The season is almost over, and it may be too early to determine which players will have good-to-great careers and which will not be in the league in five years. Regardless, here are the five biggest steals in the draft as of now.
5. DeAndre Jordan—Los Angeles Clippers
Jordan was the 35th overall selection in the draft by the Clippers but was projected to go in the lottery. A raw, athletic big man with tons of potential is very well worth a second round selection.
He is averaging solid numbers in limited minutes for the injury-riddled Clippers squad and has had a fair share of big games. He has had six games of double figure rebounds, including a 20 rebound game! He has also blocked three-plus shots on six occasions, including a six-block outing against the Los Angeles Lakers.
There is little doubt in my mind that DeAndre Jordan will have a lengthy and productive career.
4. Kyle Weaver—Oklahoma City Thunder
Weaver was the 38th overall pick in the draft out of Washington State. A combination guard who spent four years in college is a good find this late in the draft.
Weaver has started in 17 games for the Thunder averaged eight points in those starts. He has scored in double figures seven times on the year.
3. Luc Richard MBah A Moute—Milwaukee Bucks
Prince Luc was taken one pick before Weaver and was the second forward taken by the Bucks after they selected Joe Alexander with the eighth pick. Moute spent three seasons with the Bruins and was a key part in UCLA's three straight Final Four appearances.
The Prince has started in 49 games, averaging just over seven points and 6.6 rebounds. He's scored in double figures 21 times, grabbed double digit rebounds nine times, with numerous games of nine rebounds as well.
He should be a serviceable player for years to come.
2. Mike Taylor—Los Angeles Clippers
Taylor was the first person to be drafted out of the NBA's D-League, as the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the 55th overall pick. Clippers traded for his rights immediately after, and that is looking like a great decision.
An energetic guard, Taylor is a huge spark off the bench and has started in three games, averaging 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in just over 25 minutes an outing. He has scored in double figures six times, including an explosive 35 points in his debut at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.
1. Mario Chalmers—Miami Heat
Chalmers played a key role in Kansas' victory over Memphis to take the NCAA Championship in 2008, yet dropped all the way to the Miami Heat and the 34th overall slot.
Chalmers is the starting point guard for the Heat and is averaging a solid 10 points, 4.8 assists, 1.9 steals to only two turnovers a game. Averaging a near 1/1 steal to turnover ratio shows how good this rookie is and can be.