Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJune 6, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 NBA Prospects

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    Now just three weeks away from the 2013 NBA draft, the entire first-round landscape is still a mess. 

    Most of these prospects don't know if they're going top five or top 25. 

    Workouts are currently in full force, with some players making stops in different cities every night of the week. Stocks seem to fluctuate based on the time of day and whom you speak to. 

    The closer we get to June 27, the better idea we should have of who's going where.

20. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, 6'5'', SG/SF

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    Stock Report: ↓

    Jamaal Franklin has been unable to work out with a bum ankle, though teams haven't forgotten what he brings to the table. 

    Still, without the ability to get up and down the court, Franklin won't be able to showcase his strengths. Nobody has expressed much concern over the injury, so expect him to get in some workouts before the draft. 

    But until then, Franklin's ankle isn't doing him any favors. 

19. Rudy Gobert, France, 7'2'', C

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    Stock Report: 

    Everyone seems intrigued with Rudy Gobert, but nobody seems sold.

    Gobert will be attended Adidas Eurocamp, an event for international prospects looking to gain recognition, June 8-10 in Treviso, Italy, which was a great opportunity for him to play in front of NBA personnel. 

    He recently worked out with Sacramento, but chances are Gobert lands in that No. 10 to No. 20 range. He's got the unique size and length, but those looking for immediate production should probably look elsewhere. 

18. Sergey Karasev, Russia, 6'7'', SF

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    Stock Report: 

    Sergey Karasev made big news this week when Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the 19-year-old Russian will be returning to Moscow and shutting down workouts until the draft. 

    This, of course, fuels speculation that a promise has been made. The interest in Karasev has gradually risen throughout the pre-draft process, and he now appears like a first-round lock. 

    He's one of the more NBA-ready prospects in the field, with a lights-out stroke and disciplined overall game. Minnesota at No. 26, Brooklyn at No. 22 and Cleveland at No. 19 all make sense as suitors. 

17. Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, 7'0'', C

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    Stock Report: 

    Nothing new to report on Kelly Olynyk, who's currently working out to try and earn a spot in the lottery. He recently met with Philadelphia, a team in Olynyk's draft range at No. 11 and one that should be in the market for a big.

    Olynyk's lack of athleticism limits his upside, so it's possible he falls behind guys like Steven Adams and Mason Plumlee on draft boards. But in terms of skill, Olynyk is up there with Cody Zeller as one of the more polished offensive big men in the field. 

    He's a safer, less rewarding NBA center prospect.

16. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, 6'6'', SG

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    Stock Report: 

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had an anticipated workout in Portland this week. He's considered an option for the Trail Blazers at No. 10 overall.

    It's an important draft workout when Blazers owner Paul Allen attends. The big man is in the house today to watch G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

    — Jason Quick (@jwquick) June 3, 2013

    Caldwell-Pope also worked out for Minnesota, another team that could be considering him at No. 9. Flip Saunders has addressed the team's need for a shooter, and given Caldwell-Pope's size, athleticism and stroke, he'd be a good fit. 

    With two teams discussing Caldwell-Pope in the lottery, it's fair to say his stock is up.

15. Dario Saric, Croatia, 6'10'', SF/PF

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    Stock Report: 

    According to ESPN's Chad Ford, New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps attended the Croatian finals to see Dario Saric go for 19 points and 12 boards in a win. 

    Pelicans GM Dell Demps was at today's Cibona game in Croatia. From what I could gather in Vegas, Pelicans very high on Saric.

    — Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 4, 2013

    Ford mentioned in ESPN Insider (subscription required) that he heard the Pelicans, Sixers, Blazers and Mavericks are all high on Saric. One of these teams could draft-and-stash or try to bring him over to boost its frontcourt immediately. 

    His offensive versatility is what drives his potential as a 6'10'' passer who can score and rebound. The interest in Saric is spreading. It wouldn't be crazy to think he ends up going No. 6 to New Orleans. 

    UPDATE: The latest on Saric is that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the draft — per his agent. 

14. Mason Plumlee, Duke, 7'0'', C

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    Stock Report: ↓

    It seems like Mason Plumlee has been flying under the radar. That might have to do with the fact that scouts and coaches have been watching him for four years now. 

