Each NBA Team's Must Watch Prospect in the NCAA Tournament

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIMarch 18, 2013

Each NBA Team's Must Watch Prospect in the NCAA Tournament

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    The madness is upon us, as we've finally learned who will take their spot in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The teams have been announced, the seeds have been determined and we're now left with one burning question as an NBA universe.

    Which prospects should every NBA franchise be watching during the NCAA Tournament?

    Some players have yet to move up draft boards in the manner that their talent suggests. Others have solidified their status as noteworthy prospects but need to prove their worth on one final momentous occasion.

    So who is it that all of your favorite players should be watching?

Atlanta Hawks: Glenn Robinson III, Michigan Wolverines

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 19

    Class: Freshman

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'6", 210 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    19.19 PER, 10.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.0 SPG

     

    Pros

    World class athlete. Dynamic leaper. A lethal slasher. Son of a former NBA player. High basketball IQ. Glides across the floor in transition. Length is a weapon. Finishes well around the basket.

     

    Cons

    Must add muscle to play at the next level. Doesn't always dominate the way his talent suggests. Could apply himself more on the offensive end.

     

    Why It Works

    The Atlanta Hawks are set at point guard with Jeff Teague and power forward with Al Horford. The question is, what will they have in the form of a shooting guard, small forward or center?

    With Lou Williams set to recover from a torn ACL and John Jenkins finishing his rookie season, there is reason to believeDanny Ferry is content at the 2. That leaves the 3 and 5 as the most likely options.

    In a division ruled by LeBron James, expect Atlanta to build depth at small forward.

    Glenn Robinson III is a former NBA player's son. With that being known, it's hardly surprising that he possesses a rare combination of supreme athleticism and a high basketball IQ.

    Whether or not he'll become a star is unclear. With that being said, GR3 would be a quality slasher in Atlanta's system.

Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville Cardinals

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    Position: Center

    Age: 23

    Class: Junior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'11, 235 pounds, 7'4 wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    23.60 PER, 10.0 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.5 BPG, 1.3 SPG

     

    Pros

    Explosive athlete. Dominant rim-protecting shot blocker. Intimidating presence in the paint. Massive wingspan and quality size. Crashes the boards very well. A physical player down low. Impressive defending the screen-and-roll. Developing back-to-the-basket game. Excellent passer.

     

    Cons

    Must improve offensive fundamentals. Although improving, lacks a defined post game. Old for his class at 23.

     

    Why It Works

    The popular trend appears to be placing Jeff Withey as the Boston Celtics' rim protector. While his fundamentally-sound style of play and massive wingspan bode well for the Beantown ballers, there is a better prospect.

    Gorgui Dieng of Louisville.

    Dieng is the anchor of one of the nation's elite defensive units. Whether he's blocking shots, crashing the boards or anticipating an opponent's screen games, Dieng knows how to make an impact.

    With all of this being known, Dieng is the perfect fit in Boston.

    Fab Melo may be an intriguing prospect, but there truly is no comparison. Dieng is ready to step in right away and contribute quality minutes, altering shots and becoming a defensive weapon.

    With elite athleticism, superb passing skills and a developing offensive game, Dieng could be Kevin Garnett's new prodigy.

Brooklyn Nets: James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 20

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'9", 223 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    17.33 PER, 14.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.5 SPG

     

    Pros

    Follows his own shot. Very active around the basket. Not explosive, but a smooth athlete. Quick feet and active hands on defense. Improving face-up game. 

     

    Cons

    Putrid free throw shooter. Inefficient scorer. Not a honed enough player to play small forward. Fails to maintain body control. Tendency to disappear during big games.

     

    Why It Works

    The ideal fit for the Brooklyn Nets would be Isaiah Austin of Baylor, as his athleticism and length permits a greater upside than most other power forward prospects. Unfortunately, Austin's Baylor Bears missed out on the NCAA Tournament.

    In turn, the Nets must set their sights on former lottery candidate James Michael McAdoo.

    Much like the UNC Tar Heels as a team, McAdoo has turned his season around. He's improved his shot selection, appears to be more poised on defense and looks more like a power forward.

    If Brooklyn is looking for a mid-round player to potentially replace Kris Humphries, McAdoo could be that guy—watching him in the NCAA Tournament will answer whether or not he can be.

Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, UNLV Rebels

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 20

    Class: Freshman

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'8", 240 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    28.24 PER, 26.9 MPG, 16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 37.9% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Electric athleticism and explosive leaping ability. Disruptive power on both ends of the floor. NBA-ready body. Gigantic wingspan complements massive frame. Capable three-point shooter. Crashes the glass hard.

     

    Cons

    Height a concern at the 4. Must develop a more polished low-post game. Currently relies too heavily on his power down low. Shooting has become inconsistent as season progresses.

     

    Why It Works

    The Charlotte Bobcats currently have two key pieces in place with point guard Kemba Walker and small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Their positions of uncertainty, however, are shooting guard, power forward and center.

    Ben McLemore is a known product, Nerlens Noel is injured, Victor Oladipo is too similar to MKG and Otto Porter is a small forward. It's all about the 4, then.

    In that case, elite athlete Anthony Bennett is the player to watch.

    Charlotte runs an up-tempo offense that thrives in finding players in transition. Considering Bennett is athletic enough to play the 3 and powerful enough to pound it inside, the UNLV Rebel is a dream fit here.

    Bennett can also provide Charlotte with the ever-elusive low-post presence.

Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, California Golden Bears

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 20

    Class: Junior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'6", 210 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    23.07 PER, 18.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG

     

    Pros

    Great size for position. Superb jump shooter with deep three-point range. Aggressive scorer. Moves well off of the ball. Crashes the glass as well as any 2. Pretty jump shot form and a nice release point. Active and physical defender. 

     

    Cons

    Not the most dynamic athlete. Shooting at a low clip off the dribble. Must add muscle to his frame.

     

    Why It Works

    Allen Crabbe is an excellent jump shooter and the breed of player that Tom Thibodeau would adore. Not only would he improve Chicago's offense, but he's a tough-minded defender that crashes the boards.

    Come the NCAA Tournament, it would behoove Chicago to keep their eyes on this young star.

    Crabbe has seen a severe drop in his three-point field goal percentages, but that is not a sign of his abilities. Crabbe is closer to a 40 percent shooter from beyond the arc but is taking more shots off of the bounce than usual.

    With the Bulls, Crabbe would be the floor-spacing 2 that gives Derrick Rose the offensive dynamic they need.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, Georgetown Hoyas

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 19

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'8", 200 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    27.88 PER, 16.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.9 SPG, 42.7% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Endless length. Patient and disruptive defender. Gone from a non-factor to a consistent three-point shooter in one year. Reliable ball handler. Quality facilitator. Shoots well off the dribble. Finishes in the paint.

    Cons

    Lacks elite athleticism. Must add muscle and weight to defend NBA small forwards. Tendency to be overly passive.

     

    Why It Works

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have one of the most promising young cores in the NBA. Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters make up the backcourt, while Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller man the interior.

    What they've lacked since LeBron James' departure, however, is a small forward.

    In order to fill that void, the Cavaliers must pay close attention to Otto Porter. Not only is he a do-it-all player, but he is the elite defender that Cleveland currently lacks along the perimeter.

    This move works on every front.

Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 21

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'5", 175 pounds, 6'5" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    21.25 PER, 12.0 PPG, 7.7 APG, 4.8 RPG, 2.7 SPG

     

    Pros

    Extraordinary size and length for his position. Elite perimeter defender. Disrupts passing lanes as well as any. Supreme facilitator. Sees the floor well. Very quick in half-court and transition. Handles the ball well.

     

    Cons

    Horrendous shooter from beyond the arc. Confidence easily broken mid-game. Forces the issue on designed plays, even if a lane isn't there. Very frail. Struggles against physical defenders.

     

    Why It Works

    Michael Carter-Williams is the furthest thing from the perfect point guard prospect. In fact, he's overvalued on most draft boards due to his position and size.

    With that being said, the Dallas Mavericks need  a point guard and MCW has the upside to be a great one.

    If we're talking immediate impact, Carter-Williams could struggle. He's poor against physical defenders and hasn't yet displayed an ability to overcome mid-game defensive adjustments.

    With that being said, he's a 6'5" point guard with elite facilitating abilities—the upside is too attractive for Dallas to pass on..

