I think Muhammad is the overwhelming favorite to go first overall right now. Wing players are not usually taken with the first pick, but Muhammad has amazing talent and is off to a very good start in what will be a short college career. Muhammad has really come in the last couple of weeks for the Bruins, showing that all around scoring ability that had scouts raving. He is simply too strong for opposing college players to guard, and could hold his own against most NBA wing players today, with his strong body and tough game. He has not been asked to do much other then score for Ben Howland's NBA unfriendly system. Muhammad would give the Wizards that tough competitor that the roster is severely lacking right now.
Len has really come on his sophomore year, showing great instincts as a scorer, shot blocker and rebounder. He will just have turned 20 by the time the draft rolls around, and he has just tapped his potential and remains very much a project. I would take Len over the other big men available. Unlike Nerlens Noel and Cody Zeller, Len has the size to play center right now, standing at 7'1 and adding weight to his frame. When in doubt, you draft for size and potential. The Cavaliers could really go any direction here and I think someone like Archie Goodwin or Ben McLemore would make sense as a running mate for Kyrie Irving, but I doubt they relegate reach Dion Waiters to backup status after just one year.
McLemore was forced to sit out his true freshman season, and is making up for time with a start this year. He is your prototypical wing player. He is strong, can handle the ball and shoot from everywhere. He is also a very good defender for his position. As athletic as the NBA is, there are only a few shooting guards who have All Star ability. I think McLemore can reach that level. The Bobcats have drafted pretty well the past couple of seasons, as Michael Kidd-Gilcrhist and Kemba Walker are probably their two best players. But they still really need guys who can create their own offense and put up points.
Trey Burke is my current pick for player of the year. His stats are off the charts, from his 18 points per game, 7.5 assists with less then two turnovers per game, to his amazing shooting percentages. He is the leader of the top ranked team in the country, putting once proud Michigan basketball back on the map. As far as his pro prospects go, experts point to his lack of size as a reason he won't go in the lottery. That's hogwash to me. Ask Ty Lawson or Chris Paul if size matters. The game has changed, it has become smaller and quicker, meaning guys like Burke can flourish at the next level now. I think he is a lottery lock, and with the premium on point guards right now, I take him in the top five. If Jonny Flynn can go in the top six, a player much better is not a reach here. As far as the Hornets, they take Burke by process of elimination. Nerlens Noel would be redundant with Anthony Davis on the roster. As would Anthony Bennett, who would have to fight for minutes with Ryan Anderson and Davis. And honestly, I like Burke's potential much better then Cody Zeller.
The Suns have talent on their team. Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat are players any team would like to have as starters. The problem is those are some of the least athletic players at their position in the league. You need talent to win in this league, and Phoenix just does not have much of it. The bench is even worse. The Suns could possibly have three first round picks, and with those picks, they need to address on adding athleticism and potential to this roster. Noel would be a great start. He is not much of a scorer, but he can run the floor and is an elite defender, both on the ball and as a help shot blocker. He is not Anthony Davis, but he is pretty much a top five lock and someone the Suns could start to build around.
If Anthony Bennett was three inches taller, he would be the number one pick. As it stands, he is yet another tweener in the Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams mold. Hopefully he can find a position in the NBA and be successful, because he has a boat load of talent. He is a great rebounder, ferocious dunker and has the jump shot to be a passable small forward. Like most forward tweeners, the worry is if he can guard small forwards at the next level if he plays the 3. In the East, he won't have to go up against as many big men, so he could get away with being a shorter power forward. That is something to worry about after the games start, though. The Magic are starting from scratch and he would be a great athletic prospect to build around.
It looks like the Kings will be moving to Seattle. I really hope they can bring back the SuperSonics nickname and jerseys. Some of the best in sports. As for Smart, his college career is off to a great start, and he has really picked his game up the last couple of weeks. He showed up big time in back to back tough losses against Gonzaga and Kansas State. His shooting is still a work in progress, but he already has an NBA body, is a good rebounder and ball handler and is very tough. Scouts are still not sure what position he will play in the NBA, but talent like his does not last long on draft day.
