NBA Draft 2013: Top 10 Prospects at Every Position

Daniel O'BrienFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2013

NBA Draft 2013: Top 10 Prospects at Every Position

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    With the 2013 NBA draft fast approaching, it's time to break out our list of the top 10 prospects at each position.

    Much has been said about this crop not being as star-studded as years past. And that might be true.

    But once you look at these positional rankings, you'll realize that the 2013 class has depth and could fill a bunch of needs.

    Where does Cody Zeller fall in our center rankings? Do any international players crack the top five at their positions? How did the combine factor into this big board?

    Find out as we break down the best at each spot on the floor.

Nos. 10-4 Point Guards

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    10. Phil Pressey, Missouri (6'0" Junior, 22 years old)

    9. Myck Kabongo, Texas (6'2" Sophomore, 21 years old) 

    8. Pierre Jackson, Baylor (5'10" Senior, 21 years old) 

    7. Nate Wolters, South Dakota State (6'4" Senior, 22 years old) 

    6. Isaiah Canaan, Murray State (6'0" Senior, 21 years old)

    5. Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State (6'4" Junior, 22 years old)

    4. Shane Larkin, Miami (5'11" Sophomore, 20 years old)

No. 3 Point Guard: Dennis Schroeder, Germany

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    Height: 6'1"

    Age: 19 years old

    Arguably the top international prospect in the draft, German point guard Dennis Schroeder cracks our top three floor generals due to his attractive array of tools.

    He can get past his man off the dribble with either hand, using his quickness to get in the lane and create. Schroeder isn't the most polished or efficient player, but his age helps to explain that.  

    Although he's not tall by any means, his 6'7.75" wingspan will help him defend the perimeter and finish plays on offense.

    His upside alone nearly guarantees him a spot in the first round. 

No. 2 Point Guard: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse (Sophomore)

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    Height: 6'5"

    Age: 21 years old

    Syracuse standout Michael Carter-Williams foiled opposing defenses with his passing, broke them down with his slashing and posed matchup problems with his wingspan on defense.

    NBA general managers hope that's just a glimpse of what he can do as a professional.

    He's a bit turnover-prone (4.3 turnovers per game in Big East tourney, five turnovers in national semifinals), and some clubs might question his slender frame and susceptibility to stronger opponents. Fortunately, his court vision, length and agility ensures that he'll be a mid-first-round selection at worst.

    Can Carter-Williams run an NBA offense from day one? Probably not, but he has the potential to eventually be an upper-echelon hoops quarterback. 

No. 1 Point Guard: Trey Burke, Michigan (Sophomore)

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    Height: 6'0"

    Age: 20 years old

    A year ago, Michigan Wolverines star Trey Burke was a great prospect, but he decided to return for his sophomore season.

    It turned out to be a terrific move, as he took over the college hoops world and earned himself a rock-solid stock as we approach this year's draft. Whoever lands him will thoroughly enjoy his competitiveness and dangerous combination of scoring and facilitating.

    Worried about his 6'0" stature? Don't be, because Burke's wingspan is 6'5.5" and his vertical leap is 36.5 inches.

    Don't expect him to fall any further than No. 7 on draft night.

Nos. 10-4 Shooting Guards

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    10. Seth Curry, Duke (6'2" Senior, 22 years old)

    9. Ricky Ledo, Providence (6'6" Freshman, 20 years old)

    8. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky (6'5" Freshman, 18 years old)

    7. Allen Crabbe, California (6'6" Junior, 20 years old) 

    6. Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan (6'5" Junior, 21 years old)

    5. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State (6'5" Junior, 21 years old)

    4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia (6'5" Sophomore, 20 years old)

No. 3 Shooting Guard: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh (Senior)

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    Height: 6'3"

    Age: 21 years old

    Lehigh gunner C.J. McCollum is unique among the guards in this class because he's one of the only one with true combo-guard potential.

    He can get his shot off in a variety of ways (and make it), and he has a knack for getting into the lane and drawing fouls on his way to the bucket.

    McCollum didn't light it up as a passer, and he averaged just 2.7 assists as a Patriot League guard. However, his excellent ball skills and court awareness could make him a capable facilitator for stretches in the NBA.

    He could fill a couple different roles on a pro squad, including starting as a shooting guard or coming off the bench as a backup point guard.

