Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects at Beginning of April

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterApril 4, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects at Beginning of April

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    For prospects that are seriously interested in entering the 2013 NBA draft, now would be a good time for your stock to be up.

    Over the next few weeks, players must make their decisions on whether to stay in school or declare that they will jump to the next level. Leaving school with stock that is on the decline could ultimately cost someone millions of dollars, assuming they'd have another year of college eligibility to boost their stock back up.

    In terms of individual play, the past two weeks have been somewhat bizarre. Most of the top prospects have been playing themselves out of a chance to go No. 1 in this year's draft. The result: a new No. 1 on our board who hasn't played a game in almost two months time.

    Read on for the latest "stock up, stock down" report on the top 20 2013 NBA draft prospects.

20. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, 6'5'', SG

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    Stock Report: Up

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope closed out the year on a tear, going for 32 points and 13 rebounds against LSU, 24 points and 10 rebounds against Kentucky, 25 points and nine rebounds against Tennessee and 20 points and 14 rebounds against Vanderbilt. He finished the year averaging 18.5 points per game despite not having anyone in the lineup capable of setting him up for easy baskets.

    Caldwell-Pope has deep NBA range and has shown that he can attack the rim in line drives when there's a gap to hit. He also projects favorably on the defensive side of the ball considering his athleticism, size (6'5") and long arms.

    He won't be a star at the next level, but he can be a surefire contributor. Think Wesley Matthews.

19. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, 7'0'', C

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    Stock Report: Even

    Despite being knocked out in Pittsburgh's first game of the NCAA tournament, Steven Adams had one of his best performances of the year. He went for 13 points, 11 boards and two blocks, finishing strong at the rim and showcasing that athleticism.

    Adams has declared for the 2013 NBA draft. However, he was clearly lost offensively for about 90 percent of the year, and teams that target him will be looking at his long-term potential.

    Considering it could be three to five years before Adams' game ever comes around, the mid-first round sounds more realistic than the lottery.

18. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina, 6'9'', SF

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    Stock Report: Down

    James Michael McAdoo was brutal in North Carolina's loss to Kansas in the third round of the NCAA tournament, missing 14 shots despite being the most athletic big man on the floor.

    He's just looked lost offensively. He doesn't know a good shot from a bad one, and it's made him look silly.

    It may still be a matter of waiting for everything to click. McAdoo has shown that he can knock down mid-range jumpers and create them in the post, but converting them with consistency is another story.

    If he chooses to enter the draft, he'll be doing so with his stock on the decline, but the NBA combine will be a good opportunity to win some people over with his incredible athletic abilities.

17. Rudy Gobert, France, 7'1'', PF

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    Stock Report: Even

    The intrigue surrounding Rudy Gobert's physical tools is what's driving his NBA draft stock. At 7'1'' with a 7'9'' wingspan, those numbers alone contribute to his appeal.

    His stock will remain steady until scouts get to see him against even competition. But clearly, Gobert is someone to watch as a potential late riser in the process.

16. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, 6'5'', SF

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    Stock Report: Up

    Jamaal Franklin was terrific in the NCAA tournament, totaling 41 points, 19 rebounds, nine assists and six steals in San Diego State's two games.

    His willingness and ability to contribute across the board had to increase his appeal as a prospect. Franklin can do it all, but most importantly, his half-court offense is improving dramatically. He showed off a couple of step-back jumpers after facing up along with some turnaround ones in the post.

    I've liked Franklin all year, but I'd say his stock is at an all-time high entering the 2013 NBA draft.

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

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    Stock Report: Even

    Kelly Olynyk's stock will remain stable despite Gonzaga's early departure from the tournament. He'll have his opportunity to move the needle when teams work him out against other top centers in the draft class, such as Alex Len and Mason Plumlee.

    He isn't projected to fare very well during athletic testing and physical measurements, so the workout process will be an important test for him to ace as a prospect.

    He's got the size and skills. Whether he can get away with being a center who lacks typical NBA athleticism, though, will be the question on scouts' minds.