    He's also 23 years old. Steven Adams is going to have three years under his belt in the NBA before he gets to that age. 

    Still, Plumlee is an incredible athlete with NBA center size and small forward mobility. On Thursday, he worked out for Philadelphia, a potential destination at No. 11 overall. 

13. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, 6'6'', SF

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    Stock Report: 

    Shabazz Muhammad was praised by the Suns staff after his workout on Wednesday. Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic noted that general manager Chris McDonough did his research on Muhammad, quoting McDonough: "He checked out very well. I think a lot of the perception of Shabazz is unfair based on the information we’ve gathered. I think he’s one of hardest workers in the draft."

    There's no doubt that Muhammad is a worker with a competitive edge. In fact, that's the best thing going for him right now. 

    If Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo and Anthony Bennett are off the board, the Suns might consider Muhammad, given his scoring prowess and offensive instincts. 

12. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, C, 7'0''

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    Stock Report: 

    Steven Adams recently worked out for Oklahoma City, a team to keep an eye on with its need for size and athleticism up front.

    Adams has been a name on the rise since the NBA combine, though he'll likely spend his first year as a pro glued to the bench. 

    Oklahoma City probably isn't going to find someone at No. 12 who's better than one of its current rotation players. Based on Adams' stock, the Thunder could end up being his worst-case scenario safety net. 

    Those who want Adams now might have to trade into the top 10.

11. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3'', PG/SG

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    C.J. McCollum has worked out for Philadelphia, Orlando and Phoenix, with Portland, Minnesota, Detroit and Sacramento expected to be next.

    These workouts are ideal for a player like McCollum, as he can illuminate his strengths and hide his weaknesses. 

    Last year, Damian Lillard shook the mid-major label during workouts. McCollum is in position to do the same in 2013. He could go anywhere from Phoenix at No. 5 to Portland at No. 10.

10. Dennis Schroeder, Germany, 6'2'', PG

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    Stock Report: 

    Dennis Schroeder has now worked out for the Celtics, Bucks and Jazz, three mid-first-round teams potentially looking for a point guard. 

    And the more teams looking for a point guard, the better for Schroeder. 

    Schroeder decided to sit out this year's Adidas Eurocamp, but at this point, Schroeder doesn't need any. He's already established himself as a first-round lock, with Utah and Milwaukee potential suitors at No. 14 and No. 15. 

9. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, 6'6'', PG

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    Stock Report: 

    Michael Carter-Williams worked out for Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, along with with Shane Larkin, C.J. McCollum and Trey Burke. It will be interesting to see how Phoenix views these guards, considering the Suns just signed Goran Dragic and drafted Kendall Marshall last year. 

    Of the four other guards at the workout, Carter-Williams possesses the highest upside, which is really his sales pitch to NBA teams. 

    If every player hit his ceiling, Carter-Williams would end up top five in the class. 

    ESPN's Chad Ford said (subscription required) he heard that the Pistons might be targeting a point guard, which would be good news for Carter-Williams, especially if Trey Burke is already off the board.

8. Cody Zeller, Indiana, 7'0'', C

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    Stock Report: 

    Cody Zeller last worked out for the the Jazz and the Suns, but no team has given any specific indication yet that he's a target. 

    I think Zeller is one of the more undervalued prospects in the field. He's going to show teams during workouts he can shoot and handle the ball—two strengths that went hidden during his time with Indiana. 

    Zeller's stock remains steady, with the No. 4 through No. 12 range being a likely landing strip.

7. Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'5'', SG

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    Victor Oladipo's rise is amazing—and rare.

    Once a borderline second-round flier entering his third year in college, we're now talking about Oladipo as the potential second pick in the entire draft. 

    According to ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required), Orlando is considering Oladipo, along with Trey Burke and Ben McLemore at No. 2. 

    It seems at this point that every team in the draft is a potential suitor for Oladipo. He's going to have teams at the top looking to reach and teams at the bottom looking to move up. 

    The only thing left for Oladipo to do is wow Cleveland during a workout and get the Cavaliers thinking.

