With prospects making their final decisions with regard to staying in school or declaring for the NBA draft, the first round is starting to round itself out.
Over the past few weeks, we've heard a number of top prospects announce they will be returning to school. Marcus Smart, James McAdoo, Gary Harris, Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary and C.J. Fair are all first-round candidates who will not be participating in the 2013 draft.
The result is a number of eligible prospects who've seen their stocks rise by default. And with the completion of the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit after a strong performance from the World Select team, it's the international prospects who might have seen their stocks rise the most.
Orlando will be faced with quite the dilemma if it ends up winning the lottery.
The Magic will have to weigh a need versus a want. Nerlens Noel is the likely top prospect on the board, yet they already have a promising center. Trey Burke could be the team's point guard of the future, though he lacks the upside of a typical No. 1 overall pick.
Until I hear otherwise, I have to operate under the belief that the Magic will go with whoever is No. 1 on their board, whether that position is currently occupied on the roster or not.
This isn't a team realistically ready to compete in 2014 anyway, so Noel's injury shouldn't stop Orlando from pulling the trigger.
Noel has the ability to change a game defensively and provide a lineup with an easy source for half-court points. If he reaches his ceiling, Noel has the chance to make an impact on a franchise that no other prospect in the field is capable of making.
The Bobcats need someone they can count on to make shots. Given Ben McLemore's elite level of athleticism, they could also use his long-term upside.
McLemore has all the tools to become an elite complementary scorer. He can drop 20 points without having to dribble.
He has the unteachable physical tools and long-range accuracy. All McLemore needs to do is work on his in-between game as a creator, and he'll be big-time at the next level as a two-way off-guard.
Otto Porter pretty much comes with a guarantee on the package. There aren't any question marks surrounding his physical tools or whether his skill set can translate.
The only question is the height of his ceiling.
Porter projects more as a top-notch role player, with qualities that make him somewhat of a mix between Tayshaun Prince and Shane Battier.
A team who lacks discipline, like the Cleveland Cavaliers, could add a player with Porter's on-court maturity to help glue the lineup together.
The Cavs also need a wing who can score and defend. Porter makes sense here, as does Anthony Bennett of UNLV, who falls more under the category of high-risk, high-reward.
Anthony Bennett fits the description of someone the Phoenix Suns should be targeting. He has one of the highest ceilings in the draft class thanks to his explosive athleticism and versatile skill set.
The Suns don't really have any offensive mismatches with which to threaten opposing defenses.
Bennett was a dominant scorer in his freshman year, knocking down shots on the perimeter, overwhelming on the interior and running the floor in transition.
If it works out, Bennett offers star power that the Suns need and this draft lacks.
Depending on how the New Orleans Hornets plan on handling Eric Gordon, the team's needs this summer could be different.
However, the Hornets are going to need a center regardless, and Alex Len has the most upside of any big man left on the board.
At 7'1'', Len can score in the post, face up in the mid-range and knock down shots out to 16 feet from the rim. He's also an effective rim protector considering his size, length and athleticism.
Now he just has to put it all together. If he can, Len should be a starting two-way NBA center for years to come.
If Trey Burke is around when the Sacramento Kings are on the clock, bells and alarms should sound.
With Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State choosing to return to school, Burke looks like the top point guard option on the board.
And if there's one thing the Kings could use in their lineup, it's a floor general who can take command of the offense.
Burke's leadership qualities and polished skill set would allow him to step in and take over immediately.
Shabazz Muhammad's stock caught a break when Glenn Robinson III, a direct draft-day competitor, announced he'd be returning to school.
Though his stock has slipped, Muhammad's high floor will keep him from falling too far. He has excellent physical tools, as he stands 6'6'' and has long arms, a strong frame, athleticism and a revved-up motor. Even if his skill set doesn't translate, his physical tools will.
Muhammad is also a knock-down shooter who can finish with touch or power at the rim.
But it's everything in between, particularly creating off the dribble, that's holding him back.
Still, Detroit could use an athletic scorer on the wing to quickly replace Kyle Singler. Muhammad is a fit in this lineup.
Despite his struggles in the NCAA tournament, Cody Zeller is still considered one of the top big men in the draft class.
His skills, talent and athleticism haven't gone anywhere. Zeller just needs to add some strength and increase his comfort level on the perimeter so he's not forced to try and bang for points inside.
The Wizards need a big man who can run with John Wall and also give him an option for half-court points. Zeller routinely gets himself easy baskets in transition and projects as a mid-range to low-post scorer.
Minnesota should be all over Victor Oladipo if he slips to No. 9.
I view Victor Oladipo as a Tony Allen clone, which is just the type of guy the Wolves can use at the 2 spot.
Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved might be one of the least intimidating first lines of defense in the league. Oladipo's motor, speed and explosiveness will help out on both sides of the ball, giving the lineup some easy buckets on offense and a lockdown option on defense.
With reports that the Blazers will be willing to let Eric Maynor become an unrestricted free agent, it's possible they'll need a new backup.
