Before getting into the fun stuff, it should be worthwhile to give some basic parameters for how I value prospects.
The basic rules:
1. An elite prospect at any position is a better selection than a non-elite prospect at any position. [NOTE: this rule does not necessarily apply to the tiers after the first two- positional value can trump after that juncture]
2. There are four groups that are more valuable within a group of similarly talented players: players who can be primary ballhandlers, No. 1 scorers, capable of defending NBA Centers, and/or elite defenders (either in a team or one-on-one capacity) for their position.
3. A non-elite big man who cannot guard NBA centers gets an immediate and significant downgrade.
4. Translation is key- certain players have a game that will work on the NBA level without a ton of necessary modification or development. Considering picks are an asset and underpaid on their rookie deals (except Adam Morrison), production in the first two to four seasons matters.
[NOTE: I include all draft-eligible players regardless of their status for the 2013 Draft. Any players not making the list either were not good enough or require more analysis. Players not actually in the draft are in italics.]
1. Nerlens Noel, C/PF, Kentucky- Noel has the physical tools to be a special defender on the interior (and one who rebounds well for his activity as a shotblocker) and has the potential to be solid but not spectacular on the offensive end. His weight is a concern and absolutely must be improved in order for him to reach that elite level as an interior defender, but he appears to have the frame and work ethic to make it happen. Due to positional scarcity and a weak draft class, he sits at No. 1 despite the injury.
Good Fits: Charlotte, Cleveland, and Phoenix
Bad Fits: Detroit
2. Victor Oladipo, SG/SF, Indiana- Oladipo might be the best complementary perimeter prospect to enter the league since Andre Iguodala. His ability to defend the 1, 2 and 3 at the next level comes with an understanding that he cannot and will not be the offensive focal point. Oladipo's time at Indiana has extensively prepared him for his role at the next level and just about every team could use a player like him even if you need other talent around him in order to thrive.
Good Fits: New Orleans and Minnesota
Bad Fits: Orlando and Sacramento
3. Steven Adams, C, Pitt- A legitimate surprise at the Combine because he showed depth to his game that we simply have not seen before. Building a jump shot that gets results takes time and effort, which also helps answer one of the biggest criticisms about Adams. He has an NBA body and plays a position where effort and size can allow a player to provide value to the team that drafts him during the rookie deal even as he develops.
Good Fits: Minnesota, Washington, and Dallas
Bad Fits: Utah and Detroit
4. Rudy Gobert, C, France- Could a team really stash a player taken this high in the draft? Probably not, so he likely will fall farther than his potential would suggest. I shudder to think at what Gobert can be with the right coaching and talent around him, particularly a PG that can maximize him on the offensive end. What I like most about Gobert is his combination of frame and instincts on the defensive end- he can impact the game on that end even before he develops his game with coaching and experience. It would be legitimately hard to draft him this high since it will take some time for him to hit his stride in the NBA (potentially even the end of his rookie deal) but the juice should be worth the squeeze.
Good Fits: Washington, Phoenix, Minnesota, and New Orleans
Bad Fits: Detroit and Utah
5. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown- As has become quite the theme for this draft class, I am not sure if Porter’s game will translate perfectly to the NBA but he has the ability to be a meaningful contributor even if he cannot transcend at the next level. Georgetown guys often underwhelm in terms of draft hype thanks to their system so that could work in Porter’s favor as well though I would have liked to see more defensive impact out of him.
Good Fits: Washington, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Minnesota
Bad Fits: Portland
6. Alex Len, C, Maryland- Len stands out as a prospect that will benefit greatly from the increase in talent at the next level. Gaining teammates who can both get him the ball and take pressure off him offensively should reduce some of his faults and allow him to use his athletic gifts in a more productive way. Even though it was early in the season, dropping 23 points, 12 boards and 4 blocks on Kentucky while Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein combined for 12, 15 and 7 shows what he can do against high-level talent. Even with all the upside, already having lower leg issues and the sheer degree of non-dominance in college are substantial red flags.
Good Fits: Cleveland, Washington, New Orleans, and Minnesota
Bad Fits: Sacramento (if they plan on keeping Cousins)
7. Anthony Bennett, PF/SF, UNLV- The least valuable position in the NBA is a non-elite power forward that cannot defend centers because of how many people already in the league can play the part and how frequently new ones come into the fold. Bennett has shown substantially more depth in his game than most freshmen but also had the benefit of being older than most of them as well (he turned 20 on March 14). He makes up for a lack of height with a legit 7’1” wingspan and the unpolished tools to score in a variety of different ways, which has become a necessity for PF’s in the NBA. What makes Bennett so fascinating is that he could end up being a new era stretch four in the NBA because of his handle and shot with a little potential to even get some minutes at SF in a pinch. Bennett will contribute early but will need to improve both his strengths and weaknesses in order to stand out at the next level.
Good Fits: Phoenix, Detroit, and Washington
Bad Fits: New Orleans and Portland
8. Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany- Schroeder this high may be a surprise but his performance warrants it in this draft class. While the other draft-eligible PG’s have limitations that could move them to a different position or make a bench role the best fit, Schroeder should be able to stick as a point guard in the NBA and eventually become a solid starter at a key position. He showed at the Nike Hoop Summit that he can run a team and create offense against elite competition (Andrew Harrison, the PG for the US team, will be a lottery pick in the much stronger 2014 class). Schroeder has the size and court vision to distribute along with the ballhandling and passing to create for others with a jump shot good enough to keep opponents honest. Schroeder still has plenty of work to do on cutting down turnovers, finishing, and shooting the NBA three but those are fixable issues with proper coaching and time.
Good Fits: Utah, Orlando (not #2, obviously), Sacramento, Detroit, and OKC
Bad Fits: Portland and Philadelphia
9. Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky- Stop me if you have heard this before: Athletic big man who can defend NBA centers but needs to get stronger and develop a deeper game in order to make an impact. In a class full of raw C’s, Cauley-Stein may just be the most raw. One of those guys whose stock could benefit from staying in college but would have been better off developing in the league and getting to his second contract that much faster.
10. Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece- Some may call him this year’s “International Man of Mystery” since we have seen so little of his game thus far and that criticism is wholly justified. Adetokunbo is special because of his phenomenal athletic profile (7’3” wingspan, respectable speed, and gigantic hands) and instincts for such a young age- he turns 19 in December of this year. He can handle the ball reasonably well and has remarkable defensive potential. There is an additional risk since we have never seen Adetokunbo play against high-level competition, though it’s not like the other draft-eligible SF/PF’s (Poythress and Tony Mitchell’s freshman years come to mind) impressed when they had the chance. I would not even call Adetokunbo a boom/bust guy because he should be able to contribute even if the flaws in his game never get corrected. He just has insanely high upside while also being incredibly unproven.
Good Fits: New Orleans, Detroit, and OKC
Bad Fits: Utah
11. Mitch McGary, C/PF, Michigan- I do not know what his NBA role will be, but I am sure McGary will bring a ton of energy to the table. A surprisingly skilled player, McGary may be a big man tweener who makes it work because he does not have a ton of weaknesses to his game. More range on his jumper would be a nice development for his draft stock and becoming more of a hybrid and less of a tweener would definitely help.
12. Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil- An absolutely fascinating talent who would be looked at very differently if he had been developing in the United States instead of abroad. While slightly smaller than Rudy Gobert in both height and wingspan, BeBe combines freakish measurements with more fluidity as an athlete which will make him more dangerous in transition. His offensive game needs a ton of work and will likely always be his weak point but he should be useful as a screener and finished on offensive rebounds at least. On defense, he has been a force in the ACB and will only get better as his body and basketball IQ improve.
Good Fits: San Antonio, Portland, and Cleveland
Bad Fits: Detroit and Utah
13. Glenn Robinson, SF, Michigan- It feels a good deal better to make a mistake on an elite athlete and that could end up being the case with Robinson. The son of the Big Dog is not just a physical specimen though, since he also has a pretty good basketball IQ and some intriguing potential as a scorer. That said, he needs to up his effort both mentally and physically to make the most of his ability.
14. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas- McLemore is getting a ton of pub right now as a potential top-3 pick but has the problem of being a dependent talent on offense while not having a major impact on the defensive end. His handle just does not reach the level necessary to make me believe he can generate shots for himself and others at the next level. People have compared him to former AAU teammate Bradley Beal, who came into his own at the end of his rookie year, yet Bradley did a better job creating his own offense than McLemore has at this point. Plenty of potential to be sure but the holes in his game will make him a very limited player unless and until they can be closed.
Good Fits: Minnesota and Philadelphia
Bad Fits: New Orleans and Milwaukee (assuming they keep Monta)
15. Tony Mitchell, PF/SF, North Texas- In a draft full of middling prospects, it seems worth it to go after one of the biggest boom/bust guys we have seen in years. Mitchell is one of the best athletes in this class and had an absolutely horrendous season. That said, Mitchell did a good job in the U-19 World Championships where he was the per-minute rebounding leader over guys like Jonas Valanciunas and Patric Young who have more established reputations on the boards. If he can put it together, Mitchell could be an NBA starter and/or an important contributor on a strong team and provide both rebounding and defense that is hard to obtain and retain for each and every NBA franchise.
Good Fits: OKC, San Antonio, and Indiana
Bad Fits: Utah and Portland
16. Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Oklahoma State- As someone who loves analyzing point guards, there have been few that have given me more fits than Marcus Smart. He has a different physical presence than the freak PG’s that have come into the league recently because he is bigger (height and width) than most of them and also a little bit slower. His activity and desire to play defense is a big help and will provide value to teams even if he has more trouble getting to his desired spot on the court. In all honesty, we could see him more as a two guard defensively which may open up some different doors in terms of teams and fit with the bevy of guys who should be defending PG’s and playing off the ball currently in the Association.
17. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan- As was the case with Damian Lillard last season, I am not convinced that Burke will be a long-term starter in the pros. His physical profile will put him at a pretty great disadvantage on both sides of the ball against next level starting competition and all the heart in the world cannot make up some of those gaps. At the absolute worst he will be an awfully fun change of pace guy who gets spot starts and that has a meaningful value in today’s NBA.
Good Fits: Detroit, Dallas, and Utah
Bad Fits: New Orleans and Milwaukee (if they retain Monta)
18. Isaiah Austin, C/PF, Baylor- The frame of a center with the mentality of a power forward, I would love to see more intensity and production out of a player with Austin’s talent. Regardless, a very interesting prospect that some teams will fall in love with.
19. PJ Hariston, SG, North Carolina- After coming on somewhat during the second half of his sophomore season at North Carolina, I see Hariston as a non-elite fringe starting SG who can shoot and properly defend his position. That’s pretty good at this point and working on both his handle and defensive intensity could ratchet him up a tier or two as a potential talent.
20. Rasheed Sulaimon, SG, Duke- One of those players returning to college that I just like as a prospect. As a shooting guard, his first step should be incredibly useful and the energy he plays with should translate incredibly well. If he can extend his jumper out to NBA range, Sulaimon could end up being a starter at a shockingly thin NBA position.
21. James Michael McAdoo, PF, North Carolina- Like Harrison Barnes in 2012, McAdoo’s draft stock has taken a hit because he has not been as dominant as we expected at the collegiate level. Possessing all of the requisite physical attributes of an NBA power forward, McAdoo has developed more as an offensive player during his two years at UNC and has the frame and instincts to be a nice disruptive force on defense. Improved effort on the boards would cement his place in a stacked 2014 class.
22. CJ McCollum, SG/PG, Lehigh- After last year’s stunning upset of Duke in the NCAA Tournament, McCollum started getting the draft hype he had deserved for a little while before after finally developing his game enough to be a legit NBA player. The challenge for McCollum is that he does not appear able to run an NBA offense and also does not possess the size to be a reliable off-guard. Fortunately, he can score in bunches sufficiently to make him worth taking, especially since he also generates turnovers on the defensive end.
