Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 2014 NBA Draft Prospects

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterNovember 29, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 20 2014 NBA Draft Prospects

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    Another week of college basketball, another week of standout performances. 

    Some of these guys are really, really good. The top of the projected class continues to look strong, while some new names have begun to emerge into first-round conversations. 

    There was a fair amount of movement on the board his week, with a few new members added to it as well.

20. Jordan Clarkson, Missouri, 6'5", PG/SG

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    Stock Report: ↑

    Welcome Jordan Clarkson to the NBA radar. 

    He sat out last season after transferring from Tulsa, and now he's tearing it up at Missouri and looking like a future pro in the process. 

    Clarkson immediately stands out thanks to his 6'5'' size and ability to run the offense at the point. Though he's more of a scorer than distributor at the moment, he has a handle and quickness he uses to slice through and break down the defense.

    An excellent athlete, Clarkson has been scoring at will, particularly in the lane. He went for 21 against Northwestern and 22 against IUPUI this week, after going for 31 earlier in the season against Southern Illinois. 

    With the physical tools and skill set to excel at either position, Clarkson offers really intriguing upside. We'll keep him at No. 20, with room for him to move in either direction from here.

19. Jahii Carson, Arizona State, 5'10", PG

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    Thanks to Jahii Carson, I now get two fewer hours of sleep every other night on the east coast. He's become a must-watch player whenever he takes the floor. 

    Carson has made visible strides as an offensive weapon, particularly with his perimeter game. He's averaging 1.9 made threes per game at a staggering 51.7 percent clip, up from a mediocre 32 percent last season. 

    After already dropping 40 in a road win at UNLV, he recently took over down the stretch in a win over No. 25 Marquette. 

    Arizona State got smoked by Creighton on Thursday night, but not to the fault of Carson, whose breakdown quickness and playmaking skills both remain NBA caliber. 

    Despite standing just 5'10", he's still conquering defenses, averaging 21.8 points per game while shooting 54.5 percent. 

18. Andrew Harrison, Kentucky, 6'5", PG

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    Stock Report: ↓

    It's not that he's been disappointing; Andrew Harrison just isn't exceeding expectations like the other impact freshmen. 

    Harrison struggled against Michigan State earlier in the year, and it's unlikely he moves the needle back until facing another noteworthy opponent. 

    He finished with eight points, five turnovers and three dimes against Eastern Michigan, after playing one of his more efficient games of the year against Cleveland State (12 points, five assists, one turnover). 

    We still haven't really seen that breakout game from Harrison yet. And until we do, he'll be vulnerable to surging competitors in these rankings.

17. Doug McDermott, Creighton, 6'7", SF

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    The buckets just keep coming for Doug McDermott. 

    He went for 33 points and 15 boards in a win over Tulsa, a game in which he took over down the stretch. He followed with 27 points in a blowout over Arizona State, making it look easy and effortless whenever he let it go. 

    McDermott is showing he's able to counter whatever the defense shows him. He has a scoring answer for every situation, and that's what should allow him to succeed in the pros despite lacking NBA-level athleticism. 

    Take away the drive, he'll beat you with a jumper. Favor his right, he'll go to his left. Double-team him, he'll find the open man. 

    There's just too much skill and intelligence here. Don't let his physical deficiencies convince you they won't translate. 

16. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville, 6'8", PF

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    Montrezl Harrell wasn't much of a factor in Louisville's disappointing loss to North Carolina. He finished with just five points, failing to generate any quality scoring opportunities. 

    Though an incredible athletic specimen, Harrell is still limited in terms of his offensive development. At one point against UNC, he had his man squared up in the post with nobody around him, yet he kicked it outside without even giving the rim a look. 

    Harrell will have to become a bigger threat with the ball in his hands to crack what's expected to be an extremely loaded lottery. 

15. Wayne Selden, Kansas, 6'6", SG

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    Stock Report: ↔

    Wayne Selden's production isn't going to come in volume, so don't get too caught up with his averages or scoring numbers. 

    He's playing within a Kansas offense that sees a ton of passing and movement. Selden has only taken 24 shots over the past four games, but he's converting them with efficiency. 

    He went for eight points against Wake Forest and 12 against Towson in limited minutes and is now up to 46.3 percent shooting on the year.

    When the opportunity presents itself, Selden is capable of knocking down outside shots, attacking the basket and finishing acrobatically or after contact. 

    With Andrew Wiggins, Perry Ellis, Joel Embiid and a couple of ball-dominant point guards in the offense, Selden won't be dropping 20 points very often. But he's making a few plays every game that suggest there's a lot more where they came from. 

14. Glenn Robinson, Michigan, 6'6", SF

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    Back problems kept Glenn Robinson III in check against Charlotte, when he finished without a field goal in limited minutes. 

