With the 2013 NBA playoffs set to begin, the 14 teams that didn't make the cut look to the draft lottery, where they have a chance to snag the No. 1 pick.
The 2013 NBA draft class is filled with plenty of talent, but there's no clear favorite to be the top overall selection.
Kentucky center Nerlens Noel officially announced yesterday that he will be in this year’s draft despite tearing his ACL in February. Although he missed the last two months of the year, Noel is projected to be taken very high in the draft.
Beyond Noel, there are many other suitable options for the No. 1 pick, and this is how they breakdown.
Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State
Expectations were high for freshman guard Marcus Smart before the year started in Stillwater, and he showed he was well worth the hype. The Cowboys won 24 games this year with Smart leading the team in both points and assists.
Even though Oklahoma State didn’t have a good conclusion to the season, Smart ended on a high note, producing great stat lines every game. He averaged 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals last year, showing how well-rounded his game is.
Depending on who acquires the first pick, Smart could really be in the discussion. He is by far the best point guard available in the class, and his young age means he’ll only improve.
Trey Burke, G, Michigan
Another guard who’s guaranteed to go in the beginning of the first round is Michigan star Trey Burke. The country got a lot of exposure to Burke’s skills this past month as he led his Wolverine team back to the Final Four.
In his sophomore year at Ann Arbor, Burke averaged more than 18 points, six assists and three rebounds per contest.
Throughout the tournament, the point guard showed he was capable of distributing the ball to his teammates, as well as being able to score at will when his team needed. He also showed a very deep range, sinking numerous three-pointers over the top of defenders.
Like Smart, Burke will need the right fit in order to go No. 1, but regardless, he'll go somewhere in the lottery.
Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
If Kentucky’s big man is selected with the No. 1 pick, it will be the first time in almost 60 years that players from the same school have been chosen No. 1 in consecutive drafts, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Kyle Ringo. Anthony Davis went first last year to New Orleans.
Noel was having a decent year for the Wildcats, nearly averaging a double-double in points and rebounds along with more than four blocks per game before he was injured.
The 18-year-old is already solid defensively, but will need to polish his skill set on the offensive end to become a dominant center in the league.
Despite his ACL, many see Noel as having the most potential in this draft, making him the favorite to be selected first.