Most years, where we’re talking about the NBA draft, the relative strengths of the various shapes and sizes differ. The 2013 draft will be no exception. While there are talented perimeter scorers, lockdown defenders, and everything in between, the 2013 class does lack something significant this year … star power on the wings.
While two shooting guard prospects, Shabazz Muhammad and Ben McLemore, are in fact in the mix to be the first overall pick, NBA teams do not yet have a consensus on how this position shakes out. There may not be a Kobe Bryant, a Dwyane Wade, or even a Ray Allen, but there is plenty of depth.
Here are some of the top prospects.
Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA
Since he started playing, Muhammad has been the leading scorer (18.2 ppg) for UCLA and has impressed many with his deep shooting. While Muhammad has been pleasantly efficient shooting, he is most comfortable attacking the rim.
Feedback from the NBA has been positive on Muhammad, but there are questions about his position as he might be a bit undersized to defend the LeBrons, Carmelos, and KDs of the world. Despite a long wingspan, Muhammad is not an elite athlete. One GM I spoke to recently said that Muhammad was “a good 3rd option in the NBA and could eventually be a 2nd option but cannot be a franchise guy.”
Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The redshirt freshman has been the man in Lawrence this season for Bill Self’s Jayhawks. McLemore has done his damage this year all over the court, shooting over 50% from the field, 44% from beyond the arc, and over 87% from the foul line.
Before spraining his ankle, McLemore had a signature performance against Iowa State in which he scored 33 points and missed only 2 shots the entire game.
Talking to several people around the Kansas program, the key to McLemore’s development has been his mental growth, crediting his redshirt year as well as becoming more aggressive. While most of the candidates for the top pick have fallen short of expectations or just met them, McLemore has greatly exceeded preseason expectations and could ride the momentum into being the top pick in the draft.
Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
While Goodwin is not the quintessential shooting guard, he is an excellent slasher and attacker. While Goodwin will never be an elite shooter, his performance this year for the defending champs has been solid, and he is often times being the guy with the ball in his hands during crunch time.
Due to his slender frame, it is impressive that Goodwin is as good of a rebounder as he is, averaging 5.0 per game. Goodwin seems to fit in the mind of many NBA evaluators is as a 3rd guard, 6th man type that will be the leader of an offense while he is on the court.
While it is not set in stone what type of role Goodwin will have in the NBA, it’s easy to see he has a defined skill that is hard to find. Some team will probably pull the trigger on Goodwin in the lottery.