    But Robinson had been struggling even before the Charlotte game. He's only shooting 40.9 percent from the floor and 26.9 percent from downtown, and he has taken a backseat to Nik Stauskas in the offensive pecking order. 

    Robinson just isn't threatening enough off the bounce, and he remains limited to line drives, spot-up jumpers and one- or two-dribble pull-ups. 

    He looks about where he left off last year. And with so many other enticing prospects, Robinson is starting to lose some luster as a can't-miss option. 

13. Gary Harris, Michigan State, 6'4", SG

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    Though some might look at Gary Harris' recent shooting woes as a disappointment, we're looking at it with a glass-half-full perspective. 

    Over the last two games, he's only made five of his 22 attempted three-pointers. However, he still managed to finish with 19 and 21 points in back-to-back games, showing he's finding ways to score even when his jumper isn't falling. 

    He's become a bigger threat off the dribble this season. And he's making some tough shots, something every top player has to do. 

    The knock on Harris is that he's slightly undersized for the 2 and lacks that big-time athleticism to make up for it. But his skill level and basketball IQ are just too high to overlook.

12. Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7'0", C

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    Willie Cauley-Stein has been awfully productive for Kentucky lately. He's contributing across the big-man board, recently going for 15 points, eight boards and seven blocks against Eastern Michigan, doing all the things required of a sophomore with his advantageous physical tools. 

    Cauley-Stein has been finishing around the rim, creating opportunities through activity and positioning himself for points. And as long as he maintains this type of motor, he'll remain a factor in rim protection and on the boards throughout his career. 

    The fact that a guy like Steven Adams is playing well in the pros is a good sign for Cauley-Stein, a similarly raw yet athletic 7-footer. 

    He's now averaging 3.1 blocks and 8.4 boards in only 24 minutes a game. 

11. James Young, Kentucky, 6'6", SF

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    James Young had a rough week at the office, going just 4-of-19 over his last two games. 

    Despite his size and athleticism, Young has been settling into a spot-up role on the perimeter, with the majority of his attempts coming from behind the arc. 

    He's already taken 48 three-pointers, compared to just 30 two-pointers. And unfortunately, he's only making 27 percent of those three-point attempts. 

    Young should look to get a little more aggressive on the offensive end in terms of creating his own shots and attacking off the dribble. He's averaging 12.3 points on 35.9 percent on the year. 

10. Rodney Hood, Duke, 6'8", SF

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    Foul trouble hampered Rodney Hood in Duke's win over Alabama, but that's been about the only thing capable of slowing him down so far. 

    Nobody has been able to contain this 6'8" mismatch on the wing. He's connecting from all areas—Hood is scoring on the move, in the post, off the ball and off the dribble. 

    He's also shooting the lights out from behind the arc, now up to 59.1 percent on the year. 

    With excellent physical tools for the NBA wing, along with an established perimeter game, Hood has emerged as a serious offensive weapon and legitimate lottery prospect. 

    He's now averaging 20 points per game while shooting 62.2 percent from the floor. 

9. Jerami Grant, Syracuse, 6'8", SF

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    Jerami's Grant's breakout performance against California carried over to the finals of the Maui Invitational, where he helped the Orange secure the title with 19 points against Baylor. 

    He went for 19 points and eight boards a day earlier.

    Grant is now putting that size, athleticism and length to good use. He's a constant target for lobs and on the break, and he remains a threat to make a play on any loose ball around the hoop. 

    Though not known for his one-on-one play, we're starting to see Grant face his man in space, beat him off the bounce and finish after contact on the way to the rim. 

    A jumper is more of a long-term project, but the ingredients are all there. He's got loads of potential based on his two-way physical tools and developing offensive skill set. 

8. Aaron Gordon, Arizona, 6'9", SF/PF

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    Unlike the other elite prospects, Aaron Gordon isn't a focal point of his offense. 

    He's playing within the system by taking the shots that come to him. Gordon only took six in Arizona's comeback win over Drexel, though he still managed a double-double with 10 points and 13 boards. 

    Whether he's creating shots or not, Gordon is still going to factor into the box scores thanks to his ability to play high above the rim. It's going to make him an impact rebounder now and throughout his NBA career, as well as an easy-bucket option on a routine basis. 

    Though his potential shoots through the roof, the uncertainty over his future position is what's keeping him outside our top seven. But don't expect him to stray too far. Look for Gordon's confidence to rise and comfort zone to expand with more reps in Arizona's offense. 

7. Noah Vonleh, Indiana, 6'10", PF

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    Noah Vonleh is just cruising up our board, this week making it to No. 7 after his latest effortless double-double. 

    In only 19 minutes against Evansville, Vonleh went for 13 points, 12 rebounds and a block. He only missed one shot, and at one point, he even stepped behind the arc and nailed a three.

    At 6'10'' with a 7'4'' wingspan, he takes up a tremendous amount of space inside. Rebounds and loose balls are constantly bouncing his way. 