Good Fits: Minnesota, Philadelphia, and Dallas
Bad Fits: New Orleans, Detroit, and Sacramento
23. Michael Carter-Williams, SG/PG, Syracuse- Despite not being sure that he can run an NBA team as a primary ballhandler or defend NBA point guards, Carter-Williams showed in Chicago that he can help out the team that drafts him in other fascinating ways. He has sufficient quickness and size to make SG’s sweat and can provide teams with another level of flexibility given his ball-handling abilities.
Good Fits: Detroit, Portland, and OKC
Bad Fits: Philadelphia, Washington, and Minnesota
24. Gorgui Dieng, C/PF, Louisville- Originally from Senegal, Dieng made a name for himself as a key cog in Louisville’s National Championship team this season. Even though he is already 23 years old, Dieng still has a ton of potential as an offensive player and could become a better post guy in the pros than in college thanks to coaching and development staffs taking the time to work with him. As a defender, Dieng can use his length to disrupt passes and shots though he still will have trouble with the big, strong fives that some teams still possess. Dieng will need to develop if he wants to make the jump to starter eventually but bigs like him playing 20 minutes a game can be so useful on every team.
Good Fits: Portland, Brooklyn, and Boston
Bad Fits: Denver and Milwaukee
25. Shane Larkin, PG, Miami- It feels like Larkin will fit nicely into that group of PG’s that are better coming off the bench but can take control of a more meaningful role in a pinch. His athleticism impressed at the combine and I loved his attitude and work ethic- you can tell he wants to become a better, more complete player.
Good Fits: Brooklyn, Cleveland, and Golden State
Bad Fits: Milwaukee (if they keep Monta) and New Orleans
26. Adreian Payne, PF/C, Michigan State- The possibility that Payne puts it all together keeps him high on draft boards even though he will be 23 when he gets drafted after his senior season and actually has smaller lungs than he should which likely limits his minutes as a pro. The single most shocking progression of FT shooting (48.6 percent to 69.7 percent to 84.8 percent) of any recent collegiate prospect is a really nice sign that his offensive game could be improved and his rebounding has been solid enough to keep teams interested.
27. Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia- Carrying an awfully impressive resume and complement of skills makes Karasev an interesting NBA prospect. As long as his shooting can make the transition to the deeper three point line, it should give him a useful offensive base moving forward. I worry about his defense a little but his on-court awareness has been very good on the offensive end and he does not carry any physical red flags for it so his defense could very well get better with time. He likely will not be the same offensive catalyst in the US that he has been in Europe and at the Hoop Summit but he does not need to be in order to have value.
Good Fits: Cleveland, Indiana, and LA Clippers
Bad Fits: New Orleans
28, Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana- Over the past year, Zeller has suffered a little bit from Matt Leinart Syndrome, meaning that draftniks have had another season to tear down his game as an elite prospect in the public eye. The problem is that some of those concerns are legitimate since his short wingspan and slight frame will allow him to be exploited defensively at the next level by centers while those same limitations could curb some of his talent on the offensive end. Shockingly, his agent tried to spin Cody as a Power Forward at the Combine which further illustrates Zeller’s potential problems playing the most valuable NBA position. He will need to show a strong shooting stroke to generate anywhere close to the value he had when perceived as a true center. Regardless, Zeller will still be a useful contributor who will make teams sweat when he is on the court.
Good Fits: Milwaukee, Chicago, and LA Clippers
Bad Fits: Detroit, Boston, and Atlanta
29. Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence- After being an elite recruit going into college, Ricky Ledo enters the draft having never played a minute of college basketball due to academic issues. At this point, Ledo’s hype is built on his potential rather than his production. He has an NBA body and better offensive potential than prospects like Archie Goodwin due to his handle and finishing ability but still has a ton to prove since he has proven just about nothing so far. A risky proposition in a year where being a risky proposition is not the worst thing in the world.
Good Fits: Portland, Atlanta, and Chicago
Bad Fits: Cleveland and Charlotte
30. Alex Poythress, PF/SF, Kentucky- Since he was in high school, I have been rooting for Poythress to develop an offensive game that worked for a perimeter player since it would make him an absolute force in the NBA. Unfortunately, that has not happened thus far. However, his combination of size (6’8” or so with a 7’1” wingspan) and athleticism should allow him to be a disruptive force in the pros. His potential to guard both SF’s and PF’s makes him incredibly intriguing in a league looking for players with that type of ability.
31. Kyle Anderson, PF/SF, UCLA- People spill a ton of ink talking about how hard it is to peg “Slo-mo” as an NBA player. To me the issue is more that he is different not that he is tough to figure out. As someone who should defend PF’s but can actually handle and distribute meaningfully in a pro system, Anderson will need the right team and surrounding talent to maximize his unique talents. Fortunately, his polarizing skills should allow him to go to a team willing to commit to using him in a sensible, productive way since the teams that do not like Anderson simply will not draft him.
32. Jeff Withey, C, Kansas- It is amazing that we still see so much of the former volleyball player in Withey. His bounce and timing on the defensive end have been impressive for the last few seasons and his savvy on that end helps him stand out as well. Withey still needs to add some bulk to defend the more grounded centers as long as he can do so without losing his strengths and also should spend a ton of time at the Tyson Chandler school for pick and role dive men to develop a useful offensive role.
Good Fits: New York, LA Clippers, Dallas, and Chicago
Bad Fits: Anywhere he would start quickly
33. Shabazz Muhammad, SF/SG, UCLA- I have said for years that the only swingmen (shooting guards and small forwards) who should go high in the draft are those with a meaningful chance of being No. 1 scorers or elite defenders. The revelation about Muhammad's age raises real questions about his ability to get points on “fair” competition and his effort on the defensive end must become more consistent in order for him to become a starter in the league. He still has a great work ethic and the base to become a legitimate NBA player even though there are more questions than there were before.
