2013 NBA Draft big board: SB Nation's ranking of prospects

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Jonathan Tjarks gives his ranking of the top prospects in the 2013 NBA Draft. His rankings deviate from the norm and they will be periodically updated as we get closer to the June 27 draft.

There's not a lot of hype surrounding the 2013 NBA Draft class, mainly because it's a little thin at the top. However, just because there aren't any "franchise players" available doesn't mean teams can't improve themselves.

Like in any draft, there will be quality players available through the early and middle portions of the second round, at least. NBA teams are picking and choosing among the majority of the best 19- to 22-year-old players in the world. A team that can't find a quality prospect out of a planet of seven billion probably isn't looking hard enough.

The importance of drafting well has only increased with the new CBA. With luxury tax penalties now so punitive, both financially and in terms of how you can build your roster, even the richest teams need quality young players on cost-controlled contracts to fill out their roster.

In that sense, a draft like 2013, thin an the top but with a solid middle class, should benefit most of the teams in the league. After all, the 2011 draft, conducted in the shadow of the lockout, was considered one of the weakest in recent memory, and Kenneth Faried, Reggie Jackson, Jimmy Butler and Chandler Parsons were all taken after the 21st pick.

Drafting is a fairly inexact science. Once you get past the top 15-20 players, the rankings become extremely fluid. None of these young men are LeBron James; they all need to be in situations where their weaknesses are minimized and they can play to their strengths.

My draft board, starting with Anthony Bennett at No. 1, doesn't align with some of the pre-draft consensus. Over the next few weeks, we'll be rolling out scouting reports that delve a little deeper into why. There is an underlying logic to it. (At least I hope.)

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