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College, NBA Draft / Jan 7, 2014 / 12:45 pm

The 15 Biggest Unknowns In The 2014 NBA Draft

Wayne Selden

Wayne Selden (John Rieger/USA TODAY Sports)

How tired are we all of hearing names like Wiggins, Parker, Randle and Smart? It’s almost as if the basketball world forgot the draft consists of players outside the top five. While it’s great hearing those names, the 2014 NBA Draft class is being considered possibly the best in decades for a reason. It’s covered in future NBA All-Star talent, not just in the top five. With everyone’s focus on the top prospects in the draft, there will no doubt be some fans going “Who did my team just pick?” These fans might even be mad, because their team missed out on one of the bigger names, but that should be no cause for concern.

There are some prospects in this draft class that are relatively unknown, but will make an impact in the league in the near future. You might be hearing some of these names for the first time, but it won’t be the last time. Everyone is keeping their attention on the first few picks, while there are plenty of prospects flying up mock draft boards daily. Regardless if they go in the first or second round, these players deserve as much attention as the top five prospects are garnering, so let’s talk about some of these young guns.

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CLINT CAPELA
Clint Capela is an international prospect that might find his way onto your favorite team on draft night. The 19-year-old, 6-11, 211-pound power forward was born in Switzerland and is playing for Chalon, a Euroleague team from France this season. At this age, Capela is still a very raw prospect, but Draftexpress.com still has him going in the first round. Besides that, Andre Drummond was extremely raw coming out of UConn, right? Capela is a physical freak — his wingspan brings him close to 7-4. That’s scary. Anthony Davis is around 6-10 and has a wingspan close to 7-6. How’s that for an athletic comparison?

Capela isn’t a powerhouse like DeMarcus Cousins or Blake Griffin, he’s more comparable to the new type of center we seen in the NBA like Nerlens Noel and Anthony Davis. In the Eurocup this season (ten games), Capela posted averages of 11.2 points and 6.5 boards along with one block per game. A lot of these international prospects play minimal minutes overseas, so they make the most of their minutes. Capela was only playing 19.8 minutes per game, but he shot a very impressive 71.8 percent from the field. With his freak athleticism and potential to be an elite rim protector, make yourself familiar with the name Clint Capela.

WAYNE SELDEN
Whenever anyone talks about the Kansas Jayhawks this season, the only name you are likely to hear is Andrew Wiggins. Of course, Wiggins is a great prospect and even Kevin Durant already sees Wiggins as a future HOFer. But, there is a lot of talent on this team besides Wiggins, including Wayne Selden. Hardcore basketball followers might know who Selden is, but to the average person, he remains unknown. This will all change by the time the 2014 NBA Draft rolls around.

Wiggins is getting all the attention at Kansas, but Selden’s game should not be overlooked, regardless of numbers. Selden is putting up 8.7 PPG in 26.2 minutes, shooting 49 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep. Those numbers aren’t impressive by any means, but Selden is only taking a shade under seven field goals a game, so the shots aren’t there either. Selden stands as a 6-5 shooting guard, but his wingspan adds another five inches at 6-10, giving him great length for a two guard. One of the things that makes Selden a first-round prospect is the fact that he already has an NBA developed body, especially being 6-5. He has the ability to finish through contact and his midrange jumper is one of the best. Add the fact that Selden can create his own shot from anywhere and Selden rounds out quite nicely. Next time you watch a Kansas game, take your eyes off Wiggins for a second and watch Wayne Selden.

DANTE EXUM
Dante Exum is quite the intriguing prospect. For months, we’ve all seen him extremely high on mock draft boards, but who the hell is he? Exum is only 18 years old and hails from Melbourne, Australia. This international sensation from down under is a 6-6 combo guard that barely tips in on the scales at 188 pounds and has already compared himself to Derrick Rose (pre-injury of course). Even though it’s been reported that Exum is touring some college campuses (per SB Nation), the general notion is that Exum will go pro next season. Exum probably tops the list of top NBA prospects that no one quite knows who they are. Seriously, people have discussed Exum as being better than Wiggins, Parker, AND Randle.

Dante Exum can literally do it all. He has a lightning quick first step that would even make Russell Westbrook take a second look, plus his Australian accent is just awesome. In nine games at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Games, Exum posted stats of 18.2 PPG, 3.8 APG and 1.7 SPG. His 6-6 size (with a 6-9 wingspan) makes him a matchup nightmare at the point guard position and Exum’s excellent post game will just make shorter NBA guards give up when they see him backing down in the post. If he drives past an opponent’s point guard, he will just finish over whatever big man waits in the post. The kid’s nickname should just be “matchup nightmare.” But, his extreme height and length are for more than just creating mismatches. This gives Exum an extreme advantage as a point guard in being able to read the court and become a better distributor. Just look this kid up on YouTube and all these words will come to life. Dante Exum is one of the top prospects in the 2014 class, but little — if anything — is known about him. Trust me, Dante Exum is going to be a star in the NBA.

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