Fast 5: Tracking This Year’s NBA Draft Class, Vol. 4

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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Due to the holiday, the Fast 5 was delayed by a day, but back on track for the foreseeable future. It has been a quiet week in college hoops and abroad. The holiday kept the schedule rather light, but as we all know — Basketball Never Stops.

Here is the NBA Draft Fast 5.


ONE: What Do We Know?
This year’s top pick is not going to cure the team that receives it. There is not one “can’t miss” prospect in this class, but rather a group of talented athletes with very good upside. Right now, the Washington Wizards are slotted to pick first (they have the worst record in the NBA), but that’s not a sign they will win the lottery or that the pick will fix a team that has won 91 total games since the last time they were in the playoffs in 2008.

This roster is a mess filled with good young talent in Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin. Mix in veterans Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to give experience, and the young backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal and that should make a quality team, right? Wrong. They have no direction or identity, and with Wall out, there is no telling how low this team is going to sink as the season progresses.

Rudy Gobert, Cody Zeller, Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Muhammad or whoever they take this year does not cure a bad roster with no direction.

TWO: What Do We Not Know?
If the ping-pong balls were dropped in the machine today, the Toronto Raptors pick would go to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers pick would go to the Phoenix Suns. Then again, if the Raptors pick fell into the top three, it stays with them. If the Lakers make the playoffs, their pick stays as well. Philadelphia sends their pick to the Miami Heat if they fall out of the top 12, the same for the Portland Trail Blazers pick (to the Charlotte Bobcats) if they finish outside of the top 12, and chaos rules all. Did you get all of that?

With the way things are currently constructed, there is a chance two teams – Phoenix and Charlotte – could have two lottery picks in the 2013 NBA Draft.

THREE: Stock Rising
When speaking to NBA personnel guys lately, they have been higher on Kyle Anderson than earlier in the season. He has played himself into his rhythm and style, distributing the ball, and even scoring at a high, efficient rate. Anderson is not a great athlete, but plays a similar style as Boris Diaw with his 6-9 frame, modest athleticism, and knack for making plays that the defense didn’t see coming. His “slow mo” style throws the defense off-balance because he is patient and attacks in his rhythm. Keep an eye on Anderson as a potential first-round pick if he keeps playing at this level.

FOUR: Stock Falling
Late last season, Lorenzo Brown came on strong to finish the year as N.C. State’s leader and point guard. He guided them past the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament and nearly went for a triple-double in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Brown showed he had the size, drive and vision to be an elite playmaking point guard at the NBA level. This season however, there has been little-to-no progression, and his athletic burst is not on par with other elite point guard prospects in the class. He may have the best combination of vision and size, but this season his numbers are dead even, the team has struggled at times, and his three-point shooting is nearly nonexistent at 3-19 on the year.

FIVE: Quick Hitter
Over the summer, Texas (then freshman) point guard Myck Kabongo went to Cleveland for a workout with his friend and former teammate Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. As a college student, that trip drew the ire of the NCAA and they began investigating how Kabongo afforded the trip.

After review they concluded he lied about how the trip was paid for because there was an agent involved, Rich Paul, who represents LeBron James and others.

Initially the NCAA decided that a paid for plane ticket that sent the Canadian prospect from Texas to Cleveland to workout with his famous, wealthier friend was worth an entire season suspension. Excessive? Jay Bilas, Jeff Goodman, and many others felt it was excessive, and not the right call for a 20-year-old kid who made a harmless mistake in judgment: lying to a panel that was trying to find anything to suspend him.

It may have been because of the backlash publically by these respected basketball minds or maybe it was just the NCAA realizing their mistake, but the suspension was reduced to 23 games, giving Kabongo a seven-game sophomore season.


Top 5 PFs Right Now

1. Rudy Gobert: 7-1, 235 pounds – INT., France (1992)
Stats: (In 20.2 MPG) 8.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 57.9 percent FG, 83.3 percent FT (10-12)
He has the size to play center, but needs to add some strength right now as more of a finesse player. Great size overall and made his name over the summer with those ridiculous measurements.

2. Mason Plumlee: 6-10, 230 pounds – Senior, Duke
Stats: 19.3 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 64.1 percent FG, 69.7 percent FT
There hasn’t been a better college player this year than Plumlee and that is because he finally rounded out his game to reach the potential he had coming in as a freshman.

3. James McAdoo: 6-9, 223 pounds – Soph., North Carolina
Stats: 15.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 0.3 BPG, 47.1 percent FG, 62.1 percent FT
Still one of the most talented players in the draft with one of the highest ceilings, but he gets bullied in the post and has been turnover prone this season.

4. Jarnell Stokes: 6-8, 250 pounds – Soph., Tennessee
Stats: 12.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 57.7 percent FG, 53.4 percent FT
Stokes is one of the most skilled and talented bigs in the class. While undersized, he has the ability to score on the block with his back to the basket.

5. Chane Behanan: 6-7, 250 pounds – Soph., Louisville
Stats: 10.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 0.2 BPG, 49.5 percent FG, 54.2 percent FT
Athletic and undersized for his position, Behanan has to prove he can play in the paint with bigger, more naturally-sized fours and fives. His skill-set is there as one of the best rebounders in the class and rebounding translates.

At one point the class of fours appeared to be the deepest in the 2013 NBA Draft, and now it has dwindled down to potentially only three first-round picks. There is a lot of upside with lower rated prospects like Mike Moser (injured) and C.J. Leslie (inconsistent), but overall the group is lacking that elite athletic prospect.

Who will be this year’s biggest sleeper?

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