Gottlieb's big board: Top 30 NBA prospects
Doug Gottlieb ranks his top 30 NBA prospects from the college ranks.
Throughout my 10 years of covering the NBA Draft, I've always been willing to share my own "big board." While Jeff Goodman and his connections tell you what is likely to happen if the draft were today, what you see below would be my top 30 if the draft were today, I was running a team, and was limited to current NCAA players. Keep in mind that I came to this list through my own evaluations, and some from trusted scouts.
1. Anthony Bennett, UNLV, Forward, 6-8, 240, Freshman: Freak athlete who is probably an undersized 4 in the league, Bennett settles too much for jumpers, gets silly fouls and is ways away from figuring out when to do what, but he can play. Bennett is a terrific rebounder, good shooter and can put it on the deck. Alongside a traditional point guard, the UNLV star will be a monster.
2. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, Forward, 6-10, 228, Freshman: Quick-jumping power forward who is super quick, laterally and off the floor. Will be a good screen/lob man with a traditional point guard, and he protects the rim. He is raw, but developing offensively, but making strides.
4. Cody Zeller, Indiana, Forward/Center, 7-0, 240, Sophomore: Has gone from overrated to underrated. Zeller has great footwork, gets beat up by double teams, but he is tremendous. He has patience, doesn't pout when he doesn't get the ball and is likely a combo 4/5 man.
5. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Guard, 6-4, 225, Freshman: Smart is not a clean ball handler as he turns it over a lot and while he is improving shooter, that truthfully is not his game. Smart just makes plays. His body is football strong, he has a tremdous IQ and rebounds well. Smart is an NBA point guard and though he might be better coming off the bench initially, he is a better version of Jarrett Jack.
6. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, Guard, 6-6, 185, Sophomore: Huge point guard who needs to shoot better. Carter-Williams is confident and very proficient in transition, but he needs work on his jumper. He has no idea about man-to-man defense and has to take better shots. But he is a 6-foot-6 point guard with handle, vision and a fearless streak.
8. Kyle Anderson, UCLA, Forward, 6-9, 235, Freshman: Slo Mo is huge, and is likely to spend a substantial amount of time in the D-League as he improves his body and his jumper, but he is a 6-9 point forward with a big body and incredible vision. He can't shoot very well, but he uses his size/body to get to the rim.
9. Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, Guard, 6-1, 171, Junior: Wildly underrated, Napier is super quick, very strong and excellent off the ball screen. Just because fans won't see UConn in the NCAAs, it hasn't kept the scouts away.
10. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, Guard/Forward, 6-6, 225, Freshman: Talented scorer who is an undersized 3 in the NBA. Muhammad competes for points and has improved as a shooter. He is not a guard and it would be a major mistake to try to make him into one. He can rebound and score a little in the post but is going to have to learn to guard bigger players at the 3 in the NBA.
11. Otto Porter, Georgetown, Forward, 6-8, 205, Sophomore: Porter has quietly exploded over the past 10 games for Georgetown. Like with most Hoyas, coaches in the NBA will love his ability to pass and play without the ball. Porter is a solid rebounder and should be a good 3 at the next level.
14. Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, Forward/Center, 7-0, 238, Junior: Massive big man with a really nice touch, Olynyk might look like he puts on the foil, but this "Hanson brother" clone can play. At 7 feet he might be the highest riser in the draft.
15. Trey Burke, Michigan, Guard, 6-0, 190, Sophomore: Though he isn't a great passer, he will pass and though he's an erratic shooter, he can shoot. Burke is explosive off the ball screen and fearless in the lane. Burke has some of the CP3 euro step-to-finish stuff as well.
16. Allen Crabbe, California, Guard, 6-6, 210, Junior: Silky Smooth wing who is ideal coming off screens a la Rip Hamilton. Crabbe is on a team that has no other shooters, so his ability to show an improving mid-range game has been limited.
18. Mason Plumlee, Duke, Forward, 6-10, 235, Senior: Much more developed than last year and very athletic. Plumlee is showing great improvement in the low post, though he never developed his face-up jumper. A good rotation big man who might become a starter.
19. Victor Oladipo, Indiana, Guard, 6-5, 214, Junior: A freak athlete who has no position. Oladipo competes and is making shots and might end up as a two guard. He is unreal in transition and a lock-down defender on the ball, without fouling. Oladipo's improvement is hard to factor. Is he gong to keep improving? Or is he topping out? I'll take the middle.
20. Kenny Kadji, Miami, Forward/Center, 6-11, 242, Senior: A face-up 4 with a world of talent, though sometimes he no-shows. Still Kadji has the look of an NBA 3/4 right now. Inconsistency keeps him out of the lottery.
21. Nate Wolters, South Dakota State, Guard, 6-4, 193, Senior: Scouts know his game as he played very well before getting two early fouls against Baylor in last year's tournament. Wolters is awesome off a ball screen and has really improved his jump shot.
24. Will Clyburn, Iowa State, Forward/Guard, 6-7, 210, Senior: A 1, 2 and 3 who can handle the ball, shoot some and should translate to a very good long defender in the NBA. Has a rep as being soft, but is growing out of it.
25. Isaiah Austin, Baylor, Center, 7-1, 220, Freshman: Huge, talented, frail and not sure if he has a great body. Austin has a bit of hunch to his back, but he can really shoot, will rebound and is very very long.
28. Doug McDermott, Creighton, Forward, 6-8, 225, Junior: A tweener who likely has to become a Steve Novak clone, McDermott has a super-high basketball IQ and makes a high percentage of a high volume of shots.
Doug Gottlieb is a college basketball analyst for CBS Sports. A former player at Notre Dame and Oklahoma State, Gottlieb is 10th in NCAA history in assists. Watch Doug on Lead Off, weeknights at midnight ET on CBS Sports Network, and listen to him on CBS Sports Radio weekdays from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. Follow Doug on Twitter @GottliebShow.
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