The 2013 NBA draft is rapidly approaching, as team workouts are currently ongoing and scouts are making last-minute adjustments to their big boards as they observe these prospects in their last chance to make an impression.
I’m making some changes based on some of these workouts as well and have made some minor adjustments to this week’s edition of my list of the top-30 prospects from all over the collegiate and international ranks.
Let’s take a look at whose stock is up, who is falling down and more on my updated big board.
Last week’s big board can be found here. Please note this is not a mock draft, but an overall ranking based on grade. Grade for each prospect is based on athletic testing, production in college (or overseas), measurements and NBA projections on a curve.
No. 1: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky (Remains No. 1)
Noel is the closest thing to a consensus No. 1 pick this class offers, although he’s not without his flaws.
The Wildcats center looks like a future star when you roll the tape of him blocking shots and practically jumping out of the gym, but he’s coming off a tough ACL injury and has a long way to go in developing his offensive game.
It’s hard to see Noel falling past the Cavs, but nothing is set in stone and likely won’t be until the pick is made.
No. 2: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (Remains No. 2)
Oladipo will make a surefire impact in the NBA, as his skills and work ethic will translate seamlessly from Bloomington to whichever city is fortunate enough to land this Hoosiers star in the draft.
The IU product is a high-motor prospect that can have a huge effect on the outcome of a contest without the ball in his hands. Oladipo will relentlessly hound his man on defense, hustle up and down the floor, only take highly efficient shots and inspire his teammates to do the same.
No. 3: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (Up from No. 4)
Porter is a versatile swingman that can wear a number of hats and plug a lot of holes on a roster.
The Hoyas star may not grade out as an elite scorer, but he’s a legitimate rebounder, defender and motor guy that will find a way to have a positive impact for the team that drafts him.
No. 4: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (Down from No. 3)
McLemore has perhaps the highest upside of any perimeter player in this class, but has to become more consistent.
Until he finds a way to keep his head in the game and stay involved on a consistent basis, his beautiful three-point stroke and ability to get to the rack will do nothing more than tantalize fans.
No. 5: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Remains No. 5)
Burke may be a bit undersized and lacking the prototypical athleticism of a modern point guard, but he brings a lot to the table that other prospects lack.
He’s a proven-winner with leadership intangibles that perfectly compliment his ability to get to any spot on the court and score from anywhere in the gym. He also has a knack for finding open teammates and hitting them with crisp passes.
No. 6: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh (Up from No. 7)
In terms of pure scoring, there’s likely no better prospect in this draft than McCollum.
The Lehigh product can knock down shots with ease from beyond the arc or drive to the hoop, but he has to prove he can play some point guard at the next level. If he’s unable to, expect this undersized 2 to be utilized as a high-volume scorer coming off a bench.
No. 7: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia (Up from No. 11)
KCP is a do-it-all off-guard that may be one of the best players at his position in just a few years.
At 6’6”, the Georgia product has the perfect size to defend the position. On top of that, he possesses deep range on his jumper, the ability to create his own shot, a willingness to pass and solid work ethic.
The only important 2-guard skill he’s missing is the ability to handle the ball at a high level, but that will come with practice and NBA coaching.
No. 8: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (Down from No. 6)
Bennett is a versatile forward that can play—and defend—either the 3 or 4, depending on what the situation calls for.
A smart coach will be able to use this UNLV star’s ability to man either forward spot to create mismatches all over the court and plug any holes in the frontcourt or at the wing.
No. 9: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse (Down from No. 8)
Carter-Williams is a nifty passer that has incredible 6’6” size for a point guard.
There are concerns about his inability to shoot the ball with any consistency and his shaky handle, but MCW has a high enough ceiling and enough of a motor to eventually turn those weaknesses into strengths.
No. 10: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia (Remains No. 10)
Saric is the top international player in this class, as the long-armed Croatian has a gift for seeing the court and is blessed with a high basketball I.Q.
He must hone his scoring touch and bulk up, but the 19-year-old could take the NBA by storm in a couple of years
No. 11: Alex Len, C, Maryland (Up from No. 12)
At 7’1”, Len certainly has the height to be a starting center in the NBA. Add in the wide array of low-post moves and it’s hard to see this youngster failing in his bid to become “the best player out of this draft.”
However, he’s lacked a mean streak and was reluctant to call for the rock during his time with the Terps, something that contributed to a dearth of team success during his tenure at Maryland. Unless he learns to be more aggressive, Len will struggle to become anything other than a role player.
No. 12: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (Down from No. 9)
Zeller blew away onlookers at the combine with his eye-popping athleticism, but he shouldn’t be ranked any higher than a late lottery pick.
The Hoosiers big man has limited upside and a low ceiling, but he’s ready to contribute right away. As a seven-footer that can run the court well and finish around the rim, Zeller will find a way to make an impact in his rookie year.
No. 13: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh (Remains No. 13)
Adams is a long-term project that has a lot of work to put in on the offensive end. However, the combine revealed that this New Zealand native is much more athletic than previously thought and helped cement him as a lottery lock.
As a defender, this seven-footer definitely has the size and build to guard any big man one-on-one, which is why he’ll come off the board early. Teams will attempt to develop him into a two-way center that could eventually start in this league.
