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Not much movement after pre-Draft combine

POSTED: May 20, 2013 4:08 PM ET

By Scott Howard-Cooper

BY Scott Howard-Cooper


Shooting guard Ben McLemore believes he's the best available player in the Draft.

This will have a very short shelf life, before the May 21 lottery sets the order for the top 14 and team needs are weighed as part of the first true mock draft released that night, but it is an important update after the Chicago pre-draft combine as the largest annual gathering of NBA teams and prospects primarily from U.S. colleges.

Shabazz Muhammad goes from No. 5 to 9 after the verbal beating from executives and scouts, though more about his stock in general and not specifically his play there. Beyond the UCLA swingman, though, there are no dramatic shifts coming out of Chicago among the big names, mostly because they were injured (Nerlens Noel, Anthony Bennett, Alex Len) or would have ducked the competition anyway. Maybe Cody Zeller gets a slight bump with some impressive numbers in the physical testing, but not enough to erase the image of the 2012-13 backslide, while Dennis Schroeder climbs from 23 to the lottery in what is more a sign that he was undersold in the last ranking than what he did in Chicago.

Also, Noel moves from No. 2 into the top spot, switching with Ben McLemore, but that's a placeholder as much as anything. The two could switch back after the lottery results, based on team need of the winner that night.

The new top 30, as always based on conversations with numerous NBA front offices:

1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky PF 6-11 220

Noel is generally regarded as the best prospect in the draft, partly because of the increased value of a big man over a shooting guard. But his offense is severely lacking and he does not expect to return from knee surgery until around Christmas.

2. Ben McLemore, Kansas SG 6-4 195

McLemore believes he is the best player in the draft, and he certainly is the best wing. But the struggle to score late in the season -- or hit a single shot in the round of 32 -- increased the doubt about what will happen at the next level.

3. Anthony Bennett, UNLV PF 6-7 240

Two inches taller and Bennett probably leads for No. 1. Even as an undersized power forward, he has a decent case amid the debate from the pros whether he has the game to play some small forward.

4. 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.

5. Trey Burke Michigan PG 6-1 175

He left school after a standout sophomore season partly because the decision by Marcus Smart to return to Oklahoma State gave Burke a clear path to being the top prospect at his position, a great held to a draft standing. Talk about a point guard who sees the court.

6. Victor Oladipo, Indiana SG 6-5 210

With his defensive abilities previously established, Oladipo shot up draft boards by expanding his offense and becoming a dependable shooter. One of the best two-way players available.

7. 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 headed for a long career, but with a low ceiling.

8. Alex Len, Maryland C 7-1 255

He has shown encouraging signs of growth in his game two seasons after coming from the Ukraine, but nothing helps a stock like being the best true center available. Ankle surgery will sideline him for pre-draft workouts and cost Len the chance to impress and climb more.

9. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA SG 6-6 225

It is no longer hard to find an exec who says they would not be surprised if Muhammad falls out of the lottery. That is still unlikely because of the players next on the list, but is a sign how far he has dropped.

10. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse PG 6-5 175

He is staying in lottery contention despite shooting 39.3 percent thanks to the lure of a 6-5 point guard with court vision who can handle. Hoping to address the obvious problem, Carter-Williams has been working on his perimeter game since the end of the season.

11. Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga C 7-0 240

Part of the wave of Canadian prospects in recent years, with Bennett and Texas point guard Myck Kabongo this season, Olynyk has an advanced offensive game for a big man, with the ability to score from the post and the perimeter.

12. Mason Plumlee, Duke, PF 6-11 245

The combination of a developing offensive game and already-there elite athleticism for a big man has turned the brother of Pacers rookie Miles Plumlee into a very solid choice late in the lottery.

13. Dennis Schroeder, Germany PG 6-1 180

A breakout performance for the international team playing against the top U.S. college-bound stars at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland in April moved the jet-like point guard from the second round to legitimate, even likely, lottery possibility.

14. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG-SG, 6-3 190

The scoring guard comes from a mid-major with the credibility of huge games against big names 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.

15. Dario Saric, Croatia SF 6-10 225

An apparent change of heart after initially saying he would stay in Europe puts the Toni Kukoc-like small forward with a great feel for the game back into lottery contention.

16. Rudy Gobert, France PF-C 7-1 235

Gobert had an underwhelming 2012-13 in France, but front offices see real potential and was impressed he participated in Chicago while also planning to play with many of the top international prospects next month at the adidas Eurocamp in Italy.

17. 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.

18. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville C 6-11 245

The run of backup centers begins. Dieng's size and mobility translate into a future as a shotblocker, with signs of a respectable offense. Being 23 years old is a drawback, giving him fewer years to develop and play.

19. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh C 6-11 235

Adams is relatively inexperienced against top competition after growing up in New Zealand and playing one season at Pitt, but the interest is understandable after showing an aggressive, high-energy style of play combined with a developing game away from the basket.

20. Jeff Withey, Kansas C 7-0 235

A shotblocker who has the experience of four years in a major program is mature at 23 years old. Withey is the pick for a team wanting a backup center to contribute now, not someone to develop over the years.

21. Sergey Karasev, Russia SF 6-7 205

He is showing potential while playing big minutes in a good league as a 19 year old. An ideal draft-and-stash candidate who could go much higher in a year or two.

22. Giannis Adetokoubo, Greece SF 6-9 215

One of the late climbers on the draft board has the disadvantage of playing against competition that would be equal to Division II or III in the United States, hurting his development and increasing uncertainty about his transition to the NBA. If he does well in individual workouts, his stock will jump again.

23. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky SG 6-5 195

He went from being one of the top recruits in the country to a very inconsistent rookie season but great athleticism and potential will keep a lot of teams interested.

24. 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.

25. Glen Rice Jr., D-League SG 6-6 210

The long road back for the son of the former All-Star small forward includes playing for the Rio Grande Vipers after being kicked off the team at Georgia Tech. He will get a lot of tough questions from executives trying to determine if he has learned from past mistakes.

26. Allen Crabbe, California SG 6-6 205

Though he needs to get stronger, Crabbe has the size, accuracy and decent 3-point range to fit the shooting-guard mold at the next level.

27. Tony Mitchell, North Texas SF-PF 6-8 235

One of the wild cards. Mitchell had a disappointing sophomore season and is the first to admit he did not play hard all the time, with a lot of NBA people willing to also say it for him. But it's easy to see teams falling back in like with his athleticism and toughness.

28. Shane Larkin, Miami PG 6-0 171

Size is obviously a concern, but the son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin is tough, quick and a leader. And he is very experienced at proving people wrong.

29. DeShaun Thomas, Ohio State SF-PF 6-7 225

Thomas is a versatile scorer with good experience after three years with the Buckeyes. The question is whether he is a tweener without a position or a stretch four.

30. Nate Wolters, South Dakota St. PG 6-5 196

Wolters has very good instincts on offense, from a variety of spots on the court, and ball-handling skills at 6-5. That could be enough to get him into the first round.