14. Mason Plumlee, Duke, 6'11'', C

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    Stock Report: Even

    Mason Plumlee played well in Duke's loss to Louisville in the Elite Eight, finishing right around his season average with 17 points and 12 boards.

    He's really expanded his game as a senior this season while maintaining his elite physical tools.

    Plumlee offers minimal risk as a prospect considering his size, athleticism, mobility and coordination. He can catch anything around the rim, whether he's stationary or on the move, and he does an excellent job of cleaning the class.

    Rebounds don't just fall into his hands—he goes up and gets them.

    I can picture a team playing it safe and taking him in the top 10, knowing exactly what they're getting when they pull the trigger on him.

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

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    Stock Report: Even

    C.J. McCollum has been waiting patiently for his chance to get back on the floor after breaking his foot in early January.

    If there was ever a year to suffer a season-ending injury, this one was it. Nobody outside the top few prospects have really established themselves as "can't miss," making McCollum a must-watch prospect once the pre-draft process gets underway. He's got a great chance at shooting up draft boards once he's able to participate in workouts.

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

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    Stock Report: Down

    After not factoring into UCLA's second-round loss to California, Shabazz Muhammad's draft status remains in question.

    I went back and looked at a lot of his regular season game film, and I came away disturbed with how few easy shots he created for himself in the halfcourt.

    He's really an unorthodox scorer. Most of the offense that he creates for himself comes off one-handed floaters or push shots around the rim. He takes no step-back or pull-up jumpers, and he definitely does not break down the defense.

    Muhammad averaged 0.8 assists compared to 1.6 turnovers this season. Defensively, he averaged less than a steal per game.

    The kid plays about as hard as you can play, so it's hard to knock his motor. But Muhammad is awfully one-dimensional, and without the ability to create for himself or his teammates, NBA decision-makers might be wary of using a top-10 pick on him.

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

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    Stock Report: Up

    Glenn Robinson has looked terrific throughout the NCAA tournament, making plays on both sides of the ball that have helped Michigan get to the Final Four.

    Unlike Shabazz Muhammad—another wing whom he'll be competing against for draft position if he chooses to leave—Robinson projects favorably on both sides of the ball. He's knocking down his spot-up three-pointers, converting his opportunities at the rim and getting into passing lanes using his athleticism and instincts.

    Robinson won't come into the NBA and earn a rotation spot right away, but he projects as a two-way wing who can impact a game without dominating the basketball.

    There's lottery upside here if Robinson ever reaches his ceiling.

10. Cody Zeller, Indiana, 7'0'', PF

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    Stock Report: Down

    Cody Zeller's toughness is in question once again after the Syracuse defense swallowed him up whole.

    It's becoming a legitimate issue. Though he's incredibly talented with a bag full of offensive tricks, he's not going to be able to use them if he can't handle the muscle on the interior.

    Despite all of his skills, Zeller has made himself look like a risky option as a top draft selection. I'm not sure that his talent alone can help save him from decison-makers who question his toughness.

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

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    Stock Report: Up

    Michael Carter-Williams is one of the few NBA prospects that has really boosted his stock during the NCAA tournament. He's been overwhelming on defense and unstoppable with the ball in his hands, doing whatever he pleases once he gets into the lane.

    At 6'6'', with long arms and a pass-first approach, his description sells itself. Carter-Williams' upside has been flashing bright over the past few weeks as he makes his push towards a national championship.

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

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    Stock Report: Up

    You may not know it, but Alex Len actually played well in his last two games of the NIT tournament. He  went for 15 points, 13 boards and five blocks against Alabama before going for 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocks against Iowa.

    Maryland's inability to get Len the ball throughout the year led to inconsistent performances that made him tough to evaluate. But when he has the ball in isolation or at the rim, chances are he's getting a deuce.

    He's also the top defensive center (outside of Nerlens Noel) when you compare him to Mason Plumlee, Cody Zeller and Kelly Olynyk.

    It would be hard to imagine more than nine teams passing on this 7'1'' two-way big man, even if it means waiting a while for him to develop.