The Mavericks roster has fallen off terribly since their championship season, and the team needs young guys at all five positions, so they will go best player available. That is easily Goodwin to me. He is not the shooter that Ben McLemore is, but he is a good ball handler that could actually be a point guard at the next level. He is tough, can get to the rim and has drawn some comparisons to Russell Westbrook, who was also a guard without a position before settling into the point for Oklahoma City.
Zeller will not be happy that he fell to the tenth pick, but should be estatic that he landed in such a good situation. While other top prospects will toil away on terrible teams, Zeller gets to battle for championships right away. This would be a great get for the Thunder. Zeller is not a great rebounder or shot blocker, but he is a very talented and efficient offensive big man, with good range and a variety of scoring moves. With the Thunder he will be able to play alongside one of the best shot blockers in the NBA, so he can focus on offense. He will start out as the first big off the bench and could be groomed to take over for the overpaid mediocre Kendrick Perkins sooner then later.
Plumlee was a highly recruited high schooler out of basketball hotbed Indiana, and had slowly developed into a solid contributor by his junior season. He was a good shot blocker and energetic rebounder. His senior season, however, he has exploded into a complete player. He is the go to guy on offense for the Blue Devils and could be the best player in college basketball. I wonder how much of his success is because he is a 22 year old 6'10 player going up against guys much smaller and younger then him. Still, I think he is a guy you look for late in the lottery. The Sixers need to protect themselves against this Andrew Bynum mess by adding some more size to the roster, and at the least, Plumlee would be a solid rebounder and shot blocker off the bench.
I would love to see Robinson stay another year, where he could be the main man on the Wolverines and really shoot up draft boards, but I think he could squeak into the lottery right now. He may be the most talented player on the #1 ranked team in the nation. He is very unselfish, a great scorer and solid rebounder. Obviously, he has the bloodlines, with father Big Dog Glenn Robinson the first overall pick in 1994. He will only be 18 on draft day and is very young and a project, but he has All Star potential. The Suns have virtually no athletic wing players on the roster.
Porter is a skinny, lanky wing player who does not need the ball in his hands to impact the game. He is a good rebounder and a very good defender. Minnesota has been awful at drafting the last few years. Hopefully for the Wolves, he can be more Stacey Augmon and less Corey Brewer.
Unlike former top Baylor recruits Perry Jones and Quincy Miller, Isaiah Austin has produced in a big way as a freshman. He has a great deal of talent, and is a good rebounder and shot blocker, but you worry about a player as skinny as he is who would rather float along the perimeter shooting jump shots then work on a post up game. Austin is a big time project, and a lot more skinny big men become Anthony Randolph's then Chris Bosh's, but with two first round picks, he is a good gamble here. The Jazz would love to find their point guard of the future here, but Trey Burke, Marcus Smart and Michael Carter-Williams are long gone by this point. Austin seems to be the best player available.
The Bucks and Scott Skiles parted ways, so who knows how this roster will be built now. I still wonder if a back court of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis can be successful. Even if it can, depth is needed. Franklin is a big, strong guard who is a heck of a slasher and defender for his position. Playing power forward in San Diego State's four guard lineup, he has become a very good rebounder as well. If he was a better shooter I think he could be a top ten pick.
Poythress has had an up and down freshman season for the Wildcats. At times he has shown his great all around game, including some good scoring efforts. Recently, however, he was brought out by head coach John Calipari for lack of effort and his minutes have suffered as a result. At his best, he is a very strong, defensively talented small forward who can overpower his opponent for buckets. Returning for his sophomore year to improve his game and show how bad he wants it would definitely help. He has top five talent.
Like Alex Poythress and Tony Mitchell, McAdoo was another dark horse canidate for first overall pick entering the season. While his stats have risen with increased playing time, scouts are attacking his lack of leadership and determination. He has earned the dreaded Marvin Williams comparisons. It looks like McAdoo will be more of a complimentary player in the NBA. Someone who could be a useful starter or strong role player off the bench. His shooting is not good enough to play the three, but he is not quite strong enough to be a full time power forward. He does have talent though, and with two first round picks, he would be a great gamble for the Bobcats. Hopefuly for them he is more suited for the NBA game and can have a Rudy Gay like transformation.
