After the NBA Draft Lottery last night, the Draft horizon became a little bit clearer. And while ESPN spent most of the night talking about John Wall and Evan Turner, there are 58 other picks that will get their shot at the League. With that in mind, here are my Top 5 most underrated players in this year’s NBA Draft.
1. Avery Bradley, Point Guard
6-2, 180 pounds, Freshman, Texas
DRAFT PROJECTION: MID-LATE 1ST ROUNDER
Coming into this season, Bradley had tremendous hype and many high school basketball ranking services had him ahead of John Wall last year. After an underwhelming year at Texas, the Lottery buzz has definitely worn off, but to me Bradley is a more defensive minded Russell Westbrook with more range on his jump shot. Now the question becomes can he develop into at point guard like Westbrook? I think he can.
2. Greivis Vasquez, Combo Guard
6-6, 197 pounds, Senior, Maryland
DRAFT PROJECTION: EARLY-MID 2ND ROUNDER
You will not find a more competitive and passionate player in this year’s Draft than Vasquez. He is coming off a stellar, four-year career playing under coach Gary Williams at Maryland. The 2010 Bob Cousy Award winner (given to the nation’s best point guard) has proven that he can play the point, and at 6-6, Vasquez certainly has great size and a good shooting stroke from behind the arc. I am interested to see when he goes and where he will land.
3. Willie Warren, Combo Guard
6-4, 207 pounds, Sophomore, Oklahoma
DRAFT PROJECTION: LATE 1ST-EARLY 2ND ROUNDER
Warren came into his sophomore season expecting to be one of the top picks in this year’s Draft, but he failed to deliver on that potential. Despite all that, I believe that Warren could become a Ben Gordon like player with his ability to get his own shot off the dribble and his tremendous offensive talent. Or Warren could become a slower version of Flip Murray. Either way, there’s too much potential not to take a chance.
4. Lance Stephenson, Combo Guard/Forward
6-5, 210 pounds, Freshman, Cincinnati
DRAFT PROJECTION: LATE 1ST-MID 2ND ROUNDER
It’s a shame that a player with all of his potential, who clearly underachieved this past season, is coming out early. And because he is so young, he will come with some headaches. But the talent that Stephenson possesses is something that is unmatched. One thing that he did show me while in college was that he is a fierce competitor and someone who is not afraid of the big moment. And if he can find a good franchise that will allow him and his game to mature, he could become a Caron Butler type of a player. If not, he could end up like another DeShawn Stevenson.
5. Sherron Collins, Point Guard
5-11, 215 pounds, Senior, Kansas
DRAFT PROJECTION: 2ND ROUNDER
A tremendous competitor and floor general, Collins reminds me a lot of a slower Jameer Nelson. Although he’s only 5-11, he has an offensive repertoire that can allow him to score at the next level. As it sits right now, Collins is projected as a second rounder, and I hope he gets a chance to play for a contender. As a back up, he could really help a franchise simply because he knows how to win.
What do you think? Who are some other underrated prospects who could help your team?
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