    And nobody has found a way to keep him from shaking and baking in the post. Though it sometimes looks awkward, Vonleh always finds a way to separate for an easy bucket inside. 

    A physical defender and extremely talented offensive force, Vonleh has been our fastest-rising prospect early on. He's averaging 12.9 points and 10.4 boards on 52.6 percent shooting in only 21 minutes of action per night.

6. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6'4", PG/SG

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    There isn't a hotter player in the country right now than Marcus Smart, who averaged 31.3 points and four assists per game on 50 percent shooting over three games prior to Friday's game against Butler.

    Right now, he's the most unstoppable guard in the country.

    The big difference between this year and last year has been his shooting stroke early on. Smart has already knocked down 16 triples at a 38.1 percent clip, after only making 38 total and shooting 29 percent in 2012-13.

    There isn't anyone better at attacking the basket and finishing in the lane. And if this new-and-improved jumper is here to stay, the only defensive answer might be crossing your fingers.

    Though not your traditional point guard like Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo, nobody will care on draft night. Smart is a leader, winner and dominant backcourt presence. 

    You never know what might happen if the right team wins the lottery. 

5. Joel Embiid, Kansas, 7'0", C

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    Had this not been such a stacked year of talent, Joel Embiid would probably be in that No. 1 overall conversation. He's that good. 

    Over Kansas' three games prior to Friday's against Villanova, Embiid averaged 13 points, nine boards and 2.6 blocks in only 20 minutes per game. And he missed a total of three shots. 

    There's just no stopping him when he's got the rock down low. Embiid can score from any angle with either hand, showing an incredible feel for the rim, offensive instincts and fancy footwork for a 7-footer.

    The scary part is that he's only been playing basketball for a few years. 

    In only 17 minutes a game, Embiid is averaging 9.2 points, 7.2 boards and 1.5 blocks on 70 percent shooting. 

    Lock him in as the top center off the board in 2014. 

4. Julius Randle, Kentucky, 6'9", PF

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    This double-double machine just keeps on churning out points and boards.

    Julius Randle has now double-doubled in each game so far, after going for 14 and 10 against Eastern Michigan and 15 and 15 against Cleveland State. 

    His scoring numbers have fallen off, as he's only made eight field goals over his last two games. But no big deal—Randle is able to salvage tough days with frequent trips to the line and offensive boards. 

    However, he's still turning the ball over a little too much, coughing it up almost four times a game. If there's anything to work on, it's anticipating where the help defense is so he's not always spinning or turning into traffic. 

    Otherwise, expect those numbers to keep piling up. Randle will be viewed as a prize in this draft whether he's the first pick or the fifth. 

3. Dante Exum, Australia, 6'6", PG/SG

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    Dante Exum has officially finished up school at the Australian Institute of Sport. And now we just play the waiting game.  

    Exum is a guy who can go anywhere from No. 1 to No. 5, depending on the general managers and the draft order. One executive recently told (subscription required) ESPN's Chad Ford he'd take him with the first pick, regardless of what the NCAA stars do this year. 

    Exum is a special prospect, given you don't see too many 6'6'' point guards this athletic and skilled. Don't expect him to leave our top five any time soon. 

2. Jabari Parker, Duke, 6'8'', SF

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    At 18 years old, Jabari Parker sure looks like the most complete player in America.

    This week, he dropped 26 on Vermont and 27 on Alabama, missing a total of just eight shots in the two games. 

    He's now scored at least 20 points in seven of eight contests so far (19 vs. Arizona), only twice finishing with fewer than eight boards. 

    Offensively, the game just comes too easy. Parker is creating and knocking down pro-level shots on a routine basis, whether they're pull-up jumpers, fadeaways in the post or step-backs in the mid-range. 

    He really looks like a Carmelo Anthony-type scorer with Grant Hill's intangibles. 

    If you told me that Parker was your No. 1 prospect in America, I probably wouldn't put up much of a fight. The arrow continues to point upward. 

1. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, 6'8", SF

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    It wasn't his best week, but Andrew Wiggins still found ways to be productive on his B-game. 

    Word out of the Bahamas was that Wiggins was sick for Kansas' first Battle 4 Atlantis tournament game against Wake Forest. Though he struggled through most of it, Wiggins turned it on in the second half and helped the Jayhawks seal the deal.

    He somehow went for 17 points on an off day, even managing to salvage his field-goal percentage after starting the game just 2-of-9 from the floor. Wiggins finished 6-of-13, adding four assists, four boards and three steals in 25 minutes.

    Against Towson a few days earlier, Wiggins went for 16 points on two missed shots. 

    He's not the player that Jabari Parker, Julius Randle or Marcus Smart are today, but NBA executives aren't looking for the 2015 MVP of the league. Wiggins' long-term potential remains intact, and it's enough to keep him atop our board as December rolls around.