The 2013 NBA Draft is just one week away, meaning it's time to dust off my big board from a two-week retirement and give it a complete overhaul.
These past two weeks have seen plenty of action and even more buzz, much of which has had a measureable impact on how the top 30 is shaking out this week.
Let’s get right to it, as there’s plenty to discuss. As always, the previous rankings are to the right of the player names and the disclaimer below contains the reasoning behind each grade.
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)
Despite late competition from fellow big man Alex Len, Noel is still the top prospect on the big board.
He’s a freakish athlete with immense shot-blocking skills, a motor that doesn’t quit and the highest ceiling of any frontcourt player in the class.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers pass up the Wildcats star with the No. 1 overall pick, expect a number of intrigued general managers to give the Orlando Magic—the club that holds the No. 2 selection—a ring, with the intent to trade up.
No. 2: Alex Len, C, Maryland (Up from No. 11)
The Terps center has been flying up the big boards over the past two weeks, and he now looks like a lock to come off no later than No. 6 to the New Orleans Pelicans.
He may not be the uber-athlete that Noel is, but the prospect possesses a special back-to-the-basket game and a variety of low-post moves that usually aren’t utilized by modern pivots.
At 7’1”, he definitely has the size to hold down the 5 and—if he can become more aggressive—could end up being a starter in this league for years to come.
No. 3: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (Down from No. 2)
Oladipo is one of the best prospects in this class because of his ability to impact the game without the ball in his hands.
Teams that are looking to change the culture in the locker room and bring in someone that will inspire should look no further than this Hoosiers product.
Not only is he a relentless defender, but also an efficient shooter who is always hustling up-and-down the court.
No. 4: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (Down from No. 3)
Porter may not be a world-class scorer that can create his own shot, but he’s able to do everything else at a respectable level, including rebounding, defending, knocking down open threes and more.
Expect a team like the Washington Wizards or New Orleans Pelicans to take the Hoyas star early on in the draft.
No. 5: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (Down from No. 3)
McLemore may have the highest ceiling of any perimeter player available.
He’s a lights-out shooter with infinite range, but he has to work on staying engaged and mentally focused. If he’s already having trouble in that area during a short collegiate season, the length and grind of an NBA campaign may render him useless.
No. 6: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh (Remains No. 6)
McCollum is a versatile guard that can play either the 1 or 2, depending on the needs of the team that eventually drafts him.
Although he has his flaws—he's not the best passer for a point guard or tall enough to defend the bigger shooting guards—the Lehigh product can stroke it from deep and may wind up developing into the best scorer to come out of this draft.
No. 7: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia (Remains No. 7)
KCP is a special talent that can do everything required from a prototypical 2 in the modern NBA.
The Georgia star can bomb away from deep, create his own shot, penetrate to the rim, defend wing players, facilitate and more.
His only flaw is his handle, which he should be able to improve with practice.
No. 8: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Down from No. 5)
Burke may not be the quickest, tallest or most athletic point guard in this class, but he’s a proven-winner that has simply achieved results.
He led his Wolverines to a national title appearance and won every major collegiate player of the year award, making him a relatively safe pick in the top 10 of the draft.
No. 9: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (Down from No. 8)
Bennett is a talented and versatile forward that can line up at and guard both the 3 and 4.
He’s strong enough to bang bodies inside, but quick and athletic enough to hold his own on the perimeter. Add in a three-point shot and you are looking at one of the more underrated prospects of 2013.
No. 10: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse (Down from No. 9)
Carter-Williams is the premier passer in this draft, as the 6’6” guard is more than capable of setting up anyone in a position to score.
He has to improve his handle and jumper before he can become a true weapon in the NBA, but this Orange star has an immensely bright future.
No. 11: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (Up from from No. 12)
At the combine, Zeller proved to the world that he’s a much better athlete than thought and deserves some serious consideration as a lottery pick.
This Hoosiers star’s ceiling isn’t as high as some of the other bigs, but he’s ready to make the leap into the Association and should contribute big minutes in his rookie year.
No. 12: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh (Up from No. 13)
Adams is a developmental project that has the markings of a potential starting center.
He’s big enough to guard the best players at his position one-on-one, coordinated enough to eventually become an above-average scorer and raw enough to give teams enough reason to draft him inside the lottery.
No. 13: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia (Up from No. 24)
Karasev is a lights-out shooter that should have no problem making the leap to the NBA almost immediately.
This Russian sniper has been tearing it up at the professional level for some time now, although he’ll have to get stronger and bulk up to withstand the wear-and-tear of an 82-game season.
No. 14: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA (Remains No. 14)
Muhammad is still one of the top scoring prospects in this class, although his ceiling has been significantly lowered since his true age was revealed.
Any general manager that is looking for point production from his wing with a selection in the latter portion of the lottery would be wise to give this Bruins star a hard look.