No. 2 Shooting Guard: Victor Oladipo, Indiana (Junior)

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    Height: 6'4"

    Age: 21 years old

    You would be hard-pressed to find a more exciting player in college basketball last season than Indiana's Victor Oladipo.

    On both ends of the floor, he used his elite athleticism and sensational coordination to disrupt opponents' game plans. His breakout junior campaign saw him jump from role player to nationwide star, as he thrived in transition, on the perimeter and on defense.

    In the NBA, he'll be the type of speedy wing who can force turnovers and finish with a flourish, and he'll also be able to operate in the half court as a shooter and slasher.

    Even though Ben McLemore is ranked higher, Oladipo is right on his heels.

No. 1 Shooting Guard: Ben McLemore, Kansas (Freshman)

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    Height: 6'4"

    Age: 20 years old

    It's tough to find shooting guards who shoot 50 percent from the field, 42 percent from three and 87 percent from the free-throw line in the Big 12 Conference.

    That's what Ben McLemore brings to the table.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that he's 20 years young, has a 42-inch vertical and 6'8" wingspan.

    This sure top-five pick may not be as highly touted as top picks of the past, but he has a good chance to be an All-Star, if not a superstar, at the next level. McLemore's smooth, poised style of play enhances his shooting skills and athletic acumen.

Nos. 10-4 Small Forwards

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    10. James Southerland, Syracuse (6'8" Senior, 23 years old)

    9. Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State (6'7" Junior, 21 years old)

    8. Reggie Bullock, North Carolina (6'6" Junior, 22 years old)

    7. Glen Rice Jr., Rio Grande Valley (6'6", 22 years old)

    6. Tony Snell, New Mexico (6'7" Junior, 21 years old)

    5. Dario Saric, Croatia (6'10", 19 years old)

    4. Sergey Karasev, Russia (6'7", 19 years old)

No. 3 Small Forward: Giannis Adetokunbo, Greece

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    Height: 6'9"

    Age: 18 years old

    The battle for the third small forward spot was a tough one, so I selected the prospect with the most upside.

    They call Giannis Adetokunbo the "Greek Freak," and that's because of his 7'3" wingspan combined with superb body control.

    He's raw in some areas, including shooting and ball-handling, and he's far too slender to excel in NBA frontcourts. On the positive side, he's just 18 years old and displays an ability to develop those areas.

    Adetokunbo's versatility, instincts and upside could make him a dangerous impact player in a few years, so he'll likely land in the first round.

No. 2 Small Forward: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA (Freshman)

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    Height: 6'6"

    Age: 20 years old

    Shabazz Muhammad's draft stock dropped a bit throughout his freshman season, as he wasn't the can't-miss prospect that some hoped he'd be.

    He'll be able to play the 2 or 3 on the wing due to his shooting and slashing skills, so that's a plus.

    Unfortunately, he favors his left hand too much and isn't a great playmaker for his teammates (0.8 assists per game). Those two factors, plus a mediocre touch from within eight feet, make him a less-than-blockbuster prospect.

    Muhammad's explosiveness and jump-shooting ability will keep him in the lottery, though.

No. 1 Small Forward: Otto Porter, Georgetown (Sophomore)

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    Height: 6'8"

    Age: 19 years old

    In 2011-12, Georgetown small forward Otto Porter was a solid defensive role player who could pass and score when necessary.

    In 2012-13, he proved to be the most complete player in college hoops.

    The Hoyas relied on Porter to carry their offense, and he delivered, exhibiting an NBA-ready jump shot to go along with his playmaking and defense.

    With his 6'8" frame and top-notch court awareness, he'll be able to help out his pro club in almost every facet of the game.

Nos. 10-4 Power Forwards

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    10. Richard Howell, North Carolina State (6'7" Senior, 22 years old)

    9. Erik Murphy, Florida (6'9" Senior, 22 years old)

    8. Grant Jerrett, Arizona (6'10" Freshman, 19 years old)

    7. Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota (6'8" Senior, 24 years old)

    6. Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State (6'9" Senior, 23 years old)

    5. Livio Jean-Charles, France (6'9", 19 years old)

    4. Tony Mitchell, Texas (6'8" Sophomore, 21 years old)

No. 3 Power Forward: C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State (Junior)

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    Height: 6'9"

    Age: 21 years old

    The only reason C.J. Leslie is this high in the power forward rankings is because 2013 features a weak power forward class.

