NBA Monday: The Gems Of The 2013 NBA Draft
The Gems Of 2013 The 2013 NBA Draft class isn’t going to blow you away with proven talent, but as some labeled the 2012 draft immensely deep with talent, some are trying to label the 2013 class as wafer thin and that might not necessarily be true.
Here are some of names to know:
Nerlens Noel – 6’11 216lbs – Center
Nerlens is no Anthony Davis, but if you are looking for a fair comparison to Noel, it might be Lakers center Dwight Howard. Equally as raw offensively coming into the process, Noel is a big, long, athletic player who is an instinctual shot blocker. He desperately needs quality coaching and a solid weight program, both of which he should get at Kentucky.
Some have questioned Noel’s intensity and drive and that’s something he’ll have to showcase this season. The odds that Noel isn’t in the 2013 NBA draft are super slim. There have already been questions about his recruiting and academics; eligibility issues have already surfaced, so a sophomore season is very unlikely.
If Noel can add some weight, gain some proficiency on the low block with a couple of offensive moves, and answer the intensity questions – he’s the top prospect in 2013.
Shabazz Muhammad – 6’5 223lbs – Shooting Guard
Shabazz might be the most polished and NBA ready player of the bunch. Like Noel, it’s unlikely that he’s with UCLA next year as he could arguably be the top pick in 2013.
The problem with Shabazz, whose eligibility is also currently in question, is unlike Noel, who has a freakish physical tool set, Shabazz looks like a lot of NBA players. He has the NBA body and possibly the NBA game. He is a high volume scorer and can do a lot with the ball.
Much Like Washington guard Brad Beal, Shabazz is going to be a fairly safe pick. He may not have franchise star potential, but he could be very good if paired with the right star.
It’s unclear if Shabazz is a #1 option guy at the next level – he has the tools – but that is something he’ll have to prove this season for the Bruins.
Cody Zeller – 6′ 11 205lbs – Center
Cody could have been a top-10 pick in 2012, but he opted for another season with the Hoosiers.
If Cody shows improvement, which most assume he will, it’s going to be hard not to justify him in the top three in 2013. A lot of that will depend on who is picking in the top, but from a skill and size point of view Zeller might be the most known quantity in the top of the class.
It is rare to see big guys with Zeller’s mix of aggressive playing style, super bounce, and a relentless work ethic. Those things should make him very attractive in the draft process.
If Noel or Muhammad struggle or worse yet get injured, Zeller could jump to the top of the board.
Rudy Gobert – 6’11 200lbs – Power Forward
Every year there is an international name to know and this year its Rudy Gobert. He may not end up at the top of the draft when its all said and done, but when you look at his skill set and body – there is intrigue for sure.
Long and rangy, Rudy needs to add some bulk to his frame this season. He is still very young and has lots of potential, which outside of the top three picks he could be a temping addition.
If Jan Vesely and Donatas Motiejunas have good seasons in the NBA this year, expect more teams to take a longer look at Gobert, because he has a similar body type and resume.
He may not end up in the top 5, but he is a lottery level talent, if the chips fall the right way.
James McAdoo – 6’9 226lbs – Power Forward
McAdoo could be something of a sleeper in the top of the draft coming into the season. He is super skilled and has a great basketball IQ. He doesn’t necessarily leap off the page as an athlete, but he is very good and if he has a solid season at North Carolina especially with John Henson and Harrison Barnes out of the way, he could really solidify himself as a top-10 talent, maybe even top 5.
The Tarheels need McAdoo to be a stud for them this season and if he can carry the load on a nightly basis, he’ll go a long way towards locking himself into the top of the 2013 class.
Isaiah Austin – 6’11 201lbs – Center
Will the real Isaiah please stand up? That is the question surrounding Baylor’s big man this season.
He has gotten a rep for being timid and soft and its clearly something he’s taken personally.
He is big and physical; when he wants to mix it up in the paint he is very good. If he can show that same aggressive style for Baylor this season he’ll make things interesting at the top of the draft.
He is not nearly as skilled as say a Zeller or Muhammed, but he may be a little further along developmentally than say Noel.
If Austin can put together a consistent season of being an aggressor in the paint, he could jump into the top three discussion because he is really that good. The problem is there is just as much game film of him being passive as being aggressive, so he’ll have to showcase that at Baylor.
The 2013 NBA Draft is still 297 days away, so a lot can and likely will change between now and then, but as NBA teams open camp at the end of the month, some teams will have their eyes on the next draft day prize.
Trying To Get Healthy: Hornets’ guard Xavier Henry was supposed to be a can’t miss breakout-type NBA player. During the draft process in 2010 he was considered one of the best shooters in the class, however a lengthy contract battle with the Grizzlies and injuries have put Henry on the outside looking in.
“Injuries happen to everybody. It’s how you deal with them,” Henry said to Gary Bedore of KU Sports.
“I learned by being mature, by having to grow up, that the only way I can get past it (injury) is playing through it and doing the best I can. I’ve done my part getting the surgery I needed. I just need to rehabilitate to the best of my ability and go out there and have fun,” added Henry.
Xavier played 45 games with the Hornets last year and hopes to have a bigger role this season.
“I’m going to come in and bring energy, scoring, defense,” explained Henry. “I play an all-around game. That’s what they’ve been looking for me to do. With my knee healthy now, hopefully I can play this whole season healthy and have a great season.”
The Hornets are bringing back just five players from last year’s squad including Xavier.
Most of the Hornets players have been running informal workouts in NOLA trying to build some chemistry and get a handle on what the Hornets will expect of them.
Henry hopes he can stay healthy, because this could be a pivotal season for a player many thought had the ability to be a star at the next level.
The Ties That Bind: It is amusing how much negative press former Magic star Dwight Howard is getting over what was a genuine gesture this weekend. Howard took out a full page ad thanking the city of Orlando for all that they gave him and in return he’s been blasted for it.
Throughout this process with Howard and Orlando, I have asked the question “why is a player somehow indentured to the team that drafts him?”
The short answer is he is not. NBA teams have financial advantages in keeping their drafted players, but there comes a time in every player’s career where they have made enough money that financial advantages in and of its self is not enough.
Every team has to face the reality that at some point, once enough checks are cashed, that their brightest stars will want more than money. They’ll want to win championships and become icons of the game.
Minnesota is going to have to face that situation with Kevin Love. Washington will have to face that with John Wall and even Chicago will have to face that with Derrick Rose – at some point all three are going to want more than money.
Brooklyn’s Deron Williams admitted that he was leaving some $40 million on the table with the Nets had they not made the transactions they made this summer.
Being able to pay a player more surely helps keep a player, but it’s not the only thing there is.
To believe that because a player is on the roster today means he owes something to the team that holds his rights is not only naive, it’s downright foolish.
Howard didn’t owe Orlando anything more than he gave them. They made their choices. They chose who to surround Howard with. They chose how to market and manage him.
At the end of the day you can blame Howard for waffling with his decisions. You came blame Howard for a circle of influence that was as leaky as the Titanic – all of that is fair – but to blast Howard for an ad thanking the fans? Not sure I can get behind that one. It just comes off as sour grapes.
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