Good Fits: Portland, Minnesota, and Philadelphia
Bad Fits: Utah, New Orleans, and Cleveland
34. Tim Hardaway Jr, SG, Michigan- Hardaway Junior could be one of those players who separates himself in a densely-packed swingman group through knowing exactly what it takes to become and stay a professional athlete. He impressed at the combine and showed the work ethic necessary to stick in the NBA while also having the physical attributes to play shooting guard. While he does not have the handle to be a lead guard, he should be able to keep off guards uncomfortable, particularly if he can get his three point shooting on track. Getting back up to 35.8 percent this season after a bad sophomore year helps keep the faith in that regard. Fully embracing role player status and the requisite increase in intensity that follows the decrease in minutes could allow Hardaway to help a team early and hang around until the rest of his game develops.
Good Fits: OKC, Cleveland, and LA Clippers
Bad Fits: Minnesota, Phoenix, and Washington
35. Dario Saric, PF/SF, Croatia- For the life of me, I cannot figure out how Saric will work out as an NBA player. His defense is a major concern since it likely leaves him as a PF/SF tweener unless his body can develop enough to put him more firmly in one camp or the other (likely PF since lateral quickness does not come easily). There are things to like, most notably how he can facilitate an offense at 6’10” through passing and some shooting. The system and surrounding talent will play a major role in determining Dario’s success in the pros since he can thrive with the right responsibilities and flail otherwise.
Good Fits: Atlanta, Indiana, and Houston
Bad Fits: Portland and Brooklyn
36. Bojan Dubljevic, PF/C, Montenegro- Scoring 12.1 points per game in the Spanish ACB is no small accomplishment, especially when you consider that Dubljevic is only 21 and playing in his first season in the prestigious league. Bojan also delivered in Eurobasket 2013, showing the potential to play with high-level talent that has only brightened with Valencia. He has a nice overall scoring game and feels like the type of interior worker who could get NBA opponents frustrated and in foul trouble. As a bonus, he shot 84 percent on free throws this year which only helps project his jumper and value as a total offensive player. Both his athleticism and rebounding are significant red flags in terms of starting potential but I really do like him as a contributor whenever a team would like to bring him over.
Good Fits: Minnesota (just to see if they can wreck people), OKC, and wherever Josh Smith ends up
Bad Fits: Detroit and Utah
37. Mike Muscala, C, Bucknell- Having legit size for an NBA Center means that Muscala does not have the same adjustment period that the slightly too small crew may have at the next level even though he is coming from dramatically worse competition. Muscala also has a nice post game and knows what he is doing on the offensive end though we will have to see whether going from Bucknell to an NBA rotation will change our tune there. I love that he drills his free throws (78.8 percent last year, which was not an aberration) and his defense should be good enough to keep him in a rotation in the first few seasons. Muscala has a place in the league, ideally coming off the bench with a difference-making shot blocker playing on the weak side and a capable pick and roll PG.
Good Fits: OKC, LA Clippers, and Washington
Bad Fits: New York and Phoenix
38. Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Gonzaga- After a very interesting path to this point, Olynyk will have to work hard to prove that he can play Power Forward on both ends after having disappointing measurements at the Combine (particularly his 6’9.75” wingspan). He could be the most skilled big man in this draft class and will need to show that his offensive efficiency around the basket can continue against better competition. I like him the best of the C turned PF bigs in this class (Plumlee, Olynyk, and Cody Zeller) defensively against NBA Power Forwards because of his feet. Seems more like a rotation guy than a starter at this point but that still makes him a useful player in the league.
Good Fits: Philadelphia, LA Clippers, and Denver
Bad Fits: OKC and Detroit
39. Allen Crabbe, SG, Cal- The biggest question for Crabbe is if he can become more than just a pretty shot. That said, shooting 53 percent on unguarded catch and shoot attempts can keep a player in the league a long, long time. Hopefully coming off the bench and fighting for a roster spot will give Allen the urgency on and off the court to up his intensity as a defender and overall scorer- a little Nate Robinson (or JJ Redick in terms of career progression) in him would work wonders.
Good Fits: Indiana, Houston, Denver, and Memphis
Bad Fits: LA Clippers
40. Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State- It seems like Tom Izzo produces a fair amount of guys who can do a lot of different things well without one true stand-out skill and Gary Harris could very well be the next player in that line. I worry a little bit about his size for his position (both height and length) since his strength will become a much smaller advantage against NBA talent. Even with all that, he has a nice all-around offensive game and plays with energy and enthusiasm on both ends of the floor.
41. Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Duke- Offensively, Plumlee appears to be a pure center at this point since he does not have a jumper strong enough to stretch teams out and keep them honest. His post game is alright but not dominant and he will have trouble in the half court battling players who are both bigger and stronger than he. He should be fine but unspectacular on defense and like all of the Plumlees has done a nice job as a rebounder in college. Sort of the wrong kind of tweener at this point but benefits from having the physical tools to get better and playing a position where he can help a team out while he works to strengthen his weak points.
Good Fits: Dallas and Brooklyn
Bad Fits: Memphis and Cleveland
42. Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina- A prototypical swigman role player prospect because he does not have the X factor that screams NBA starter but has exactly the type of skills that teams value in reserves. His shooting has been good at the collegiate level (43 percent from three this season) and he should be able to defend small forwards reasonably well. Unfortunately, while he defended some strong players at UNC, I do not see him having the quickness to handle SG’s at the next level which does hamstring his value a little. Fortunately, his ability to contribute early on could get him in the right situation quickly which should work out for the best.
Good Fits: Washington, Cleveland, and LA Clippers
Bad Fits: Phoenix
43. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia- Despite playing in a major conference, I look at Caldwell-Pope more like a small school guy because of how little talent he had around him at Georgia. At this point, Caldwell-Pope stands out as a prospect more on his potential than his actual production (more like a big school player) though he did some very encouraging things in college. He should be able to defend SG’s and potentially some SF’s (a 6’8” wingspan makes that a little tight) and while his shooting has improved he still needs more work making it repeatable and reliable. Even though his pull-up jumper has been his best offensive weapon this season, playing more off the ball should help Caldwell-Pope refine his offensive game and with coaching he should be able to become at least a rotation player.
