NBA Draft 2013: Highlighting Big Men Sure to Be Undervalued

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2013

WACO, TX - JANUARY 5:  Isaiah Austin #21 of the Baylor University Bears shoots the ball against the University of Texas Longhorns on January 5, 2013 at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Although the idea of the back-to-the-basket big man is being outmoded, teams covet players who can operate in the post. Luckily, the 2013 NBA draft is full of skilled big men.

Nerlens Noel is the cream of the crop, and many have him slated as the top pick in the draft. The teams unlucky enough to miss out on Noel will look to the likes of Alex Len, Cody Zeller and Kelly Olynyk.

This is one of the thinnest draft pools in recent memory, though. Teams looking for a LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard or Derrick Rose are out of luck. That lack of top-end quality extends to the big men.

Noel, Len and Zeller all have the kinds of flaws that could turn them into just run-of-the-mill players. Getting value is the name of the game. Scouts and general managers are going to have to work extremely hard to try and sift through the mess and come out with a gem.

Although these players may not turn into perennial All-Stars, there's a very good chance they'll give you much more bang for the buck.

Jeff Withey, Kansas Jayhawks

There's something to be said about a player like Jeff Withey. His ceiling isn't very high, but you know exactly what you're getting. He's not going to offer much offensively, but on the defensive end, he can be a major contributor.

Outside of the lottery picks, it's hard to find the kind of impact player who can change a game. You might as well just get the kind of player who can contribute for years to come.

That's exactly what Withey can do. He's a tremendous shot-blocker and with his size, can become a solid rebounder.

Over his four years at Kansas, Withey gradually improved. A couple of years ago, you'd never have thought he would have an NBA career. By staying in school, Withey helped himself a lot.

Lucas Nogueira, Brazil

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that Lucas Nogueira would be entering the NBA draft. Unlike 2011, Nogueira can't take his name out of consideration, so he's pretty much stuck.

Two years ago, Nogueira showed a ton of potential, but he was extremely raw. No team would have taken a chance on him.

Fast forward to 2013, and his game has shown signs of major improvement. Nogueira is still a project. As an international player, though, a team can draft him and and hold on to him for the immediate future until he's ready to handle the NBA.

With the potential he's shown, Nogueira is well worth taking a chance on late in the first round.

Gorgui Dieng, Louisville Cardinals

Much like Withey, Gorgui Dieng's offensive skills hold back his game. His offensive game has expanded a bit, but he's still very limited.

If his offense matched his defense, Dieng would be a lottery pick. Instead, he'll likely fall to the end of the first round. Should that happen, a team would be getting a reliable backup center.

Although he's not a scorer, Dieng is a very good passer, so he can help to create for his teammates. In addition, with his size and wingspan, he can immediately step on an NBA floor and make an impact on defense.

Isaiah Austin, Baylor Bears

Prior to his season at Baylor, Isaiah Austin looked like a sure-fire top 10 draft pick. He was a bit up and down for the Bears, so he's taken a bit of a tumble down draft boards, and it now looks like he's going in the middle of the first round.

The inconsistency he has shown in college is scaring many scouts away. On the other hand, Austin's potential is through the roof, so some might think he's too good to pass up.

He's extremely athletic and versatile. His shooting is very good for a seven-footer, as is his ball-handling. Along with his offensive skills, Austin can rebound well and block shots.

If he falls out of the lottery, Austin would be a steal.