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

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    Stock Report: Even

    Victor Oladipo was the only constant for one of the top schools in the country—and that's not a coincidence.

    Nobody made more plays for his team this year than Oladipo, whose presence was felt on every possession on both sides of the ball.

    The loss to Syracuse in the Sweet 16 will prove irrelevant in terms of his draft stock. Oladipo is a safe bet, and the fact that he's in the process of gradually improving only increases his appeal as a prospect.

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

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    Stock Report: Even

    Marcus Smart will be competing with Trey Burke for draft position, so he can't feel good about his early exit from the tournament—especially while Burke is still wowing the nation.

    Nobody is really "down" on Smart, but there are question marks offensively that a guy like Burke doesn't have to answer to—i.e. Smart's 3.4 turnovers per game, 40 percent shooting and 29 percent three-point percentage.

    He's still a premier prospect in this draft, and anyone who winds up with him will be getting a high draft-day grade. Smart just may not be that lock for first point guard off the board that we thought he would be all year.

5. Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'8'', SF/PF

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    Stock Report: Even

    Anthony Bennett didn't have his best showing in his one NCAA tournament game, but he flashed his upside throughout his freshman year.

    Where he lacks in size, he makes up for it with length, which should allow him to play both forward positions at the next level. Bennett was overpowering on the interior, quick off the bounce and agile on the open floor. 

    The Larry Johnson comparison is as good as it gets. Bennett is scary athletic yet knows how to play the game.

    With practically every team projected to draft at the top of the lottery in need of frontcourt athleticism, Bennett is likely to be a coveted NBA prospect in the following months.

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

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    Stock Report: Even

    Otto Porter's stock remains stable despite the ugly loss to Florida Gulf Coast. He did it all for Georgetown throughout the year, and though he doesn't project as a go-to scoring option, Porter's versatile offensive skill set could be used in any lineup in need of glue.

    The reliability and safety he offers as a prospect could go a long way in a draft class that is filled with uncertainty. The first two picks are probably off limits, but anywhere after that should be fair game.

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

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    Stock Report: Up

    I've lost interest in trying to nitpick at Trey Burke's physical deficiencies. If his size is the only thing holding him back from gaining elite prospect status, then consider me sold on his NBA potential.

    I could understand if his jumper was shaky, but Burke made nearly two three-pointers per game at a 38 percent clip. He's also as good as anyone in the country at pulling up off the dribble, which should ease some of the concern scouts have over his ability to finish in traffic at the rim.

    In this NCAA tournament, Burke tore apart VCU's defense, single-handledly knocked off Kansas in the last 10 minutes and then went for 15 points, eight boards and seven assists in a beat-down on Florida.

    If Ty Lawson can make it big at just 5'11'', so can Trey Burke. He looks like the best player in the country, and I don't see why that shouldn't reflect on his NBA draft stock.

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

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    Stock Report: Down

    Ben McLemore did not have a memorable NCAA tournament, at one point getting benched after shooting 0-of-9 against North Carolina.

    However, he still projects as an excellent NBA player, just maybe not one that will produce No. 1 overall value. He's got a high basement floor, meaning that worst comes to worst, a team adds a lights-out shooter and top-notch athlete.

    Whether or not McLemore is able to expand the rest of his game as a shot-creator will determine just how high his ceiling goes.

1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 6'10'', C

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    Stock Report: Up

    Only in the NBA draft process can your stock go up during an injury.

    While Nerlens Noel sits on the shelf waiting for his torn ACL to heal, the rest of the field has been playing themselves out of the No. 1 overall position.

    Ben McLemore didn't look anything like a top pick during the NCAA tournament. Neither did Marcus Smart, Anthony Bennett or Shabazz Muhammad.

    Process of elimination might help Noel go first overall, although it's not like he was invisible while healthy. Before going down, he was leading the country in shot-blocking and had emerged from the pack as the top prospect in the class.

    Though he won't be ready to start his rookie season, it shouldn't be a reason for teams pass on Noel's services. Looking at the big picture, he's got the chance to make an impact that no other prospect can.