College, NBA Draft, Overseas / Jan 2, 2013 / 12:30 pm

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

Shabazz Muhammad

Shabazz Muhammad (photo. Matt Scott)

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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New Year, same old Fast 5 as we continue the journey to June for the 2013 NBA Draft by looking at all the story lines. Turning the page on a new year may help some prospects, but also begins the next leg in the process as we get into conference play this month. Can familiarity help, or hurt these prospects?

Here is the NBA Draft Fast 5.

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ONE: What Do We Know?
To keep with the season, this edition of “What Do We Know?” is going to be a New Year’s Resolution for all 2013 NBA Draft hopefuls. Since the coverage of the draft switched from 2012 to 2013, there has been a litany of players talked about as lottery picks and even No. 1 overall picks.

From Cody Zeller to Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel, Rudy Gobert, Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, Anthony Bennett and Ben McLemore the list is exhaustive.

Kicking off the New Year – and from my experience the real meat and potatoes of the draft season where prospects start to settle into their positioning – it is time for someone (or a few someones) to create separation. The talent is there for numerous prospects, but showing that “it” factor or having a breakout performance is sorely needed. Who is that going to be? Who knows? All I can say is last year on January 17, I released a Big Board that had 25 of 30 of the eventual first-round picks. Now is when we begin to get a finger on the pulse.

TWO: What Do We Not Know?
Following along with the theme above, this is going to be my New Year’s Premonition. When conference play begins and continues through January we will know who the No. 1 overall pick is and right now he is in my top 10. That is my premonition. Who will that be? Again, who knows? But the fact of the matter is that it has to be someone and the talent is there for a prospect to come of age on the court before our eyes.

THREE: Stock Rising
Style and effective execution are almost (if not more) important than general athleticism. A prime example of that is N.C. State freshman forward T.J. Warren. He is not at elite athlete and most scouts might even call him a below average athlete, but he can score. What Warren does is he plays his game and scores in a variety of ways.

This season he has shown the ability to get to the free throw line, knock down the three, shoot with efficiency and more importantly, he is shooting at a very high rate. With his current 69.4 field goal percentage, he has the second-highest shooting percentage in the country as the second-leading scorer for the Wolfpack. Many guys have made it in the NBA as average athletes – like Paul Pierce, James Harden, John Salmons, and more. Warren might be the next one.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GSJDGJDB5YGPIVLCMCQSEPBBIE Chicagorilla

    Noel is good but he isn’t as talented as A.Davis. He just has more athleticism. Which should help make him better in the NBA but he needs a better IQ and a better system.

    Isiah Austin is a 7fter who plays like he’s 6’7. Its a shame too because he’s a talented player and can be a good post player. But as of right now he looks like a less athletic Jonathan Bender.

    If I had to chose between all these big men I’d take Zeller for the same reason…he’s the safest pick.