Under-the-Radar 2013 NBA Draft Sleepers Guaranteed to Make an Impact
There are some guys out there you just know are going to make an impact.
Many of them have produced better results than some of the most sought-after prospects in the nation, but aren't considered must-watch prospects because they lack NBA upside.
These are the guys who are going to make a rotation, whether it's as a 12th man or a sixth man. Most are projected as late-first- or second-rounders, but all are safe selections regardless of where they go.
Pierre Jackson, Baylor, 5'10'', PG
On rare occasion, speed and quickness can compensate for size and strength.
Whether Pierre Jackson is 5'10'' or 6'3'', it doesn't change the fact that nobody can stay in front of him. He may not be your typical pass-first, natural facilitator, but his ability to break down the defense creates scoring opportunities all around.
This year he averaged 19.8 points and an eye-opening 7.1 assists. He confirms the logic and value of someone who can beat his man off the dribble, which consequently creates a four-on-three advantage. And for offenses, four-on-three is what you want in the half court.
Jackson was nothing short of spectacular in the postseason when he led Baylor to an NIT championship. He went for 26 and 16 against Arizona State, 20 and 13 against Providence, 24 and 10 in semis versus BYU, and 17 and 10 in the title game against Iowa.
As a junior, Jackson made 2.4 three-pointers per game at a near-36 percent clip. His ability to shoot off the dribble is a skill that should carry him throughout his career, as it allows him to stop and pop before traffic instead of having to rely on low-percentage shots amongst the trees.
If Nate Robinson taught us anything from his 34-point explosion in the NBA playoffs, it's that size doesn't always matter.
My money is on Jackson finding a rotation spot by his second year in the league.
Jackie Carmichael, Illinois, 6'9'', PF
Jackie Carmichael is a 6'9'', 240-pound beast made up of rock-solid muscle. He's one of the most physically imposing big men this draft class has to offer.
But Carmichael is also a darn good basketball player who averaged 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game. While his size and athleticism allow him to bully interior opponents inside, Carmichael has a soft touch at the high post that makes him a multidimensional threat in the paint.
Think of the way Carlos Boozer's game translated to the pros. Carmichael is a strong power forward who can rebound, protect the rim and score from both the high and low post.
He's likely a second-rounder, but one that shouldn't last too long on the board. Right now the biggest thing going against Carmichael is the conference he played in.
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, 6'5'', SF
I'm not sure how many people are sleeping on Jamaal Franklin anymore, but this kid is guaranteed to make an impact regardless of where he's drafted.
Franklin's versatility as a scorer, passer, rebounder and defender allow him to contribute even when his jumper isn't falling. And right now, it's his shooting consistency that's holding him back.
But there's reason to believe this will come around. Though he only shot 28 percent from downtown this year, he did make 1.3 of them per game. Franklin is a capable shooter, he just needs to improve his consistency.
Otherwise, Franklin is the real deal across the basketball board. He's an exceptional athlete who can play on and off the ball and contribute on all fronts.
As a junior, he improved as a half-court scorer, adding the step-back jumper and fadeaway into his offensive arsenal. He also averaged over nine rebounds per game despite being just 6'5'', illustrating his motor and above-the-rim presence.
Franklin is also a willing and visionary passer. He led the team in assists, as well as scoring, rebounding and steals, being the only player in the country to do so.
He's my first-round sleeper of the draft, and someone I expect to make a quick impact once he reaches the next level.
Dennis Schroeder, Germany, 6'1'', PG
Dennis Schroeder really made a name for himself at this year's Nike Hoops Summit, turning heads during practices before lighting up the U.S.A in the main event.
He plays at a high level overseas, which to some is more competitive than our college game.
At first glance, it's not difficult to see what's so appealing about him as a prospect. Schroeder is a top-flight athlete with a strong frame and has drawn comparisons to Rajon Rondo because of quickness with the ball in his hands.
Schroeder is a breakdown point guard who can create off the dribble, and his ability to get into the lane inevitably opens up scoring opportunities for either himself or his teammates.
Scouts have been impressed with his growth over the past year, where he's shown increased maturity and a more consistent jumper. Against the U.S.A at the Summit, he went for 18 points and six dimes, knocking down a few shots off the bounce from inside and outside the arc.
I have Schroeder ranked as the third-best point guard prospect in the field this year behind Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams. He might be a few years away from contributing substantial minutes, but Schroeder is a guaranteed NBA player once he settles into the league.
Reggie Bullock, North Carolina, 6'7'', SF
Reggie Bullock is guaranteed to make an impact. It might not burn a hole through anyone's stat sheets, but for a team in need of his specific services, Bullock's strengths should translate.
As an NBA prospect, his role at the next level is already defined. Bullock's established identity as a stretch forward should not only help teams seek him out on draft day, but it should allow him to find a niche in the NBA.
He averaged nearly 14 points per game his junior year, but it was his long-range accuracy for a 6'7'' athlete that will drive his production at the next level.
Bullock shot 43.6 percent on 2.5 made three-pointers per game. He's your typical "Three and D" wing, who can spot-up off the ball, defend opposing scorers and get to the rack in line drives.
This isn't a guy who will make any All-Star teams. But he's someone who might be on the floor in the NBA playoffs because of his ability to add lineup balance and complement the featured scorers.
Erick Green, Virginia Tech, 6'4'', PG/SG
Erick Green led the country in scoring at 25 points per game as an ACC guard, yet many are skeptical of his college success translating.
Though he lacks strength, Green's 6'4'' size should allow him to get his shot off against most NBA guards. What I love about him offensively is his ability to shoot off the dribble from anywhere on the floor.
Green can go from full speed to a dead stop before rising and firing over defenders.
Something has to be said about his scoring production at the college level, where he put points on the board in volume (25 points per game) with efficiency (47.5 percent) and consistency (scored at least 21 points in 28 of 32 games played).
He's not your typical pass-first orchestrator, but his skill set should allow him to thrive as a secondary ball-handler and scoring combo guard off the bench.
Brandon Paul, Illinois, 6'4'', SG
Brandon Paul has an NBA-level scoring repertoire already. The question is whether or not he can execute with some consistency.
He averaged 16.6 points per game in the Big Ten but only shot it 40 percent from the floor. Paul is a polished shot-creator with the ability to separate using step-back and stop-and-pop jumpers—he just didn't make enough of them.
You get the feeling they're going to start dropping eventually. Paul is an electric athlete with all the tools needed to play that sixth man, instant-offense role.
It's not going to happen right away, but the team who signs Paul to his second contract will likely be rewarded.