But unlike Maynor, C.J. McCollum can actually provide some offensive firepower off the bench, something this team doesn't get from reserves No. 6 through No. 10.
He's also a capable point guard and secondary ball-handler. Instead of paying for Maynor and competing with the market, the Blazers can get McCollum, a player with more upside anyway.
McCollum was second in the country in scoring before breaking his foot in January. That injury that will not have any affect on his stock.
Look for McCollum to excel in workouts the way Damian Lillard, another mid-major star, did for Portland last offseason.
We're not sure how the Andrew Bynum situation is going to play out, but Rudy Gobert's services could be used with or without him.
Though 7'2'', Gobert's mobility should allow him to play two frontcourt positions. What's most attractive is his 7'9'' wingspan, a length unprecedented to my knowledge.
Gobert uses that wingspan to finish above the rim and protect it, while getting some easy buckets on tip-ins and catch-and-dunks in the half court.
He's been the top-rated international prospect throughout the year, and until workouts and the NBA combine get underway, that status will remain intact.
Mason Plumlee and the Oklahoma City Thunder seem like a fit based on his value at No. 12 and the team's needs at center.
He's arguably the top athlete of the centers not named Nerlens Noel, with the ability to run the floor, play high above the rim and catch anything around it.
Plumlee is essentially the anti-Kendrick Perkins from a physical point of view.
He averaged 17 points per game as a senior, expanding his range as a scorer with the ball. He's a safe option late in the lottery and can contribute right away.
Considering Darren Collison will be a restricted free agent and the team views him as a reserve, it's safe to say the Mavericks will be in the market for a point guard.
Cue Michael Carter-Williams—the 6'6'' true facilitator who offers starter potential and a big-time ceiling.
His stock fluctuated throughout the year, but not his upside. With Carter-Williams' physical tools for a natural point guard, the sky is the limit. Whether he improves his jumper and decision-making will determine just how high the elevator goes.
For the Utah Jazz, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope fits a need in that he is an athletic scoring guard who can shoot and defend.
He's a smooth athlete with perfect size for an off-guard. Expect him to pick up steam as we move closer to workouts, athletic testing and measurements.
Everything checks out on paper for Caldwell-Pope to be a solid rotation player, as long as he can maintain an accurate shooting stroke. There's no reason to think he can't.
We've had Jamaal Franklin as a top-20 guy all year, and with others dropping out of the class, his stock is only rising.
Franklin is a phenomenal athlete whose versatility can be illustrated by the fact he was the only player in the country to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
He should make all sorts of noise at this year's NBA combine.
When Danny Ainge flew out to Greece to check on rising prospect Giannis Adetokunbo, he did so knowing the prize will cost a first-round pick.
Adetokunbo went for 19 points and nine boards with Ainge looking on. The intrigue surrounding the 6'9'' wing is undeniable; he's able to create off the dribble like a ball-handler and score like a forward.
He's not facing the stiffest competition overseas, but that shouldn't affect his established ceiling. I'm expecting Adetokunbo to be a name that rises up boards as more teams get a closer look.
The Hawks will be in the market for frontcourt help with Al Horford the only big man worthy of a spot in a winning rotation.
Kelly Olynyk's emergence has splattered him all over NBA radars, though the easy part for him is over. Instead of beating up the West Coast Conference, he'll have workouts against the top available centers and an NBA combine that can expose his lack of athleticism.
Still, we've seen how skilled he is for a seven-footer and how strong his scoring instincts are in the half court. He'd be a solid upgrade up front for Atlanta if he slips to them at No. 17.
We're still waiting to hear an official declaration from Isaiah Austin, but if he does commit to the draft, this seems like a fitting landing spot.
Despite his size and skill set, Austin presents risk as a lottery pick considering his lack of strength to bang down low. But his upside is unique, as most seven-footers aren't able to play on the perimeter or work the high post the way Austin can.
He reminds me of Charlie Villanueva. Austin just needs to find a niche so he doesn't get stuck between positions.
If we learned anything from Steven Adams in his first year at Pittsburgh, it's that college just wasn't for him.
Adams was quick to put his name in the draft despite playing a small role in Pittsburgh's offense.
He's wildly athletic for a seven-footer, but at this point, that's all he is. The NBA scouts love size and athleticism, and if that were the only test, Adams would ace it.
But he needs years worth of work in terms of improving his basketball skills. His upside his huge; it just might take a while to get there.
Anderson Varejao is nearing the end of his contract, so the Cavs could use their second pick in the first round on a potential long-term replacement.
You'd have to believe the Bulls will be in the market for a shooting guard with this pick, as their current crop of 2s is somewhat underwhelming.
Allen Crabbe is essentially a fresher version of Rip Hamilton, what with his ability to score off the ball in mid- and long range. And at 6'6'' with long arms, he has the tools to make the physical transition.