No. 15: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany (Remains No. 15)
Schroeder is a fast-rising point guard prospect that can penetrate into the lane with ease and finish with either hand.
He’s not much of a facilitator at this juncture, but he doesn’t seem to be a selfish player and should be able to learn with better teammates and NBA coaching.
No. 16: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas (Up from No. 22)
Mitchell is a two-way forward that can leap over most big men for rebounds and has the quickness to stick with the swingmen out on the perimeter.
He’s not much of a scorer—which comes as a disappointment, considering expectations out of high school—but he is oozing potential and could be the steal of the draft if he’s selected in the mid-to-late first round.
No. 17: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State (Down from No. 16)
Franklin is another uber-athletic prospect that can jump out of the gym and has a relentless motor that will simply not quit.
His glaring weakness is his complete lack of a stable jump shot, which is something that can be taught and improved upon. Considering his work ethic, don’t be surprised if this Aztecs star spends a summer in the gym and is able to shoot consistent threes from the corners as early as his rookie season.
No. 18: Kelly Olynyk, PF, Gonzaga (Down from No. 17)
Olynyk won’t be getting any looks for his defensive capabilities or athleticism, but his ability to stretch the floor as a seven-footer will make him a valuable asset on an NBA roster.
The ‘Zags big man has range out to the three-point line, which will open things up inside for penetrating guards and back-to-the-basket centers.
No. 19: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (Up from No. 21)
Larkin is a dominant athlete that wowed observers at the combine. His production in college is also underrated, as the sophomore drastically improved in his second season at “The U.”
With a lack of talented point guards available this year, don’t be shocked if this Hurricanes product comes off the board in the early 20s.
No. 20: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece (Up from No. 26)
The “Greek Freak” has been intriguing scouts and tantalizing GMs since he burst onto the scene a few months ago.
He has the height of a small forward and the handles of a point guard, with arguably the most upside of any prospect available.
This international man of mystery could make a Bismack Biyombo-like leap up the draft and wind up well inside the lottery come June 27.
No. 21: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Down from No. 20)
Withey is a solid big that will be able to carve a solid career out in the Association by playing 15-to-20 minutes off the bench.
The Jayhawk center’s lack of offensive firepower holds him back from becoming a starter, but the seven-footer will be able to defend, block shots and keep the rim protected while he is on the court.
No. 22: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke (Down from No. 18)
Plumlee is a blue-collar big that may not have tremendous upside, but possesses plenty of heart and desire.
He’s athletic and works hard for each rebound, plus he isn’t afraid to guard anyone and give 100 percent every minute he’s on the court.
No. 23: Glen Rice Jr., SG, D-League (Up from No. 24)
Rice Jr. is looking to take the unorthodox path from the D-League to the pros, as this former Georgia Tech star had some legal and character issues in his past.
Those issues seem to be cleared up now, and any team interested can safely focus on his above-average scoring, rebounding and passing skills.
No. 24: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville (Down from No. 19)
Dieng is a perfect backup center, as he can protect the rim, block shots and defend his position.
He’s also an underrated low-post passer that can rack up the assists when the offense flows through him for short stretches.
No. 25: Allen Crabbe, SG, California (Remains No. 25)
Crabbe is a marksman that can fill it up from deep when he’s feeling it.
The Cal product is a bit streaky, making him more suited for a sixth man role in the NBA than one as a starter.
No. 26: Ricardo Ledo, SG, Providence (Unranked last week)
Ledo never played a minute of collegiate basketball, but that shouldn’t stop a team picking in the late first round from taking a risk on this high-upside prospect.
He’s a special scorer that can create his own shot or bomb away from deep, and he could end up exceeding the expectations of his draft position.
No. 27: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan (Remains No. 27)
Hardaway Jr. is another long-range gunner that isn’t afraid to continuously fire away from the perimeter.
He has to improve his shot selection and handle, but that will come in time—especially if he’s fortunate enough to be paired with a talented coach at the next level.
No. 28: Reggie Bullock, SG, North Carolina (Unranked last week)
Bullock is a big guard that played out of position at UNC and expanded his game because of it.
His versatile talent and three-point shooting will make him an asset coming off the bench.
No. 29: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil (Up from No. 30)
Nogueira is an elite athlete with freakish size, but he’s yet to put it all together on the court.
If he ever gains a better understanding of the game and becomes more adept at using his body to his advantage, he could become a real contributor in the Association.
No. 30: Rudy Gobert, PF, France (Down from No. 29)
Gobert is a big body that has to work on his basic basketball skills and athleticism before he’ll be able to make an impact on American soil.
Expect this boom-or-bust product to come off the board to a loaded team that will either use his rights as a trading chip or be tremendously patient with his long development process.
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