While NBA teams are concerned with finding a prospect who will help them win games, one of the more entertaining part of the draft process is taking a gander at what future studs will light up All-Star weekend.
What floor general has the combination of passing and competitiveness to win the skills challenge? What sharpshooter not only has the accuracy, but the speed, stamina and efficient stroke to win the shootout? What leaper can, well, inject some life into the dunk contest and make people care?
As we found out this year, it might not take long for our predictions to be proven correct or ludicrous, either.
While superstar Kyrie Irving won the shootout, it was rookies Damian Lillard and Terrence Ross out-passing and out-dunking the competition.
Let's take a look at what players from this year's draft class are likely to follow in their footsteps.
Future Skills Challenge Champion: Trey Burke
If we're simply going with the player with the best combination of speed, ball-handling and passing, I would find it extremely difficult to pass on Missouri's Phil Pressey here, while Pierre Jackson would also serve as an intriguing pick.
But take a gander at the past champions of this prestigious competition: Damian Lillard, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, Steve Nash, Derrick Rose. In previous years, guys like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul also participated.
Simply put, to be considered, you pretty much have to be an All-Star, or, at the very least, an incredibly popular name (whereas in the other two competitions, lesser-known players get invited all the time).
As such, we'll go with Trey Burke, who has the game and winner's mentality to suggest he's the best bet out of this year's point guard crop to become a future all star.
Once there, he has the right amount of quickness, accurate passing, ball-handling and competitive nature (players so often jog through the obstacle course), not the mention the ability to hit that all-important top-of-the-key three.
Future Three-Point Shootout Champion: Allen Crabbe
It's hard to pass up C.J. McCollum, who shot over 50 percent from beyond the arc this season (albeit on a limited sample), but the Lehigh combo guard is a much better shooter off the dribble.
That's not beneficial for a three-point shootout.
Instead, look no further than Allen Crabbe.
The California star "only" shot 34.8 percent from deep this year, but that's coming off two-straight 40-percent seasons, so I wouldn't worry too much about this season's number.
More importantly, he has good size (Irving and Vashon Lenard are the only players under 6'5" to have won this century), a picturesque shooting stroke that extends deep past the three-point line and according to Synergy Sports (via Draft Express), he shot a scorching 44.1 percent from the field on catch-and-shoot opportunities.
There are a number of players in this class capable of doing damage from beyond the arc, but Crabbe's makeup is perfect for a shootout.
Future Dunk Contest Champion: D.J. Stephens
I'll just leave this here:
Oh, and this:
The only problem here is that Stephens needs to make it into the NBA first. He's ranked just 87th on Draft Express' big board and is severely undersized (6'5", 187 pounds) for someone who is listed as a power forward.
Prospect most likely to win a future NBA dunk contest?
Still, it wouldn't be surprising if a team took a late second-round flier on him. He blocked 2.6 shots per game last year and has the physical tools to be a stud on the defensive end.
And making an NBA team is all he needs to do—I mean, if Jeremy Evans got an invite, so can Stephens, one of college basketball's most notorious high flyers.
I worry a little bit about Stephens' creativity, but when you're 6'5", can put your eyes at the rim effortlessly and have freakish explosion, that's not all that big of a deal.