Last time we looked at top sophomores in the upcoming 2013 NBA Draft that could potentially turn into great pro players. Are there any juniors and seniors that realistically could become dominant pros?
The short answer, not surprisingly, is probably not. The best NBA prospects usually leave college following their freshman or sophomore year, so upperclassmen are less likely to become big stars in the NBA. This certainly is the case for the 2013 Draft. While there will probably be many juniors and seniors picked who go on to have productive NBA careers, it seems unlikely any upperclassman from this draft will turn into a dominant All-Star.
This site is all about the uncertainty of projections - and you never know, if everything adds up an upperclassman could be a far better pro than any of us foresaw. But we should obviously not have such high hopes if we are to be realistic. No juniors or seniors seem vastly superior to their projected draft position. This is not like 2011, for example, when Kenneth Faried fell in the draft even though many people thought he was going to be an excellent pro.
The upperclassman most likely to exceed expectations is probably Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum. Maybe out for the rest of the season with an injury, McCollum has obvious pro skills and a tremendous feel for the game. McCollum also seems to be a better passer than his stats indicate, and could develop into a superb NBA point guard if everything clicks. That said, he is hardly a surefire top prospect - McCollum could flounder in the pros just as easily as he could succeed. Nonetheless, he appears to be the most impressive upperclassman, and maybe the only one who could get picked in the top ten.
After McCollum, the chances of finding an upperclassman with legit star potential seem pretty slim. I like Jeff Withey and Victor Oladipo, but even if they exceed expectations they seem unlikely to ever be All-Stars. There are many other interesting upperclassmen that will be available, but no particular one stands out.
Projected first round upperclassmen I have not mentioned - like Jamaal Franklin, Mason Plumlee and Kelly Olynyck - will get considerable hype as the draft approaches. But every junior and senior in the 2013 Draft has to be considered a long shot to ever become truly dominant in the NBA. There will probably be some good upperclassmen, but no great ones.
All this is pretty obvious, but I thought it warranted mentioning. We need to keep things in perspective: The 2013 NBA Draft will mainly be about the freshman and sophomores. This shouldn't come as a surprise.