NBA Draft: Mock Tracker
Marcus Smart, OK State, 6'4, G
Smart looks like a senior out there, with his ability to manipulate the defense and continuously make the right play. He takes every dribble with purpose, whether it's to break down the defense or free up a shooter via the dribble hand-off. He made highly regarded NC State point guard Lorenzo Brown look down right inferior Sunday night, going for 20 points, 7 boards, 7 dimes, 4 blocks and 4 steals in a blowout victory.
He was a winner at the high school level, and in just four college games it's easy to see why. Smart has moved up to #6 overall on the 2013 draft board based on his ability to contribute across the board in efficient fashion. He has made Oklahoma State a legitimate Big 12 Conference contender and makes all of his teammates better, something that only a handful of players have the ability to do.
There's just nothing not to like about Smart. If Dion Waiters can go 4th overall, there's no reason to believe that a player of Smart's caliber can't go in or near the top 5 in what many consider a weaker draft.
Alex Len, Maryland, 7'1, C
Len should feel great about the game film he left for scouts to review, after outplaying Kentucky's frontline and going for 23 points, 12 boards and 4 blocks. He looked like more than just a prospect whose appeal stems from his height, showing aggression and toughness fighting for baskets inside. He's moving well, has shown agility attacking the rim and looks exceptionally coordinated for a 7'1 athlete. His ability to knock down shots has really piques scouts interest and it's obvious the work he put in over the off season have greatly improved his game.
These flashes early on have made scouts wonder about his ceiling, which looks to have been raised an extra story after this quick start to the year. he has made our preseason lottery projections look great and he has jumped to the front of this year's center prospects.
Glenn Robinson III, Michigan 6'6, F
Glenn "Lil Big Dog" Robinson shows some of the same skills that made his pops a #1 overall pick in 1994. He's a bigtime athlete with the ability to create shots off the dribble and finish at the rim. He's also got range on his shot and an advanced skill set for a freshman.
While still flying mostly under the radar after playing just three college games, it won't be long before scouts are drooling over him. It's possible that he will elect to remain in school to improve his draft stock, but with such a stacked group of prospects projected in next year's draft, it's possible that entering in 2013 will ultimately be a better proposition.
CJ McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3, G
McCollum started his senior year right where he left off as a junior, dropping 36 points on Baylor in the season opener. This is significant because one of his biggest knocks has been that he under-performs against better competition, something he helped put to rest when he dropped 30 on Duke during the NCAA tournament. He's averaging more threes made on less attempts, a promising sign that his shot-selection is tightening up.
Maybe a farfetched thought, but the fact that Damian Lillard is excelling in the pros might ease some of the pessimism from scouts who remain weary about the competition McCollum is facing. Though McCollom compares more similarly to a poor man's Stephen Curry. He's one of most talented guards in the country, and shouldn't drift too far from the back end of the lotto.
Isaiah Austin, Baylor, 7'1, F/C
You won't find a seven-footer with Austin's length and versatility, bringing his ceiling to a level that most can't even sniff. So far he's played as advertised, contributing both on the perimeter and the interior. He's pulling in 9 rebounds a game, to go with 14.8 points and a 40% clip from downtown.
He may struggle to add significant weight in the future, but his length and ability to knock down shots makes him intriguing. If Austin can start creating and converting open looks for himself on the perimeter, it would add a dimension to his game that defenders wouldn't be able to contest. He's moved into the lottery and if he proves it consistently, he can continue to rise up the draft board.
Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, 6'4, SG
Goodwin has NBA 2-guard scoring instincts, with the athleticism and length to find a permanent off-ball role. He struggled running the point for Kentucky against Duke, which I think actually helped him establish an identity as strictly a scorer.
Standing 6'4 with explosive athleticism, he's shown the ability to attack the rim with the ball and as a slasher, and has the length to help finish over waiting interior defenders. The fact that he can stop and pop off the bounce will make him a tough defensive assignment, as someone who can score from multiple spots on the floor. He's good for 15 points a night.
Willie Cauley Stein, Kentucky, 7'0, C
Cauley-Stein's size and agility allow him to get off easy looks in the post, making him a high percentage scoring candidate at the next level. At 7'0 with an NBA frame, his presence alone impacts the game. He blocked 4 shots in 28 minutes against Maryland, and picked up 14 points in 24 minutes against Lafayette.
He's raw offensively, and is still at the point where the offense will come to him as opposed to the other way around. But his physical tools, athleticism and feel for the game should make him a sought-out prospect, regardless of his stats and playing time as a freshman.
Michael Carter Williams, Syracuse, 6'5, G
Carter-Williams was impressive against San Diego State showing off a multidimensional offensive game and numerous NBA tools. Though labeled a combo-guard, MCW can handle primary ball-handling responsibilities because of his ability to breakdown the defense and get into the lane. His length and touch should result in a ton of made floaters, while his vision and creativity should also reflect in the assist column.
At 6'5 with long arms and fluid athleticism, NBA scouts should love his versatility and ability to make things happen with the ball in his hands. Playing alongside Brandon Triche should give him ample opportunity to showcase his 1 and 2-guard skills.
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State, 6'4, PG
Wolters was a one-man show in a buzzer-beating loss to Alabama, going for 30 in the opener on 5 of 6 from downtown. He's shooting a scorching 52% from behind the arch, and has become one of the country's deadliest ball-handlers because his ability to both score and distribute off the bounce. He's got the full arsenal offensively, and is a threat creating east, west, north and south.
What separates him from the other high scoring, under whelming athletes is his ability to use his crafty dribble to create for teammates, as well as knock down shots off screens and finish at the rim. With space, he can attack, pull-up or distribute. And at 6'4, he shouldn't have difficulty seeing over the defense. Someone is bound to ignore the eye test and take him earlier than expected.
CJ Wilcox Washington, 6'5, SG
Wilcox fits a specific niche in the NBA as an athletic, floor-stretching off-guard who can defend and shoot the three. He's been hot to start the year, shooting 48% from the floor and 39% from downtown. He really looks like he's a good enough shooter to fill a specialist role at the next level, given his NBA athleticism and 2-guard size. Teams could view Wilcox as a three-point threat to fill gaps in their rotation.
Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse, 6'9, PF
Christmas has the size and athleticism, but he's simply too raw. He's incredibly limited offensively, unlikely to threaten the defense anywhere outside the restricted area. With no sign of a midrange jumper and inconsistent night to night production, he could be bypassed by younger prospects with higher upsides and low-risk reliable veterans.
Ryan Harrow, Kentucky, 6'1, PG
Harrow has been invisible, literally, after a suspect debut and a somewhat questionable disappearance. Physically he looks under whelming, having not put on weight over the past few years. Though he's been reportedly sick over the first few weeks, there is legitimate concern over his strength, toughness and ability to lead an offensive unit at the next level. Harrow has free fallen from a projected first rounder to a second round pick, but will have a chance to redeem himself once he gets healthy and back on the court.
BJ Young, Arkansas, 6'3, G
Young was unimpressive at the LeBron camp, and a suspension to start the year won't help his cause. Though he scored at a high rate as a freshman, that's unlikely to be his identity in the pros being a 6'3 ball-dominator. Altering his mentality from shoot-first to pass-first is his best chance at regaining status as a first round talent, however it's tough to change a player's makeup.You can put Young in the tweener category.