Teams in need of a talent infusion: fear not. The 2013 NBA draft is right around the corner, and a fresh batch of exciting young prospects are at the doorstep.
Here's a look at each of the 30 first-round prospects according to DraftExpress.com's latest mock draft. What can each of these prospects bring to the table? What are their strengths and weaknesses? It's all right here.
Pros: Noel is a spectacular athlete who is the total package as a rim protector. His great length, athleticism and timing could allow him to have a Serge Ibaka-type impact on the defensive end as a weak-side defender.
He's limited offensively, but Noel's speed flying up and down the court, defense, finishing ability around the rim and solid rebounding effort on both ends allow him to make a net positive impact nearly every game.
Cons: Whichever team takes Noel isn't getting a scorer in any sense of the word. His shooting form is broken, he has no range and is more of a face-up-and-attack big than a post player. Other than hustle points, transition opportunities and chances as a dangerous pick-and-roll man, Noel will struggle to get himself buckets.
The primary concern here, however, is Noel's recovery from ACL surgery. Although a full recovery is expected, it could be troublesome for a player who relies so much on his explosive athleticism.
Pros: McLemore may not be a future 20-point-per-game primary scorer, but he's the ideal backcourt partner for a ball-dominant point guard. McLemore is an absolute terror in transition who possesses crazy leaping ability with a 42" vertical.
For being such an impressive athlete, McLemore is also a surprisingly great spot-up shooter, where he displays plenty of range and has excellent form.
With a game centered around good three-point attempts and strong attacks to the rim, McLemore should be one of the most efficient offensive players to come out of this draft. On defense, McLemore possesses the physical tools to be a plus defender. He's a guy who doesn't take anything off the table.
Cons: McLemore struggles to create for himself or for others, and he's not a guy you can clear out for and play isolation basketball with.
A lackluster ball-handler with raw pick-and-roll abilities, McLemore doesn't utilize a ton of deception or footwork on the offensive end. Because of this, he sometimes has a tendency to go missing offensively for minutes at a time. So long as he's not forced to be something he's not, McLemore should be a great player, but he's not a franchise savior.
Pros: Porter is one of the more unique players in the draft, as he is the rare non-big-man prospect who influences the game primarily without the ball. Porter's lanky arms make him a great defender both on and off the ball, which is the area he projects to help most despite a lack of lateral speed.
Offensively, Porter is a smart cutter who can really open things up with his activity. Like most Georgetown products, Porter is a really good passer who shows an excellent basketball IQ offensively for a young player.
While Porter doesn't project to be a big-time scorer in the NBA by any stretch of the imagination, he's a definite glue guy-type of small forward, similar to a Tayshaun Prince or Matt Barnes. If his shooting keeps improving, he can be an excellent complementary piece for a team that has a few stars in place.
Cons: It's always scary to take a player who is good at many things but elite at none. Porter isn't a player who can beat his man off the dribble, and his light frame and so-so athleticism may hurt him on both ends at the next level.
If he's not in an offense that utilizes his intelligence, he could struggle. If he's asked to do much with the ball offensively, despite an impressive year as the focal point at Georgetown, he could struggle.
Although he's a pretty safe bet as a role player who impacts the game in a variety of ways, Porter doesn't project to be the star a team might want with a top-five selection.
Pros: Oladipo may have the highest ceiling of anyone in the draft. That's primarily due to his insane athleticism combined with elite length that make him a pest defensively and a threat to score at any time offensively.
Oladipo is a creative, aggressive player who is very bouncy and plays with a ton of energy in every aspect of the game. A disruptive on-ball defender, Oladipo also makes an impact as an offensive rebounder and threat out on the break.
One of the most efficient players in college basketball, Oladipo improved greatly as a shooter, and with all that speed and athleticism, teams will have to play off him on the next level. Oladipo's strong character and mix of potential resembles a scary blend of prime Leandro Barbosa and Eric Bledsoe with more size. He's a relatively high-floor, extremely high-ceiling talent.