He's a shot-maker who can score without needing numerous dribbles to set himself up. Crabbe's ability to catch, separate, rise and fire should make him a reliable option playing off a ball-dominant point guard.
Dennis Schroeder was a popular name during Nike Hoops Summit practices, and his strong play carried into the main event.
Schroeder was picking apart the United States' defense, breaking them down and then setting up teammates for easy buckets. He also showed his improved jumper, knocking one down from behind the arc and pulling up for one in the mid-range, both off the dribble with balance and comfort. Schroeder finished with 18 points and six assists in the win, which ultimately led him to declare for the draft and enter on a high note.
He plays at a high level in Germany and has really impressed scouts with his improved perimeter game and decision-making.
This is a world-class athlete with lightning speed and quickness that's built for the NBA game. The Jazz need a point guard, and Schroeder emerged at just the right time.
Sergey Karasev has been a big-time scorer in Europe despite playing at the highest possible level.
After watching him at the Nike Hoops Summit, his appeal as an NBA prospect is clear. Karasev is a knockdown shooter with deep range and can put it on the deck, rise and fire.
You get a sense that Karasev knows what he's doing out there. He makes the right passes at the right times and always seems in rhythm.
Karasev isn't much of an athlete, but his stock is definitely on the rise after a strong week in Portland to follow up an even stronger year overseas.
Mikhail Prokhorov will certainly be familiar with the fellow Russian who fills a need in Brooklyn as a floor-spacer and ball-mover.
Erick Green led the country in scoring, and he did so at an extremely efficient rate, averaging 25 points on 47.5 percent shooting and 38.9 percent from downtown.
He's a scoring nightmare off the dribble with his ability to pull up from anywhere on the floor.
Green is a shoot-first, pass-second combo guard, but he's capable of holding down secondary ball-handling duties.
The Pacers could use a backup point guard (D.J. Augustin will be an unrestricted free agent) and another source for points. Green would give them both.
No Knick fan could argue against Gorgui Dieng here. The team clearly needs a backup for Tyson Chandler, and Dieng's abilities to protect the rim and score around it both fit that need.
Dieng saw his stock soar after he showed off a confident mid-range stroke that he knocked down routinely during the NCAA tournament.
The Knicks will likely be targeting frontcourt help, and Dieng would be the top option on the board this late in Round 1.
Shane Larkin has been on the fence about declaring, but with nearly the entire rotation graduating, it would be hard to imagine him returning.
Larkin's ability to break down the defense, create for teammates and knock down threes makes him an option late in the first round. He also has the reputation of being coachable, and after seeing his improvement from one year to the next, Larkin would be an excellent choice to play CP3's protégé.
Archie Goodwin has higher upside than a No. 26 overall selection would suggest. He struggled at Kentucky in terms of efficiency, demonstrating a poor shot selection and feel for the game as a creator.
Goodwin is an explosive athlete with good size, and he is at his best attacking the rim north and south. But getting better looks for himself in the half court will come down to how much he refines his offensive arsenal over the next few years.
Improving his three-point range and ability to stop and pop before traffic would be a start.
Goodwin is a project, but he has what it takes to play at a high level if his game comes around.
The Denver Nuggets could have used a three-point specialist even before Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL late in the season.
Doug McDermott is the country's premier long-range shooter, with back-to-back years of at least a 48 percent three-point clip, a preposterous number when you consider the sample size.
A specialist is essentially a worst-case scenario for McDermott, who also has incredible scoring instincts, as illustrated by the 23.2 points he averaged per game. He's not a great athlete, so chances are those numbers don't translate.
However, the size of the rims is the same at the pro and college levels. McDermott's three-ball is no joke.
Dario Saric is one of the more versatile prospects in the field considering his size (6'10") and ability to facilitate from the wing.
He had originally stated he'll be bypassing the draft, but he recently changed his mind knowing he has until mid-June to pull his name out.
Saric is considered a borderline first-round prospect because of his offensive versatility, though questions remain regarding his defensive potential.
If he stays, you can be sure the Spurs will be familiar with what he has to offer. Saric is likely a draft-and-stash candidate.
Tony Mitchell's physical tools are likely to hold him up as a first-round pick after his reduced production as a sophomore really dented his stock.
He's a sensational athlete with a strong frame, a monstrous wingspan and incredible leaping abilities. But he's got to find a way to put these attributes to good use.
This will be Oklahoma City's second pick in the first round, so they can afford to take a project. Mitchell packs solid value this late.
Livio Jean-Charles blew the United States away during this year's Nike Hoops Summit, finishing with 27 points as the game's high scorer.
He's not the most electric athlete, but Jean-Charles' instincts at the rim allowed him to finish nearly every scoring opportunity. He also stepped out and converted a couple of mid-range jumpers, and he got down the floor for some easy buckets in transition.
Jean-Charles measured a 7'2" wingspan that helps make up for some of his physical limitations. He doesn't project as a go-to scorer; rather, he's a complementary forward who can reliably finish off plays.
He has yet to declare, but he should get some first-round looks if he does.