NBA Draft 2013: College Studs Who Will Fall in the First Round

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2013

Apr 10, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers player Cody Zeller at a press conference for the NBA draft. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

The 2013 NBA draft is approaching quickly (Thursday, June 27), and the anticipation surrounding which college studs will eventually fall in the first round because of general concerns has fans ready for the action.

The following players dominated in the college ranks, but the possible issues translating to the NBA could force them out of lottery consideration and into the latter stages of the first round.


Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

While Indiana center Cody Zeller dominated the college ranks with his 7’ tall frame, the talented prospect needs much more work before he can become a viable threat at the next level against NBA competition.

Zeller was bullied around the basket at times in college, and if he doesn’t add substantial weight and strength to his frame over the offseason, he will be abused in the NBA. With this pick being a long-term investment, Zeller will likely drop out of the top 10 all together.

Teams at the tail end of the lottery will be considering Zeller as a prospect they can build over time, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the big man fall as far as the Atlanta Hawks at No. 17 and 18 overall.


Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

Coming into the 2012 college basketball season, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad was heralded as one of the top stars in the nation and a future top-five selection in the NBA draft.

After a terrible season and a controversy that surrounded his age (h/t CBS Sports), Muhammad’s negatives became clear. While there is no denying the prospect’s ability to take the ball to the basket aggressively, his shooting ability is not as great as advertised, and he is undersized for his position.

These are serious questions that must be answered by teams before they can make a top-10 investment in Muhammad. The UCLA star will be taken in the first round, but there is a chance he could fall as far as the Boston Celtics at No. 16.


Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

As one of the best shooting big men in the 2013 NBA draft, Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk is receiving plenty of well-deserved attention in the first round. The problem is that he may not play center at the next level.

While Olynyk has the size—7’ tall and 236 pounds with plenty of room to grow on his frame—he lacks the physical ability around the net to be a great rebounder and shot-blocker. Add in the fact that it will take time to add mass to his frame, and Olynyk is far from a lock as a star in the NBA.

All the question marks won’t keep him from being selected in the first round, but with serious concerns about how much Olynyk can contribute defensively, there is a chance he could fall as far as the Brooklyn Nets at No. 22.