No. 14: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA (Down from No. 11)
Muhammad may have lost some footing as an early lottery pick after his true age was discovered and his ceiling was lowered, but he’s still going to become one of the top scorers in this class.
The UCLA product has to work on finishing with his weaker right hand, but has NBA-ready range on his jumper and build to absorb contact while barreling at the hoop to draw fouls.
No. 15: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany (Up from No. 19)
Schroeder is an intriguing point guard prospect for his ability to penetrate the lane with ease.
Right now, the German is not much more than a finisher when he gets there, but the unselfish player should eventually develop his drive-and-dish skills into something respectable.
Expect a team in the late-lottery to mid-first round to take a gamble on his upside and capabilities as an athlete.
No. 16: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State (Up from No. 17)
Speaking of athletes, Franklin may be the best in the class.
The Aztecs star can jump out of the gym and has a motor that just won’t quit, but has to develop a jumper if he’s going to be respected by defenders at the next level.
If he can add that to his game, this young shooting guard will undoubtedly carve out a successful NBA career.
No. 17: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga (Down from No. 16)
Olynyk will not be drafted for his defensive skills or raw athleticism, but rather for his unique ability to stretch the defense with his seven-foot frame and three-point touch.
The ‘Zags star has to work on those former two areas in order to become a starter, but should be able to soak minutes in his rookie campaign with his jump shooting skills alone.
No. 18: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke (Remains No. 18)
Plumlee has a low ceiling and almost no upside, but he’s going to be able to find a way to contribute on a nightly basis with a contending team.
This blue-collar prospect has a motor that just doesn’t quit and great athleticism to boot. He’ll chase down every loose ball, sky for every rebound and relentlessly defend his man. Contending clubs need this type of garbage man to swing games over the course of a long season
No. 19: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville (Down from No. 15)
Dieng is a bit older than some of these other big man prospects at age 23, but could wind up becoming an integral part of a rotation early in his career.
The Cardinals national championship-winner has the big frame, athleticism and shot-blocking skills to protect the rim and is an underrated passer from the low-post. Those abilities alone should allow him to get 15-to-20 minutes per night as a backup center.
No. 20: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Remains No. 20)
Withey is another prospect that projects as a solid backup.
He’s never going to be a star in the NBA due to his offensive deficiencies, but he can hold his own on defense, is a great shot blocker and solid rim protector. Any club that needs a capable pivot behind the starter would be wise to take a chance on this Jayhawk.
No. 21: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (Up from No. 22)
Larkin shot up the big board after an incredible combine performance revealed he’s one of the top athletes in the class.
While he’s still a bit undersized, he could help spark the offense by running the break and leading the second unit for a contending squad.
No. 22: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas (Up from No. 25)
Mitchell is a versatile forward that can guard both the 3 and 4. He’s also an incredible rebounder that uses his elite athleticism and hops to out jump taller opponents and come down with the board.
If he ever reaches his ceiling as a scorer, this likely late-first round pick will end up being the steal of the draft.
No. 23: Glen Rice Jr., SG, D-League (Up from No. 24)
Rice ironed out his character issues in the D-League, leading the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a championship in the process.
He proved that he’s a capable shooter, above-average rebounder and impressive passer during his tenure with the club. While he may lack upside, this young man is proven against NBA-caliber competition and can help right away.
No. 24: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia (Down from No. 23)
Karasev is a proven sniper that has been knocking down big shots in his native Russia for some time now.
That three-point shooting should translate seamlessly to the NBA, although he has to work on his ability to put the ball on the floor and create if he’s ever going to become more than a limited spot-up shooter.
No. 25: Allen Crabbe, SG, California (Down from No. 21)
Crabbe is a streaky shooter that can fill it up in a hurry when he’s feeling it.
He has a tendency to take bad shots and lag on defense, so his ability to make an impact in the Association will largely depend on whether or not he lands with a good coach in a strong locker room.
No. 26: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece (Remains No. 26)
There is limited tape and scouting reports available on this international man of mystery, which could end up being a blessing in this weak draft.
With little known about his weaknesses and plenty to drool over—including his 6’9” frame and point forward skills—a general manager is bound to roll the dice with the “Greek Freak” in the first round, based on his upside alone.
No. 27: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan (Remains No. 27)
The Michigan man helped to lead his Wolverines to the national title game with his long-range bombarding.
He’ll continue raining treys down at the next level, but must add some ball-handling skills and work on his shot selection if he’s going to stick on a roster.
No. 28: Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas (Unranked last week)
Kabongo is an intriguing point guard that plays a bit like Rajon Rondo.
The Texas star can drive into the paint with ease due to his athleticism; but is always looking to kick it out to an open teammate and would rather facilitate than score.
No. 29: Rudy Gobert, PF, France (Remains No. 29)
Gobert is a lanky, long-armed prospect that has a ton of work to put in to become an NBA-caliber athlete.
If he can shape up and add a low-post game, this Frenchman may become more than someone that can do nothing but clog the lane and give six fouls per night.
No. 30: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil (Remains No. 30)
Nogueira is a high-upside, high-motor player that has the height and athleticism to become an NBA star, but needs to find a way to harness his natural talents.
Expect a team with plenty of depth to draft him and then stash the Brazilian overseas until he’s properly developed and ready to contribute.
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