taught.

    He's found a way to average nearly 15 points and almost eight rebounds a game without a refined skill set. Once it clicks and McAdoo does a better job of recognizing when to use each trick, it will all come together to form a potent offensive weapon.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Isaiah Austin has been diversifying his offensive game as of late, doing a little more work in the post and a little less on the perimeter.

    He was flashing how dangerous he can be with his back to the basket against Texas. He has the ability to turn over either shoulder and get off a relaxed, clean look, thanks to a release point so high it can't be contested.

    He's an extremely fluid athlete for someone who's 7'1'', with a power forward's arsenal down low and a small forward's skill set facing up.

    However, he's still shown he can be vulnerable under the glass, and though he's almost averaging nine rebounds per game, that number is unlikely to transfer to the NBA level.

    I'm thinking Charlie Villanueva, before the contract with Detroit.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Willie Cauley-Stein has been impressive since being given regular starter minutes, demonstrating he can score in the post in isolation and protect the rim at the highest level.

    This week he went for 13 points, 10 boards and four blocks against Arkansas, remaining efficient yet productive despite not having anything in his repertoire to lean on.

    Cauley-Stein's upside should generate interest from teams who don't feel there's anyone available who can help them win now.

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

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    Stock Report:

    There isn't much new to report on Victor Oladipo, who continues to use his motor to make plays on both sides of the ball. Those who've been unimpressed with his recent scoring numbers need to reassess their expectations.

    Oladipo's scoring will waver. He just doesn't project as a guy who's going to generate his own points in the half court.

    If there's anyone to compare him to, it's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who contributes off the ball as a finisher, slasher and defender in similar fashion. The only difference is Kidd-Gilchrist has a few inches, and Oladipo has a developing jumper.

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

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    Stock Report:

    The biggest criticism surrounding Alex Len is that he doesn't assert himself offensively.

    He took six shots against Wake Forest and eight shots in a loss to North Carolina. It just doesn't make any sense considering he's the best player on the team and no opposing center can match his size and athleticism.

    It doesn't affect his future outlook, as it's become rather apparent that Maryland's coaching staff hasn't emphasized to Len that he needs to be more aggressive.

    But a team that plans on using a top pick on Len isn't going to do so with hopes he can be the backup center. Len has the upside to become a scoring big man and an integral part of a franchise's rebuilding process.

8. Cody Zeller, Indiana, 6'11'', PF/C

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    Stock Report:

    The same issues that have haunted Cody Zeller all year are piling up at the worst possible time.

    After getting eaten alive by Trevor Mbakwe last week, he was out-rebounded six to four by Evan Ravenel, who played 20 minutes to Zeller's 30. All night long, Zeller was passing on opportunities to knock down mid-range jump shots, something he won't be able to do at the next level.

    He's been relying too much on his low-post game when he may not have the strength to do so in the NBA.

    Not physical enough to bang with stronger bodies, Zeller needs to counter a lack of strength with a threatening outside jumper. He's slipping down the board after being exposed twice in two weeks.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Trey Burke's stock is soaring, and he's playing arguably the best ball of anyone in the country. He led Michigan back from a second-half deficit against Purdue with a typical 26-point, seven-assist, one-turnover winning performance.

    His ability to score and facilitate while protecting the ball has been extraordinary. He's got the best assist-to-turnover ratio of any point guard in the country, a stat that can go a long way considering he's playing in the toughest conference in America.

    Burke surpassed Michael Carter-Williams on the big board and could end going top 10 if the lottery plays out to his favor.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Anthony Bennett is still trying to get back into the swing of things after missing a few games with a shoulder injury.

    He's been pretty quiet since his return, so it's tough to take anything out of his recent performances.

    Bennett had already solidified his status as a top prospect in this year's field. It will be interesting to see if teams downgrade him as a tweener or upgrade him for being versatile.

    The combo-forward label is a lot trickier than it seems.

5. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, 6'5'', SG/SF

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    Stock Report:

    Shabazz Muhammad had his worst game as a collegiate athlete Wednesday night, missing 15 shots from the field, including nine from behind the arc.

    If Muhammad isn't going to rebound, he can't allow himself to shoot his team out of games. It's only one game, so it would be irresponsible to toss around the red flags, but this wasn't a good look for Muhammad.

    He's got top-shelf scoring instincts and a much better long-ball than this game suggests. But if it's not falling on that particular night, he needs to explore new avenues for points.

    Without a step-back or pull-up jumper he can go to, Muhammad is forced to take difficult shots inside the arc.

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

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    Stock Report:

    If a team decides to pass on Marcus Smart, it won't be because of his numbers. And his intangibles supersede his statistics.

    He just doesn't present any risk while offering substantial reward as a potential floor general. Smart is also a defensive pest, currently ranking third in the country in steals per game.

    If he can lead Oklahoma State to a deep run in March, Smart will put himself in the conversation for the first overall pick.

3. Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown, 6'8'', SF

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    Stock Report:

    Otto Porter Jr. is starting to really evolve as a scorer, averaging 25 points over his last four games. He's making the shots that are created for him while generating his own offense from the wing as a slasher.

    Unlike most in the class, Porter doesn't have any question marks surrounding his physical tools or offensive skill set.

    The only question that remains is whether or not Porter projects as a star. Either way, an NBA team will want him in its rotation.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Nerlens Noel's stock remains steady while he waits to hear the fate of the lottery, which is likely to decide where he'll actually end up.

    You'd have to imagine the teams that will be interested in Noel's services will be the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Hornets.

    The Charlotte Bobcats, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves could all go in a different direction.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Ben McLemore's 36 points against West Virginia came at just the right time. He was coming off a few lackluster performances that had some questioning whether he was worthy of a first pick overall.

    McLemore was scoring from everywhere, moving off the ball to free himself up as a shooter or slasher in the half court. He converted five threes, seven two-pointers and seven free throws in his most complete game of the year.

    McLemore is back on top after proving he can be counted on to generate his own offense.