Good Fits: Utah (if they get a capable PG)
Bad Fits: Portland, Minnesota, and Memphis
44. Ray McCallum, PG, Detroit- Every year, there are a few players that stay higher than expected on gut feel. McCallum makes that list this season for me, possibly because he does not have any of the pitfalls that cause PG’s to flounder at the next level. His jumper needs work but shows signs of being functional from deep and his handle should allow him to create even as it develops. It will take a ton of improvement to become a starter at the next level yet not that much to become a valuable contributor at a position where quality depth is always welcome.
Good Fits: Cleveland, Chicago, Golden State, and Detroit
Bad Fits: Minnesota
45. Nemanja Nedovic, PG/SG, Serbia- I love Euros who project to be better NBA players than European players, particularly at the guard spots. Nedovic has NBA athleticism, dropping an impressive 41 inch vertical at the Eurocamp in 2012 and more importantly he uses that in his game. With coaching and effort, he should be able to convert that into impact on the defensive end with the brass ring of an NBA contract in front of him. Both his jumper and handle need work but can absolutely get better- nothing broken here. I like him more as a PG than a SG because of his physical profile and weakness as a jumpshooter and he could be a fascinating player for a team to either draft and stash or just develop themselves.
Good Fits: OKC, Golden State, and San Antonio
Bad Fits: Portland and Phoenix
46. Pierre Jackson, PG, Baylor- A fascinating player because of his unusually potent strengths and weaknesses. Jackson has been able to get where he wants on the floor in college and in workouts and also has a nice enough jumpshot to keep teams off-balance. Unfortunately, his lack of length (Jackson would have the smallest standing reach in the DraftExpress database of any player to make the NBA) produces concern on both ends of the floor despite his other gifts. Playing with better talent should help reduce his turnover rate and decreasing his usage could also help his shooting to a degree.
Good Fits: Chicago, Portland, and Memphis
Bad Fits: LA Clippers and New Orleans
47. Michael Snaer, SG, Florida State- As someone who has followed Snaer since his time in high school, it has been fascinating to watch his development as a player and the evolution of his draft stock. At this point, Snaer will make the NBA because of his defense. One of the rare players to have the athletic profile to defend who actually played with effort and focus on that end, Michael played a major role in Florida State’s defense when he was on the floor and will do the same in a much smaller niche against professional talent. His offensive game has limitations but I do like his jumper even though his release could cause some problems since it is pretty low for a guy his size. The proliferation of shooting and scoring SG’s makes Snaer a natural fit on a wide variety of teams.
Good Fits: Cleveland, Chicago, and Brooklyn
Bad Fits: Detroit and Denver
48. Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State- One of the most interesting test cases for translation in this entire draft class. Franklin played with an incredibly high usage rate last season for San Diego State and that did not work out well at all with 28% shooting from three and a high turnover rate. If he can get the mental part of the 3-D role down, it would stop his offense from casting a shadow over his strong defense. Furthermore, that kind of mental shift would allow him to become a more potent defender and use more energy on that end. He has nice athleticism and size for his position so the main question is whether an old-ish dog (Franklin turns 22 in June) can learn enough new tricks to forge a career.
Good Fits: Atlanta and Chicago
Bad Fits: Denver, Orlando, and New York
49. BJ Young, SG/PG, Arkansas- When you see something special in a young player, it is awfully hard to walk away from that feeling in a short period of time. Watching BJ Young his freshman year gave me visions of Jamal Crawford from his surprising athleticism to a nice jump shot. Unfortunately, Young’s performance on and off the court since that point has served to try and make all of us forget how tantalizing he was a little more than a year ago. He did not perform well at the combine and should be a better defender than he has been so far. I always value high potential but it gets hard to see it sometimes.
Good Fits: Denver, Houston, and Washington
Bad Fits: Phoenix, Detroit, and Sacramento
50. Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky- As happens from time to time, Goodwin comes into the last month before the NBA Draft with his stock at its lowest point since he got on the radar. He has the physical tools to be a starter in the league with the ability to become both a strong defender and a capable offensive player. His problem has been that his performance on the court and behavior off the court has made me wonder whether he can reach that high ceiling and how much time and effort it may take. While big men with potential often get enough time and coaching to eventually get there, guards have a much shorter leash since they are considered a much more accessible commodity. Archie simply must show early and often that a team needs to keep him around if he wants to play in the US his whole career rather than finding himself in Europe and eventually returning ala Alan Anderson.
Good Fits: OKC, San Antonio, and Milwaukee
Bad Fits: Utah and Washington
51. Livio Jean-Charles, SF/PF, France- A combo forward in both the best and worst ways, Jean-Charles has plenty of defensive potential and showed his all-around game at the Nike Hoop Summit with a remarkable 27 and 13. What makes Jean-Charles refreshing is that he has both defensive ability and proper effort, allowing him to help the team out on that end consistently. While playing within yourself on the offense end can certainly be a good thing for players once they find their NBA role, it would be good for Jean-Charles to work hard on his mid-range game to give teams something else to think about.
Good Fits: Portland, San Antonio, and New Orleans
Bad Fits: Wherever Josh Smith ends up and Denver
52. TJ Warren, SF, NC State- I like Warren the most of the NC State team as a draft prospect even though he needs a better jump shot from NBA range in order to become a potent offensive player. He will really need to grind on defense without that jumper and luckily will have another year to show what he can do in college.
53. Tony Snell, SF/SG, New Mexico- Like so many of the 3-D potential guys in this draft, Snell needs to work on one of the two components. Fortunately, Snell has the ability to become a better defender than he was in college due to a respectable combination of size and quickness and playing less minutes per game could give him the juice to play on both ends with more effort and enthusiasm. Tony’s jumper is nice though he may be more limited as an overall offensive player than some of his other jumpshooting compadres in this class. Absolutely worth a pick and a potential rotation player.
