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The 2013 NBA Draft’s Biggest Steals
Posted By Joel Brigham On June 17, 2013 @ 12:00 pm In NBA | No Comments
There are a million different things NBA front offices have to consider when deciding what draft picks to make every June, but perhaps the most challenging decision most general managers and team presidents make is whether to grab an established player with a low ceiling and a high floor or a promising youngster with limitless potential that may or may not come into his own as a professional.
Whatever players these front office executives select, it’s just as easy to strike out taking an established four-year senior as it is to gamble on a freshman with talent that didn’t even crack his college starting lineup.
The more gifted talent evaluators, however, have the ability to find value no matter where they pick or what kind of player they select, even if it’s late in the first round or well into the second round. Every year, a small handful of teams find wonderful diamonds in the rough, and this year is not going to be any different.
So we’re going to look today at six players that have the potential to break out as credible NBA stars despite getting selected later in the draft. These are players that aren’t really mentioned in the conversation for lottery picks, but who are talented enough to eventually be NBA starters, anyway.
Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Michigan – The biggest knock on Hardaway heading into the draft is that he’s not consistent enough to make it at the highest level, but he’s shown enough in workouts to make some teams believe he’ll be just fine. Hardaway is a really solid outside shooter who seems to only get better as the games get bigger, and with a dearth of top-tier two guards, he already looks like one of the best three or four shooting guard prospects in the draft. If he dips into the 20s or later as projected, he’ll likely be somehow involved in the postseason next year, which is when he really could prove his worth as a draft-day steal.
Erick Green, G, Virginia Tech – Any time you’ve got a player that led the entire NCAA in scoring, he’s worth mentioning on a list of potential sleepers, especially when there’s a real chance that he won’t even be selected in the first round. He’s only 6’3, which is where Green receives the most criticism, but the exact same thing was said about Stephen Curry when he came out of Davidson in a year when he also led the nation in scoring. He might not be a big guy, but Curry has proven there’s a place in the NBA for players with Green’s skill set, and there is every reason to think he’ll end up one of this draft’s biggest bargains.
Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas – Kabongo is another guy who gets knocked for his size, and the fact that he was suspended for two-thirds of this past season certainly hasn’t done anything to help his stock either, but Kabongo has some of the most impressive handles of all potential draftees, and he’s definitely one of the best pure point guard prospects up for grabs. He has great court vision, is a vocal and credible leader, and ridiculously quick getting up and down the floor. He may only be a backup point guard in the NBA, but he’s going to be one of the better ones, and it won’t be surprising if he’s a starter someday.
Glen Rice, Jr., SF, Georgia Tech/NBDL – Rice’s off-the-court issues got him kicked off of his Georgia Tech team this past season, and that of course led him to the NBDL’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he very quickly established himself as one of the best scorers in the D-League. He has NBA athleticism and shooting range, and his confidence in attacking the basket makes him look like a long-time NBA veteran rather than a soon-to-be pseudo rookie. His history may scare off some teams in the mid-to-late first round, but by the end of the first round or early second round, teams will be itching to get a hold of that kind of talent. As long as he continues to behave himself, Rice has a wonderful opportunity to prove a lot of teams wrong for passing on him.
Jackie Carmichael, PF, Illinois State – At 6’9, 241 pounds, Carmichael is built the way an NBA power forward should be. So what if he’s an inch or two short? He looks like a young Carlos Boozer and has the nose for rebounding to be a major success in the pros. He also has a respectable spot-up game and excellent work ethic, plus four years of college experience, so there’s no reason not to expect him to be one of the most mature players in the class. At ISU he didn’t exactly face top-tier talent, but he’s good enough where that shouldn’t matter at the next level. He’s an easy guy to like, especially as a second-rounder, and plenty of teams are hoping he falls to them there.
Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence – The theme among all these sleepers is that every can seems to have a dent, and Ledo’s dent is that he didn’t play a single minute of college ball. Despite that, Ledo has received a ton of invitations for workouts with NBA teams because he’s such a talented scorer. Had he been academically eligible this season, many believe he would’ve been a lottery pick easily. Someone’s going to take a gamble on this kid, and his undeniable ability to shoot the rock could make him a star. He could go as early as the last first round, but no matter where he gets picked, if he’s not a lottery selection he’ll be a steal.
These players all have an excellent shot at becoming stars in the NBA despite the fact that they’re not likely to be selected in the lottery, but in many cases it will require acts of faith from the teams doing the picking in order to get these guys their opportunities. However it shakes out, some late picks are going to look great a year from now. These six have as good a shot at being those steals as anybody in the draft.
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