With the 2013 NBA Draft only one day away, it's time to ramp up our draft coverage on CelticsBlog.com. The past month I have been profiling the top ten prospects at each position and have taken an in-depth look at various other players, but today we are going to take a look at my Top 50 Draft Board.
There isn't much hype around the draft this year because of the lack of elite talent in the top ten. However, this pool of players truly has many prospects that could easily become quality role players on any team's rotation. There may not be many All Stars that come from this draft, but I believe we will look back years from now and see the names of many well-respected NBA players.
When I rank and assess players, I focus on five broad categories. Click on the 'buttons' to reveal my reasoning for each one.
Kevin O'Connor's Top 50 Big Board
1. Victor Oladipo - SG - Indiana
2. Nerlens Noel - C - Kentucky
3. Ben McLemore - SG - Kansas
4. Anthony Bennett - PF - UNLV
5. Alex Len - C - Maryland
6. Otto Porter - SF - Georgetown
7. Trey Burke - PG - Michigan
8. CJ McCollum - SG - Lehigh
9. Giannis Antetokounmpo - SF - Greece - ANALYSIS
10. Shabazz Muhammad - SF - UCLA
Victor Oladipo tops my list based on his potential as a stud defensive player. I think he'll be an immediate difference maker for whatever team ends up on and he will still improve offensively as his career develops. He's one of the few potential All Stars in this draft; Nerlens Noel is another one. Even though he's coming off a torn ACL and needs to put on a lot of muscle, he has all the physical tools you look for in a terrific big man. Small forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Shabazz Muhammad both crack my top 10. Antetokounmpo is less developed than Muhammad, but probably has potential to be a better all around player. Shabazz Muhammad is a player that I believe could be better in the NBA than he was in college. Once he refines his game, he could become a tremendous scorer.
11. Dennis Schroeder - PG - Germany
12. Cody Zeller - PF - Indiana
13. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - SG - Georgia
14. Gorgui Dieng - C - Louisville - ANALYSIS
15. Erick Green - PG - Virginia Tech
16. Jamaal Franklin - SG - San Diego State
17. Lucas Nogueria - C - Brazil
18. Jeff Withey - C - Kansas - ANALYSIS
19. Ricky Ledo - SG - Providence
20. Sergey Karasev - SF - Russia
Erick Green might be the player of this group that first jumps out at you. If you read my "Top 10 Point Guards" article you would know that I love his game. He's a combo-guard that scores at a very high rate but has surprisingly impressive point guard skills. He won't be drafted until later in the first round (or in the second round), but he will be a steal in this draft. Ricky Ledo also makes an appearance earlier than most draft boards. I don't think his skill on the offensive end of the floor can be ignored. He didn't play in college but I think his game is built for the NBA.
21. Kelly Olynyk - C - Gonzaga
22. Tony Snell, - SG - New Mexico
23. Glen Rice Jr. - SF - Rio Grande Valley
24. Mason Plumlee - PF - Duke - ANALYSIS
25. Myck Kabongo - PG - Texas - ANALYSIS
26. Livio Jean-Charles - PF - France
27. Reggie Bullock - SF - North Carolina
28. Archie Goodwin - SG - Kentucky
29. Mike Muscala - C - Bucknell
30. Shane Larkin - PG - Miami
Kelly Olynyk deserves to be higher on the list but he slips down to number 21. I think he has a lot of talent but I can't ignore his weaknesses on the defensive end of the floor. He could easily become a great sixth man but I think his lack of abilities on defense prevent him from being a full time starter. I believe that both Myck Kabongo and Archie Goodwin deserve to be in the top 30. Even though they are extremely raw, they have flashed the ability to be quality players in the NBA. Kabongo is a smart pass-first point guard and a terrific man-to-man defender. Goodwin must work on his shot but is an explosive player that excels in transition.
31. Steven Adams - C - Pittsburgh
32. Tony Mitchell - PF - North Texas
33. Michael Carter-Williams - PG - Syracuse
34. Tim Hardaway Jr. - SG - Michigan
35. Rudy Gobert - C - France
36. Allen Crabbe - SG - California
37. Lorenzo Brown - PG - N.C. State
38. C.J. Leslie - SF - N.C. State
39. Jackie Carmichael - PF - Illinois State
40. Isaiah Canaan - PG - Murray State
This is probably the group with four names that people will say should be higher: Steven Adams, Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Mitchell, and Rudy Gobert. I'm just not high on any of these players. All four of them have the physical tools you look for in a player, but I don't see the pure basketball skill or potential in any of them. Steven Adams and Tony Mitchell probably have the best chance to be quality NBA players; Adams is young and has time to grow, Mitchell just needs to fix his lazy attitude on the court. Down the list is Isaiah Canaan. On my profile about him, I called him the "poor man's version of Trey Burke." He could be a potential first round pick.
41. Solomon Hill - SF - Arizona
42. Grant Jerrett - PF - Arizona
43. Trevor Mbakwe - PF - Minnesota
44. James Ennis - SF - Long Beach State
45. Pierre Jackson - PG - Baylor
46. DeShaun Thomas - SF - Ohio State
47. Colton Iverson - C - Colorado State
48. Nate Wolters - PG - South Dakota State
49. Kenny Kadji - PF - Miami
50. Ray McCallum - PG - Detroit
Pierre Jackson is the most electric player out of these ten players. He's a great scorer and could easily become a Nate Robinson type of player, but with more true point guard skills. Trevor Mbakwe and Kenny Kadji are two big men with contrasting playing styles but could easily be effective NBA players. Mbakwe is a high-energy big man that thrives off of offensive rebound put back dunks. Kadji is a perimeter big man that could spread the floor effectively in NBA.