It doesn’t appear that Nerlens Noel’s season-ending ACL tear will mix up the top of the lottery all that much. As long as his rehab goes according to plan, Noel will retain top 5 status but may be too much of a risk to pick first overall. So the million-dollar question right now is which prospect will emerge as the number 1 selection next June.
I have about nine more of these coming before the draft, so go easy on me as there are still plenty of changes coming. As always, comments are welcome. Only players that have changed stock are written about below, so make sure to check out Volume 1 as well.
- Bobcats – Ben McLemore, SG, RS-Freshman, Kansas
McLemore has cooled off of late, but Charlotte needs players who can put the ball in the basket and McLemore can flat out score.
- Magic – Marcus Smart, PG, Freshman, Oklahoma State
Think Tyreke Evans with better defense, and a much better feel for the game.
- Wizards – Otto Porter, SF, Sophomore, Georgetown
Porter has picked up his play of late, averaging 18.9 points per game over his last 12 where Georgetown has gone 11-1 and propelled ahead of Marquette and Syracuse for the lead in the Big East. Porter’s performance against the Orange was one of the best individual efforts of the entire season. His 33 points, 8 boards and 5 steals in a 57-46 win was even more impressive, as he was the only member of the Hoyas in double figures.
- Cavaliers – Cody Zeller, C, Sophomore, Indiana
- Suns – Nerlens Noel, PF, Freshman, Kentucky
Noel still may end up going first overall. By the time the draft comes around we’ll have a good idea of how far along he is with his rehab and when doctors think he’ll get back on the floor. For now, five seems appropriate and the Suns are desperate for a defensive-minded power forward.
- Kings – Victor Oladipo, SG, Junior, Indiana
I wouldn’t be surprised if Oladipo plays his way into the top three by the end of the season. Known for his stellar defense and knack for finding loose balls, Oladipo’s offense has vastly improved this season. He’s shooting 64% from the field, one of the best guard percentages in the nation, and 51% from behind the arc. The upside is James Harden with all-league defense. Yeah, I said it.
- Pelicans – Shabazz Muhammad, SG, Freshman, UCLA
- Timberwolves – Alex Len, C, Sophomore, Maryland
- Pistons – C.J. McCollum, PG, Senior, Lehigh
- Thunder (From Raptors) – Jeff Withey, C, Senior, Kansas
The more I watch Withey the more impressed I am with him on the defensive side of the floor. He has tremendous instincts and closes out well on shooters. He also defends pick and rolls extremely well, especially when he hedges out on opposing point guards. His hedge against Marcus Smart at the end of regulation against Oklahoma State was legendary. A capable offensive player, Withey will help OKC from day one.
- 76ers – Anthony Bennett, PF, Freshman, UNLV
- Mavericks – Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Freshman, Kentucky
Cauley-Stein has always had lottery potential but until Noel went down he just wasn’t getting enough minutes to display his ability. After foul trouble and a complete team meltdown limited him to 2 points and 2 rebounds against Tennessee in his first game as starter, Cauley-Stein has responded by averaging 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5 blocks per game in consecutive wins over Vanderbilt and Missouri. A legitimate 7-footer who moves well and can finish at the rim, WCS would really benefit from another year in school but will crack the lottery if he does enter this year’s draft.
- Bobcats (From Trailblazers) – Isaiah Austin, PF, Freshman, Baylor
Averaging just 10 points on 36% shooting in his last seven games where Baylor is just 2-5.
- Suns (From Lakers) – Jamaal Franklin, SG, Junior, San Diego State
- Bucks – Trey Burke, PG, Sophomore, Michigan
Brandon Jennings is a free agent this summer and there’s a chance some team will overpay for his services, forcing the Bucks to let him walk in free agency. Burke is capable of stepping in and starting right away.
- Celtics – Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
- Hawks (From Rockets) – Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Sophomore, Syracuse
- Hawks – Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Senior, Duke
- Jazz – Doug McDermott, SF, Junior, Creighton
- Jazz (From Warriors) – Rudy Gobert, C, France
- Bulls – Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, RS-Junior, Gonzaga
Last year, Damian Lillard to the Blazers was as perfect a fit as you could imagine for an NBA draft pick. This year, it would be Olynyk to the Bulls. An incredibly skilled offensive player, Olynyk would benefit tremendously from being taught how to play the other side of the ball by the best defensive coach in the league.
- Nets – Allen Crabbe, SG/SF, Junior, California
Brooklyn desperately lacks a scoring punch off the bench and P.J. Carlesimo refuses to give Marshon Brooks minutes. Crabbe is leading the Pac-12 in scoring this season and has the size and shooting stroke to translate his skills to the next level. Crabbe works well off the ball and has drawn comparisons to a poor man’s Rip Hamilton.
- Pacers – C.J. Leslie, SF/PF, Junior, North Carolina State
- Nuggets – Elias Harris, SF/PF, Senior, Gonzaga
Mock drafts are like movie scripts; the final product looks nothing like the first draft. Well my first draft neglected Harris, a powerful combo forward who has improved a ton since last season. Harris doesn’t have NBA 3-point range yet but his ability to knock them down at the college level makes me think he can develop the range with time. He’s also tough to handle on the block and should be able to score consistently at the next level.
- Knicks – Gorgui Dieng, PF/C, Junior, Louisville
- Timberwolves (From Grizzlies) – Andre Roberson, SF, Junior, Colorado
- Clippers – Richard Howell, PF, Senior, North Carolina State
- Thunder – Myck Kabongo, PG, Sophomore, Texas
After missing the first 23 games of the season due to an NCAA violation, Kabongo has rejoined the Longhorns and played pretty well in four games so far as a sophomore. His outside shot is still inconsistent but he gets to his spot as well as any point guard in the nation and is adept at getting to the free throw line. In four more regular season games and hopefully a couple tournament ones, I’m looking to see if Kabongo can have that one breakout game that reminds us that he was the prize point guard in the high school class of 2011.
- Cavaliers (From Heat) – Le’Bryan Nash, SF, Sophomore, Oklahoma State
After starting the season with six consecutive double digit scoring outbursts, things are finally clicking for Nash. Along with Smart and Markel Brown, he makes up one of the best trios in college basketball for the surging Cowboys.
- Spurs – Phil Pressey, PG, Junior, Missouri
Check out our Mock Draft on DC Pro Sports Report and see how we differ from all of the major sports sites.