Kotoch: Top 20 NBA Draft Prospects, Pre-March Madness

7. Cody Zeller, C, Indiana, 6’11”

Most of Zeller’s stats are identical to last season, with the exception of his increased rebounding totals and decreased field goal percentage.

Still, Zeller is getting to the foul line and as of late has started to put it together on the court. Leading the top team in the country and coming into the season as one of the top prospects has kept the spotlight on Zeller, who has shown new wrinkles to his offensive game.

But some NBA teams sound concerned about his size and have questions about what position he will play at the next level. Zeller is in the mix to be a top-5 pick.

8. Isaiah Austin, C, Baylor, 7’1″

For me and for some NBA execs, Austin’s one of the most intriguing players in the draft.

Not many 7-footers can run the court, handle the ball, pass, or shoot like Austin can.

In spite of all of his abilities, Austin does not dominate the college game like he should. Still with so many NBA teams running fast-paced offenses and looking to space the court, it is hard to imagine Austin’s name won’t be one of the top 10 called since he is essentially a 3/4 on offense but can play center on defense.


9. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown, 6’8″

Porter is certainly in the mix for many national awards this season due to his progression as a shooter.

Being more fluid than athletic will likely keep Porter out of the top-5, but watching him play can be hypnotic as he is so smooth.

Two concerns NBA teams appear to have are with Porter’s slender frame and lack of athleticism, which can be problems when he attempts to defend the LeBrons, Carmelos, and Kevin Durants of the world.


10. Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse, 6’6″

Carter-Williams has been among the nation’s assist leaders all season long, which has showcased his vision and passing abilities.

I had questions about his ability to be a lead guard at the next level, but Carter-Williams has shown he can take care of the basketball and doesn’t over-dribble like many converted point guards.

If Carter-Williams could shoot more accurate from outside he would be higher.


11. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana, 6’5″

Few players in the country have boosted their draft stock more than Oladipo, who came into the season a likely 2nd round pick as an athletic defender.

The key to Oladipo’s success has been his dramatic improvement shooting 3s. Looking at the board there are not many prospects as athletic as Oladipo that are as efficient or productive on both ends of the court.

Come draft night, I fully expect him to be in consideration by some top-5 teams, and he should be a lock to go top-10.


12. Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky, 6’9″

Poythress, like Oladipo, oozes with unbelievable athleticism and physical gifts.

But where Oladipo has polished his game, Poythress remains raw, primarily on offense. Early in the season is when Poythress’ stock was highest, but of late his lack of touches and spotty production have knocked him outside the top-10.

Whatever lottery team selects Poythress is taking him on his potential and raw athleticism.



13. Mason Plumlee, C, Duke, 6’10”

Whereas Plumlee’s older brother, Miles, was selected in the first round based on his athleticism and pre-draft workouts, Mason has produced to the point where he will be under consideration for some awards.

Averaging a double-double, 17.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg, is no small feat in the ACC, and combined with explosive athleticism, Plumlee is sure to be selected in the top-half of round 1.



  1. […] Our Cleveland friend from Pro Basketball Draft shares his updated take on the top 20 NBA Draft prospects. No change at the top: “1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky, 6’11″ — Despite Noel’s recent knee injury that shelved him for the season, the Kentucky big man remains atop the big board. Before his injury, Noel was emerging as one of the premier defenders in the country, highlighted by a 12-block performance against Ole Miss. The door is now open for other prospects to challenge to potentially be the top pick, but a torn ACL is no longer the same devastating injury it used to be. With Noel potentially able to suit up in 8 months, he still belongs on the top of my board.” [Joe Kotoch/Sheridan Hoops] […]

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