    His skill set is still fairly limited, and he's only 209 pounds, so those are two major factors hindering his chances to contribute immediately.

    Leslie's best bet is to work hard and prove that he can be a combo forward.

    He took some great strides in that direction at the NBA combine, exhibiting the quickness of a guard and the explosiveness of an NBA star. He beat all challengers in the lane agility drill (10.19 seconds) and was the tallest prospect to clear 40 inches in the vertical leap.

No. 2 Power Forward: Mason Plumlee, Duke (Senior)

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    Height: 6'11"

    Age: 23 years old

    Because it's difficult to see Mason Plumlee surviving as a legitimate NBA center, he's more likely to use his agility at the 4.

    The Duke star is a more polished version of his brother, especially in the post. However, he's still without a reliable jumper to keep defenses honest.

    Plumlee's greatest immediate assets to an NBA franchise are his size and great hands on the glass, along with his adeptness in transition.

    While age and upside are concerns, athleticism and rebounding are not. Therefore, he should get picked no higher than No. 10 but no lower than No. 20.

No. 1 Power Forward: Anthony Bennett, UNLV (Freshman)

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    Height: 6'8"

    Age: 20 years old

    From autumn to the spring, UNLV forward Anthony Bennett went from late first-round prospect to likely top-five pick.

    How? By using his size and versatility to shoot 53 percent and score 16 points per game as a freshman.

    Bennett is 240 pounds, yet he seems light on his feet both laterally and vertically. His explosiveness allows him to finish over most power forwards, while his height and length allow him to shoot over small forwards on the perimeter.

    He'll not only be able to guard multiple positions; he'll be able to score against any position in the NBA. 

Nos. 10-4 Centers

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    10. Mouhammadou Jaiteh, France (6'11", 18 years old)

    9. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh (6'11" Freshman, 19 years old)

    8. Lucas Nogueira, Brazil (6'11", 20 years old)

    7. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville (6'10" Junior, 23 years old)

    6. Jeff Withey, Kansas (6'11" Senior, 23 years old)

    5. Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga (7'0" Junior, 22 years old)

    4. Rudy Gobert, France (7'1", 20 years old)

No. 3 Center: Alex Len, Maryland (Sophomore)

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    Height: 7'1"

    Age: 19 years old

    The two statistics that best illustrate Alex Len's offensive improvement in his sophomore season are his free-throw attempts and free-throw percentage.

    Despite playing just five more minutes per game than his freshman season, Alex Len went from 2.1 free-throw attempts per game to 4.0. He was a much greater threat on the low block, and his upgraded footwork allowed him to put some pressure on defenses.

    Once he got to the line, he shot 69 percent, as opposed to the unsightly 59 percent he posted as a freshman.

    He's not a star yet, but at least he's showing the capability to develop offensively and complement his size and defense.

No. 2 Center: Cody Zeller, Indiana (Sophomore)

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    Height: 7'0"

    Age: 20 years old

    Once thought to be the top option in the draft class, Indiana center Cody Zeller lost favor with scouts because he wasn't as dominant as anticipated.

    That being said, he's still a highly skilled post player with a fantastic repertoire of post moves, footwork and jump shooting.

    Zeller excelled at the combine, with a standing vertical jump of 35.5 inches and a 3.15-second three-quarter-court dash. Unfortunately, he's just 230 pounds and needs to prove that he can handle the physicality of the paint in the NBA.

    Assuming he bulks up over the next couple summers, he'll be a great starting post player in the Association.

No. 1 Center: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky (Freshman)

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    Height: 6'11"

    Age: 19 years old

    Even though he tore his ACL, missed a third of Kentucky's season and weighed a feathery 206 pounds at the combine, Nerlens Noel is the top center in the 2013 draft class.

    He has what it takes to change games defensively, using his mobility, instincts and athleticism to alter tons of shots. On the other end of the floor, he's still a work in progress, but "progress" is the key word.

    Comparing him to Anthony Davis was unfair, because they are two different players who played with different supporting casts.

    Noel is still an elite prospect because he could be one of the top defensive players in the NBA while being a decent threat offensively.


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