Championship Week is finally here and many prospects are hoping to guide their respective teams deep through the conference tournaments.
Fans will surely be watching intently, but you can rest assured that NBA scouts and general managers will be doing the same.
It’s the perfect time to make some adjustments to our big board, so let’s take a look at where each of the top-30 NBA hopefuls now stand, with changes noted to the right of their names.
Last week’s big board can be found here. Please note this is not a mock draft, but an overall ranking based on grade. Grade for each prospect is based on athletic ability, production in college (or overseas), measurements and NBA projections.
No. 1: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (Remains No. 1)
McLemore is hanging steady at the top of the draft board, especially after his 36-point explosion against West Virginia on March 2 and a solid 23-point outing—despite Kansas’ blowout loss to Baylor in the season finale.
As long as the Jayhawks can avoid another major upset in postseason play and McLemore continues his steady all-around play, he has a great chance to get selected No. 1—becoming just the fourth wing the last 40 years to accomplish this (LeBron James, Glenn Robinson and David Thompson).
No. 2 Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State (Remains No. 2)
Smart may be a bit inconsistent at times, but it’s hard to fault him as a freshman trying to lead the Pokes while shouldering the scoring load and being the primary facilitator.
He’s done a great job of managing all of these duties and that bodes well for his prospects at the next level. It would be a shock if another PG comes off the board prior to Smart—and there’s even a chance a guard-needy team could take this blooming star No. 1 overall.
No. 3: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (Up from No. 4)
Because of Porter, the Georgetown Hoyas are one of the hottest teams in college basketball.
We already knew that this swingman could do a bit of everything, but he proved he can also handle the crunch-time scoring load as well over the past few weeks.
If you have any doubt about this youngster becoming a successful star, just look at his 2012-13 stat line: 16.4 points (50.2 percent FG, 44.0 percent 3PT), 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block. Just phenomenal numbers for what should be a surefire top-five selection this April.
No. 4: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (Down from No. 3)
Noel’s ACL injury should not be a huge factor in where he’s drafted, as we’ve seen multiple players in all different sports suffer this same injury and come back at 100 percent.
Before he went down, this kid showed a ton of promise on the defensive end. He could alter games by blocking shots and protecting the rim, while also possessing a motor that just can’t be taught.
No. 5: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (Remains No. 5)
Oladipo is a high-energy 2 that every team would love to have.
His defensive hustle, willingness to give 100 percent on every single play and dedication to the game are something to be admired, even if there are a few flaws in this Hoosier’s game.
He may not be the best long-range shooter, but Oladipo should develop into a bona fide star in the NBA.
No. 6: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA (Up from No. 7)
Muhammad is an interesting prospect that hasn’t had the best year for the Bruins, but still projects as a top-10 pick if he decides to come out after his freshman season.
There are questions about his height (6’5”) if he’s going to play the 3 in the pros, but we believe this guy has the heart, strength and dedication to overcome that concern.
No. 7: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (Down from No. 6)
Bennett’s style of play is quite impressive, as he uses brute strength to bully around taller defenders in the paint, grab rebounds and score points.
However, he also has range out to the three-point line and uses his 6’8” frame to an advantage out on the perimeter.
Had Bennett been blessed with an extra few inches of height, he have been a lock for a No. 1 pick, but he should impress an organization inside the top-10 regardless.
No. 8: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State (Remains No. 8)
It’s hard to remain skeptical on Harris, considering he continually proves his worth against top-flight competition.
The freshman guard has tremendous upside and should have no problem taking his game to the next level, especially since he’s become a standout under Tom Izzo on a notoriously tough Spartans team to get minutes for as an underclassman.
No. 9: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (Up from No. 10)
Zeller projects as a player that could contribute right away at a decent level, but won’t ever become a superstar.
We predict a frontcourt-needy organization will snap him up towards the end of the lottery, beginning this sophomore’s long NBA career as a rotation player and occasional starter depending on his location.
No. 10: Alex Len, C, Maryland (Down from No. 9)
We’re not sure how good Len could be with good guards, but we are sure that he needs to be more aggressive.
This youngster has some of the best moves in the lowpost that we’ve seen in years, but he doesn’t call for—or receive—the ball enough to make good things happen and help his team win the tough games all the time.
Until he gets more vocal and willing to dominate, Len is going to be limited.
No. 11: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Up from No. 15)
Burke’s 6’0”, 190-pound frame definitely leaves something to be desired, but you cannot deny his production on the court.
As long as he keeps it up and continues helping the Wolverines succeed through the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, Burke should solidify himself as a lottery lock.
No. 12: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse (Down from No. 11)
Syracuse has lost four of their last five games going into the Big East tournament, but Carter-Williams will be forgive—and improve his stock—if he can guide the Orange deep through this upcoming event.
There are a number of concerns about this 6’6” guard’s handling ability and jump shot, but his ability as a facilitator is mind-blowing. If he’s able to show off the good and limit the bad, expect Carter-Williams to become a legit top-10 prospect.
No. 13: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky (Remains No. 13)
Cauley-Stein looks to be a great rebounding, highly athletic shot-blocker.
He doesn’t have the upside of his injured teammate, Noel, but should be able to place himself squarely in the lottery with some more good performances down the stretch and hopefully in the NCAA tournament later this month.
