Big Board: Smart, Oladipo rising

Ranking the top 30 NBA draft prospects for 2013; Indiana star cracks top five

Originally Published: February 27, 2013
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Smart/OladipoUSA TODAY SportsBoth Marcus Smart and Victor Oladipo making moves on Chad Ford's Big Board.

We are now in the home stretch of the college basketball regular season, and there continues to be a lot of movement on our Big Board, particularly at the top. Not only is the No. 1 pick in a constant state of flux (much like the college basketball polls), so is the entire top 10.

With conference tournaments and March Madness coming soon, there is still plenty of time for players to make major leaps up (or down) the board. But for now, here is our latest ranking of the top 30 prospects for the 2013 NBA draft.

(Note: Stats are accurate as of Feb. 27.)


1
Ben McLemore
SCHOOL: Kansas
CLASS: Fr.
HT/WT: 6-5, 195
POS: SG
15.9 ppg
5.4 rpg
42 3PT%

McLemore is coming off a rough two-week stretch. The good news is that Kansas was 4-0 in games in which McLemore really struggled to assert himself offensively. McLemore's most glaring problems were against Oklahoma State (just seven points on 3-for-12 shooting in 49 minutes), when early shooting woes got him off track early, and a lethargic performance against Iowa State on the road (seven points on 2-for-6 shooting) in which McLemore completely disappeared for the last 10 minutes and overtime. These aren't the types of performance that scream "lottery pick," let alone "No. 1 pick."

As gifted as McLemore is as an athlete and shooter, his weaknesses (lack of aggressiveness and an inability to create his own shot off the dribble) are being amplified right now by aggressive Big 12 defenses. With Victor Oladipo coming on strong and NBA GMs adjusting to the Nerlens Noel injury news, there are plenty of other contenders to finish the season as the No. 1 prospect on our board.

PREVIOUS RANKING: 1 | PLAYER CARD

2
Nerlens Noel
SCHOOL: Kentucky
CLASS: Fr.
HT/WT: 6-11, 215
POS: C
10.5 ppg
9.5 rpg
4.4 bpg

Noel is still experiencing swelling in his knees and doesn't yet have his ACL repair surgery scheduled. Once doctors go in and get a better picture of the injury and his recovery time, we'll have a better feel for Noel's draft stock. Every NBA scout and GM I've spoken with says that, assuming that there isn't anything unique about Noel's tear, they still have him as a top-five pick, and a number of GMs who said two weeks ago that they would be reluctant to take him No. 1 overall are softening their stance. He's the top talent on this Big Board and was No. 1 from July 1 all the way until the injury. I think there's a very good chance he ends the season No. 1 as well.

PREVIOUS RANKING: 3 | PLAYER CARD

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider