2013 NBA Draft: Center Rankings/Profiles

Tyler Jamieson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Center Rankings/Profiles for Top 75 prospects in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Position rank (overall rank)/Name/School/Class
1 (1). Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky, Fr.
Overview: The 19-year-old 7-footer from Kentucky doesn't have much of a resume to back up the claim that he's the No. 1 overall pick, but the NBA loves tall, rangy athletes and Noel is just that. His one-year totals of 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game won't blow you away, but 4.4 blocks per game and his athleticism have NBA scouts convinced he's worthy of the top pick. His ACL injury is a major factor, but based on how he performed before he was injured, Noel was widely considered the best player in this draft.
Analysis: Although he likely won't play until around Christmas time, at best, the athletic Noel still sits atop the draft rankings. His offense is raw and should improve, but he's extremely active and very good defensively. His combination of long arms and the fact guys his size just can't run the floor and do what he does makes him the solid overall top choice.
2 (8). Alex Len, C, Maryland, So.
Overview: The young Ukrainian has been on the NBA radar since he made his way to the U.S. He was suspended his first 10 games at Maryland due to concerns he was playing professionally abroad. Although he played in the ACC and put up solid numbers for an 18-year-old as a freshman, his first year was a learning experience and the sophomore campaign of 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game is what got NBA people back on board.
Analysis: The word potential is used quite a bit when talking about the massive 7-1 Len, who still hasn't filled out physically yet. He hasn't been really anything more than a role player at Maryland, but his size and athleticism has scouts intrigued about what he can potentially do at the NBA level.
3 (9). Cody Zeller, C, Indiana, So.
Overview: Zeller could have been a top pick had he come out after his freshman year but chose to return to Indiana. While his numbers did get better his sophomore year, it wasn't enough for a lot of NBA people and the criticism increased. This past year he scored 16.5 points and grabbed 8.1 rebounds per game for an Indiana team that was in the national championship hunt all season.
Analysis: Once a potential top pick, Zeller has been criticized for everything he can't do and what he is not. Zeller is another very good athlete for his size who is very well rounded offensively. He has a nice low post game but does have trouble finishing at the rim against athletic big guys. In the NBA he'll be capable of playing both low and high posts and will fit well with anyone looking to add frontcourt depth.
4 (12). Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga, Jr.
Overview: The 7-foot Canadian is smart - he finished his undergrad in accounting last year and is currently studying for his MBA. But maybe the best decision he ever made was to redshirt a year, buy some time off and come back with a vengeance this past season. It earned him the WCC Men's Player of the Year and he has catapulted up the draft boards. Once just a role player, Olynyk burst on the scene with 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season.
Analysis: Olynyk is not quite the athlete other centers are in this class, but he is an effective scorer who can play interchangeably between C/PF. There are questions as to whether Olynyk is overrated due to playing in a smaller conference against guys who couldn't match up with him. He had trouble finishing at the rim in the NCAA Tournament against athletic big guys, but has the smarts and overall offensive skill to fit in well somewhere in the NBA.
5 (14). Mason Plumlee, C, Duke, Sr.
Overview: The four-year Duke standout capped a nice career with an impressive 17.1 points and 10 rebounds per game last season. Once thought to possibly be leaving Duke after his junior season, Plumlee returned to post the best individual numbers of his career.
Analysis: Plumlee should be able to step in as a role player and find minutes wherever he ends up. He runs the floor and finishes well in transition. He got carved up pretty good by Peyton Siva and Louisville in high pick-and-roll situations in the NCAA Tournament. That will be a concern moving forward, but Plumlee's athleticism should land him somewhere in the middle of the first round.
6 (15). Rudy Gobert, C, Cholet (France)
Overview: After garnering attention from NBA scouts for his size, the 20-year-old 7-2 Frenchman has had to adjust to life on the fast track to the NBA. He'll be drafted in the first round on size alone, but is considered a big project.
Analysis: Some people have him as a top 10 pick, while others believe he will slide to the back end of the first round. It will be interesting to see where Gobert ends up. It's not as if he's an unknown quantity - NBA scouts knew about him heading into last season and followed him quite extensively in France this year. Physically, his 7-foot, 8-inch reach is freakish and he can almost dunk a basketball without even jumping, but he needs lots of work offensively and is incredibly raw.
7 (16). Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh, Fr.
Overview: Pitt had high hopes for the 7-foot, one-year wonder out of New Zealand, but after posting 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season it just didn't turn out the way either party would have liked it to. After the season Adams made it sound like he was sure to return only to change his mind after talking with his family.
Analysis: Adams had an up and down season as a freshman at Pitt. Heading into the year he was widely expected to make much more of an impact than he did. He's still very raw offensively, especially in the post, but scouts love his physical gifts. He's an athletic 260-pounder who can run the floor and has a knack for offensive rebounding.
8 (18). Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville, Jr.
Overview: Once considered a raw prospect out of Africa, Dieng has worked himself into an almost certain first-round pick. His numbers from his sophomore and junior seasons look almost the same, but what you will not see in Dieng's stat line is that he played with a broken left wrist for the first part of last season and was also a key piece in Louisville's success defensively during its national championship run.
Analysis: Dieng is a very active shot blocker with a 7-foot, 4-inch wing span who was crucial to the success of Louisville's championship run. At worst, Dieng should translate into a very solid defensive role player in the NBA with his energy, defense and shot blocking. However, while Dieng doesn't have an NBA post game he does have a pretty consistent jumper out to about 17 feet, which will come in handy in the NBA as well.
9 (21). Lucas "Bebe" Nogueira, C, Estudiantes 1992 (Brazil)
Overview: The 20-year-old Brazilian has been on NBA "watch lists" for about two years, but he's just now starting to show the type of promise people have expected out of him. He's incredibly athletic, but he'll need to bulk up or he's going to get bullied in the NBA.
Analysis: About as raw as you can get offensively - when he scores it's off dunks, cuts or offensive rebounds. Physically, the term "gangly" comes to mind. He's 7-feet, weighing 215 pounds soaking wet, but he has a monster 7-foot, 5-inch reach that scouts love. He's still a project with a ways to go, but could be a huge payoff for somebody willing to make the jump. It looks like he'll go somewhere in the first round.
10 (25). Jeff Withey, C, Kansas, Sr.
Overview: After posting next to nothing statistically his first two seasons in Lawrence, Withey put together a solid junior campaign and followed it up with a pretty impressive senior season. His 13.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season are impressive considering the competition Kansas plays, but where Withey shows his true merit is in his more than three blocks per game in both his junior and senior seasons.
Analysis: While not a sexy pick, he's a solid one. Withey is a very good athlete for his size and is one of the best big college defenders in this class. Like a lot of guys his offensive game isn't much to speak of, but athletic big men who can defend will almost always land somewhere in the NBA.
11 (30). Mike Muscala, C, Bucknell, Sr.
Overview: The four-year standout has excelled and improved every year he has played. Seeing the name Bucknell next to his name might not impress the average fan, but the NBA has taken notice of his 18.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.
Analysis: There will be no "buyer beware" tag with Muscala. Whoever takes him will know exactly what they're getting. He's an effective scoring big man who has improved each year. Unlike most big men, he has a fairly polished post game to his resume and should have no trouble being consistent out to about 15 feet.
12 (33). Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, Boulogne 1994 (France)
Overview: Scouts were a bit skeptical of Jaiteh as a center coming into the Nike Hoop Summit, but when he showed up taller than expected (he measured 6-11 after being listed at 6-9) and turned in a solid performance, people took notice.
Analysis: Another young player (18) with a long wingspan (7'4") and potential. Jaiteh is a borderline first/early-second rounder who could easily find himself in the back end of the first round due to his physical gifts. Offensively he plays hard and has shown the workings of a nice little baby hook as well as a bit of range out to 10 feet.
13 (49). Brandon Davies, C, BYU, Sr.
Overview: After being suspended during his sophomore year for violating BYU's Honor Code and thought to be possibly leaving the program, Davies rebounded to conclude his career in Provo in strong fashion with 17.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game his final season. There are concerns due to the suspension, but BYU coach Dave Rose insists Davies has the character to make it in the NBA.
Analysis: While not dominant offensively, he does show nice versatility to his game since he can play PF/C. He's listed at 235 pounds, but he doesn't really look it and will need to hit the weight room in order to be able to hold his own against NBA frontline guys. Davies has reportedly looked good in workouts since the season ended and could be trending upward.
14 (50). DeWayne Dedmon, C, Southern Cal, Jr.
Overview: The 7-foot California native's 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game won't blow you away, but it's not his numbers that have NBA scouts willing to give Dedmon a shot, it's his potential. Despite failing to display any improvement at USC and falling short of lofty expectations, Dedmon will get a shot somewhere.
Analysis: Former USC coach Kevin O'Neill called Dedmon a first-round talent, and physically he could be. Dedmon is 23 years old and is a late bloomer as he has only been playing organized basketball for about six years. The problem isn't with Dedmon's physical gifts, it's things like getting suspended on the last week of the season leading into the Pac 12 tournament (which could have been a big showcase for him) for being involved in a late night brawl that raise red flags.
15 (59). Colton Iverson, C, Colorado St., Sr.
Overview: After a mediocre three-season career at Minnesota, Iverson opted for a change of scenery for his senior year and it played out well for him. He went from averaging just over 5.0 points per game to 14.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for a veteran Colorado State squad that made the NCAA Tournament his senior year.
Analysis: At this point in his career, Iverson is more of a lumbering, traditional style center. He's good offensively on the low block and can score with either hand, but he'll need to work on his agility or he'll have trouble handling the athleticism of NBA frontcourt players.
16 (62). A.J. Matthews, C, Farmingdale St., Sr.
Overview: The wild card from Division III Farmingdale State in New York has come out of nowhere the past year and has NBA people buzzing. Rumor has it several D-I schools were interested and wanted to offer Matthews a scholarship out of high school but put the brakes on when they realized he had no chance of qualifying academically.
Analysis: The 7-footer can run, jump, finish around the rim and shoot out to about 12 feet. Granted, the production was against D-III talent, but Matthews is making a name for himself by working out anywhere against anyone (including garnering buzz playing pickup ball in NYC). He's a hot name to come out of nowhere and potentially earn a shot with someone over the summer.
Tyler Jamieson is a Senior NBA Draft Analyst for The Sports Xchange.

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