Many, including myself, thought that with a strong sophomore season Mitchell would be a top five pick. He has regressed somewhat in every category this season, however, and his North Texas team is losing a lot of games. Mitchell has a ton of talent, but I just can't see him as a lottery pick right now. I have compared him to a young Josh Smith, and he may have to prove himself similar to what the current Hawk has done after being chosen in the latter half of the first round. The Hawks have two first round picks and this looks like a good gamble at this point in the draft.
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Russia
Karasev is the rare Euro prospect that is playing big minutes on a good team in the Euro leagues as a teenager. He was also a key member of Russia's bronze winning Olympic basketball team last year. He is a good shooter and all around wing player, and could make a very good NBA player in a few years. The Nuggets are pretty deep and have a lot of young players on the roster they would like to develop, so taking a guy who they can stash overseas could be the way to go.
The Nets need to use the draft to build their bench. McCollum isn't a traditional point guard, but is in ways a better version of current backup CJ Watson. He is one of the best scorers college basketball has seen in a while. He is a good shooter and a strong enough ball handler to provide backup minutes at point guard. He suffered an unfortunate serious injury but I do not think it will impact his draft position very much. I didn't see him as a lottery pick before the injury and I do not now, but he won't fall out of the first round.
The Bulls have missed Omir Asik as a backup shot blocking, rebounding big man. Withey is similar. He has worked very hard to become a productive college player. With his height and shot blocking ability, he looks like a first round lock. He will probably never be a starter, but could enjoy a long NBA career as a shot blocking energy big man off the bench.
The Hoosiers are more then just Cody Zeller. Oladipo has really come on during his junior year. He is a very strong guard. Just looking at his shooting percentage you can see that he is difficult to guard. He is able to overpower defenders and is tenacious at attacking the rim. Of course, he won't be able to muscle NBA players at will. What scouts love is his defensive potential. Scouts are reminded of Tony Allen, who is one of the best wing defenders in the league. The Hawks need to add young wing players to an overachieving roster.
The Pacers have been on fire since Paul George became starting small forward and focal point of the offense. While you will probably not find starters at this point in the draft, the Pacers need some wing depth, especially shooting, on the roster. Wilcox is one of the best shooters in college basketball. He has great percentages and an can knock down the NBA three.
There are a lot of things Andre Roberson is not good at. He isn't a ball handler, he is a poor shooter and relies on putbacks and dunks for his points, and is a terrible free throw shooter. But he is one of the best rebounders and defenders in college basketball. At this point you are just trying to find guys to help out in the rotation, and Roberson can give you 20 minutes per game of hustle, energy and rebounding. The Knicks need to add youth on the roster and should just go with best player available here.
Myck Kabongo's career at Texas has been disastrous. He struggled playing alongside the biggest ballhog in college basketball J'Covan Brown in 2011-2012. He has yet to play this year because the NCAA went completely overboard in suspending him for as long as they have. I think he will just declare and hope for the best in the NBA instead of suffering further damage to his stock in college. It is tough to know what kind of player he is, but he still plays the all important point guard position, and I think a team who needs a point guard like the Jazz will take him late in the first round.
The Cavaliers have two very early second round picks to use on guys who can contribute immediately, so they take one of the best Euro prospects that the Spurs are certain to snatch up here. Saric is a savvy small forward with nice size and a good all around game. Scouts say he reminds them of Toni Kukoc, a point forward type who is not all that athletic. Saric is only 18 so the Cavaliers could keep him overseas for a few years to hone his game.
So Gobert is a tall, lanky, shot blocking French big man who is struggling to put up any type of stats for his Euro team. We all know that Euro's are worked in very slowly on their overseas teams, but from everything I read, he could be another Alexis Ajinca, who was painfully unproductive during his short NBA career. It might not be fair to compare the two, but I can't see Gobert as a lottery pick right now. But he is a good gamble at the end of the first round for a Timberwolves team that could have multiple first round picks.