Denver Nuggets: Allen Crabbe, California Golden Bears

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 20

    Class: Junior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'6", 210 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    23.07 PER, 18.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG

     

    Pros

    Deep three-point range. Scorer's mentality. Smooth mid-range jump shot. Rugged defender with a good motor. Crashes the boards well on both ends.

     

    Cons

    Not an explosive athlete. Could stand to add muscle. Has seen percentages dip with more on-ball requirements. Better off the catch than the dribble.

     

    Why It Works

    The Denver Nuggets are one of the most explosive offensive teams in the NBA. They're lethal in transition, dominant on the offensive glass and filled with athletic finishers.

    Unfortunately, the Nuggets are equally inefficient when it comes to working in a half-court set. A major reason is their lack of a three-point shooter.

    Denver ranks 25th in three-point field goal percentage and 20th in three-point field goals made per game.

    This has hindered the Nuggets' ability to slow it down against elite opponents. Fortunately, help could be on the way in the form of shooting guard Allen Crabbe.

Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 20

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'1", 175 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    29.76 PER, 19.2 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 40.1% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Stronger than his frame would suggest. Excellent decision-maker. Thrives on big stages as a scorer and facilitator. Elite drive-and-dish distributor. Very capable shooter off the dribble. Improved three-point shooter. Wide-open court vision.

     

    Cons

    Tends to value the steal over the defensive stop. Can go into ISO-ball when the game is on the line. Must improve against pick-and-roll blitz.

     

    Why It Works

    There is a popular belief that the Detroit Pistons will target Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse. With his rare combination of size and raw facilitating abilities, there is reason to believe the Pistons will take MCW.

    When it comes to whom the Pistons will be watching closest come the NCAA Tournament, however, they can look in-state—Michigan's Trey Burke.

    Burke has been gaining a head of steam in recent weeks, especially after he won the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year award. As March Madness approaches, his stock as Wooden Award winner should grow, as well.

    In Kemba Walker-esque form, expect Burke to move right into the Top 10 with a postseason surge.

    When it comes down to it, there is no question Burke would fit Detroit's system. He's an elite ball handler with top-tier facilitating skills and unparalleled court vision.

    The comparisons to Chris Paul will grow louder and Burke will go in the Top 10—the question is, will Detroit be the team to take him?

Golden State Warriors: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh Panthers

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    Position: Center

    Age: 19

    Class: Freshman

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'0", 240 pounds, 7'3" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    22.59 PER, 23.3 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.0 BPG

     

    Pros

    Excellent body for the NBA game. Massive wingspan. Unquestioned motor on both ends of the floor. Impressive presence in the paint. High-quality shot blocker. Plays with respected physicality.

     

    Cons

    Not yet polished on the offensive end of the floor. More of an energy player than defined product. Limited playing time during freshman season.

     

    Why It Works

    The Golden State Warriors may believe in Andrew Bogut, but they need to secure some insurance. As fine a player as Festus Ezeli may turn out to be, comparing him to what Bogut was would be rather outrageous.

    Steven Adams of Pittsburgh, however, can match Bogut's star potential.

    Adams is a 7'0" center from Pittsburgh with an NBA-type frame. Already coming in at 240 pounds, Adams has the body to add more muscle mass and truly dominate at the next level.

    Adams also has an excellent motor, impressive athleticism and a sense of brute physicality that would make the Warriors an entirely different animal.

Houston Rockets: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville Cardinals

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    Position: Center

    Age: 23

    Class: Junior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'11", 235 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    23.60 PER, 10.0 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.5 BPG, 1.3 SPG

     

    Pros

    Huge wingspan at 7'4". Elite shot blocker due to combination of explosive leaping and fundamental timing. Crashes the boards well. Passes well out of the post. A true interior intimidator.

     

    Cons

    Old for his class as a 23-year-old junior. Developing offensive game but still raw.

     

    Why It Works

    The Houston Rockets are an elite offensive team with a rebounding machine at center in Omer Asik. With that being said, they lack an interior presence on the defensive end and have suffered because of it.

    If you don't believe me, check the numbers—Houston ranks 29th in scoring defense.

    By drafting Gorgui Dieng, the Rockets would place an athletic big man in the paint that can protect the rim, crash the boards and run in transition. Not only is Dieng light years ahead of Asik as a fundamentally sound defender, but he's not far off as a rebounder.

