With the 2013 NBA draft lottery draw occurring shortly, there’s no better time to examine some of the prospects hoping to make it into the top 14 this June.
You’ve probably heard enough about the big names in this year’s class, including Nerlens Noel—the closest thing to a consensus top pick—Ben Mclemore, Otto Porter and Trey Burke. The chances of them slipping outside the lottery are borderline zero.
However, there are some under-the-radar players that have been hoping to make a good impression at the recent combine, during upcoming workouts and throughout the pre-draft interview process.
If they are successful, there’s a solid shot these on-the-bubble prospects make a full-fledged dive into the lottery waters. If not, there’s always the chance they catch on with another team later on in the first round.
Let’s take a look at a handful of these young, upcoming stars.
Glen Rice Jr., SF, D-League
After Rice was dismissed from Georgia Tech last year, the promising young swingman didn’t give up on his dream to play professional basketball.
It was clear he had character issues to iron out and a sense of maturity to find, so he continued his career by catching on with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League.
He absolutely exploded upon landing there, especially in the postseason. The 22-year-old caught fire down the stretch and helped guide his squad to the championship, averaging 25 points per game during the playoffs.
The 6’5” stud has a great stroke from anywhere on the court, a willingness to bang for boards and decent court vision for his position. He excels at the 3, but is also able to back up the 2 and could be used there in certain situations.
While he may not be a future star and has a lower ceiling due to his age, there is the chance that Rice Jr. gets selected early and immediately makes an impact for whichever team takes a chance on him.
Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Carter-Williams is one of the more intriguing prospects on the big board, as he’s a 6’6” point guard with arguably the best passing skills in the class.
However, he’s also a PG that cannot shoot the ball or handle it well, which is why he’s in danger of slipping outside the lottery.
MCW did lead the Orange to a Final Four appearance and proved his worth as a lengthy, agile defender on top of Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone, which should help his stock come draft day.
Like Rice Jr., he’s a bit on the older side at 21, but this Syracuse stud should find a way to make a difference in the NBA. There are plenty of teams that need a facilitator to set up the stars on offense and a lockdown defender on the other end.
Don’t be surprised if Carter-Williams vaults into the lottery after proving himself in workouts and tantalizing scouts and GMs with his measurements.
Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Dieng is an ideal pick for a club that immediately needs to add a big man into the rotation.
At 6’11, 235 pounds, the Louisville star has the proper size to make the leap to the Association and contribute defensively on a nightly basis. He’s going to be able to protect the rim, leap to block shots and absorb a few fouls in 15 to 20 minutes of play per contest.
Unless he starts to show some more promise with his raw offensive game, that just may be this prospect’s ceiling, which isn’t awful.
However, Dieng certainly displayed a variety of skills in the National Championship Game against Michigan, finishing with eight points, eight boards, six assists, three blocks and a steal in 37 minutes.
If he can keep that level of low-post passing and somewhat reliable scoring up, there’s a shot Dieng someday becomes a starter in this league.
Due to the weakness of this class and the lack of quality defensive-minded bigs in the league, there’s no reason to believe this national title-winner should slide much further than the lottery.