I have been writing about the best prospects in the upcoming NBA Draft all season long, and there were a few things initially that seemed odd about this year in terms of when superior prospects began to separate themselves from the pack.
Through January, only Nerlens Noel seemed like a surefire top prospect, and he was the no-brainer first pick. But Noel then proceeded to go down with a serious knee injury, which slightly cast a cloud over his draft stock. He still might deserve to be selected first, but his ACL injury is unsettling.
However, at around the same time of Noel's injury, three other players elevated their game to a point where each could realistically be considered worthy of being selected first in June: Victor Oladipo, Marcus Smart and Otto Porter.
Noel, Oladipo, Smart and Porter have been the four best prospects in the draft for two months, in my opinion. I feel confident all four will turn into good pros, and they all have legitimate star potential. Any of them would provide me with comfort if I were picking early.
This is much more than I could say about the previous two drafts, where only Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving seemed worthy of being picked very high. The four top prospects this year might not be as great as Irving and Davis, but they all seem very promising.
So the 2013 Draft feels different than the last few years, and that will probably end up being a good thing. There are more "sure things" this year, even though such a thing does not really exist when it comes to drafting.
In regards to the other top prospects, there are quite a few interesting players out there. Trey Burke's stock has shot up recently, to where it should have been six weeks ago, but I still have slight reservations about his size, and the fact that he shot the ball considerably worse the latter portion of the season is not a good sign. Similarly, as talented as Ben McLemore might be, his relative lack of scoring for an elite shooting guard prospect makes me believe that his stock is overrated.
After the top 6 or so prospects, the uncertainty increases rather dramatically in my eyes. This is not a bad thing, just the reality of how most NBA Drafts work.