After two years as a little used backup for Gonzaga, Olynyk was the rare junior redshirt. That year off has done wonders, as Olynyk has become one of the best scorers in college basketball. He is a good shooter with range, and while still skinny, has added the bulk necessary to score down low against college big men. The NBA will be a different game, but talented offensive 7 footers are hard to come by, and Olynyk has worked himself into the late first round conversation. However, he is not a good rebounder or shot blocker and that will keep him from being a lottery pick. He would be a nice project for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.
Hardaway has really come on his junior year and could be a first round pick. His shooting numbers are up all across the board and he has become a well rounded player. If he had his father's athleticism and ball handling ability, he would be a lottery pick. He could still work his way into a starting NBA shooting guard. The Clippers are a very veteran laden team, but would like to have a young wing player to develop.
I am really not sure if McDermott will return for his senior season or not. His stock will probably not be any higher, as he won't get taller or more athletic. But he has nothing left to prove at the college level. He is an amazing shooter and a very smart player. He has a very high basketball IQ (aka a white guy who can shoot). If Steve Novak and Kyle Korver can make it as NBA players, McDermott definitely has a spot on an NBA roster. The Thunder have a few picks to add talent to their bench, and McDermott wouldn't have to do anything on this team except park in the corner and hit threes.
31. Washington Wizards - PG Lorenzo Brown, Jr, North Carolina State. Brown has come on the last couple of weeks, showing improved shooting and decision making. The point guard position is always in demand, and with improved ACC play he could jump back into the first round. Washington would love to find a backup for John Wall.
32. Cleveland Cavaliers - SF DeShaun Thomas, Jr, Ohio State. Defense is a laughable concept for Thomas, but he is a very talented scorer. The Cavaliers need guys who can put the ball in the basket.
33. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Charlotte Bobcats) - C Gorgui Dieng, Jr, Louisville. Thunder continue to add talent to their bench. Dieng is on a very hot streak and if he keeps up his double double ways he should get back into the first round.
34. New Orleans Hornets - PF Richard Howell, Sr, North Carolina State. Howell is a very hard working, powerful rebounder but probably lacks the height and explosiveness to start at the NBA level. He could give the soft Hornets 15 minutes of toughness a night.
35. Phoenix Suns - SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, So, Georgia. Caldwell-Pope has great talent, but is nothing more then a chucker for a bad Georgia team. He is the perfect type of guy to take at the top of round two and would add athleticism and scoring to the Suns bench.
36. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Orlando Magic) - PG Leo Westermann, France. 6'7 French point guard Leo Westermann is having a very good year after changing ball clubs and could be a high second round developmental pick. Cleveland would like to find a long term backup to Kyrie Irving.
37. Sacramento Kings - PF/C Mike Muscala, Sr, Bucknell. Muscala has worked his way into one of the best big men in college basketball, and should continue to be a good rebounder and shooter at the next level. Would be a solid backup at the four and five for the Kings.
38. Dallas Mavericks - SF/PF Laurence Bowers, Sr, Missouri. Bowers is a hard working tweener who might be a DeMarre Carroll at the next level, but he is the type of college winner the Mavericks like to select in the second round.
39. Detroit Pistons - SF/PF CJ Leslie, Jr, North Carolina State. Leslie is a very good college player and is having a good year, but he reminds me too much of a Travis Outlaw or Hakim Warrick to be taken high in the first round. He might be a man without an NBA role, but should be taken high in the second round because he does offer some upside.
40. Toronto Raptors - PG Isaiah Canaan, Sr, Murray State. Like most mid major talented point guards, he is shouldered with most of the scoring burden and will have to learn how to play point at the next level. But he has the talent to be a strong backup in this league.
41. Philadelphia 76ers - PG Phil Pressey, Jr, Missouri. Pressey has too many limitations to be a starting point guard, but could make it as a backup due to his strong decision making and solid ball handling skills. Philadelphia is another team who would like to find a backup to their young stud point guard.
