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NBA Draft Fast Five: The Worst Omen For This Year’s No. 1 Pick & 5 Under-The-Radar Potential Stars

Each week over the past few months, we assessed how the top prospects in the 2013 NBA Draft were faring in college and overseas, and in predraft workouts. We gave you the draft’s biggest risers and fallers, the standouts, the sleepers and what we know and don’t know about the next NBA Draft class. Now with the big show going down tonight, we’re all but ready for maybe the best day of the year…

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This week the long journey to the 2013 NBA Draft ends and next week the process begins for the 2014 NBA Draft. The circle of life in basketball is endless. Where are we at today, just 24 hours before David Stern puts the Cleveland Cavaliers on the clock? Let’s take a look.

Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.

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ONE: What Do We Know?
The top six of the 2013 NBA Draft are not set in stone with a particular order, but the prospects that will go in that range seem to be set: Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter Jr., Victor Oladipo, Alex Len, Ben McLemore and Trey Burke (or Anthony Bennett). After those six (or seven) there could be any assortment of picks. It is like playing the NBA Lottery Machine game, but doing it for picks 7-30 and an expert might have the same odds as a five-year-old to make correct predictions.

This year’s NBA Draft is very similar to the NCAA Tournament. Go ahead and fill out your brackets, folks, it is going to be that type of draft.

TWO: What Do We Not Know?
Even at this point? Everything.

THREE: Stock Rising
Right now there is chance that the other international prospects in this class could all rise into the top 17 tonight. The torch bearer in this class is starting to become Sergey Karasev from an immediate impact perspective. Teams know that he will come into the league and immediately be an elite three-point specialist that can play in any system. Others that might rise? Dennis Schroeder could go as high as Utah and Giannis Antetokounmpo might be in play for Atlanta.

[RELATED: Dime Mock Draft 5.0: Ben McLemore Slides Out Of The Top 5 Picks]

FOUR: Stock Falling
The biggest names that could see themselves falling on draft night (past the general expectations) are Michael Carter-Williams and Anthony Bennett. They have both been linked to teams in the lottery as high as the Bobcats (Bennett) and the Hornets (MCW) so they can go very high, but depending on what happens at the top, both could slide to the late lottery. Others that might free-fall? Shabazz Muhammad, Rudy Gobert and Mason Plumlee.

Hit page 2 to read about the five best players that won’t be drafted in the top five…

FIVE: Quick Hitter
Do you believe in omens and signs? Well, taking a look through NBA Draft history there have been three drafts held on June 27: 1989, 1990 and 2001. The No. 1 picks in those drafts were Pervis Ellison, Derrick Coleman and Kwame Brown. The day has very little to do with the talent in any given year, but for those looking for something other than “basketball reasons” to rationalize this being a “weak draft,” then this is a trump card.

I have been saying from day one that to understand the value of a draft, you have to have proper expectations. The odds are very low for this group to wield a superstar or an All-Star, or even a fringe All-Star. This class has quality depth and talented role players all the way into the early second round, as well as some HIGH risk, potential reward prospects. Welcome to the 2013 NBA Draft. It has been a fun ride and let’s see how catastrophically wrong we all are tonight and in five years.

[RELATED: The 5 Biggest High-Risk/High-Reward Prospects In This Draft]

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The 5 Best Players In 5 Years That Won’t Be Drafted Top 5

1. Dennis Schroeder: 6-2, 165 pounds – (Int. 1993), Germany
Range: 15-25
Elite speed and the ability to get into the paint with the ball in his hands at will. He is still developing his point guard skills, but has shown flashes of being a true leader and floor general at the one. Ceiling: Tony Parker

2. Ricky Ledo: 6-6, 197 pounds – Fresh., Providence
Range: 25-35
Simple here: If Ledo lives up to his potential coming out of high school, he will be at the worst an elite individual scorer at the next level. Ceiling: J.R. Smith

3. C.J. McCollum: 6-3.25, 197 pounds – Senior, Lehigh
Range: 5-15
At the next level, McCollum will be at his best as a combo guard or a point guard, but a lot of people feel he can be a two at the next level. What separates McCollum from his peers are his shooting, feel, and rebounding for position. Ceiling: Sam Cassell

4. Jamaal Franklin: 6-5.25, 191 pounds – Junior, San Diego State
Range: 14-24
Comparing Franklin to Kawhi Leonard is not fair or accurate with the clear difference in length and size, but like Leonard, Franklin can be a great defender and rebounder on the wing. Ceiling: Latrell Sprewell

5. Tony Mitchell: 6-8.75, 236 pounds – Soph., North Texas
Range: 15-25
The best athlete in the draft will slide, but with some quality coaching and development Mitchell can become an elite combo forward. He has potential and upside as a defender, rebounder, and energy forward with versatility. Ceiling: Shawn Marion

June 27, 2013 marks the culmination of the 2013 NBA Draft and then on June 28, the process begins again. It will be interesting looking back in a few years at the prospects in this “terribly weak” draft to see how wrong the consensus ended up being. Or how correct they were?

Will this year’s No. 1 pick ever be an All-Star?

Follow Kristofer on Twitter at @NBADraftInsider.

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