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College, NBA Draft / Dec 19, 2012 / 3:30 pm

Fast 5: Tracking This Year’s NBA Draft Class, Vol. 3

Brandon Paul

Brandon Paul (photo. University of Illinois Athletics)

Each Wednesday, we’ll be assessing how the top prospects of the 2013 NBA Draft are faring in college and overseas. Stick with us each week for assorted thoughts, including the biggest risers and fallers, the standouts, the sleepers and what we know and don’t know about the next NBA Draft class…

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The fluidity of the NBA Draft has been in full force over the past week. For the most part, the prospects are not being properly evaluated based on a full body of work; instead we live in a vacuum world that re-evaluates everything on a weekly basis to second guess what we already know. Be wary of Big Boards and Mock Drafts in December, they change to for the sake of change.

Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.

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ONE: What Do We Know?
The senior class is talented and deep with quality NBA prospects, which has actually been a common trend in recent years. Typically, at least over the course of the last five NBA Drafts, there are an average of 5.4 seniors (27 total) taken in the first round. Those are numbers during the one-and-done era showing that upperclassmen still have value, particularly towards the back third of the first round.

Winning teams want experienced, polished players that can come in and make an immediate impact.

This year the group is led by Mason Plumlee and C.J. McCollum, but others have stood out in Jeff Withey, Rodney Williams, Brandon Paul, Kenny Boynton Jr. and Nate Wolters. All of these seniors have a shot at the first round with Plumlee and McCollum being discussed as lottery picks. Staying in school still has its benefits to an athlete.

TWO: What Do We Not Know?
With the upperclassmen it is a little easier to decipher who is staying and who is going to declare. For seniors it is not even a debate. On the other hand, the underclassmen are a bit more perplexing this year without a dominant star in the draft class. That might make a mid-level guy think he can declare and play well enough in workouts to boost his stock.

A lot of freshmen this year could very easily declare early and head to the next level. The standouts so far are Archie Goodwin, Anthony Bennett, Marcus Smart, Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress. All of those prospects have showed a skill set or a level of athleticism that will translate to the next level. Most could use a second year, but they all seem (as of today) as safe bets to declare.

Then you have Isaiah Austin, Kyle Anderson, Rodney Purvis, Ricardo Ledo, Rasheed Sulaimon and others that are on the fringe. Who will declare? That will not be decided until April, but the wheels are turning as to what this group of freshmen will look like at the next level.

THREE: Stock Rising
If you are a star for the Kentucky Wildcats ,your odds at going No. 1 in the NBA Draft are currently at 66.67 percent (two out of three) in the John Calipari era. This year there are a few Wildcats that have a shot at No. 1 and the most unlikely of the three has risen to the point that some feel he is now in consideration. Archie Goodwin is one of the better guards in the country, having played some one early. He’s now back to his more natural two spot. Since Ryan Harrow has returned to the team moving Goodwin back to his traditional slot on the line-up, Goodwin has averaged 14.2 points and 5.2 assists a game. He is shooting the ball well from two (50 percent), three (almost 47 percent) and getting to the free throw line (7.2 attempts per game) at a high rate.

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