Top 10 College Basketball Players Most Likely to Be Selected With the No. 1 Overall Pick
Who Will Go No. 1 in the 2013 NBA Draft?
Which current NCAA basketball stars have what it takes for David Stern to announce as number 1 overall in the 2013 NBA draft? There are some obvious answers, but also a couple of players flying under the radar who have the tools to attract attention from NBA front offices. Fans of the game usually look at big name schools like Kentucky and North Carolina for top prospects, but every year we see lottery picks come out of smaller colleges. Just look at Damian Lillard from the 2012 draft coming out of Weber State and going number 6 overall. Needless to say, this list will have a couple players that most college basketball fans may not consider when thinking of top NBA prospects.
Players that go number 1 overall must have an advanced skill set, and in most cases good size for their position. As history shows us number 1’s are either imposing in size, such as the 2009 number 1 Blake Griffin, or tremendously athletic like the 2010 number 1, John Wall.
Top draft picks are not always successful however. Greg Oden, an evident size pick at 7 feet tall, went number 1 over Kevin Deurant and has been plagued by knee injury seeing just 82 games in 4 years. The Portland Trailblazers could be featuring Kevin Durant alongside Lamarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard this season, but they missed with Greg Oden instead. This wasn’t the first time that Portland has made a disastrous mistake in the NBA draft. In 1984 they passed on Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and, oh yeah, Michael Jordan, by selecting Sam Bowie number 2 overall. Sam who? Exactly.
A lot of work has to go into the evaluation of collegiate ball players to aid the big draft decision. So in 2013 who are the most likely players to be considered by the team with a number 1 lottery ticket in their hand?
No. 10 - Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh freshman Steven Adams is a 7’0” 250 lb. center from New Zealand. Clearly NBA teams in need of a big body in the paint will be attracted by Adams’ size, but he is also unusually athletic for a young post player.
No. 9 - Andre Roberson, Colorado
Andre Roberson is an athletic, defensive minded junior small forward for Colorado. Last season for the Buffaloes Roberson averaged 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals to go along with his 11.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He is similar in size and abilities to a young Gerald Wallace.
No. 8 Isaiah Austin, Baylor
Austin, the 7’1” 220 lb. freshman, is a towering young talent. Not only is he intimidating in height, his skill set for a center is virtually unmatched. Austin is a successful ball handler with shooting range. Defending his inside/outside ability will be an NBA coach’s nightmare for years to come.
No. 7 - Tony Mitchell, North Texas
The North Texas sophomore forward flourished as a rebounder and scorer in his freshman year averaging 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Mitchell also contributed on the defensive end blocking 3 shots per game. He is one of the most athletic players in college basketball, and can almost jump out of the gym. At 6’8” 235 lbs. with his shooting range and post abilities, he is an ideal candidate as a flex forward who can move between small and power forward.
No. 6 - Otto Porter, Georgetown
Porter is a 6’9” small forward who can score from anywhere inside the arc. He is a true basketball player with a great feel for the game. Porter shot over 50% from the field in his freshman year for the Hoyas, although he needs to extend his range. There aren’t really any holes to his game, and with the right coaching he can become a big time role player reminiscent of Tayshaun Prince.
No. 5 - Lorenzo Brown, N.C. State
The junior guard from N.C. State is a perfect prototype as a tall point guard. He can play either guard position interchangeably if needed, but he thrives with the ball in his hands. At 6’5” he’ll create matchup problems on either end of the court. Brown has improved his shooting ability since his freshman year, but struggles finishing at the rim. Last season for the Wolfpack he averaged 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. His stat lines look like something from Rajon Rondo, and the struggles shooting are consistent with that comparison, but his potential to grow as a shooter are superior. Brown would make a perfect investment for any team looking for a long-term answer at the point. Lorenzo Brown will be in the elite class of point guards in the NBA.
No. 4 - Cody Zeller, Indiana
Zeller is 7’0” 240 lbs. and extremely mobile for a big man. He has advanced scoring instincts for a post player of his age just entering his sophomore season. He scores, rebounds, blocks shots, and steals the ball with his quick hands. His combination of quick feet and hands makes his an enticing candidate as a premier post player. Zeller has an aggressiveness that successful offensive big men need, often calling for the ball on the low block and embarrassing defenders. He will need to develop his jump shot from 10-15 feet out, but considering his natural ability to score, he shouldn’t have a problem improving.
No. 3 - Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
The Kentucky freshman will be replacing the 2012 number 1 pick, Anthony Davis, as the teams primary post presence. Noel stands 6’10” tall and 225 lbs. He is an elite shot blocker with incredible defensive instincts, and protects the rim like no one else in the NCAA. His agility and quickness gives him an advantage, as well as his decent ball handling and ability to run the court. Noel will need to hit the gym and add muscle mass without compromising his mobility. The ceiling on this kid is sky high. If he continues to develop on the offensive end, and add body mass he will be the best all around post player in the upcoming draft. Look out NBA players because after the 2013 draft you may not reach the rim again before being humiliated by big-time rejection.
No. 2 - James McAdoo, North Carolina
Last season as a freshman forward McAdoo was in the shadow of Harrison Barnes, but this year he will take the reigns as the go-to scorer. At 6’9” and 230 lbs he is a perfect specimen of someone who can play small forward or power forward down low. He only played 15 minutes per game in the 2011-12 season largely due to the 4 starters drafted to the NBA. Now he will be starting and get twice as much playing time. McAdoo struggled shooting at times last year, especially from midrange, but with the increase in minutes this year he will have more opportunity to prove himself as an all around scorer. He certainly has the physical abilities to be explosive, and a threat with the ball in his hands, he just needs to put his skills together and show NBA scouts what he can do. To increase his stock in the draft significantly, McAdoo will have to improve his defensive quickness, and he needs to attack the consistently.
No. 1 - Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Shabazz is a remarkable talent at shooting guard. At 6’6” 225 lbs. he is the perfect size for a prototypical guard. He can take it viciously to the basket, and also elevate over defenders and drain pull-up jumpers. His competitive nature, and feel for scoring will make him a prolific producer for years to come. He is NBA ready now as a freshman, but should improve his consistency shooting from long range. If he does he will be unstoppable, and become one of the best scorers in the league. He finds a way to score whether the lane is clogged, or he is double-teamed, he will not be stopped. Shabazz will also be valuable to a team as a marketable personality given his highly competitive spirit. He has that killer instinct teams need to win titles. Crowds will be chanting “Shabazzzzzz” for over a decade. Please stay healthy Shabazz, and show the world how great you can be.