    This Louisville Cardinal would work wonders for Houston's non-existent defense.

Indiana Pacers: Richard Howell, North Carolina State Wolfpack

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 22

    Class: Senior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'8", 261 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    24.99 PER, 12.7 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.9 BPG

     

    Pros

    Dominant rebounder that can translate to the next level. Very physical player down low. One of the most polished low-post players available. Excellent face-up game.

     

    Cons

    Undersized at 6'8". Does not possess elite athleticism.

     

    Why It Works

    Richard Howell is a second-round prospect due to his height, 6'8", and limited athleticism. With that being said, the Indiana Pacers will need a long-term replacement for David West.

    It just so happens that Howell's NBA comparison is Mr. West.

    Howell is a load on the low block and one of the most well-rounded power forwards in the nation. He can step out with a solid face-up game or back down an opponent and finish in the paint.

    Sound familiar?

    Furthermore, Howell is one of the best rebounders in the nation. Much like Boston Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger, that's a trait that should translate due to Howell's polished fundamentals down low.

    If Indiana is happy with what West has given them—and they should be—Howell would be the perfect selection.

Los Angeles Clippers: Jeff Withey, Kansas Jayhawks

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    Position: Center

    Age: 23

    Class: Senior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'0", 235 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    27.23 PER, 13.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.8 BPG

     

    Pros

    Outstanding shot blocker. Superb anticipation and positioning. Capable finisher around the basket. Quality back-to-the-basket game. Can anchor a defense when on the floor. Mobile player with a superb wingspan.

     

    Cons

    Must bulk up in order to defend the interior at the NBA level. Can be predictable while playing in the post. Not an elite athlete. Average rebounder for size.

     

    Why It Works

    The Los Angeles Clippers' greatest weakness is the lack of a defined half-court offense. Their true issue is their difficult finding a low-post presence.

    Blake Griffin's struggles are overblown, as he's actually one of the better young back-to-the-basket scorers. He routinely posts up, converts at a high clip and has made tremendous strides in each passing season.

    With that being said, Griffin is not yet an elite interior scorer. For that reason, the Clippers must look to improve their standing in that area.

    Jeff Withey can do that.

    Not only is Withey a top-tier shot blocker, but he's also a capable player with his back to the basket. He can finish with both hands and has the length to collapse a defense while faced with smaller defenders.

    Withey may not be the next great star, but he's a two-way player that would significantly improve L.A.'s overall quality.

Los Angeles Lakers: Doug McDermott, Creighton Bluejays

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 21

    Class: Junior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'7", 210 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    33.28 PER, 23.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 49.7% 3PT

     

    Pros

    One of the most efficient players in college basketball history. World class shooter. Brilliant basketball IQ. Natural born leader. Unquestioned motor. Can take it inside. Rebounds well.

     

    Cons

    Nothing close to an elite athlete. A tweener when it comes to position. Must bulk up if he's to play down low.

     

    Why It Works

    If the Los Angeles Lakers are committed to Mike D'Antoni, it's imperative they bring in a consistent crop of three-point shooters. To start, the Lakers must hope Doug McDermott's draft stock continues to waver.

    If it does, he could fall to L.A. in the second round.

    McDermott is one of the most efficient players you'll ever see. His shot selection is unbelievably poised, yet he still manages to attempt 14.3 field goals per game.

    The end result? A slash line of .561/.497/.860.

Memphis Grizzlies: Seth Curry, Duke Blue Devils

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 22

    Class: Senior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'3", 180 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    22.34 PER, 17.0 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 43.0% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Son and brother of an NBA player. Outstanding jump shooter. Deep three-point range. Very quick coming off screens. Works well off-ball. High basketball IQ.

     

    Cons

    Undersized for the 2 but not a point guard. Average athlete.

     

    Why It Works

    The Memphis Grizzlies have become one of the most powerful teams in the NBA. They're a defensive juggernaut that has won 14 of their past 17 games.

    With just one draft choice, a late second rounder, the Grizzlies now target their most significant weakness—shooting.

    Memphis is dead last in terms of three-point field goals made per game. In turn, it's only right that they target sharpshooter Seth Curry of Duke.

    The reason they're watching him in the NCAA Tournament is simple—they need to know if he can make the big shot.

Miami Heat: Colton Iverson, Colorado State Rams

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    Position: Center

    Age: 23

    Class: Senior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'10", 260 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    27.16 PER, 14.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.3 APG

     

    Pros

    One of the most active players you'll ever see. Constantly working on both ends. Physical player down low. Crashes the boards well. Scores well out of the post. Better athlete than he's given credit for. Runs the floor and finishes in transition. Power player.

     

    Cons

    Old for his class at 23. Questionable shot blocker. Struggles from the free-throw line. 

     

    Why It Works

    When the Miami Heat finally get to step up to the drafting podium, it will be with a very late second-round pick. Just don't think there isn't talent available that could help Miami.

    Colorado State big man Colton Iverson, for instance, could make the Heat a much stronger team along the interior.

    Iverson is a big body player at 6'10" and 260 pounds. He plays as his body permits, as Iverson crashes into opponents, boxes out well and dominates the glass.

    Iverson is also known to run the floor and finish with impressive dunking ability.

    Whether or not he'll become a star is irrelevant at this stage of the draft. What is important, however, is that Iverson is an upgrade over Miami's current situation.

    If he played on a grander stage, Iverson would likely be a first-round pick.

Milwaukee Bucks: Glenn Robinson III, Michigan Wolverines

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 19

    Class: Freshman

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'6", 210 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    19.19 PER, 10.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.0 SPG

     

    Pros

    Son of a former NBA player. High basketball IQ. Elite slasher. Finishes with power and finesse around the basket. Both an explosive and smooth athlete. Glides across the floor, bursts into the air.

     

    Cons

    Doesn't dominate in the way his skill set suggests. Must bulk up to play the 3. Could be more of a shooting guard.

     

    Why It Works

    Could the Milwaukee Bucks go with the son of one of their most successful players? Absolutely.

    The Milwaukee Bucks have a solid backcourt in place with J.J. Redick and pending free agents Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Conventional wisdom says they'll at least re-sign Jennings.

    As for the frontcourt, the future is bright with John Henson and Larry Sanders. Unfortunately, there is one position that Milwaukee is weak at.

    Small forward.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Gary Harris, Michigan State Spartans

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 18

    Class: Freshman

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'4", 210 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    19.08 PER, 12.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.4 SPG, 41.3% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Plays with an edge. Physical player with power. Attacks the basket as well as any. Handles the ball well. Can score off the bounce. Reliable mid-range game. Performing well from beyond the arc. Active defender.

     

    Cons

    Undersized for the 2. Could stand to add muscle based on his play style.

     

    Why It Works

    If there is any position the Minnesota Timberwolves haven't over-drafted, it's shooting guards. In fact, they don't have a single true shooting guard on their roster.

    Not unless you count the injured Brandon Roy and Malcolm Lee.

    Fortunately, Minnesota should be in line to land Michigan State scorer Gary Harris. Not only can Harris attack off of the bounce, but he's also proven to be a borderline elite shooter.

    As for why Minnesota needs a player like Harris, they're converting a mind-boggling 29.9 percent from beyond the arc.

New Orleans Hornets: Otto Porter, Georgetown Hoyas

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 19

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'8", 200 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    27.88 PER, 16.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.9 SPG, 42.7% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Very long. Disruptive yet responsible defender. Very good ball handler and a capable facilitator. Superb mid-range jump shooter. Drastically improved three-point shot. Can take it off of the dribble. Selfless player.

     

    Cons

    Must add a significant amount of bulk. Above-average athlete, but not explosive. Can be too passive on offense. Does it all, but is there star potential?

     

    Why It Works

    The New Orleans Hornets would hit the jackpot if they could land Nerlens Noel. After all, they're weak at center and already possess a promising young player at the 3 in Al-Farouq Aminu.

    With that being said, Noel is not in the NCAA Tournament and there is a small forward worth marveling—Georgetown's Otto Porter.

    Scouts don't like to use the word "everything," but Porter really is sound in every area of the game. Whether that's his significantly improved shooting or phenomenal defensive ability, Porter has it all.

    For a young team with a quality core, adding another potential All-Star could do nothing but help.