No. 14: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke (Down from No. 12)
Do we think Plumlee is ever going to be a star? Absolutely not. Do we think Plumlee is worthy of a lottery pick? Definitely yes.
This Blue Devils prospect plays with a ton of heart and hustle, two things that are impossible to teach. Couple that in with the fact that he’s a big man and you have a rare breed that will certainly find a way to contribute to a winning team.
No. 15: Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky (Up from No. 16)
Poythress needs to take notes from Plumlee on how to hustle and keep his head in the game 100 percent of the time.
Those are the biggest knocks on this young swingman, as he has the size, athleticism and raw talent to succeed in the NBA.
Hopefully he can learn to play hard and become a star in the pros.
No. 16: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh (Down from No. 14)
McCollum isn’t getting a chance to shine in his conference tournament—likely marking the end of LeHigh’s slim chance of making the 68-team NCAA field.
Regardless, the young man showed enough promise and skill on the court before his foot injury derailed his senior season. It’s likely that a team in the lottery will pull the trigger on this pure scorer.
No. 17: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga (Up from No. 20)
Olynyk has been quickly rising up draft boards—and for good reason.
The Gonzaga big man is a deadly scorer from inside and has a variety of different moves to put on his defender. Unfortunately, he’s not much of an athlete, which limits him defensively and as a high-upside prospect.
No. 18: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia (Down from No. 17)
Saric is looking like a special talent.
He can play multiple positions, has an innate feel for the game despite being just 18-years-old, sees the court as well as anyone and is just oozing upside.
It’ll be interesting to see which franchise elects to take a chance on the Croatian come June.
No. 19: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky (Up from No. 21)
Speaking of upside, Goodwin is chock-full of it.
The Wildcats guard may not be much of a shooter for a 2-guard, but he has the raw athleticism to get to the basket at will, lockdown any opposing guard and run like a deer on the fast break.
However, until he develops a jump shot, we’re just not sold on Goodwin’s NBA prospects.
No. 20: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor (Up from No. 22)
Austin is yet another upside-or-bust player.
This seven-footer has all the skills of a legitimate swingman, but has to bulk up to play the 4 in the Association.
Until he does that, we doubt this Bears star will see much floor time.
No. 21: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State (Down from No. 19)
Franklin is one of the better athletes in the class and you only need to look at his rebounding numbers to prove that.
The 6’5”, 205-pound SG averaged a ridiculous 9.4 rebounds to go along with his 17.0 points and 3.1 assists in 2012-13. He does need to work on his jumper, but Franklin should be a mid-first round lock at this point.
No. 22: Rudy Gobert, PF, France (Down from No. 18)
We’re not sure that Gobert could come to the US and make an impact right away, but this 7’2” behemoth with a 7’9” wingspan could make a decent prospect to stash in Europe for a while.
It’s likely that a team that’s deep—such as the Nuggets or Pacers—winds up taking a stab at this Frenchman.
No. 23: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan (Remains No. 23)
Robinson is a natural scorer with an NBA pedigree, but has to get more comfortable performing on a regular basis.
If he elects to enter the draft, Robinson should find a home in the first round, but may take a few years to develop into a serviceable swingman.
No. 24: James Michael McAdoo, PF, UNC (Remains No. 24)
McAdoo’s improved his stock somewhat in the second half of the season, but there’s no chance he’s considered for the lottery after such a mediocre year.
This youngster was supposed to be a superstar during his sophomore campaign, but wound up barely improving over his freshman season and making plenty of puzzling decisions.
Regardless, he does have some upside and should come off the board in the late-first this April.
No. 25: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Up from No. 26)
We’re starting to like Withey more, but can’t see him making the jump in the league until he develops more of a scoring touch.
As of now, we project this Jayhawk to become a serviceable starter down the line for his height, shot-blocking ability and defense. He could become even better if he works on his post game.
No. 26: Allen Crabbe, SG, California (Unranked last week)
Crabbe is a scorer, plain and simple.
We doubt he’s going to be a starting 2 for an NBA franchise, but could be instant, microwave offense coming off the bench.
This guy can bomb away from deep, gets to the cup and even tries hard on the glass—plenty of great attributes for a late-first round pick.
No. 27: Patric Young, C, Florida (Down from No. 25)
We love Young’s athleticism and raw talent, but have a hard time envisioning him as much more than a role player.
That’s not to say he’s a bad prospect, he’s just not a center that will ever have a shot at becoming more than a bench player for a good team.
No. 28: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA (Remains No. 28).
Anderson’s game is one of the more unique things we’ve ever seen.
He can do a bit of everything on the court and is one of the more talented playmakers, but has been inconsistent during his time at UCLA.
We’re not sure he is coming out—and probably shouldn’t this year—but he’s definitely a player to monitor.
No. 29: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas (Remains No. 29)
Mitchell is such a talented scorer, it’s absolutely maddening to see him toil away and put up mediocre numbers for the Mean Green.
His 2012-13 performance did his draft stock zero favors, but we imagine he could become one of those late picks that blossoms into a legitimate star in this league.
No. 30: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia (Unranked last week)
Caldwell-Pope is a dynamic scorer with insane range and no conscious.
This guy will bomb away from anywhere on the floor and help his team get buckets, sometimes trying to a fault.
Regardless, he’s made his way onto our big board for his bucket generating skills and is likely to stay here for quite some time.
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