Cons: Oladipo sometimes struggles to harness all that athleticism and energy, and he can get out of control with the ball and run into traffic. He's a plus player in almost every area of the game, but Oladipo doesn't have NBA range on his jumper yet and doesn't change speeds well in the pick-and-roll to set up his teammates.
He may have a good handle, but Oladipo sometimes dribbles too much and his attacking nature can lead to a lot of mistakes. He'll need to get better with his timing, jumper and pick-and-roll play to be a No. 1 option offensively.
Pros: More than most prospects, Burke can put a team on his shoulders right away offensively. His game translates very well to the pick-and-roll-heavy NBA, where he's extremely effective in that setting. Burke can slash and find the open man in his sleep, and he has limitless range on his jumper.
Burke is great at creating his own shot with smart ball-handling, and he's a very good shooter both in spot-up situations and off his own dribble. If you're looking for a true scorer who can make something out of nothing, Burke is your guy.
Cons: All concerns start with Burke's size. If he was 6'4", he'd be a can't-miss-type prospect, but he's barely 6'0" tall. Burke doesn't make up for that with elite athleticism or strength, so there are questions of whether he can finish his drives over the top of the defense against bigger, faster defenders.
Because he's so involved offensively, Burke tends to take plays off on the other end. Both as a defender and a rebounder, Burke won't make much of an impact on the game. One of the things he needs most to succeed is a more consistent in-between game, since he sometimes struggles to finish at the rim. Better shot selection, particularly early in the shot clock, might save him a few scoldings from his coaches as well.
Pros: The building blocks are there. Len has a great frame that he should be able to build on, and he displays good mobility for someone his size. The instincts as a rim protector are there, and Len is a pretty good rebounder and pick-and-roll defender despite not being the most physical guy on the block.
Len is definitely a project pick with plenty of room for growth, but his combination of size, athleticism and finishing ability off the pick-and-roll give him the basics to expand upon. He's shown glimpses of being a good post scorer and jump shooter as well, so there's plenty of reason to get excited about his potential.
Cons: We just haven't seen an awful lot from this kid. Without combine numbers, workouts and a limited sample size against college competition, Len is more unknown than you'd like him to be. There are injury concerns here with an ankle that will sideline him for four to six months.
Len's lack of footwork and balance on the offensive end could render some of his other physical gifts obsolete against equal competition. A lot of patience is required here, but at just 19, Len has a lot of time to figure out the game.
Pros: Bennett is a monster athlete with a an intimidating frame. He's a powerful combo forward with the type of length that makes him a nightmare matchup. Despite being able to bully the competition with his strength, Bennett is a complete offensive player who can play both inside and outside depending on team need and his individual matchup.
Great in transition with a pretty touch from the outside, Bennett is the type of prospect with potential you dream of. He's a bit similar to former UNLV star Larry Johnson in that regard and projects well as a potential pick-and-pop big man or spread 4 who can get to the rim and shoot it.
Cons: Bennett is an absolute mess defensively. He can't guard either forward spot and often rests on D, showing a concerning amount of desire on that end.
More troubling, Bennett often looks lost when it comes to help defense, and it's fair to question his basketball IQ. Bennett also tends to fall in love with his jumper off his own dribble too much instead of punishing teams at the rim with his size and length. Right now Bennett is an offense-only player who might not fully "get it" at the next level.
Pros: McCollum might be the best ball-handler in the draft, where he displays elite body control and a great sense for how his defender is matching up with him. A pure scorer who's used to creating his own shot, McCollum excels at finding space by using hesitation moves and nasty crossovers.
With good size and court vision, he's a capable drive-and-kick guard who understands defensive rotations and knows how to burn a defense with a good skip pass. McCollum is incredibly intelligent and should be able to adjust faster to the nuances of the league faster than most young point guards. He's NBA ready.
Cons: McCollum isn't an elite athlete, despite his ability to shake free offensively. A lack of raw speed can allow McCollum to get beat on the ball defensively, as he often bends at the waist and not the knees.
The quality of competition at Lehigh is a slight concern, but it's more troubling that McCollum never really displayed the ability to elevate over bigger defenders or handle traps well on the college level. There are injury concerns here as well that keep expectations for McCollum tempered.
