The home stretch begins today for would-be NBA stars, as the 2013 Draft is just six days away. In years past, a good indicator of league chatter has been who gets invited to the “green room” for Thursday’s selection process.
The following player’s were invited: Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladpido, Alex Len, Michael Carter-Williams, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum, and Cody Zeller, according to a report from ESPN's Chad Ford. Who gets invited is determined by a poll of the league’s general managers.
All players in that list have remained in the lottery, based on the merits of their performances in workouts. Others have lost their shine but have fallen too far.
Indiana’s Victor Oladipo reportedly wowed scouts and GMs with his athleticism and competitive drive. His teammate Cody Zeller displayed incredible speed and leaping ability for his size during the combine. Zeller was thought to be a tweener after he didn’t develop as much as hoped during his sophomore year. Now he could be in the top half of the lottery. Especially to a team in need of more size like Phoenix or Sacramento.
The Kings are especially intriguing, since obtaining Zeller could be insurance for head case power forward DeMarcus Cousins, who was tied to several trades last season.
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The biggest slides goes to Kansas swingman Ben McLemore and Maryland center Alex Len. Once thought to be in the discussion for the top overall pick, McLemore hasn’t shown the same flashes of brilliance he did during the regular season in his workouts, and Len's ankle injury could scare off many teams. However both have talent and skill levels beyond their years and shouldn't fall out of the lottery
No one has dethroned shot swatting Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, despite a lack of workouts with his torn ACL. Same goes for UNLV’s Anthony Bennett whose already polished offensive game keeps him in the top five, despite his recovery from shoulder surgery denying any chance of teams getting a closer look.
Several reports indicate the Dallas Mavericks are looking to move the No. 13 overall pick to avoid taking on a guaranteed rookie salary. They are hoping to clear their books enough to possibly sign center Dwight Howard and point guard Chris Paul this summer.
The draft takes place on Thursday, June 27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. An updated mock draft is below.
1) Cleveland Cavaliers, C, Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
2) Orlando Magic, SG, Victor Oladipo, Indiana
3) Washington Wizards, SF, Otto Porter, Georgetown
4) Charlotte Bobcats, SG, Ben McLemore,
5) Phoenix Suns, PF, Anthony Bennett, UNLV
6) New Orleans Pelicans, SF, Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
7) Sacramento Kings, C, Cody Zeller, Indiana
8) Detroit Pistons, PG, Trey Burke, Michigan
- 9) Minnesota Timberwolves, SG, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- 10) Portland Trailblazers, C, Alex Len, Maryland
11) Philadelphia 76ers, C, Mason Plumlee, Duke
12) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors), PG, Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
13) Dallas Mavericks, SG, C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
14) Utah Jazz, C, Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga