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NBA Draft 2013: Prospects Whose Stocks Were Boosted or Busted During March

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterMarch 29, 2013

NBA Draft 2013: Prospects Whose Stocks Were Boosted or Busted During March

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    Though you'd never like to think a couple of games can make or break one's draft stock, sometimes the magnitude of the event can enhance greatness or failure.

    Some guys have struggled under the bright lights. Others have stepped up to the plate.

    This event will be the last time scouts get to see these prospects in live game action. The last impression is usually an important one.

Vander Blue, Marquette, 6'4'', SG

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    Stock Report: Boosted

    Vander Blue looked like a new player all year, but his stock didn't get a boost until it started translating to NCAA tournament wins.

    He was more or less just an athlete his first two years, getting his offense as a slasher while earning his minutes as a defender.

    But Blue developed a go-to scoring repertoire as a junior, and he's putting it to good use in March.

    Tied up in the closing seconds against Davidson, Blue was given the ball in isolation. He beat his man off the bounce and converted a beautiful lefty layup for the game-winning basket. He then dropped 29 on Butler, taking over the game both on and off the ball.

    Blue was spotting up around the arc (3-of-4 from downtown), pulling up with a picturesque balanced stop-and-pop jumper and getting to the rim showcasing his NBA athleticism.

    Against the No. 2 seed Miami Hurricanes, he scored 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting in a 71-61 beatdown.

    He now has the look of an NBA 2-guard with an improving perimeter game and excellent physical tools. Blue could ride the wave and enter the 2013 draft or return in 2014 as a breakout candidate.

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

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    March Stock Report: Busted

    Cody Zeller shot a combined 7-of-20 from the floor, totaling just one block and seven turnovers in Indiana's last two NCAA tournament games.

    He was a non-factor against Syracuse, making more highlights for getting stuffed at the rim than actually scoring the ball.

    Zeller continues to pass on open looks at the elbow, choosing to recklessly attack traffic instead of taking a clean 16-foot jump shot. The more he gets turned down at the rim, the more he exposes his lack of strength for the interior.

    If Zeller wants to make it in the NBA as a finesse big man, he's going to have to expand his game out to 20 feet.

    The hopes of a top-five pick seem slimmer than ever. He could be looking at a slide down many NBA teams' draft boards as the pre-draft process unfolds.

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

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    March Stock Report: Boosted

    Michael Carter-Williams turned heads against Indiana, going for 24 points with four steals on 3-of-5 from downtown.

    Defenses could be in for a long night when he's knocking down shots from the outside. He struggled this season when teams have begun taking away his driving lanes. But he showed promise as a shooter against Indiana, who had no answer for him on the perimeter or attacking the rim.

    His defensive effectiveness should also be noted. His long arms and 6'6'' size make it awfully difficult for his man to comfortably operate.

    Games like the one M.C.W had against the Hoosiers remind us why he's such an intriguing NBA prospect.

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

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    March Stock Report: Busted

    Anthony Bennett did not look sharp in his lone NCAA tournament game. He struggled offensively against California, looking passive and hesitant when the team needed him to be aggressive.

    Now, some are questioning his position at the next level, which is fair considering he's naturally a 6'7'' power forward.

    Bennett is still likely to enter the NBA draft as a top-10 pick, but the idea that he could sneak up as the No. 1 guy is no longer a realistic possibility.

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

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    March Stock Report: Boosted

    Glenn Robinson III made a statement in his first two games of the tournament before making a couple of clutch plays in Michigan's miraculous comeback win over Kansas.

    He shot a combined 15-of-19 from the floor against South Dakota State and VCU, looking every bit of the NBA wing he's projected to eventually be. In the Sweet 16, Robinson had a huge offensive rebound and putback in the closing seconds of regulation, and he came up big in overtime with a steal that he took the other way.

    Whoever gives him a look will do so with the understanding that Robinson is a project. He's not going to come in and take the NBA by storm.

    But with more individual coaching, instruction and time at the next level, he's got loads of potential worthy of a late lottery selection.

Mike Muscala, Bucknell, 6'11'', PF/C

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    March Stock Report: Busted

    The stage was set for Mike Muscala to introduce himself to a national audience, but he flopped—big time. Defended by 6'11'' Andrew Smith, Muscala shot just 4-of-17 from the floor with just one trip to the line against Butler.

    NBA teams were looking to see how he'd perform against a defender with NBA size. Contact and physical play ultimately knocked Muscala off his game, where he struggled to finish inside or knock down mid-range jumpers.

    I wouldn't say the first round is out of the question, but this was a chance for Muscala to really make a statement. Instead, he just muttered something under his breath.

D.J. Stephens, Memphis, 6'5'', SF

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    March Stock Report: Boosted

    D.J. Stephens is one of the few prospects whose offensive skill set, or lack thereof, is irrelevant. Stephens' absurd athleticism allows him to make plays that just can't be duplicated.

    Though 6'5'', Stephens totaled eight blocks in Memphis' opening game against St. Mary's and finished with four blocks against Michigan State. It doesn't mean he projects as a shot-blocker; rather, it just illustrates his ability to make plays above the rim.

    Because of his unmatchable physical abilities, Stephens should get looks from any team in the second round looking to inject some life into its rotation.

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

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    March Stock Report: Busted

    UCLA's loss to Minnesota did not reflect favorably on Shabazz Muhammad's draft stock. Neither did the fact that he's a year older than we thought.

    Muhammad failed to impact the game, shooting just 6-of-18 and struggling as the team's go-to option.

    Scouts are not impressed with Muhammad's all-around game. He averaged less than one steal and one assist this year, showing no playmaking skills or defensive potential.

    Once considered a favorite to go No. 1 overall, Muhammad is now hoping that he stays in the lottery conversation.

Mitch McGary, Michigan, 6'10'', PF

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    March Stock Report: Boosted

    Mitch McGary's breakout March has boosted his draft stock for 2014, likely the year he'll declare for the draft.

    He finished with 21 points and 14 boards against VCU and 25 and 14 against Kansas on a combined 22-of-28 from the field.

    McGary has been dominant in the paint, playing with a combination of physicality and finesse. He's an excellent offensive rebounder with an active motor and soft hands. Extremely nimble for a guy his size, McGary can also get himself easy baskets by beating his man down the floor in transition.

    He's put himself on NBA radars during this NCAA tournament and should be a prospect to watch moving forward for a team that lacks an interior presence.

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