As with every draft in every sport, you must take current NBA mocks and big boards with a pumpkin-sized grain of salt—they will change drastically and exponentially as we near the end of June.
In the next month, the combine (admittedly less important than the NFL's version, but still potentially crucial for burgeoning prospects), the lottery, various individual workouts and untimely injuries—Alex Len and Anthony Bennett have already succumbed to the major one; counting Nerlens Noel, the big men clearly aren't safe—will all drastically shake up the rankings.
As such, players will see their stock both climb and descend. Let's take a look at the positive side of that equation.
C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG/SG
C.J. McCollum is in line for a Damian Lillard-like rise in the next month. That's not to say they are similar players or even in comparable situations—Lillard is more of a true point guard and wasn't coming off a major foot injury.
But at this time last year, Lillard was a prospect just outside the top 10, and after impressing in workouts, he blasted up to No. 6, where the Portland Trail Blazers intelligently selected him.
Don't be surprised if McCollum—needing the workouts to answer some important questions—does the same thing. He's already showing that he has the intangibles to put in the work necessary:
CJ McCollum @CJMcCollum
#MoneyTeam #DraftDreams https://t.co/VKLHKTWuZ72013-4-29 20:27:01
On the hardwood, the Lehigh guard is a deadly, versatile scorer. He's difficult to stop in transition, can knock down shots from anywhere on the court and has the ball-handling to leave opponents stuck in the mud in the isolation or pick-and-roll game.
I don't see him as a point guard at the next level (just 2.7 assists per game for his career), but he's a 6'3" shooter who can handle the ball and create his offense at will. That's going to translate into a lot of points for the combo guard.
McCollum's stock should only rise as teams begin to get a closer look at him.
Giannis Adetokunbo, Greece, PG/SF
Giannis Adetokunbo is 6'9" with a wingspan of 7'3" and hands that might just rival those of the Greek gods themselves (via Draft Express):
Of course, it's not like we've never seen size and length of these epic proportions before. But Adetokunbo impressively adds in a point guard's skill set.
Oh, and he's only 18.
Adetokunbo, who has only been playing basketball since 2003, will probably spend most of his time on the perimeter as a 3 at the next level, but he has the athleticism, ball-handling, vision and passing ability necessary to lead the break or run an offense when necessary.
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In addition to being a rarity with jaw-dropping potential on the offensive end, his length and agility give him the necessary tools to be an absolute superstar on defense.
Simply put, there is no ceiling on Adetokunbo's game, and in what is considered a weak draft, I see no chance of him falling out of the lottery. Praise like this (via Eurohopes) doesn't hurt that notion, either:
Giannis Adetokunbo ('94) might be the biggest sleeper in the NBA draft since Dirk Nowitzki. His profile: http://t.co/0jYAKgwCuc2013-5-6 14:47:13
Tony Mitchell, North Texas, PF
If you're going by potential, Tony Mitchell is a top-10 pick. If you're going by production (13.0 ppg on 44.0 percent shooting, 8.5 rpg and a dreadful season for North Texas), he's an undrafted Summer League invitee.
That's why Mitchell's pre-draft workouts and combine will be of the utmost importance. He needs to help rid the sour taste he left NBA scouts with this season. He must remind them of his still impressive physical tools.
Mitchell is 6'9", 236 pounds with a gaudy wingspan of 7'3" and the athleticism to be an elite rebounder and shot-blocker at the next level. He has also shown, on occasion, the ability to step outside and hit the three-ball.
He has a long way to go to reverse his massively underwhelming season, but a private workout—and interview—is the perfect environment for Mitchell to showcase his unique traits and improve his stock.