New York Knicks: Shane Larkin, Miami Hurricanes

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 20

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    5'11", 176 pounds, 5'11" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    22.40 PER, 14.6 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.9 RPG, 2.0 SPG

     

    Pros

    Elite perimeter defender. Quick hands, active feet and a solid base. Beautiful court vision. Blazing quickness. Superb jump shooter with NBA three-point range. Aggressive player. Thrives during late-game situations.

     

    Cons

    Undersized. Poor at drawing fouls. Can be turnover prone against double-teams.

     

    Why It Works

    Raymond Felton has proven to be a quality point guard, thus replacing him after one season is an afterthought. With that being said, Jason Kidd is 39 and Pablo Prigioni is 36.

    The New York Knicks must find a backup point guard. Miami Hurricanes star Shane Larkin can be that and more.

    Larkin may be 5'11", but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in skill, aggression and basketball IQ. That's why Larkin was first team All-ACC and named to the All-ACC Defensive Team.

    With a superstar's mentality and the skills to take him there, Larkin could be the Knicks' next great point guard. If not, he'd be a long-term upgrade over their current crop.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins

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    Position: Center

    Age: 19

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'1", 225 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    23.67 PER, 11.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.9 BPG

     

    Pros

    Excellent size and length. Very skilled player around the basket. Quality passer out of the post. Respectable face-up game. Dominant rebounder when aggressive. Progressing defender. Runs the floor well.

     

    Cons

    Very frail for an interior-based player. Inconsistent in imposing his will. Does not always dominate in the way his size and skill would suggest. Doesn't facilitate as well as his skills enable him.

     

    Why It Works

    By virtue of the James Harden trade, the Oklahoma City Thunder will likely receive the Toronto Raptors' first-round draft choice. The only way they wouldn't would is if Toronto were to make the playoffs or win a pick within the Top 3.

    The odds are in OKC's favor.

    If they are to receive the Raptors' pick, their main focus come the draft must be Alex Len of the Maryland Terrapins. OKC is a dismal interior scoring team and relies heavily upon their jump shooting.

    In order to make the next step, they must develop a low-post scoring offense to keep a defense honest. If they do, defending players such as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will become significantly more difficult.

    Len has boom-or-bust potential, but as a player with a defined and specific role in OKC, he would thrive.

Orlando Magic: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 19

    Class: Freshman

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'4", 225 pounds, 

    2012-13 Season Averages

    24.22 PER, 15.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.9 SPG 

     

    Pros

    Born winner. Natural leader. Supreme athleticism. Electric in the open floor as a finisher and facilitator. Active defender with quick hands. Powerful dribble-penetrator. Crashes the glass well. Versatile enough to play both guard positions. Non-stop motor.

     

    Cons

    Non-factor from beyond the arc. Struggles with shooting off of the dribble. Often off-balance and leaning on jumper. Could struggle with size if playing the 2 at NBA level.

     

    Why It Works

    The Orlando Magic made a wise investment when they locked up Jameer Nelson for $25 million over three years. With that being said, Nelson now has two years left on his contract and is 31 years old.

    Finding a franchise point guard for the future is the next step in Orlando's rebuilding process. Smart can be that player.

    Orlando is set in their frontcourt with Glen Davis, Andrew Nicholson and Nikola Vucevic. Their perimeter appears to be promising with Arron Afflalo and Maurice Harkless.

    Outside of Nelson, however, Orlando has no answer at the point. They also lack the young, athletic playmaker that could push them over the top.

    Paired with his longstanding history as a winner, Smart is the guy for Orlando.

Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana Hoosiers

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    Position: Center

    Age: 20

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'11", 210 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    30.93 PER, 16.9 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.1 SPG

     

    Pros

    One of the best motors in college basketball. Indiana's go-to scorer in the clutch. Mobile and active in transition. Very skilled scorer out of the post. Handles the ball well. Aggressive and physical. High basketball IQ. Improving defender.

     

    Cons

    Oddly short wingspan. Must add muscle to play at the next level. Could be difficult to play current style without more weight.

     

    Why It Works

    Whether or not the Philadelphia 76ers should re-sign Andrew Bynum is a topic for another day. What is known, however, is that the Sixers will be taking a risk either way.

    To compensate for any possible outcome, they must create depth. By drafting Indiana's Cody Zeller, they'd do that and much, much more.

    Zeller is not your typical energy player, as he's far more skilled coming out of college than his usual comparison of Tyler Hansbrough. Not only can he score with both hands around the basket, but he's been Indiana's clutch scorer.