Pros: Muhammad plays a throwback style of ball. He's incredibly physical, as he often bullies defenders with his pure strength. Muhammad is never one to shy away from a chance to get the ball, and that makes him a great offensive rebounder. Muhammad is primarily a post scorer and in-between-type specialist.
Muhammad is certainly an aggressive player in every sense of the word, and he loves to seek out contact. He's flawed as a team player, but Muhammad could thrive in a structured offense that runs sets specifically for him.
Cons: Muhammad isn't a vertical threat, and he's largely a below-the-rim player. He hasn't displayed a ton of range on his jumper, and he's a high-maintenance player in that he's a wing who needs post touches to be successful.
The biggest concern with Muhammad is his character. He certainly doesn't act or play like a team player, as he's one of the least willing passers to come out of college basketball in years.
Despite having the frame and the tenacity elsewhere, he's a poor defensive rebounder and a hit-or-miss defender, depending on his mood. Muhammad acts like a star, but he's not a good enough talent to get away with neglecting other areas of the game and his teammates. There is serious bust potential here.
Pros: Adams displays great size, strength and athleticism, and he often makes the game look effortless with the way he asserts himself. Adams is an active offensive rebounder and displays good defensive instincts as a shot-blocker and pick-and-roll defender.
While his production isn't always sustained, Adams can make plays few other big men can't.
Cons: Adams drops a lot of passes, and as Bismack Biyombo can tell you, that can be a problem. Adams has limited range and touch right now, and he's a pretty bad defensive rebounder despite having the physical gifts and size to make a serious dent on that end. Adams lacks polish offensively in the same way most young big men do, but he's also a poor free-throw shooter.
The big concern with Adams is sustained production, and a questionable mental makeup plays in that. In the right system with the right coaches, he could turn out to be effective, but he should have been a much more productive player in college than he was.
Pros: He may have been considered a top pick at one point, but Zeller's lack of improvement established him as a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect. Zeller does have an elite skill, as he's a mobile big man who can really run the floor.
Zeller also possesses a nice array of moves and a soft touch around the basket. He makes quick post moves when he gets the ball and also has the ability to finish with either hand. Zeller's activity and mobility help him to draw a lot of fouls, where he's a great free-throw shooter. It's hard to see Zeller not having a long career in the NBA.
Cons: Zeller does lack strength despite being an impressive athlete. He may surrender offensive rebounds to more physical bigs, and he trends on the soft side of the big-man spectrum.
Zeller probably translates more as a pick-and-pop big than a true post threat like he was in college, but his jumper isn't there yet and will need a lot of work. Zeller doesn't make a big impact defensively, as a lack of length prohibits him from being a big-time shot-blocker.
Pros: Kelly Olynyk possesses some of the skills you'd typically see in a small forward in a big-man body. Olynyk is a good ball-handler with a soft touch on his jumper. He put on a lot of weight at Gonzaga and used it well when battling with other big men.
Olynyk is incredibly active and understands the value in fighting hard for position. Olynyk shoots from unique angles down low, which helps him to be a good post scorer despite a lack of explosiveness. When he can get to the line, he knocks them down.
Cons: Olynyk's potential is tied to his athleticism, which is largely underwhelming. Olynyk is unlikely to be able to protect the rim at the next level, but he could be a good pick-and-roll defender.
Olynyk is a surprisingly bad defensive rebounder, especially at the center spot. Realistically, he may be more of a 4 on the next level, but he'll have to expand the range on his jumper and work on his quickness for that to be an option. He'll need help defensively.
Pros: Everyone loves a point guard with size, and at 6'5", Carter-Williams has that. The Syracuse grad is easily able to see over the top of defenders, and that helps him spot players both in transition and the half court.
Carter-Williams is a pass-first, pure point guard who looks for teammates first and himself second. He's a pretty solid athlete with a good first step, which should allow him to be an effective pick-and-roll player.
Cons: Like all Syracuse players, it's tough to project how Carter-Williams' size and speed will translate to the defensive end. Whether he can have an impact as a scorer is very much in question as well, as Carter-Williams was a very lackluster shooter who settled for outside looks far too often.