6. Alex Len, Maryland, 7'1'', C

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    Stock Report: 

    Alex Len visited Phoenix on Wednesday, a potential destination for him at No. 5. 

    Maryland C Alex Len, visiting #Suns on crutches for an ankle stress fracture, said he'll walk by June and hopes to be "all right" by camp.

    — Paul Coro (@paulcoro) June 5, 2013

    All reports have Len ahead of schedule with his rehab. Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post documented his progress, noting that Len had been seeing foot and ankle specialist Robert Anderson, a renowned and trusted surgeon who's operated on Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving.

    Charlotte at No. 4 seems like a possibility here, especially if Ben McLemore and Anthony Bennett go No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. 

5. Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'7'', SF/PF

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    Stock Report: 

    Anthony Bennett's draft stock will be contingent on the stock of his competitors. 

    Since he's unable to work out and play in front of teams due to shoulder surgery, Bennett has to hope that guys like Otto Porter and Trey Burke fail to impress. 

    Otto Porter is scheduled to work out with Washington on June 14. If the Wizards don't see the player they're looking for, then Bennett could have the edge at No. 3 overall. 

    Charlotte and Phoenix are both in play at No. 4 and No. 5, with Bennett's basement likely being Detroit at No. 8. 

    Bennett has one of those attractive superstar upsides, but his lack of a true position could cause teams to hesitate. 

4. Trey Burke, Michigan, 6'1'', PG

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    Stock Report: ↓

    Orlando hasn't shown any signs that it doesn't like Trey Burke, though it hasn't made it known he's a favorite. 

    The Magic are probably deciding whether or not it's worth using a No. 2 pick on what's likely to be a good starting point guard and not a game-changing centerpiece. And if they did think Burke was a future All-Star lock, there probably wouldn't be much discussion with regard to whom they are targeting. 

    Trey Burke doesn't have that explosiveness guys like John Wall, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook brought with them into the league, and coaches view that as a limitation.  

    With Orlando showing interest in Eric Bledsoe (subscription required), a 2014 free agent likely to get shopped at the deadline, drafting a point guard might not be a priority. 

    It's looking like New Orleans at No. 6 or Sacramento at No. 7 are his two most likely destinations at this point. 

3. Otto Porter, Georgetown, 6'8'', SF

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    Stock Report: 

    Otto Porter has a scheduled workout in Washington on June 14, which still remains his most likely destination. 

    He hasn't worked out for Cleveland yet, but he'll definitely get a look with the No. 1 pick or as a trade-down target. 

    Washington will presumably be deciding between Porter and Anthony Bennett, the riskier yet potentially more rewarding combo forward. 

    The ball will be in Porter's court, as Bennett will be unable to work out with teams after undergoing surgery on his shoulder. If Porter fails to impress Cleveland or Washington, New Orleans would be his basement. 

2. Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6'5'', SG

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    Stock Report: 

    Ben McLemore remains in the hunt. At this point, he's in a three-man fight with Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo to go No. 2 to Orlando. 

    If the Magic choose to go in another direction, Charlotte at No. 4 and Phoenix at No. 5 are likely his worst-case scenarios. 

    One of the criticisms of McLemore has been that he lacks a killer instinct. He was frequently passive and at times invisible down the stretch of games. 

    During a workout with the Suns, he addressed his perceived flaw:

    Favorite quote of the #Suns draft workout day ... Ben McLemore: "I know I have that dog in me to take over games."

    — Paul Coro (@paulcoro) June 6, 2013

    If McLemore can convince Orlando he's mentally capable of reaching his ceiling, there's a good chance he's this year's second pick overall. 

1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 6'11'', C

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    Stock Report: ↔

    Nerlens Noel remains in the driver's seat without anyone threatening to overtake it. 

    Concerns over his weight have subsided, and he's still viewed as the top prospect in the class—for now.

    No trade offers have been reported, though you can be sure Chris Grant is listening.

    Cleveland is expected to work out a number of prospects during the process—not only to see if anyone's capable of leapfrogging Noel on its board but to see if there's anyone worth trading down for later in the lottery. 

    The Cavaliers are unlikely to hint which way they are leaning over the next few weeks. Expect Noel to remain No. 1 unless something dramatic changes.