    The upside is also present for Zeller to play power forward at the next level.

    Regardless of where he plays, he'd be an excellent insurance policy. If Philly re-signs Bynum, re-injury is always a possibility.

    If they let him walk, Zeller could be their future 5.

Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Hoosiers

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 20

    Class: Junior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'5", 214 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    29.09 PER, 13.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.2 SPG, 59.9% FG, 44.3% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Superstar potential. World class athlete. Effortless explosiveness. Defensive nightmare. Locks down star opponents. Very tough and physical. Phenomenal motor. Star intangibles. Rapidly improving in every area. Makes the effort plays that most wouldn't approach. Efficient in every area.

     

    Cons

    Not always the go-to player during clutch situations. Efficiently dominant but not always willing to take over. Selfless, but could it be to a fault?

     

    Why It Works

    If you're looking for the player who will emerge as the best of this draft class, it's Victor Oladipo. Unparalleled athleticism, the best motor in college basketball, star intangibles and defensive brilliance combine for that moniker.

    Considering the Phoenix Suns are in dire need of a star—and for that matter, any resemblance of a perimeter—Oladipo is the easy pick.

    Phoenix is likely to possess a Top Five draft choice. For that reason, they could be interested in Otto Porter of the Georgetown Hoyas.

    The fact of the matter is, Oladipo is a bonafide star that could be a perennial All-Star and All-Defensive Team selection. Porter is great, in his own right, but Phoenix is already financially invested in Michael Beasley.

    For a team embroiled in a rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix finding their own star 2 is too attractive to pass on.

Portland Trail Blazers: Gary Harris, Michigan State Spartans

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 18

    Class: Freshman

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'4", 210 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    19.08 PER, 12.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.4 SPG, 41.3% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Stronger than his build appears. A physical player on both ends of the court. Beautiful mid-range game and a pretty three-point shot. Thrives as a slasher. Quality ball handler. Finishes well in traffic. Great motor.

     

    Cons

    Undersized for his position. May need to add muscle to execute physical style at the next level.

     

    Why It Works

    The Portland Trail Blazers possess one of the worst second units in the history of the NBA. They rank last in scoring offense, efficiency and defensive efficiency.

    To cure those woes, they must bring in a capable scorer that can lessen the burden on their starters. Michigan State's Gary Harris could be that player.

    That is, if Portland retains their Top 12 protected draft choice.

    Harris is a physical player that thrives in attacking the basket. Harris can draw contact, finish around the basket and step out for a mid-range jump shot.

    Harris is also proving to be a better three-point shooter than expected, which makes him the ideal first-year sixth man for Portland. Beyond his first season, we could see a positional battle between Harris and Wesley Matthews.

    Regardless of what transpires, the Blazers would be a significantly better team with Harris on the roster.

Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 20

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'1", 175 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    29.76 PER, 19.2 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG

     

    Pros

    Superstar mentality. Thrives in the drive-and-dish. Pinpoint passes in transition. Sees the floor very well. Poised and low-turnover type player. Beautiful jump shot coming off the bounce. Active defender with disruptive hands.

     

    Cons

    Must improve his base on defense. Tends to go ISO during late-game situations.

     

    Why It Works

    The Sacramento Kings currently have the luxury of playing in a state with Chris Paul, Steve Nash and Stephen Curry. If they move to Seattle, they'll still have to see those players and the rest of the Western Conference's elite lead guards.

    It's time they find one of their own.

    Michael Carter-Williams is the best facilitator in this class, but Trey Burke is the top point guard. Burke is a legitimate superstar-type prospect with Chris Paul upside.

    That comes by virtue of his combination of mental toughness and world class ability—a rare combination that is often found in superstars.

    Burke would transform the Kings' offense, giving it direction for the first time in years. Paired with DeMarcus Cousins, Burke would be the perfect point guard to turn this franchise around.

    Sacramento should be keeping a close eye on how he fares in the NCAA Tournament.

San Antonio Spurs: Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary's Gaels

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 22

    Class: Senior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'4", 185 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    21.58 PER, 15.8 PPG, 6.4 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG

     

    Pros

    Elite pick-and-roll facilitator with size to go over defenders. Experience playing at 2012 London Olympics. Outstanding jump shooter with deep range. High basketball IQ. Natural leader. Aggressive yet responsible.