Good Fits: Brooklyn, Golden State, and Dallas
Bad Fits: Phoenix and Utah
54. Ryan Kelly, PF, Duke- The purest of all the stretch fours in the draft, Kelly shot a remarkable 42.2 percent from three and has more depth to his offensive game than just the jumper. Unfortunately, he does not balance that on the defensive end and will have to be protected on that end in all likelihood. Even then, now could be the best time to be a professional shooter, particularly as a big man.
Good Fits: Washington, Denver, LA Lakers (if they keep Dwight), and Indiana
Bad Fits: Sacramento and Portland
55. Lorenzo Brown, PG/SG, NC State- People have been talking about Brown for a while and his size for a primary ballhandler certainly brings some intrigue. His problem there is that he is not the kind of elite athlete to make him a clear-cut PG defensively so he might become more of a combo guard as a defensive necessity. Beyond that, his lack of strong burst speed means that his handle and passing need to be spot-on in order for him to create for others. Luckily, he can put that together and become a rotation player with meaningful upside.
Good Fits: San Antonio and Utah
Bad Fits: Sacramento and Detroit
56. Matthew Dellavadova, PG, St. Mary’s- One of my absolute favorites around this point in the draft because of how good he can be as a distributor. Living in the Bay Area has allowed me to see just how talented a passer Dellavadova can be and he has enough of a handle to create for others. The Australian product does not have the athleticism to play strong defense (particularly on screens, from what I have seen) which could also rear its head on offense but very few individuals can do what he can offensively, particularly in a bench role. Having teammates that can actually finish the dimes Dellavadova gives them will be a welcome change as well.
Good Fits: Memphis, Atlanta, and Utah
Bad Fits: Portland and Philadelphia
57. Seth Curry, SG/PG, Duke- Curry is a roll of the dice but I’m not sure you could pick a better bloodline to take a chance on when it comes to shooters. The younger Curry has a pretty stroke and immense problems defending either NBA position though he does seem to have solid instincts on defense. He also cannot create as well as his brother and that’s why he will have to fight for his place in the league.
Good Fits: Golden State (why not?), Chicago, and OKC
Bad Fits: Sacramento, Phoenix, and Portland
58. Glen Rice Jr, SF, NBDL- The D-League has actually made Rice hard to evaluate because he will not be able to play a similar role in the NBA since there are not a ton of smallball fours that measure out below 6’6” in shoes. Fortunately, Rice has a nice jumper and has done a very good job rehabilitating his image and reputation after a rough go of it at Georgia Tech. Playing against professional talent at 22 makes for a nice story and some good experience but I wonder whether he will be able to succeed when the players get bigger, stronger, faster and smarter.
Good Fits: Washington, Orlando, and Utah
Bad Fits: Houston and Atlanta
59. Brandon Paul, SG, Illinois- We have seen flashes of brilliance from Paul, including his MVP performance at the Maui Invitational this season. The challenge for him will be to concentrate his strong points into limited minutes on the floor, especially at the beginning of his career. Having a 6’10.25” wingspan offsets his height since he can play tall with those arms and pretty good quickness. He will need to work on both creating separation and then maximizing each and every offensive opportunity when he has it in terms of scoring himself and creating for others. An interesting prospect since toning down his role and reducing his minutes will provide a challenge that may end up making Paul a more dangerous player if he can embrace what that means for his career.
Good Fits: Philadelphia, Dallas, and Orlando
Bad Fits: Memphis and Portland
60. Phil Pressey, PG, Missouri- There are fun parallels with Pressey and Myck Kabongo because they are two of the rare pass-first point guards in this tier of draft-eligible players. Pressey used his quickness, handle and passing ability to generate looks for himself and teammates at Missouri but his lack of size (both length and strength) will make that production difficult to replicate at the next level. Like Kabongo, a reliable jump shot could make all the difference in terms of sticking in the NBA for multiple contracts.
Good Fits: Dallas, Utah, and Portland
Bad Fits: Washington and Houston
61. Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas- You can still see the player that was ranked so highly coming out of high school when watching Myck Kabongo today. He does a very nice job creating for teammates and he has good instincts as a pass-first PG. His lack of a jumper gets compounded by a non-elite handle and non-elite athleticism, thus making him substantially easier to defend. Improving any one of those three would dramatically shift his value as a professional. Fortunately for Kabongo, the things he does well are in somewhat rare supply right now and that could buy him the time necessary to become a well-rounded rotation player in the league.
Good Fits: Philadelphia, Chicago, and Utah
Bad Fits: Atlanta and Orlando
62. James Southerland, SF, Syracuse- While he could have better defensive potential than some specialists (it is so hard to tell with Syracuse players), Southerland has a nice enough stroke to make it work even in that limited a role. Embracing a catch and shoot role that also uses his skill using screens could allow Southerland to help out a team early in his career though he will need to get his defense up to snuff since he is not truly elite as a shooter at this point. Interesting prospect who could end up doing nicely in workouts during June.
Good Fits: Sacramento, Dallas, and Washington
Bad Fits: Detroit and Utah
63. Adonis Thomas, SF, Memphis- After a disappointing run at Memphis, the whole case for Thomas centers on his physical potential. Carrying an NBA body and enough athletic ability to defend his position actually separates him somewhat from his peers in 2013. Unfortunately, he has not shown an offensive game and that defensive potential has not become impact for the most part. He will have to battle to get into the league at 20 but absolutely could mature and come into his own as an all-around player a few years from now wherever he spends those seasons.
Good Fits: Indiana, Cleveland, and Washington
Bad Fits: San Antonio and Detroit
64. Erik Murphy, PF, Florida- If you can play power forward and shoot 45 percent on threes (attempting 4.4 of them per game), you will get looks from NBA teams. Even though the rest of his game is largely unimpressive but not horrendous, players who fit that true stretch four vision on offense are a legitimately rare commodity and Murphy benefits from doing a good job working to develop his game in college so some more improvement on the boards or defending PF’s would make him an even more valuable contributor.
