Draft Watch: 13 freshmen with first-round potential

Originally Published: December 29, 2006
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com
We said in July that much of the strength of the 2007 NBA Draft was in a stellar incoming freshman class that boasted as many as four potential lottery picks and several other excellent NBA prospects down the road.

Turns out stellar was an understatement. This year's freshman class is having a bigger impact than anyone predicted and has the potential to produce a whopping eight lottery picks and 13 first-rounders altogether in this draft.

To put this into historical perspective, the most freshmen ever drafted in the first round was four in 2001. However, that was back when high school players could come directly to the NBA without meeting a minimum age requirement.

To get a handle on the most NBA-ready high school class ever, you have to combine the number of preps-to-pros and college freshmen who were drafted from that class. That distinction belongs to the high school class of 2004 which placed eight high school seniors in the first round of the '04 draft and one college freshman in the '05 draft.

This year's freshman class should exceed that amount if all of the top freshmen declare. After talking with numerous NBA scouts and executives, here's a look at the top 13 freshmen in the country:

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Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider