Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterMarch 15, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects

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    As conference tournament play gets underway, the microscope intensifies.

    This is a major week for college basketball prospects to improve their draft stock. It's a chance for big-time players to put a team on their back and show scouts what they're made of.

    Just ask Kemba Walker, whose stock got hot after he ran the table with Connecticut just a few years ago.

    The interesting storyline of the week has been the emergency of Kelly Olynyk. With four other center prospects in the running for a spot in the lottery, someone is bound to slip down the board when draft day arrives.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Jamaal Franklin was effective in San Diego State's narrow victory against Boise State, finishing with 19 points, eight boards and four assists playing his usual brand of ball.

    Franklin remains active whether the offense goes through him or not. Once a shot goes up, he's immediately crashing the glass for a rebound or deflection.

    He'll really maximize his floor-purpose by becoming a legitimate three-point threat, considering he plays mostly off the ball and is likely to do the same at the next level.

    Franklin hit two threes against Boise State, and for what it's worth, he looks confident whenever he lets it fly.

    Regardless, his athleticism, motor and instincts should be coveted for a reserve role at the next level.

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

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    Stock Report:

    No news on the European front, as Rudy Gobert's stock goes unchanged from week to week.

    For his team overseas, Gobert rarely gets the ball in a position to make a move and attack. He's pretty much limited to catching and finishing on the move, getting tips at the rim and staying active above the cylinder.

    With Gobert's size and mobility, NBA teams looking for a few extra easy baskets will be targeting him anywhere from the back of the lottery on down.

    Above are his highlights from a game played in January.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Though Glenn Robinson's upside has already been established, he's just not doing anything to currently stand out.

    He's now scored in single digits in four of Michigan's last five games, while his three-point percentage has dipped to 33 percent.

    He'd have much more offensive freedom if he returned to school as a sophomore, which would improve his chances of maximizing his NBA draft stock.

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

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    Stock Report:

    C.J. McCollum's draft stock remains stable but has the chance to skyrocket once he's able to get back on the floor and work out for NBA teams.

    Damian Lillard's stock rose dramatically after killing it in workouts and pre-draft festivities.

    With incredible shot-making ability and a polished offensive skill set, an individual setting could do wonders for McCollum's draft stock. 

    He's considered a mid-first round guy now, but that could change by June.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Mason Plumlee made it look easy against North Carolina, finishing with 23 points and 13 boards on an effortless 10-of-15 from the field.

    With room to go up it's an automatic two or trip to the line. Plumlee's size, coordination and athleticism allow him to catch and finish everything above the rim, whether he's stationary or on the move.

    We haven't seen much of a face-up jumper yet, which limits his offensive upside.

    But guys like Larry Sanders and DeAndre Jordan have been able to make an impact as strictly interior players. I suspect Plumlee will follow in their footsteps.

15. James McAdoo, UNC, 6'9'', SF/PF

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    Stock Report:

    James McAdoo is putting points on the board, just not very efficiently. The best pound-for-pound athlete on the floor shouldn't be shooting 44.8 percent, which has to do with his questionable shot selection and erratic perimeter game.

    I still believe in McAdoo, but there hasn't been much positive buzz surrounding his draft stock all season long.

    Against Duke he finished with 15 points and three rebounds on 6-of-14 as his team was blown out.

    There's tons of potential here if it all eventually clicks.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Isaiah Austin wasn't much of a factor in Baylor's last two games (win over Kansas and loss to Oklahoma State). 

    No harm done, though.

    We've seen his potential already and he's been fairly consistent throughout his freshman year. Austin has demonstrated a fluid three-point stoke, a face-up game and a back-to-the-basket repertoire.

    Since we're not really sure just exactly how his strengths will translate, it will be tough for a team to specifically target him. But he won't slip too far based on his unique skill set and upside for a 7'1'' forward who can play on the perimeter.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Michael Carter-Williams dished out 14 assists in the opening round of the Big East tournament, having his best game in recent memory as Syracuse's facilitator.

    When he has room to operate he's a deadly offensive weapon because of his vision to see things develop and his length to help execute in traffic.

    Carter-Williams followed up his stellar performance against Seton Hall with 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds against Pittsburgh, including five big points down the stretch and a game-clinching steal to seal it.

    Without many teams in the market for a point guard, Carter-Williams could end sliding on draft day.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Kelly Olynyk went for 21 and 12 against Saint Mary's, making a few NBA-caliber plays that helped offset some of the concerns over his athletic limitations.

    Olynyk's stock is on the rise, as he's shown a more complete offensive game than Maryland's Alex Len, Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein and Duke's Mason Plumlee.

    He's now put his name in that hat, and NBA teams looking for a center will absolutely consider Olynyk with the prospects mentioned above.

    Sporting a comfortable feel in the post and a promising face-up jumper, Olynyk should end up presenting interested teams with an inside-outside option for points in the half-court offense.

    He's averaging 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds on 65.2 percent shooting from the floor.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Willie Cauley-Stein is currently in a position where the opportunities come to him instead of him being able to seek them out himself.

    It's expected, considering coach John Calipari rarely feeds the post and Cauley-Stein is still working with a raw offensive skill set.

    Teams interested in Cauley-Stein should be looking to invest now for results down the road. But because of his size, athleticism and aggression, he should be able to log minutes as a rookie protecting the paint and providing an offensive presence inside.

    He's averaging 10 points, eight boards and 3.5 blocks since Nerlens Noel went down with an ACL tear.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Trey Burke scored 20 against Indiana, although he missed the front end of a crunch time one-and-one and finished with as many turnovers as assists.

    But that's not why his stock might have slipped.

    Burke struggled to finish a number of opportunities at the rim, looking flustered when bigger defenders would try and alter his shot inside.

    At only 6'0'' with an average wingspan, this has been a concern from scouts over his first two years, and it's not going to get any easier in the pros.

    He'll still be in position to drive the Michigan bus the rest of the way and make a case for the top 10 with an impressive conference and NCAA tournament run.

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

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    Stock Report:

    It's a little too late to think Alex Len is ready to assert himself offensively.

    Maryland has lost three of its last five games without much help from the man in the middle. Len has been passive offensively all year, kicking the ball out of the post the second the defense shifts his way.

    He shot 2-of-9 in 36 minutes in a devastating overtime loss to Virginia. His stock is starting to slip with other centers on the rise.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Victor Oladipo posted a 14-point, 13-board double-double against Michigan, constantly making hustle plays thanks to a motor that never runs out of batteries.

    He's given himself a label over the past few months, a key part of the draft process that makes it easier for prospective teams to seek out his services.

    Oladipo is an electric athlete with unteachable instincts and a developing offensive skill set. Scouts love gradual improvement, and that's exactly what Oladipo has shown over his three-year career at Indiana.

    I wouldn't blame anyone for selecting him at the back end of the lottery.

7. Cody Zeller, Indiana, 7'0'', PF/C

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    Stock Report:

    Cody Zeller had one of his better games of the year in a wild win over Michigan, scoring 25 points, including the game-winner, and grabbing 10 boards.

    He's as good as anyone in the country when dealing in the post, as we've said all year.

    The key questions center around his strength to bang inside and the reliability of his mid-range jumper, which he uses sparingly at the college level.

    If he can step out and prove to be a consistent threat facing up from 18 feet away, Zeller will be a tough assignment for opposing NBA frontcourts on a nightly basis.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Anthony Bennett looked awfully healthy against Air Force, finishing with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

    He was flying down the floor and getting himself easy baskets in both the half court and transition, and he really stepped up his efforts on the defensive side of the ball.

    When Bennett's motor is revved, there may not be a tougher offensive player to contain at the college level.

    He's a versatile mismatch with the power of a 4 and the agility of a 3. Lineups in need of athleticism on the wing and some life on the interior should target Bennett.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 points against Washington and 16 against Arizona State, doing a much better job of converting offense inside the arc.

    During his last two games, 15 of his 16 made field goals came on two-point attempts.

    He's showing he can attack the rim off the bounce and finish with position in the key.

    Muhammad may not offer a scoring repertoire of a primary half-court option, but between with his outside stroke, physical tools and offensive instincts, he should be a reliable option at the next level as a complementary scorer.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Marcus Smart played up to his reputation in a win over Kansas State, stuffing the stat sheet with 21 points, six boards and six assists on 7-of-11 shooting.

    He's a player to watch heading into March Madness as someone capable of carrying his team.

    If an NBA team is looking for a new lead guard, it should consider drafting Smart.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Otto Porter doesn't need to convert field goals to make an impact on the scoreboard. The mid-range jumper wasn't falling against Cincinnati, so he decided to play aggressively and get to the stripe.

    Porter finished with 18 points on just three made field goals, converting 11-of-11 from the free-throw line.

    He's a smart, active player who's tough to match up with because of his versatility.

    Recently named the Big East Player of the Year, Porter has established himself as one of the better bets in the field.

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

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    Stock Report:

    It's not that Nerlens Noel's stock is down, it's that the others competing for a top-five pick are making a late-season push.

    Kansas' Ben McLemore, Georgetown's Otto Porter and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart all seem to be surefire contributors at the next level, and while Noel might win the upside battle, teams might hesitate to pick him without being able to see him work out for them individually.

    However, with the ability to change the defensive culture of a franchise, Noel becomes a value pick anywhere after the first three selections.

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

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    Stock Report:

    Even though Ben McLemore has been No. 1 on our board, his stock continues to climb as we enter the final stage of his freshman campaign.

    He was special once again in Kansas' quarterfinal Big 12 tournament matchup with Texas Tech, finishing with 24 points on 8-of-12 from the floor.

    Not known for his off-the-dribble game, McLemore was pulling up from deep and attacking the rim out of the triple-threat position. 

    He's a stud athlete with an elite outside stroke and has plenty of room to grow in between. At this point, he appears to offer the most favorable risk-to-reward ratio of any prospect in the field.