Although he's a good passer, Carter-Williams also has a tendency to turn the ball over a lot. He'll need to add a lot to his game to be worth his draft position, as quality point guards are a dime a dozen in the NBA.
Pros: Larkin is catching a lot of buzz lately, and he can thank his combine performance for it. The Miami product is a ridiculous athlete with an absurd 44" vertical and great end-to-end speed. Larkin excels at flying up the court, sucking in the defense with penetration, then dumping off a pass to a big man.
Larkin is also a good outside shooter who loves to push the tempo and would thrive for a transition-oriented team.
Cons: Size is the biggest concern, as Larkin is under just 5'11", and many teams have been burned by smaller point guards before. Larkin is a leader, but he's not a natural distributor, as he often fails to see the available pass and sometimes goes too deep into the defense without an escape plan.
Larkin may also struggle to score at the rim over bigger defenders, and he'll be limited defensively and on the glass. If he further develops the range on his jumper, however, he can be an effective player in the half court in addition to being a transition terror.
Pros: Schroeder may be the highest-regarded foreign player in the draft. He's a killer ball-handler who is quick up the floor, and he has a nice first step. More importantly, Schroeder has a knack for getting his teammates involved, and he knows how to feed all the mouths.
For his own scoring, Schroeder is a pretty impressive shooter who continues to show improvement. With good length and lateral quickness, he should be a plus defender in the NBA.
Cons: Although it's not necessarily the worst thing for a young player, Schroeder often tries to do a little too much and turns it over regularly.
Coming from Germany, there's also a limited sample size both with his playing time and his shooting numbers, so he's a little tougher to evaluate than a college prospect, naturally. Schroeder would seem to thrive with a team that emphasizes space, but his talents may not translate as well to a cluttered game.
Pros: You can't teach height. Gobert recorded the highest standing reach in draft combine history (9'7"), and he possesses unbelievable length with surprising quickness. Gobert is a great rim protector thanks to his size, and offensively he has good hands and can finish lobs.
Gobert isn't strong, but he gets a lot of putbacks just by being in the area. Far from a lumbering giant, Gobert is a good pick-and-roll defender with a solid understanding of rotations and help principles. The upside here, like the French native himself, is enormous.
Cons: Gobert has a lot of the same weaknesses most ridiculously tall, slender people do. He lacks lower- and upper-body strength, and he gives up position easily. He can get pushed around due to his slight frame, which will often deny him from spots on the floor he needs to be.
Gobert is not an explosive vertical athlete by any means, but at 7'2" he doesn't need to be. Gobert has no real offensive game that isn't derived from lobs or easy buckets, so he's a huge project on that end.
Pros: Mason Plumlee is an underrated athlete who put together a solid career at Duke. Plumlee is an excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor, and he has plenty of experience as a post scorer.
When he can get a head of steam, Plumlee displays great athleticism and finishing ability above the rim. He's physical on defense and throws his body around, making him a solid yet unspectacular defender.
Cons: Plumlee is limited both as a shot-blocker and a shooter, as most of his contributions come from within the paint.
Plumlee doesn't possess a large variety of moves, and he's not really a threat to face up and hurt you, which is essential for NBA bigs. Due to his questionable court vision, Plumlee is susceptible to turnovers, especially in double-teams.
Pros: Jamaal Franklin has an elite skill already, and that's rebounding. There wasn't a better rebounding wing in all of college basketball last year, and Franklin's incredible length and great motor have a lot to do with that. Franklin has a ton of defensive potential, and his versatility to cover three or four positions makes him incredibly desirable.
Offensively, Franklin loves to draw lots of contact, and he's an aggressive player who covers a ton of ground. If his jumper can improve like former teammate Kawhi Leonard's did, Franklin can be a difference-maker right away.
Cons: Franklin was inefficient as a top option at SDSU, often forcing up bad shots you'd like to see him pass up.
He's also a turnover-prone player who isn't suited to have the ball in his hands in situations where he has to create opportunities. That means Franklin's primary offensive contribution should be spot-up shooting (and hustle points), which means he'll have to continue to hone his jumper from distance.