42. Los Angeles Lakers - PG/SG Erick Green, Sr, Virginia Tech. Green is the top scorer in college basketball, a fearless shooter that could make it in the NBA as an instant points type guy off the bench.
43. Portland Trail Blazers (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - SF Rodney Williams, Sr, Minnesota. Williams never quite developed into that star college player many thought he would, but he has become a very solid leader for one of the most surprising teams in the country. He has a nice all aroudn game and could find rotation minutes on a shallow Blazers roster.
44. Utah Jazz - SG Alex Abrines, Spain. Abrines is young and probably will not come to the states for a few years, but he could be a steal for the Jazz here. He has some Rudy Fernandez to his game.
45. Milwaukee Bucks - PG Nate Wolters, Sr, North Dakota State. Wolters is a great college scorer who may not be athletic enough to make it in the NBA. He could stick as a backup point guard, though, and the Bucks have a need.
46. Portland Trail Blazers (from Boston Celtics) - SG Brandon Paul, Sr, Illinois. The Blazers take two guys in the second round who could make an immediate impact off the bench. Paul has really come on his senior year, showing great scoring ability. He is an absolute steal here, and someone who could nudge his way into the first round.
47. Denver Nuggets (from Portland Trail Blazers) - PG Pierre Jackson, Sr, Baylor. Jackson is one of the best point guards in college basketball but might lack the strength to make it in the NBA. He is a blur, though, and could be fun to watch on the fast break in Denver.
48. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets) - PF Jackie Carmichael, Sr, Illinois State. Carmichael has good size and decent athleticism and is putting up good numbers on a bad team.
49. Phoenix Suns (from Denver Nuggets) - C Lucas Nogueira, Brazil. Nogueira is a name NBA draft nerds have heard of for the last few years. He is similar to Rudy Gobert, a tall, skinny, athletic big man. He will most likely be a very long term project, but someone the Suns can afford to develop.
50. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn Nets) - PF Trevor Mbakwe, Sr, Minnesota. Mbakwe has been in college since the 1960's, and is simply a role player for the surprising Gophers this year. He is a good rebounder and a gritty, tough team player, and those kinds of players are always drafted in the second round.
51. Chicago Bulls - PF Bojan Dubljevic, Montenegro. Dubljevic is one of the best players in Europe. He is tougher then your average Euro big man. He is locked into a nice contract, but could be a solid NBA producer in a few years.
52. Atlanta Hawks - PG Matthew Dellavedova, Sr, St. Mary's. Dellavedova struggles against top competition but has nice size and is a flashy, heady point guard. He could be drafted late in round two.
53. Indiana Pacers - PG/SG Seth Curry, Sr, Duke. If Curry is drafted at all, it will be for his great spot up shooting ability and little else.
54. Washington Wizards (from New York Knicks) - C Reggie Johnson, Sr, Miami. Johnson has serious weight issues and overweight big men do not usually last long in the NBA, even though they are often drafted in the second round.
55. Orlando Magic (from Golden State Warriors) - PF Alex Oriakhi, Sr, Missouri. Oriakhi was a former Connecticut recruit who did not pan out as hoped, but provides solid rebounding and shot blocking.
56. Miami Heat - SF James Southerland, Sr, Syracuse. Southerland is a good shooter with nice size who could carve out a James Jones like NBA career.
57. Los Angeles Lakers (from Memphis Grizzlies) - SF Elias Harris, Sr, Gonzaga. Harris looked lke a lottery pick after a very impressive year, but has never expanded on those numbers.
58. San Antonio Spurs - PF Ryan Kelly, Sr, Duke. Kelly is a Matt Bonner clone, a big man who likes to chuck up threes.
59. Detroit Pistons (from Los Angeles Clippers) - SG Michael Snaer, Sr, Florida State. A former top recruit who never quite panned out, Snaer is a good shooter.
60. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City Thunder) - C Zeke Marshall, Sr, Arkon. Skinny big man who is a decent shot blocker.