Players are often taken much higher in the NBA draft than their bodies of work would suggest. This can be attributed to something many people call “raw talent." Raw talent can mean a lot of things…a good frame to grow into, outstanding athleticism—even just the ability to shoot a decent three-ball can get you drafted higher than you deserve.
The two guys in this year’s draft class with the most raw talent are Austin Rivers and Fab Melo. Both players have great size for their positions, but lack experience.
Austin Rivers is a 6’5” shooting guard out of Duke. He has all the qualities and potential to become a great NBA shooting guard. On top of his good size, Austin was one of the highest-rated players in the country coming out of high school and went on to star at Duke as a freshman. He also has an elite basketball pedigree, since his father is Boston Celtics head coach and former NBA point guard Doc Rivers.
There a few notable weak points in Rivers' game; he has a questionable shot selection, averaged just over two turnovers and can be a bit of a gambler looking to make the big play on defense. He’s shown the willingness to take and ability to make big shots at Duke, but this can also be interpreted as selfishness.
Fab Melo is a 7’ center out of Syracuse University who was one of the nation’s best shot-blockers during his sophomore year with the Orange. Seven-footers don’t grow on trees, so they always tend to go earlier than expected. Melo has outstanding length and could develop into one of the game's best defensive big men.
His offense took a step forward his sophomore year as well, as he continues to develop his mid-range jumper and low-post skills. The knock on Melo’s game comes off the court in the form of bad grades and laziness, which causes concern for many NBA scouts.
Who do you think is the most raw prospect? Comment below!