March Madness is right around the corner, so it’s time to circle the wagons and look ahead to the NBA draft after breaking down each position the past five Saturdays. Since the last Big Board, draft stocks have soared or tanked based on performances, injuries, and inconsistencies. As the NCAA Tournament approaches, the lives of NBA scouts will be consumed by the names on this list as they dissect every wrinkle or wart of each prospect.
Will the 2013 draft deliver the next LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Carmelo Anthony? Absolutely not, but it could deliver a quality starter or a key contributor off the bench. The NBA is a copycat league, and with the majority of the best players in the league playing small forward, it is easy to see why teams are eager to target that position in the draft.
The NBA draft is all about projections and potential. A generation ago, most NBA executives’ strategy was to compare prospects based on their collegiate careers. Then the Fab Five arrived at Michigan, and suddenly the process was flipped upside down. Underclassmen were scrutinized, analyzed and scouted thoroughly by NBA clubs who wanted to get the next big-time prospect. While prospects with high upside are intriguing, they come with more risk than upperclassmen. The lottery is annually dominated by underclassmen, primarily freshmen.