The 2013 NCAA tournament has reached the Sweet 16, but there was a surprising lack of heroics from potential NBA draft prospects over the first week.
Instead of seeing some major risers as we have over the past few years—such as Jimmer Fredette and Stephen Curry—there’s been quite a few players that hurt their stock with relatively weak showings in these first few games.
Hopefully things will change now that the field has been narrowed down to the cream of the crop and we start seeing some fringe draftees shine through.
Regardless, we’ve updated our big board, so let’s take a look at where the top 30 prospects are projected to land.
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: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky (Up from No. 4)
Despite not playing—due to a torn ACL—Noel’s stock has improved and he’s back atop our draft board.
Because no other prospect stepped up and made a major impact, and because the big man’s absence was felt when Kentucky lost in the first round of the NIT, Noel managed to reclaim the spot he held for much of the regular season.
If his recovery goes as planned, there’s no reason Noel couldn’t come off the board No. 1 overall this June.
No. 2: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (Down from No. 1)
McLemore and the Jayhawks have been anything but consistent. They survived a scare from a No. 16 seed and needed a major run to beat an undersized UNC squad in the third round of the tourney.
Had McLemore played up to his abilities, KU could have easily run away with those games and won big. Until this swingman figures out how to impact a game regularly, we’ll be leery about putting him No. 1.
No. 3 Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State (Down from No. 2)
Smart’s Pokes were bounced from the tournament early, but the PG still remains the top player at his position and could go No. 1 overall in the draft.
He possesses a perfect mix of size, scoring, playmaking and leadership qualities desired in the modern NBA.
No. 4: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV (Up from No. 5)
Bennett is a powerful player that can dominate the paint with his strength and finesse—despite his relatively small stature for a potential power forward.
While ‘tweeners usually don’t come off the board this early, Bennett is a special talent that could impact a game at a number of positions.
No. 5: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (Down from No. 3)
The 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles stunned Porter’s Hoyas in their first game of the 2013 NCAA tourney. This upset robbed scouts a chance to evaluate the versatile swingman against top-notch competition.
Regardless, the sophomore star proved plenty enough during the regular season and should be the first SF selected on draft day.
No. 6: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (Up from No. 7)
Oladipo’s vaunted defensive prowess took a hit when Temple’s Khalif Wyatt dropped 31 points against the Hoosiers in the third round, but the star shooting guard hit a huge three to ice the game in the final seconds.
He’s going to be a special player in the NBA for his pure talents, incredible hustle and heart.
No. 7: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA (Down from No. 6)
Muhammad is a year older than he’s been listed at, which may hurt his stock now that he’s known to be 20 years old and his upside is a bit lower.
Regardless, this is one of the hardest working players in the nation and he’s a natural scorer that could eventually become a top option on a good team.
No. 8: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Up from No. 13)
Burke and the Wolverines are rolling through the Big Dance, absolutely dominating the competition in their first two games.
The undersized PG was instrumental against No. 5 VCU, dropping 18 points and dishing seven assists in a 78-53 blowout victory. If he continues this play, Burke will wind up becoming a top-five pick.
No. 9: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State (Remains No. 9)
Harris stepped up and proved his worth against the Memphis Tigers on Saturday, dropping 23 points in 25 minutes on the way to a 70-48 win.
He’s a born scorer that has been a bit up and down during the 2012-13 campaign, but is certainly worthy of a top-10 pick come June.
No. 10: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (Remains No. 10)
Zeller’s an interesting prospect, as he has a seven-foot frame and the ability to impact a game right away.
However, he has a low ceiling and doesn’t project to be much more than an above-average role player in the NBA. It’ll be interesting to see where this Hoosier big man comes off the board if he declares this spring.
No. 11: Alex Len, C, Maryland (Down from No. 8)
Len’s one of the best low-post scorers we’ve seen in quite some time, but he’s been reluctant to display his dominance and doesn’t seem to have the alpha personality required to become a big-time scorer in the Association.
Whether that is a result of awful guard play during his time with the Terps remains to be seen, but this 7’2” big looks to be a boom-or-bust pick in the lottery.
No. 12: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh (Down from No. 16)
McCollum hasn’t seen the court in months, but his stock has risen as scouts struggle to find better scorers at the guard position in this class.
This young man can fill it up from anywhere on the court and has the confidence to take—and make—any shot. Don’t be surprised if he becomes the next Damian Lillard.
No. 13: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse (Down from No. 12)
Carter-Williams’ jumper is still inconsistent and his handle is still shaky, but the Orange PG is arguably the best facilitator in the class.
A team looking for a lead guard to get its stars the rock would be wise to pluck MCW off the board in the late lottery.
No. 14: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga (Down from No. 11)
Olynyk’s Bulldogs were heartbroken in the third round, but he’s still a legit NBA big man.
The center is a gifted scorer in the post and has good range on his jumper, but his athleticism is a bit suspect. Whether that hurts his ability to defend some top-tier 4s and 5s will be what scouts want to see before risking a lottery pick on this Gonzaga star.
No. 15: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan (Up from No. 23)
Robinson is flying up big boards for his great play during the tourney, finally proving that he can put up big numbers against superior competition.
This swingman has an NBA pedigree and the raw talent to eventually become a No. 2 or 3 scoring option on a championship contender.
No. 16: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke (Down from No. 15)
Plumlee’s ability to impact a game without having plays called for him cannot be praised enough.
He’s a quality garbage man that runs the floor, hustles hard, earns extra possessions, plays defense and does all the little things that winning organizations need. The Blue Devils senior may not be a star, but he’s going to be a contributor.
No. 17: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State (Up from No. 22)
Franklin’s an athletic freak that rebounds absurdly well for his position, but has to spend some more hours in the gym honing his jump shot.
Until he develops some range to his game, Franklin is going to be nothing more than a niche prospect.
No. 18: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia (Down from No. 17)
Saric is the top international prospect in this year’s draft class, as the 18-year-old looks to be a natural facilitator with a high basketball IQ.
While he may not be ready to make an impact in the NBA right away, stashing him in Europe is a great option for a deep, contending team.
No. 19: Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky (Down from No. 14)
Poythress’ raw talents are otherworldly, but his desire and motor are highly questionable.
Until this young man wants to dominate a game and has his head 100 percent in it, he’s going to be nothing more than a tantalizing prospect.
No. 20: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky (Down from No. 18)
Cauley-Stein is a nice talent with great athleticism and shot-blocking abilities, but he needs work in most other facets of the game.
Another year at Kentucky would do him good, but the seven-footer would likely come off the board inside the top 20 for his upside alone.
No. 21: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky (Down from No. 19)
Goodwin may not be a great shooter and tends to play out of control, but he’s one of the best athletes in the class and could be a top-notch defender in the NBA.
He may not see the hardwood much until he develops that jump shot, but the promise is there and this Wildcat could eventually develop into a star.
No. 22: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Up from from No. 25)
Withey may be no offensive dynamo, but he’s been working on his jumper and low-post game to add to his seven-foot frame and defensive capabilities.
Don’t sleep on this Jayhawks big getting drafted by a good team and making an impact as early as his rookie season, as he’s a talented shot-blocker and proven winner.
No. 23: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor (Down from No. 20)
Austin needs to spend the summer in the cafeteria bulking up, as the seven-footer is rail thin and has to get stronger to find minutes at the 4 in the NBA.
The Bears star wants to play the 3 and has some of the skills required to do so, but the bottom line is he’ll be expected to develop into stretch power forward and is best suited as one once he adds some weight.
No. 24: Rudy Gobert, PF/C, France (Down from No. 21)
Gobert’s a Euro prospect with immense height and wingspan, but not much else in terms of proven basketball ability.
Until he arrives on American shores and proves himself against NBA competition, he’s nothing more than a future bust in our eyes.
No. 25: James Michael McAdoo, PF, UNC (Down from No. 24)
McAdoo started to turn his season around once he became the starting center in UNC’s small-ball lineup, but that isn’t indicative of where he will play in the pros.
If the forward hangs around for his junior year at Chapel Hill, we’d like to see him contribute as a SF or PF in order to properly assess his stock. Should he declare, we have him going in the mid-to-late 20s.
No. 26: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville (Remains No. 26)
Dieng’s an athletic defensive talent whose offensive skills are finally starting to catch up.
While he may never be a starting caliber center in the Association, he could be a great backup for a top-notch organization.
No. 27: Patric Young, C, Florida (Unranked last week)
Speaking of athletic centers, Young has found his way back onto the big board as his Gators roll through March Madness.
The big man is an elite athlete capable of making highlight plays, but he’s still too raw to start in the NBA.
No. 28: Allen Crabbe, SG, California (Remains No. 28)
Crabbe’s an elite scorer that has range from anywhere in the gym.
Plenty of teams need automatic scorers like this to come off the pine. We believe this Cal star is going to be a sixth man at the next level and a late first-round pick is where teams will be looking to score this kind of talent.
No. 29: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas (Remains No. 29)
Mitchell’s still a first-round talent based on his upside alone, but his year at North Texas was absolutely atrocious.
Hopefully his Mean Green teammates and lack of competition were cramping his style, otherwise we’ve been completely wrong this young man’s potential talents.
No. 30: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia (Remains No. 30)
Caldwell-Pope is an elite shooter that isn’t afraid to take any shot on the floor.
He’s able to stretch defenses and has the defensive capabilities to guard his position, making him an interesting late-first prospect.
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