NBA Draft 2012: Kendall Marshall and Most Underrated Lottery Picks

Luis Batlle@lbatll1Contributor IJune 30, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  Injured point guard Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels supports his teammates from the bench against the Kansas Jayhawks  during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March 25, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Lottery picks are held in high regard in the NBA draft, but some like UNC's Kendall Marshall don't get the love they deserve.

In the 2012 NBA draft, there were several lottery picks that have been scrutinized and overlooked for various reasons, when it's these players that could in fact be the best pickups of the draft.

Marshall was the conductor of a brilliantly orchestrated offense in North Carolina, and will look to do just that with a high-powered, fast-break offense next season.

Here are the three most overlooked, underrated lottery talents selected in the 2012 NBA draft.


Kendall Marshall, PG, Phoenix Suns (No. 13 Pick)

Marshall is not only one of the more underrated talents in the 2012 NBA draft, he's also potentially one of the more underrated prospects to ever grace the game.

Marshall played point guard extraordinarily well for his North Carolina Tar Heels. He was averaging 9.7 assists per game which ranked second-best in the nation, while his 330 assists and 3.51 assist to turnover ratio was the best of any player in Division I basketball.

Talk about some impressive figures. When also taking into consideration he played in as competitive and defensively gifted a conference as the ACC is, the feat is all the more impressive.

Marshall gives the Phoenix Suns a starting PG if Steve Nash leaves, an insurance policy if Nash goes down to injury, and most of all, a point guard that is set to be one of the league's elite when it's all said and done.


Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers (No. 6 Pick)

If Marshall doesn't earn a starting job with the Phoenix Suns, Damian Lillard is easily the player who is set to take Rookie of the Year honors in 2013.

What makes Lillard such a unique talent is that he is a prolific scorer listed at the point guard position. This is a talent that averaged 19.9 points per game as a sophomore and a whopping 24.5 points as a senior. Not to mention, Lillard has that four-year tenure that makes him all the more attractive to the league. The Weber State prodigy has been battle tested, has learned a lot about the game, and will be able to make his impact felt immediately at the next level as a result.

Lillard joins a playoff contender that will be in need of a scoring guard with the falling out of Brandon Roy. This team lacks a real go-to guy outside of LaMarcus Aldridge, as the two together will undoubtedly be able to get things going for the team. Considering the Trail Blazers' success last season, there is no question this is a player that will an All-Star for years to come.


Thomas Robinson, PF, Sacramento Kings (No. 5 Pick)

A sure-fire pick got bounced to No. 5 in this year's draft, but the reality is this player could well have the best career of any player in the draft.

Robinson is relentless on the glass, has a tremendous work ethic, and an undeniable passion for the game. This beast on the boards averaged 11.9 rebounds per game last season and was solid offensively as well. Robinson posted 17.7 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting the rock.

Fortunately for Robinson, he did slide to No. 5, as the first four teams would have made it difficult for him to win games early in his career. The Kings are stacked in the frontcourt with DeMarcus Cousins and T-Rob, while also boasting a solid backcourt with Tyreke Evans leading the charge. Fans can expect some major momentum shift in Sactown with Robinson joining the crew next season.