We may still have nearly a third of the NBA regular season left to play, but it won't be long before talk of this summer's draft starts to increase exponentially. With just three weeks until March Madness and the June draft less than four months away, the busy season is around the corner for ESPN.com's Chad Ford, who has a number of draft-related items up for us today. Let's round them up….
- Ford's mock draft tool, which provides mock results for 2,184 different lottery scenarios, is up and running for the 2013 draft.
- There doesn't seem to be a consensus No. 1 pick this year yet, as one veteran general manager tells Ford (ESPN Insider link): "As you look at the guys atop your Big Board, I'm struck with how depleted the talent pool is this year at the top. This is a pretty good draft if you want to talk depth. I just don't see a player who turns our franchise around at the top. I could be wrong. I didn't see Kyrie Irving doing what he's doing for the Cavs right now. But this year is especially troubling."
- Based on his conversations with GMs, Ford says six players appear to be in contention for the first overall pick: Ben McLemore of Kansas, Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Anthony Bennett of UNLV, Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Alex Len of Maryland. Cody Zeller of Indiana and UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad have fallen out of contention for now, according to Ford.
- McLemore is currently atop the Suns' big board, according to Ford.
- In a separate Insider-only piece, Ford and ESPN.com's Jay Bilas discuss which players top their respective big boards, with Ford choosing Smart and Bilas going with McLemore.