2013 NBA Draft Top Ten Players

Despite tearing his ACL in February, Nerlens Noel of Kentucky is the projected #1 pick.

Despite tearing his ACL in February, Nerlens Noel of Kentucky is the projected #1 pick. (Image Source: SI.com)

The 2013 NBA Draft is quickly approaching and sixty of the world’s best basketball prospects will hear their names called on Thursday night. Whereas past drafts have had clear-cut favorites to be selected #1 overall, this year’s draft class is very balanced, and many experts differ on who will be taken first by the Cleveland Cavaliers (or if the Cavs will even use their first pick). Here are the top ten players who should come off the board first in the 2013 NBA Draft.

10. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA, 6’6″, 220 lbs. 

Muhammad was the most highly regarded high school prospect in the Class of 2012, and expectations were high when Muhammad arrived in Los Angeles to play for the UCLA Bruins. But an NCAA investigation into Muhammad’s recruiting days found evidence of improper benefits, and the UCLA star was suspended before the season even began. Muhammad returned to the Bruins and was a solid player (17.9 points, 5.2 rebounds), but wasn’t the flashy star everyone thought he would be. Muhammad will still be good, but needs to improve his defense and outside shooting to be a true offensive threat.

9. Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana, 7’0″, 230 lbs. 

Like his brother Tyler Zeller (Cavaliers), Cody is a standout in the low post who has plenty of mobility as well. Zeller is also highly praised by scouts and coaches for his high basketball IQ and unselfish team-first attitude. He will be a good scorer and rebounder in the NBA, but might need to get a bit stronger to match up with the league’s best big men. Still, the 2013 Second Team All-American will make a solid NBA player and could start within a year or two.

8. Michael Carter-Williams, SG, Syracuse, 6’6″, 184 lbs. 

Carter-Williams showed his leadership potential during Syracuse’s run to the 2013 Final Four, and though his 12.1 points per game weren’t earth shattering, he also added 7.2 assists per contest. He is probably more suited to be a point guard and has better skills as a floor leader and playmaker than a scorer or pure shooter, but Carter-Williams will be a valuable asset to any team that drafts him.

7. Alex Len, C, Maryland, 7’1″, 255 lbs. 

Len is the most “experienced” player in the 2013 NBA Draft class; he played a season of professional basketball in his native Ukraine before attending the University of Maryland. Len is a big, strong post player who is one of the best forwards in this draft class. He showed offensive scoring prowess at Maryland, and has held prominent post players in check defensively. He isn’t the most athletic or mobile player, and he recently underwent ankle surgery in May, which will keep him sidelined until September.

6. Anthony Bennett, SF, UNLV, 6’7″, 239 lbs.

Bennett is a bit of a Swiss Army knife player; he can do a little bit of everything on the court. An adept rebounder and post player, Bennett is also highly effective as a shooter. This fits well into most NBA systems, because Bennett can play in both a pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop offensive system. One of the most well-rounded prospects in the draft, Bennett will fit in as a small forward or power forward.

5. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas, 6’5″, 189 lbs. 

McLemore stormed into the spotlight in the 2012-13 NCAA season with the Jayhawks, earning Consensus Second Team All-America honors and being nominated for the Wooden Award. McLemore is known best for his shooting ability, garnering comparisons to NBA great Ray Allen. He shot greater than 50% from the field, and that makes McLemore an attractive prospect worth a top 5 pick.

4. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana, 6’4″, 213 lbs. 

I believe very strongly in Victor Oladipo’s ability to become a star player in the NBA. He has all the tools for success, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He earned National Defensive Player of the Year honors last year and was a First Team All-American, scoring 13.7 points on 61% shooting. Some scouts have compared his skillset to those of Dwayne Wade and Michael Jordan. An aggressive and smart player, Oladipo is sure to be a top 5 selection on Thursday.

3. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan, 6’1″, 187 lbs. 

The reigning Naismith College Player of the Year is a lock for a top 5 selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. Burke was a true leader for the Michigan Wolverines, leading them to a #1 ranking and a National Championship Game appearance in 2013. He displayed elite shooting skills and lockdown defensive talents, yet some scouts doubt his ability to be an NBA superstar. After a strong NBA Combine performance, however, Burke proved he belongs among the draft’s best players.

2. Otto Porter Jr., SF, Georgetown, 6’9″, 200 lbs. 

Porter greatly improved from an already impressive freshman year at Georgetown, scoring 16.2 points per game last season. Many scouts love the intangible skills of Porter, most notably his athleticism, movement away from the ball, and high level of court awareness. College coach John Thompson III called Porter “the most prepared freshman I’ve ever coached”, and Porter’s skills only increased in 2013. He will be a physical, athletic player in the NBA, and will be a prime target for several teams that draft early.

1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky, 6’11”, 206 lbs. 

When you think of Nerlens Noel, his hi-top fade hairstyle might be the first thing that pops into your mind. But Noel is also an extremely gifted basketball player who didn’t have a chance to fully showcase his talents last season. A torn ACL in a February 12 game against Florida sidelined Noel for the remainder of the season, but he proved he is a versatile, dynamic player (10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds in 24 games). He might be a bit of a risk with a history of injury (see: Greg Oden), but Noel is still the purest talent in the 2013 NBA Draft.

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One Response to 2013 NBA Draft Top Ten Players

  1. Pingback: 76ers Trade Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel | Front Office Sports

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