Good Fits: LA Lakers, Utah, and Washington
Bad Fits: Minnesota
65. Grant Jerrett, PF, Arizona- Can a player this limited make it work as an NBA player? His physical frame is fine but he does not have the athleticism or strength to give himself any advantages over even rotation players and also does not have the skill to dominate them that way. He did a nice job shooting both during the season (on limited looks which were mostly three point jumpers) and at the Combine, so that seems like the best path forward.
Good Fits: Washington, Dallas, and LA Lakers
Bad Fits: Minnesota and Phoenix
66. Patric Young, PF/C, Florida- There was a time when Patric Young’s strength and athleticism had people talking about him as a potential lottery pick. However, it always scares me when a player with the ability to block tons of shots and plays on the interior does not rebound and Patric finds himself in that group.
67. Colton Iverson, C, Colorado State- While he has other strengths, Iverson’s best shot of making it as a pro comes from his rebounding prowess. Being No. 10 in the NCAA in pace adjusted rebounds means something, particularly since most of the players above him played in non-major conferences as well. Both his interior scoring and his interior defense will weaken by playing better competition but a player who can rebound and has the size to play center should allow him to play for a while if he can bring the intensity for limited minutes.
Good Fits: Philadelphia, Portland, and Houston
Bad Fits: Minnesota and Detroit
68. Vander Blue, SG, Marquette- At this point, the most likely outcome for Blue is as a roster player who plays some SG in the rotation due to injuries. Being limited to the SG role on offense and defense curtails his value somewhat and will eventually become more of a catch and shoot guy since he will have teammates who can handle and create much better. Fortunately, he can provide value in transition and become a solid defensive player either towards the end of an NBA bench or in a larger role in another league.
Good Fits: Minnesota, Chicago, and Washington
Bad Fits: Phoenix and Sacramento
69. Dwight Powell, PF/C, Stanford- An interesting prospect to watch because Powell will have lots of attention on him as one of the best returning players in the Pac-12. He has some solid athletic gifts but has played pretty soft on both ends which poses major problems for his stock since he would need substantially more perimeter skill to justify a high draft pick without some more grit.
70. James Ennis, SF, Long Beach State- Ennis intrigues because his athleticism gives him the ability to be a much better defender than he has shown in college. Combining that length and athleticism with a surprisingly good jump shot for a guy with his abilities and you have the definition of a second round flier on the perimeter. Drafting a perimeter player on potential who completed four years in college without showing a ton of it on the floor clearly has its risks and the fact that Ennis turns 23 shortly after the draft raises plenty of red flags. That said, he deserves a shot in a group where not too many people have all the pieces to become a solid NBA player.
Good Fits: Washington, Dallas, Denver, and Orlando
Bad Fits: OKC
71. Trevor Mbakwe, PF, Minnesota- Both Richard Howell and Jackie Carmichael have gotten meaningful pub as rebounders and deservedly so. Mbakwe beat them in pace-adjusted rebounding this past season, finishing No. 3 in college basketball with Mike Muscala as the only legit prospect ahead of him. Mbakwe is already 24 due to getting a sixth season of eligibility but that does not hurt him much because upside does not play a major part in his sales pitch. As a second round pick, he can provide immediate minutes even though he will need to figure out how to adapt his game to new competition.
Good Fits: Philadelphia, Boston, and Sacramento
Bad Fits: Golden State and Denver
72. Carrick Felix, SG, Arizona State- A back-end rotation player who actually played somewhat similarly to that in college, Felix plays with energy on both ends and has an alright jumper that he will need to show NBA range on in order to make it out of camp somewhere. His activity and athleticism certainly make him the type of player a team will love in Summer League which could be enough to get him on a roster sooner, later, or both.
Good Fits: Dallas and Chicago
Bad Fits: Washington and Portland
73. Nate Wolters, PG, South Dakota State- I want to like Wolters more as an NBA prospect. His effort and production with the Jackrabbits has been legitimately impressive and he possesses a craftiness to his game that could allow him to stick in the league. Unfortunately, his lateral quickness can be exploited by NBA talent while the skills he showed playing iso-ball in the Summit League will face a much bigger challenge with the leap in opponent quality. Getting a reliable jumper could be the most important factor for him moving forward.
Good Fits: Milwaukee and Atlanta
Bad Fits: Washington and Milwaukee
74. Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State- Getting comparisons to Damian Lillard due to their small school backgrounds does not work favorably for Canaan because he does not bring the same things to the table. Being a strong off the dribble shooter should help Isaiah immensely in the pros since it forces teams to defend him differently, though the serious drop in his three-point effectiveness this season raises some concerns. The big difference between Lillard and Canaan comes in creating for others. Canaan does not have the court vision and passing ability to be a more disruptive force on offense and needs to improve his scoring at the rim as well in order to keep teams honest. The right team and the right system could make him a real asset but it feels unlikely that he will become more than a rotation player in the NBA.
Good Fits: Philadelphia and Washington
Bad Fits: Milwaukee and Minnesota
75. Jahii Carson, PG, Arizona State- Despite being a 20-year-old freshman, there was plenty to like about Carson’s first season at ASU. His combination of athleticism and handle makes him incredibly tough to cover at the collegiate level and could partially translate to the NBA. That quickness also helps him make up for his small frame on the defensive end, especially since he appears to try hard there. If he can develop one more tool in his toolbox (a midrange jumper, three point shot, or drawing fouls would work) he could jump up a few levels as a prospect.
76. Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, France- Proof that I don’t love every non-American big man in this class, Jaiteh’s biggest problem is that he does not have a ton of athleticism to go along with his big frame. Having a 7’4” wingspan will get him part of the way but he needs to either get quicker, bouncier, or get even better awareness to become a major factor defensively. His scoring likely limits him to center offensively but being just 18 years old when the next season starts means he has plenty of time to develop, potentially saving an NBA team years on his rookie deal by doing so in Europe.