Pros: Caldwell-Pope is one of the few players in the draft who can create offense for himself. He's a really good shooter off the dribble, which could be appealing to an offense-starved team in need of creators.
Caldwell-Pope makes a lot of difficult shots, and he's aided by good athleticism and size on the wing. Those traits should also make him a promising wing defender.
Cons: Caldwell-Pope sometimes struggles as a slasher to make good decisions, and he can get out of control with his dribble. He's one of those players who always seems to find traffic, which could be problematic on the next level.
Although it's a skill of his, Caldwell-Pope sometimes settles too often for jumpers instead working his way into a better shot for himself or one of his teammates.
Pros: Dieng is a natural shot-blocker who became accustomed to stopping forays to the rim thanks to Louisville's incredibly aggressive defense. With all that length and experience, Dieng should translate to being a great rim defender on the next level who can stay vertical and alter shots.
Dieng is more than that, though. He's an excellent passer from the high post, a trait not many shot-blocking specialists possess. Dieng is also a capable shooter from 15 feet, which means he can be paired with a low-post power forward and not ruin the spacing of an offense.
As a great help defender who runs the floor well, Dieng should be a quality rotation big man for a long time.
Cons: Dieng's strengths are defined, but so are his weaknesses. He's certainly not a post scorer or ball-handler, and sometimes he's far too ambitious with chasing shots he can't get to, which leaves him out of position on the glass. His slight frame might lead to him getting pushes around, and he's not the type of big man who will draw fouls or seek out contact.
Pros: Saric has a little Toni Kukoc in him as a big, well-rounded forward who can do a bit of everything offensively. Saric's main appeal is his ball-handling and court vision, which can be a major factor in an offense, considering his size.
Saric's ability to see over defenses and maintain good body control make him an effective slash-and-kick player, and he's a steadily improving shooter and solid rebounder.
Cons: Saric isn't an explosive athlete, and he's prone to going cold from the perimeter. Whether he'll be able to get penetration on the next level as defenders play off him is a big question. His defense is also a concern despite his length on the perimeter, as he's slow of foot and struggles to move laterally.
Saric is a player who needs the ball in his hands to be most effective, which is rarely a good trait for a non-scoring, non-point guard role player to have.
Pros: Maybe the purest shooter in the draft, Crabbe's beautiful jumper comes equipped with a high release, great form and tons of range. Crabbe is the type of role player who is elite at one thing, and that's spot-up shooting.
With good height and a knack for using curling off screens to free himself for open looks, Crabbe is a useful piece off the bench in a league that is more dependent on floor spacing than ever before.
Cons: If Crabbe's jumper isn't falling, he's not a factor. He's a player who struggles to finish at the rim, and he can't keep up with faster guards. He also can't create offense for himself or for others off the dribble, which means he'll disappear at times.
Due to his limitations elsewhere, Crabbe needs to be playing next to an offensive star to really have an impact.
Pros: Bullock is the definition of a very solid role player. He's not spectacular, but he's a very good three-point shooter and floor spacer who understands the game. The UNC product is limited, but he chips in elsewhere offensively with smart screens and offensive rebounding.
Bullock's size is a major factor, as he can get his shot off on the wing with ease. He's also a willing and active defender.
Cons: Bullock isn't a great athlete, and that stops him from being anything other than a complementary player.
With no real mid-range game to speak of, Bullock can be closed out on hard, which could affect his shooting proficiency in the NBA. When the level of athleticism jumps up a few notches, Bullock might struggle.
Pros: Mitchell probably should have come out last year, but he represents a potential home run pick in the late first round. Mitchell is an absolute monster physically, with tons of upside and athletic ability.
The North Texas product has great length and shot-blocking ability, and he can finish through people. Mitchell plays a lot like a smaller Josh Smith, which presents some problems for both his team and his opponents.
Cons: It's always troubling to see a promising prospect regress, and that's what Mitchell did. There are reasons to question his basketball IQ and his effort, as Mitchell would go through stretches where he didn't seem to care much about the little things defensively.
