The NBA combine has always been a place for prospects to raise (or lower) their stocks. So much of the evaluation process is predicated on how a prospect will translate to the bigger and badder NBA, so it's not a surprise when the athletically gifted rise up draft boards after the combine.
The 2013 NBA combine begins today at Attack Athletics in Chicago, showcasing some of the best prospects in the country. Future NBA talent will undoubtedly rise and fall based on their combine workouts. Some lesser-known prospects have more to gain from the combine.
Here's my latest 2013 NBA mock draft before the combine gets underway.
1. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Nerlens Noel tore his ACL in February, but he's expected to make a full recovery. Noel has the potential to become the best NBA player in this class, displaying excellent rebounding and shot-blocking ability at Kentucky.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
Ben McLemore showed bouts of inconsistency at Kansas, but he's still young at 20 years of age. His scoring ability could make him a star at the next level. The Bobcats need just about everything right now.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Otto Porter would be a great complement to the young backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters in Cleveland. He can be a difference-maker on both offense and defense and he can play off the ball.
4. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
The Suns need an identity right now. They also need a leader. Victor Oladipo is a born leader. He's also a dynamic defender whose offensive game has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year.
5. New Orleans Pelicans: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
The Pelicans have a big hole at small forward. While Shabazz Muhammad is raw, his athleticism and explosiveness certainly translate to the NBA, and you know the dedicated prospect is going to work hard on his game. The Golden State Warriors drafted a small forward at No. 7 overall in the 2012 draft who was considered a reach by some. How is Harrison Barnes working out for them now?
6. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
The Kings are in great need of a floor general. A lot has been made about Trey Burke's scoring ability, but he differs from Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans in that he's also an all-around point guard. He would be the ideal pick for Sacramento.
7. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV
Anthony Bennett just had rotator cuff surgery, but you can't deny his upside is through the roof. His versatility, athleticism and power would be a nice addition to the Pistons' frontcourt.
8. Washington Wizards: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Len is just coming off ankle surgery, but his athleticism, versatile offensive game, rebounding, shot-blocking ability and passing skills are hard to pass up. He's only 19 years old, with plenty of room to grow.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh
C.J. McCollum shot 51 percent from beyond the arc last season. Scoring ability, this kid has. But don't ask me, ask Duke circa March 2012. The Timberwolves need someone to space the floor next to Ricky Rubio. McCollum would be an excellent pick in that regard.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Bucks have several swing players headed for free agency this summer. Glen Rice Jr., named to the NBA's D-League All-Rookie Second Team this season, has developed a nice overall game. He averaged 25 points, 9.5 rebounds. 4.3 assists, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals in the playoffs en route to leading the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the title this season. He's a nuisance on the defense end. He also has the bloodlines, as the son of Glen Rice.
16. Boston Celtics: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
There will be more talent in the frontcourt than the backcourt for the Celtics by the time they are on the clock. There are concerns about Kelly Olynyk's toughness and he's not a great defender, but as an offensive weapon, Olynyk makes sense. Plus, you would think Doc Rivers and company will work with Olynyk on his defense.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece
I'm a big fan of Giannis Adetokunbo. His skill set draws comparisons to Scottie Pippen, given his fluidity driving to the hoop, passing skills and vision. With Josh Smith likely headed out of Atlanta, the 19-year-old could pay off in a big way for the Hawks with some grooming.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Rudy Gobert, PF, France
At 7'1", 220 pounds, Rudy Gobert needs to add strength, but his length (a ridiculous 7'9" wingspan), explosiveness and rebounding ability make him one of my favorite international prospects in the class. He's 20 years old and getting better. He could grow alongside Adetokunbo.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Finding a physical, low-post player to go along with Otto Porter would be a great way to put a stamp on the first round for Cleveland. Steven Adams has NBA-level size and athleticism for the position and he's a monster on the glass. His offensive game needs a good deal of work, but learning under veteran Anderson Varejao's wing would be the perfect fit.
20. Chicago Bulls: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
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