Each Wednesday, we’ll be assessing how the top prospects of the 2013 NBA Draft are faring in college and overseas. Stick with us each week for assorted thoughts, including the biggest risers and fallers, the standouts, the sleepers and what we know and don’t know about the next NBA Draft class…
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March Madness is upon us and everything we learned over the past four to five months will be put to the test here as the best prospects in the country step into the spotlight. As the tournament has proven over the years, anyone can win, but also that a player like Dwyane Wade can come of age before our eyes. Will that happen this year?
Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five March Madness Edition.
ONE: Which Is The Most Talented Region?
Using the simple metric of my 2013 Big Board, the talent is not spread evenly across regions. The South has the most lottery talent with Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Shabazz Muhammad, Trey Burke and James McAdoo. All will go in the top 20 of the 2013 NBA Draft if they declare this year.
The East is not far behind with Anthony Bennett, Michael Carter-Williams, Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo that are all likely lottery picks. The most interesting element about this region is that all of those prospects are in the same eight-team bracket. They will face off.
Behind those two regions are the Midwest (Marcus Smart, Mason Plumlee and Adreian Payne) and the West (Kelly Olynyk) with four combined between the two. There are some sleepers in Gary Harris, Steven Adams and Gorgui Dieng, but they are more of the outside looking in.
TWO: Does NBA Talent Matter?
Since the 2000 NCAA Tournament all but three teams that have cut down the nets had at least one lottery pick on the roster. The 2000 Michigan State Spartans had two first-round picks, the 2006 Florida Gators returned everyone for a second championship, and the 2010 Duke Blue Devils were a team in the truest sense.
Look at the runner-ups during that span and they all had a lottery talent on their roster except for Georgia Tech in 2004, UCLA in 2006, Michigan State in 2009, and Butler in 2011.
Nearly every prospect was a projected lottery talent coming into the tournament with the exception of Jared Jeffries and Kemba Walker. Again, looking at the 2013 Big Board, there are 12 potential lottery picks on 10 different teams. Interesting.
THREE: Who Can Raise Their Stock?
Two prospects to watch here are Steven Adams (Pittsburgh) and Reggie Bullock (North Carolina). If their teams take care of business in the first round of the tournament then they will be pared against two potential lottery picks in Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga) and Ben McLemore (Kansas) with the potential to outplay them, and, in the process, they have the very real possibility of knocking off a No. 1 seed.
Both Adams and Bullock are two-way players that are potential first-round picks in the early to late 20s overall right now.
Adams matches up very well with Olynyk with his athleticism and defensive prowess. He will make the Gonzaga star earn all his points and has the ability to shut him down for one game. On the perimeter Bullock matches up well with McLemore physically as they have very similar frames and length. He is a very good defender off the ball, which is McLemore’s specialty on offense. Crazy, defense is something to watch and keep an eye on.