     

    Cons

    Justifiable concerns about athleticism. Active but risk-taking defender.

     

    Why It Works

    It's no mystery that the San Antonio Spurs love drafting international products. For that reason alone, Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova is almost certainly on their radar.

    As a 6'4" combo guard with elite skills, that interest would be justified.

    Dellavedova runs the pick-and-roll to perfection and is lethal from beyond the arc. That makes him a perfect fit in San Antonio, where the three-ball and screen-and-roll make this team so dangerous.

    It doesn't hurt that Manu Ginobili is a 35-year-old pending free agent, and the Spurs could stand to find a long-term replacement.

Toronto Raptors: Adreian Payne, Michigan State Spartans

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 22

    Class: Junior

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'10", 225 pounds, 7'0" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    24.57 PER, 25.0 MPG, 10.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 45.5% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Impressive athleticism. Explosive leaping ability. Capable jump shooter with three-point range. Defends well and crashes the boards hard. Mobile big man. Runs in transition.

     

    Cons

    Must bulk up to defend along the interior. Jump shot a bonus but not always consistent. Must continue to develop back-to-the-basket game.

     

    Why It Works

    The only way the Toronto Raptors will retain their first-round draft choice is if they make the playoffs or finish with a pick in the Top 3. For that reason, they must scout two breeds of players.

    Top pick material and second round candidates—we'll go with the latter.

    The Raptors must begin to think long-term as they search for a viable replacement to Andrea Bargnani. In order to find that player, they need not look any further than Michigan State big man Adreian Payne.

    Payne is a capable three-point shooter and a far superior defender and rebounder to Bargnani. He's also an elite athlete for his position.

    Working alongside Jonas Valanciunas, Payne could be a nightly double-double threat.

Utah Jazz: Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines

29 of 30

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 20

    Class: Sophomore

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'1", 175 pounds

    2012-13 Season Averages

    29.76 PER, 19.2 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 40.1% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Thrives in the drive-and-dish. Plays physically. Stronger than his 175-pound frame would suggest. Lethal from mid-range and dangerous from three-point range. Works well off the dribble. Incredible IQ in transition. Responsible ball handler.

     

    Cons

    Can be forced into turnovers when teams blitz the pick-and-roll. Must improve patience on defense. Needs to avoid ISO-ball.

     

    Why It Works

    Plain and simple, the Utah Jazz need a franchise point guard. Deron Williams was classified as one, but his tenure ended before it truly got started.

    Since then, it has been disappointment.

    Fortunately for Utah, there are two players that could be available when it's their turn to pick—Trey Burke of Michigan and Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse.

    Burke is the better fit for Utah, which is a major reason they should be rooting against Michigan. If the Wolverines make a run, Burke will inevitably receive praise and crack the Top 10.

    If they're out early, however, Utah could land a superstar in the making.

Washington Wizards: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Bruins

30 of 30

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 19

    Class: Freshman

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'6", 225 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

    2012-13 Season Averages

    22.36 PER, 17.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 40.4% 3PT

     

    Pros

    Mind-blowing athleticism. Very strong player that thrives on physicality. Dominant rebounder for his position. Versatile defender. Powerful finisher at the rim. Very dangerous coming off the bounce. Genuine leader with a history of winning.

     

    Cons

    Struggles when forced to dribble with non-dominant hand. Questions remain about mid-range shooting. Not nearly enough assists for a player with his usage rate.

     

    Why It Works

    If Nerlens Noel is available when the Washington Wizards are up to pick, there's reason to believe he's the best fit for them. The fact of the matter is, Noel will not be competing in the NCAA Tournament and there are prospects worth watching.

    Most specifically, Shabazz Muhammad of the UCLA Bruins.

    The Wizards have begun to build one of the most promising young perimeters in the NBA with John Wall and Bradley Beal. By adding Muhammad, they'd have a slashing scorer that has proven to be a versatile defender.

    The fact that Muhammad is shooting 40.4 percent from beyond the arc is equally encouraging.

    Wall and Beal both possess star potential, with Wall beginning to realize that as an all-round player. Muhammad, meanwhile, may be the best pure scorer in this draft class.

    This trio could take Washington a long way.