POSTED: Apr 16, 2013 4:30 PM ET
Kansas star Ben McLemore had an underwhelming NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA tournament? Great championship game, a lot of bad play along the way, too many conversations about officiating and a reminder from Louisville that defense wins. But no real impact on the top of the NBA Draft.
The most imperfect Draft in many years -- a kind way of calling it the worst draft in years -- got the perfect ending to the college season. All that attention on the tournament, and it's very possible the top five or seven picks are unchanged from mid-March. Ben McLemore couldn't score and still may go No. 1. Nerlens Noel didn't play and may still go No. 1. That's this Draft.
There was a greater impact a little farther down the pack. More specifically, there was greater impact in Ann Arbor, Mich., as Michigan's Trey Burke moved into position for the middle of the lottery and teammate Mitch McGary, the tourney's breakout star, moved well into the first-round conversation as the Wolverines reached the championship game. After initially flat-out dismissing NBA talk, McGary said postgame Monday that he wouldn't talk about it. He will be in the mock until an official announcement.
The latest version of the mock draft, after conversations with executives and scouts, with decisions from two Kentucky players (Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein) and one of the top international prospects (Dario Saric) to withdraw from the 2013 process:
1. Ben McLemore, Kansas SG 6-4 195
The struggle to score late in the season -- or hit a single shot in the round of 32 -- increased the doubt about what happens at the next level. But in this draft, he may still be the best of the underwhelming options.
2. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky PF 6-11 220
The choice becomes very, very interesting if the team that lands No. 1 has a glaring need for a big man and debates the risk of taking Noel some 3 ½ months after knee surgery.
3. Anthony Bennett, UNLV PF 6-7 240
Two inches taller and Bennett is probably in the lead for No. 1. Even as an undersized power forward, he has a decent case amid debate from scouts and executives whether he has the offensive game to play some small forward.
4. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State PG 6-4 225
Opinions are mixed. Some teams see a smart, tough, poised floor leader. Others see a player whose best attributes have nothing to do with skill level.
5. Otto Porter, Georgetown SF 6-8 200
Impressive play early moved him securely into the lottery, then another surge late in the regular season put the Big East Player of the Year into position to crack the top five.
6. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA SG-SF 6-6 225
The preseason possibility for the top pick has played his way down the board, potentially well down the board, with selfish play. He is a volume scorer rather than a good shooter.
7. Victor Oladipo, Indiana SG 6-5 210
Oladipo, his positive reputation for defense previously established, shot up draft boards by expanding his offensive game and becoming a dependable shooter. One of the best two-way players available.
8. Trey Burke, Michigan PG 6-1 175
Even while struggling with his shot in the tournament, he used a standout sophomore season to become a candidate for Player of the Year with a well-rounded game and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.3-1. Also made 47.9 percent of his attempts and showed good range.
9. Cody Zeller, Indiana PF-C 7-0 240
There is nothing terribly wrong with his game. It's just that there is nothing terribly right. Once prominent in the conversation for No. 1, he is now viewed as a safe pick with a low ceiling.
10. Alex Len, Maryland C 7-1 255
He has shown encouraging signs of growth in his game as a sophomore two seasons after coming from the Ukraine, but nothing helps draft stock like being the best true center available.
11. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse PG 6-5 175
Carter-Williams has gone from the top-rated point guard at the start of the season to No. 3 at best. But his ballhandling and vision at 6-foot-5 keeps him in lottery contention despite shooting 39.3 percent.
12. Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga C 7-0 240
Part of the wave of Canadian prospects in recent years (with Bennett this season), Olynyk has an advanced offensive game for a big man, with the ability to score from the post and the perimeter.
13. Mason Plumlee, Duke PF 6-11 245
The combination of a developing offensive game and an already-there athleticism for a big man has turned Plumlee into a very solid choice late in the lottery.
14. Gary Harris, Michigan State SG 6-4 210
Harris shot 45.6 with three-point range and has the athleticism and toughness to address size concerns. His initial comments after the season indicate he will stay in school.
15. Isaiah Austin, Baylor PF 7-1 220
Much like Perry Jones, a first-rounder out of Baylor a year ago, Austin needs to add a lot of muscle to survive at power forward in the pros. But he has intriguing skills for a 7-footer.
16. Rudy Gobert, France PF-C 7-1 235
Gobert's play this season has not helped his draft stock, but the NBA sees real potential. The NBA also sees 7-foot-1, with a good chance to add needed bulk, and a 7-foot-9 wingspan.
17. Glenn Robinson III, Michigan SF 6-6 210
The son of the No. 1 pick of 1994 is an attacking wing who uses athleticism and good instincts that could translate beyond the role he played at Michigan of complementary player to Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.
18. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh PG-SG 6-3 190
The scoring guard delivered huge games in the NCAA Tournament, hitting Duke for 30 points in Lehigh's upset win in 2012 and Kansas for 26 in a loss in 2010.
19. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville C 6-11 245
His size and mobility translate into a future as a shot blocker, with signs of a respectable offense. Being 23 years old is a drawback, with fewer years to develop than most picks.
20. Mitch McGary, Michigan PF 6-10 250
In six tournament games, the freshman had three double-doubles and two others that missed by one rebound, most against good competition. He built his resume' in March and April.
21. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh C 6-11 235
While the New Zealand native is expected to stay in school. The first time he regularly faced a high level of competition was an encouraging sign for a future that will include a lot of NBA buzz at the start of 2013-14.
22. James McAdoo, North Carolina PF-SF 6-9 240
He began the season as a candidate for the top half of the lottery, only to tumble down draft boards amid concerns from executives and scouts that he is strictly a complementary player.
23. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia SG 6-5 205
Offensive threat who has spent two seasons in a system that creates a lot of shooting opportunities. To put it another way: he took nearly 43 percent of the Georgia threes in 2012-13.
24. Jeff Withey, Kansas C 7-0 235
A shot blocker with the experience of four years in a major program with a lot of pressure situations is mature at 23 years old. A pick for a team that doesn't want to wait for a younger big to develop.
25. Doug McDermott, Creighton SF 6-7 225
A shooter who finds openings despite a lack of speed. That absence of athleticism is a concern at small forward, but he can have a future as a role player.
26. Sergey Karasev, Russia SF 6-7 205
He is showing potential while playing big minutes in a good league at 19. An ideal draft-and-stash candidate who could go much higher in a year or two.
27. Myck Kabongo, Texas PG 6-1 180
He missed 23 games because of an NCAA suspension and then struggled offensively when he returned, but Kabongo remains a prospect as a distributor.
28. Giannis Adetokoubo, Greece SF 6-9 215
One of the late climbers on the board has the disadvantage of playing against pretty weak competition, hurting his development and making an accurate read difficult.
29. Tony Mitchell, North Texas SF-PF 6-8 235
A wild card. Mitchell had a disappointing sophomore season, but it's easy to see teams falling back in like when his athleticism and toughness are on display at pre-draft workouts.
30. Lucas Nogueira, Brazil PF-C 7-0 220
The NBA has been waiting for years for the athletic 7-footer to add toughness. That it hasn't happened is a bad sign. That teams able to spend an investment pick are still very interested is a good sign.
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