Sunday Topic: #1 Pick in 2013 Draft?
Every Sunday, HOOPSWORLD’s analysts weigh in on an NBA-related topic. Get in on the debate by leaving your thoughts in a comment. Here’s this week’s Sunday Topic.
The college basketball season is in full swing and we’re starting to get an idea of who the top picks in the 2013 NBA Draft will be. While there isn’t a consensus top overall pick this year, there are a number of high-potential prospects who all have a shot to go #1 when June rolls around. Which brings us to today’s Sunday Topic:
“Who should be the #1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft?”
“Shabazz Muhammad has ‘it.’ Without even considering his talent on the floor, this is a kid who handles himself like a star. That kind of charisma, which comes in the form of flawless interview skills and a dapper personal style, is going to impress lottery teams just as much as his highlight reel. That highlight reel, though, is equally impressive, and it shows a young player with talent on both ends of the court, ridiculous athleticism and a nose for scoring that has earned him some comparisons to James Harden.
It also can’t hurt the stock of Muhammad and Kansas’s Ben McLemore that there is currently a dearth of young, dominant two guards. Guys like Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, and Kobe Bryant (and quite a few others) are getting old, and Eric Gordon can’t stay healthy. That pretty much leaves Paul George, Harden and perhaps Brad Beal. Teams need scorers, and all the best ones are on the back nine.
Shabazz could help usher in a new era for a team, and his impact would probably be more immediately and more potently felt than Nerlens Noel or Cody Zeller.
He should be the top pick, based on long-term potential, immediate help and star quality.” – Joel Brigham
“There is a burden that comes with being the #1 overall pick, and few players projected in the 2013 NBA Draft seem ready to handle that load.
Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel is not going to be a LeBron James, Kyrie Irving or even Dwight Howard type impact player, but what he is going to be is what NBA executive covet – high on potential.
Nerlens defines raw and unpolished, but even in his 14 games for Kentucky, you can already see why NBA teams will seriously consider him. He is a high-volume shot blocker, a decent rebounder and a high field goal percentage player.
Noel admitted during the summer how much he was looking forward to being coached at UK, and if he can convince NBA teams that he wants to be coached and he wants to work to improve, he has the size and the raw tools to become a quality NBA player.
The big knock on Nerlens is a suspect attitude and work ethic. So far at Kentucky, they have raved about how hard he has worked, but prior to Kentucky he had a reputation for being soft and unmotivated.
Once an NBA team gets him in their building and gets a chance to know and understand him, the odds of Noel being a top pick could increase greatly.
Noel possesses the size and raw skills NBA teams covet, the question is will the team that lands the top pick spend it on an upside potential guy, or opt for maybe a safer lower upside guy.
No player projected in the 2013 NBA Draft has nearly the upside that Nerlens has, but there may not be a player with more boom-or-bust potential either.” -Steve Kyler
“As expected, freshman Anthony Bennett has stepped right into the UNLV program and immediately contributed to its success. Just 16 games in (13-3), the dominant power forward is averaging 19.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.2 assists, 55.8 percent in field goal shooting with just 1.6 turnovers, and he hits three-pointers, too (1.3 at 39.6 percent). He plays an old-school game that should make for a seamless transition into the NBA. Lottery teams will find his array of skills on both ends of the floor too much to resist when draft night rolls around. Teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers or Washington Wizards will recognize his untapped potential; with the wide-open nature of the NBA Draft this summer, Bennett’s reputation as a versatile beast should snag major attention.
Don’t discount comparisons to Larry Johnson and Zach Randolph, and even, improbably, Karl Malone. Somewhat undersized at 6’7, he makes it up with a mind-blowing 7’1 wingspan and touch. Bennett, a solid 239 pounds, presents a complicated matchup for opponents with freakish control and quickness, not to mention his NBA-type strength and ability to score in all sorts of ways. He’s versatile and aggressive with the ball, already comfortable in the paint and is a refreshingly true finisher.
Bennett’s stock is rising fast; almost as fast as his Player Efficiency Rating is climbing (31.79). At just 19 years old with a prototypical NBA body, he plays like a seasoned player with solid abilities on both ends of the court.” – Susan Bible
“Cody Zeller may be one year ahead of freshmen like Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel and Anthony Bennett, but he’s still a player that has a ton of potential. If Zeller had left for the NBA after his freshman season at Indiana, he would’ve been a lottery pick. Now, with another year of experience under his belt and more game film of him dominating players in the paint, NBA teams may decide that he’s a safer top overall pick than any of the high-potential players who haven’t been as dominant at the collegiate level.
Zeller has been around NBA talent his entire life. The reason he’s able to thrive inside and out is because he spent years playing against his older brothers: Luke Zeller of the Phoenix Suns and Tyler Zeller of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luke was more of a perimeter player while Tyler was an inside presence. Cody learned from both players and became the nightmare that he is today.
Zeller isn’t like most young big men, who come into the NBA with little to no post moves. The seven-footer plays like a veteran and has plenty of moves at his disposal, which is why he has been able to score at will against even the best interiors defenders. If Indiana makes a deep run in the tournament and Zeller leads the way, as expected, his draft stock could go through the roof. There are already plenty of NBA executives who believe that Zeller can be a top option and have a very long NBA career.
If the team that lands the top pick needs a big man, don’t be surprised if Zeller’s name is the first one to come off of the board on draft night.” – Alex Kennedy
“There’s not a lot of excitement over the 2013 NBA Draft and the primary reason why is because there’s not a surefire franchise player to make winning the lottery enticing. Cody Zeller, Marcus Smart, Anthony Bennett, Nerlens Noel and the rest of the potential 2013 NBA Draft class have potential, but the number one pick in the draft should be high school senior Andrew Wiggins.
I’ve long been an advocate of high school players being eligible for the NBA Draft and other-worldly talents like Wiggins are the reason why. Wiggins, who reclassified this year from the 2014 class to 2013, is hands down the best players in the country. He could start in the NBA today and needs a year in college just as little as the junior year in high school that he skipped.
Some of the league’s best players didn’t spend a day in college and came out just fine. And, even those who didn’t go on to become superstars like Dwight Howard and LeBron James, like Kwame Brown for instance, earned enough money to pay their way and their entire family’s way through college. The notion that high school kids have been ruined by not being forced to go to college for a year or two is flat out comical and there’s little to no evidence to back it up.
Whichever team wins the 2013 NBA Draft lottery will regret for years that they didn’t win the 2014 draft instead because that’s when Wiggins, who is truly deserving of being a number one pick, will be available.” – Yannis Koutroupis
Who should be the top overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft? Leave a comment below.