NBA Draft 2013: Lottery Prospects Who Are Worth the Gamble

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVMay 20, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 06:  Michael Carter-Williams #1 of the Syracuse Orange reacts in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2013 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at the Georgia Dome on April 6, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The high-risk, high-reward players in the NBA draft are too plentiful to sift through, but there are some who are more highly touted than others that will see their talent overshadow whatever worries teams have about them. 

It's tough to put the stock of a top 10 pick in the hands of a young player who has had problems with either injury, off-court problems or missing pieces of their game that aren't sure to come around.

Let's take a look at the studs who will overpower skepticism with big-time play at the next level.


Shabazz Muhammad

I honestly don't know what's made Shabazz Muhammad fall so far, other than the fact that he didn't prove worthy of a No. 1 overall pick at his time with UCLA.

He may not be the blue-chip, undisputed top pick that so many people expected him to be, but he boasts one of the most complete skill arsenal in the draft and one that is tailor-made for the NBA. He can put his effort anywhere on the courtwhether it be rebounding, facilitating the offense or defendingand it's bound to pay off.

Muhammad's ability to get scorching hot on mid-range jumpers as well as stretch the floor by attacking the rim will allow him to follow in the footsteps of versatile wing players like Rudy Gay and Andre Iguodala.

He left one well-known spectator pleasantly surprised as former Duke star Jay Williams took to Twitter:

Most importantly, Muhammad knows the rigors of playing for a pro-style offense with the Bruins that manufactures NBA players at a ridiculous pace. Players this young who have such a unique blend of experience and overall skill are simply too good to pass up on. 


Michael Carter-Wiliams

Although not a high lottery pick, Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams should come off the board in the first 12 picks or so, and a team with the right needs would greatly benefit from it.

I'm not going to sit here and say MCW is going to be a game-changer on the offensive end on a regular basis. But he's one of the most talented defenders in the draft and understands how to fit a system incredibly well. The way he meshed with his Syracuse team really turned heads late in their NCAA run.

He also didn't do too terrible at the NBA draft combine as well, according to ESPN's Ryan Feldman.

Carter-Williams isn't a great shooter and won't be a 40-minutes-a-night type of guy, either. Though what he lacks in shooting, he greatly makes up for in basketball IQ. His ability to find open teammates and create space for their open shots will help to jump start struggling offenses.

On top of that, he can come off the bench and give you suffocating backcourt defense to quiet star players during those stretches late in the first and third quarters.

MCW won't benefit a team who is looking for a franchise scorer, but he knows how to fit the system and will be an elite defender at the next level.


Alex Len

Draft scouts are starting to have second thoughts on Maryland sophomore Alex Len because of a recent ankle surgery to repair a stress fracture, but that short amount of time off shouldn't result in missing out on a franchise-changing talent.

We didn't need pre-draft workouts to see how Len was going to fit in the big league. He dominated NBA talent in his two seasons at Maryland, playing in the rigorous ACC.

With his 7'1", 255-pound frame, Len will come in and immediately be one of the most physically gifted big men in the league and that will improve exponentially when he enters a strength training program. 

Plus, it doesn't hurt too much when you have the unwavering confidence to tell the Washington Post that in 10 years, you'll be regarded as the best player in your respective draft.

Simply said, Len has the size, experience and grit to show his injury isn't worth having second thoughts about the prospect. 


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