Good Fits: Sacramento, Portland, and Chicago
Bad Fits: Dallas and Utah
77. DeWayne Dedmon, C, USC- Another hard guy to figure out since he has such good athleticism but never came close to putting it together in college. As a player who will turn 24 before his first professional game, teams would like to be drafting on more than height, weight, wingspan and speed/agility. Fortunately, Dedmon did a good job on the boards in college and can hang his hat on that and potentially his better scoring at the rim in 2011-2012 (he performed worse up close this season). His aggressiveness on defense will work better in limited minutes than it did as a Trojan though fouls still pose problems to NBA squads even if he will not foul out. An interesting player who will need some coaching and seasoning to become worthy of minutes.
Good Fits: Chicago, Orlando, Memphis, and Minnesota
Bad Fits: Sacramento and Atlanta
78. Kenny Kadji, PF, Miami- An interesting stretch-four since his jumper already seems pretty solid albeit not spectacular for the league today. Even at his best seems like more of a role player than a starter but role players have a part to play as well. If you put him with a more traditional C at times when the opponent cannot put the ball on the floor and exploit Kadji defensively, he could be a nice little contributor at the next level.
Good Fits: LA Lakers, Houston, Memphis, and Milwaukee
Bad Fits: Phoenix and Dallas (if they don’t get Dwight)
79. Solomon Hill, SF, Arizona- One of those lower upside, higher floor swingmen that come into the league every season. Hill does not do anything at a level that will turn your head (though his perimeter shooting improved substantially over his years at Arizona) but he could yield returns for his first team since he has to know he will need to fight for a chance to make it. Has enough ability in every phase of the game to hang, which gives him a reasonable shot at sticking and providing some immediate value.
Good Fits: San Antonio and Atlanta
Bad Fits: Minnesota and Philadelphia
80. Richard Howell, PF, NC State- Another player who at one point topped my NC State draft board, Howell will have to be a truly elite rebounder to become an NBA rotation player since he is a man without a position on the defensive end. Lacking the quickness to defend PF’s and the size to handle NBA centers will be a big struggle for him. He has some interesting offensive pieces and his intensity/effort are great, which should help him moving forward wherever that ends up.
Good Fits: Portland and Memphis
Bad Fits: Atlanta and Orlando
81. Brandon Davies, C/PF, BYU- After playing well in Portsmouth, former BYU big man Brandon Davies got a spot at the Combine and did reasonably well. He seems like more of a C than a PF on offense but his agility was better than expected and he may be able to defend some PF’s which only helps his value. An intriguing potential depth player.
Good Fits: Minnesota, Dallas, and LA Lakers
Bad Fits: Washington and Indiana
82. CJ Leslie, PF/SF, NC State- At this point, Leslie seems like the wrong kind of tweener on both offense and defense though he has the physical ability to turn both of them around. On defense, he has the length to handle 3’s and 4’s and pretty good lateral agility in terms of small forwards. Unfortunately, that has not translated into a major impact on that end during his years at NC State since his attention and basketball IQ leave something to be desired. On offense he has PF range on his jumper and PF handles but SF strength, meaning it will be hard for him to score against professional players in half-court sets without substantial improvement in one or more areas. While potential helps many players when it comes to the draft, not showing it through three years in college makes it somewhat of an anchor since we have to wonder why it has not translated into impact or production at this point.
Good Fits: Sacramento and OKC
Bad Fits: Washington and Orlando
83. Deshaun Thomas, SF/PF, Ohio State- After three years at Ohio State, I am still not sold on Deshaun Thomas as an NBA player, largely because I have no idea who he will defend in the pros. In order to make an NBA rotation as a forward who has trouble defensively, a guy better be awfully good on the offensive end and his success in college may not carry over as opponents get bigger, faster, stronger and smarter at the next level. Dialing up the jumper could help since it would allow him a little more space to create off the dribble.
Good Fits: Memphis and Orlando
Bad Fits: Portland and Minnesota
84. Jackie Carmichael, PF, Illinois State- Carmichael has all the hallmarks of being a better college player than pro (at least in the NBA) since the change in opposition will take away some of his biggest strengths. Back to the basket PF’s without reliable jumpers can be helped off of if they are not dominant and his defense will face different challenges with guys like Kevin Love and Paul Millsap than he faced at Illinois State. Still deserves a shot at the next level but will have to show more depth to his game to make it.
Good Fits: Indiana and Dallas
Bad Fits: LA Lakers, Golden State, and Orlando
85. Erick Green, PG/SG, Virginia Tech- Sort of the wrong kind of combo guard in the NBA since Green’s handle and decision-making make having him on the floor as the sole ballhandler would be a dangerous proposition for an NBA team. He has an impressive jumper made even more remarkable because of the degree of difficulty of the looks he made in college. As long as he can make the transition to the deeper three point line, Green’s shooting makes him worth a look and a chance at the next level.
Good Fits: Indiana and San Antonio
Bad Fits: Memphis and Orlando
86. Peyton Siva, PG, Louisville- One of the leaders of this season’s National Champions, Siva will need to show more depth and strength in his game in order to make an NBA rotation. His effort on the defensive end could make the right coach fall in love with him while his lack of a reliable jumper (notice a trend for the PG prospects?) could do the reverse. Absolutely deserving of a chance to stick, coaching and time could end up working in Siva's favor moving forward.
Good Fits: Memphis and Detroit
Bad Fits: LA Lakers and Orlando
One thing to add at the outset: Part of how I rate prospects is on a tier system. Players are put into tiers based on what I see as their most likely NBA niche in their prime. Here’s how I draw the lines:
Tier 1- Superstars: Guys who you expect to make the All-Star game more often than not. [Examples: LeBron James, Chris Paul]
Tier 2- Great starters: #2 scoring options, solid bigs, and the like. Typically the #2-#4 players on high level teams. [Examples: Mike Conley, Luol Deng]
Tier 3- Good to very good starters (or great 6th men):. Guys who you are happy with starting for the team, but front offices would still look for improvements. [Examples: Danny Granger, David West]
Tier 4- High-level rotation players: Players who would be better off coming of