NBA Draft 2013: Underrated Players Who Will Dominate at Next Level
The NBA is full of dominant players who didn't get selected early in the draft.
There are plenty of players coming into the 2013 NBA draft who aren't getting the same kind of hype as Nerlens Noel and Trey Burke but will have excellent professional careers.
Some players are just late bloomers, while others just go unnoticed for reasons that defy explanation.
In this column, we'll take a look at three underrated players who will have brilliant NBA careers.
Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Larkin is an undersized point guard (5'11" and 176 pounds) who still has plenty of upside. He improved his game drastically improved from his freshman to sophomore seasons as head coach Jim Larrañaga gave him the keys to his offense in 2012-2013.
A terrific pick-and-roll facilitator and underrated athlete, Larkin can do it all as a true point guard.
Is Larkin ready to shine in the NBA, or should he have stayed in school for his junior season?
He drained over 40 percent of all his shots from behind the arc last year, and he possesses NBA three-point range. He's also adept at penetrating the lane and can finish or dish out, depending on the situation.
Furthermore, Larkin is an excellent defender who averaged two steals per game. He is a feisty competitor and clearly took over as the leader on Miami's offense last season, commanding the respect of his older teammates in the process.
His 28-point, seven-assist explosion in the ACC championship game against North Carolina proved he can handle himself in big-game situations, and he played well in Miami's three games in the NCAA tournament.
Jeff Withey, C, Kansas State
Withey isn't an offensive juggernaut, but his defensive prowess will make him a valuable, dominant player in the NBA. Put him on a team with an offensive-minded big man and you could have yourself the best duo in the association.
ProBasketballDraft on Twitter likes Withey better than Tyler Zeller:
Jeff Withey is not an elite athlete but can be a quality center in the NBA. I like him better as a prospect than Tyler Zeller a year ago.— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) March 24, 2013
During his senior season at Kansas State, Withey only scored 13.7 points per game, and his ability to make shots that aren't at point-blank range is limited (putting it mildly).
That said, this seven-footer averaged 3.9 blocks and 0.8 steals per contest, and his ability to wreak havoc inside translates well to the next level.
In addition to being a first-rate defender, Withey moves well for a big man. He's no lumbering oaf on the court, and his ability to run the floor will serve him well on fast-breaks—many of which he'll likely create with blocks.
Allen Crabbe, SG, California
Sweet-shooting Crabbe is a sleeper as a late first-round pick, according to John Rothstein of CBS Sports:
Have talked to several NBA GMs who view Cal's Allen Crabbe as a late first-round sleeper. 2G size at 6-6. Great range. Can score.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 8, 2013
With excellent size for a guard (6'6" and 210 pounds), Crabbe is a guy who can absolutely catch fire from the perimeter. Throughout his three-year career at Cal, he converted 38.2 percent of all his three-point shots.
He's adept at nailing mid-range shots and is a dangerous catch-and-shoot scorer from anywhere on the court who is quick enough to take the ball inside when he gets his defender to bite on pump fakes.
Additionally, Crabbe is excellent on the glass on both sides of the court. He averaged 6.1 rebounds as a shooting guard for the Bears last year.
He has the athleticism, size and skill to become a phenomenal scorer and rebounder in the NBA and could even play some small forward in small lineups.
Don’t forget to catch the 2013 NBA Draft Combine action on Thursday, May 16th and Friday, May 17th. The event will be broadcast both days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET on ESPN 2. For re-airs of the NBA Combine, NBATV will be airing Day 1 coverage on Saturday, May 18 at 12 p.m. ET. Day 2 replays will be Sunday May 19th at 12 p.m. ET.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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