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Why Nerlens Noel Could Still Drop Out Of The NBA Draft’s Top 2 & The Draft’s 5 Biggest Risers

Each Wednesday, we’ll be assessing how the top college and international prospects of the 2013 NBA Draft are faring. 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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There are only 22 days before the 2013 NBA Draft and teams are getting in their workouts, both individually and as groups, to get all the information required to make the best decisions come draft night. Back to what we know, what we don’t know, and risers and fallers in the narrative that is the NBA Draft.

Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.

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ONE: What Do We Know?
Nerlens Noel (or at least his camp) is confident that the former Kentucky star will go in the top Two of this year’s draft. According to reports, he does not plan on visiting any teams other than the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic. He is the consensus No. 1 overall prospect, but there is still a chance that Noel can fall past the first two slots.

Cleveland Frontcourt Through 2014-2015: Anderson Varejao (team option), Tristan Thompson (TO) and Tyler Zeller (TO)
Orlando Frontcourt Through 2014-2015: Nikola Vucevic (TO), Andrew Nicholson (TO), Al Harrington, Glen Davis, Tobias Harris (TO) and Kyle O’Quinn (TO)

Cleveland could easily go with Otto Porter Jr. or a trade, but Noel fits the long-term future of the team. On the other hand, Washington has done a good job building their young frontcourt and could use other pieces to continue to build their puzzle.

TWO: What Do We Not Know?
Speaking of the Magic, they are playing a nice game of cat-and-mouse with the rest of the league. They toyed with the media, dangling the concept of drafting Trey Burke and now Victor Oladipo. The only truth about the Magic at this point is that there is no telling which direction they may go. The Jedi mind tricks continue with the possibility of drafting Ben McLemore, Otto Porter Jr., Oladipo or Burke.

THREE: Stock Rising
The lure of potential is always one that helps a young prospect with raw ability to rise up draft boards late. That is what is happening with Steven Adams right now. Last year, I had Adams as a lottery pick before he decided to go to college in an overall deeper class. Now he is getting close to that point this year. He did not light the college world on fire as a freshman, but showed his potential.

FOUR: Stock Falling
At the Nike Hoops Summit in April, Mouhammadou Jaiteh had a strong showing infront of NBA decision-makers and members of the media. Since then he has looked the part of a raw defensive prospect built like a NBA player.

Keep reading to check out the top five rising talents in the draft…

FIVE: Quick Hitter
Projecting the roster and direction of a franchise is the ultimate goal of a NBA decision-maker, with the draft serving as the first block in the foundation. The players selected in the 2013 NBA Draft are not going to fix their respective teams tomorrow, but they are a piece to the puzzle for two to three years down the road. In this type of draft, getting a piece to the puzzle or setting the team up for the 2014 NBA Draft or even pending free agencies is the ultimate goal.

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Top 5 Risers Right Now

1. Jamaal Franklin: 6-5, 191 pounds – Junior, San Diego State
Range: 10-20
There is not much that separates the skill level of Franklin and his peers. He is as good a defender as Victor Oladipo (with better length) and can do everything on the court at a high level.

2. Dario Saric: 6-10, 223 pounds – Int. (1994), Croatia
Range: 10-20
The difference of opinion on Saric is widespread throughout the league. He is as talented as any player in this draft and it seems that is starting to become the opinion of executives all over again.

3. Tony Mitchell: 6-9, 236 pounds – Soph., North Texas
Range: 20-30
Athletically, Mitchell is a lottery pick, but playing against small time competition led to him sliding down boards only to resurface now along the draft process.

4. Lucas Nogueira: 6-11, 218 pounds – Int. (1992), Brazil
Range: 25-35
He has been on the NBA radar for years, but has not played up to the potential or hype that was established. “Bebe” can be an elite shotblocker and has the talent to be a first-round pick.

5. Ray McCallum: 6-2, 191 pounds – Junior, Detroit Mercy
Range: 40-50
Scouts love his athleticism and size for the position especially with the way the position has trended over the years. He is a coach’s son who plays smart, making him an attractive option as a second-round pick.

More names will rise and more will fall. That is the nature of an NBA Draft, but at the end of the day the smart teams have a pulse on the draft as a whole. If they do not by now, there is a reason they are in the lottery.

Who is this draft’s biggest riser?

Follow Kristofer on Twitter at @NBADraftInsider.

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