Mitchell is a bit of a tweener, and the way he fell in love with his shaky jumper instead of dominating off the bounce was troubling last season.
Pros: Hardaway obviously has the pedigree, and he's shown flashes throughout his career of being a pro player. He is a solid athlete and perimeter shooter who jumps in and out of the game with bursts.
With a solid combination of size and skill level, Hardaway can be an aggressive slasher who can attack in straight lines.
Cons: Hardaway lacks length, and that's part of the reason why he's not a great perimeter defender. Although he's a good slasher, he lacks shiftiness offensively and often tries to leap his way out of traffic jams.
Lacking great ball-handling abilities and an elite skill, Hardaway can be taken out of games fairly easily, which happened a little too often at Michigan.
Pros: One of the greatest shot-blockers we've seen in a long time, Jeff Withey is a true specialist who knows what he's out there to do. Athletes with solid self-awareness don't come around all the time, and Withey's big frame and dedication to rebounding and defense could lead to him carving out a nice niche for himself in the league.
Withey is constantly on paint patrol, and he doesn't take plays off on that end.
Cons: Withey is solid on the glass and around the rim, but he's a low-upside pick. He lacks polish offensively, as he's not terribly skilled with the basketball.
Withey's biggest downside as a defender is his lack of lateral quickness, which could lead him to struggle defending against pick-and-rolls or big men who like to face up and go off the bounce.
Pros: Nothing gets scouts around the league more excited than a really big point guard. Adetokunbo is rumored to be a legitimate 6'10" point guard, one in a long line of foreign players with great height and good ball skills. Ultimately, though, Adetokunbo might be a little positionless, but he offers tons of versatility offensively.
The Greek native has immense length and quickness, which makes him an enticing defensive prospect. With solid ball-handling abilities and good body control, Adetokunbo has a lot of potential.
Cons: As Jeff Van Gundy says, it's a make-or-miss league. To be an effective player, no matter where he plays, Adetokunbo's jumper will have to improve, especially since he isn't an explosive athlete.
While he shows good natural instincts, the sample size of production is small, making him a player ripe for more seasoning overseas. He's a stash pick.
Pros: Snell is flying under the radar a bit, but the former Lobo is a very capable shooter with his feet set. He's also a versatile driver who can go either way, and he possesses good size and athletic ability.
Snell doesn't really hurt you in any area, as he also has solid court vision and moves his feet well defensively. He's a well-rounded player who fights every minute he's on the court.
Cons: Snell's shortcoming are mostly rooted in the fact that he's not a creator. He often takes a backseat to other players, waiting for the ball to find him. More of a role player than anything else, Snell doesn't have an elite talent and is not a particularly skilled slasher or finisher.
He's a low-mistake player capable of good minutes, but whether he does any one thing above replacement level is up for debate.
Pros: Karasev is a very gifted offensive forward with good size for his position. Adept at attacking the rim, Karasev shows good instincts and a natural feel for the game on the offensive side of the ball.
With a high basketball IQ and a versatile skill set, Karasev can fit into almost any offensive system. Most importantly, Karasev has proven to be a very good shooter over time.
Cons: While his game seems to be at the NBA level, his athleticism might not be. Karasev lacks quickness and strength, which makes him a subpar defender. Although he's good at slashing in the flow of an offense, Karasev seems to struggle in isolation when his defender and the other four guys on the court are geared up to stop him.
With willing teammates as passers, however, Karasev can be a factor offensively. He's likely a stash pick for now, however.
Pros: Nogueira has long been on the radar of scouts everywhere, and one look at his physical tools begins to explain why. Nogueira has a huge wingspan which he uses to defend the rim very well, and he's a very fluid runner who can beat his man up the floor.
Nogueira has learned to thrive away from the ball, where he makes smart cuts and lives on garbage points.
Cons: Nogueira is rail thin and can get pushed around on the defensive glass rather easily. Nogueira doesn't offer much when he has the ball offensively, as he has limited post moves and a jumper that doesn't inspire much confidence.
Ultimately, he's an energy big, but he can sometimes be inconsistent in that regard as well.