NBA Draft 2013: Highlighting 1st-Round Prospects Flying Under the Radar

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 25, 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

While the 2013 NBA draft discussion to this point has revolved around Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter, there are a number of future NBA talents going unrecognized this summer. 

That's not to say that one of those four players isn't worthy of the top selection on June 27, but that there is plenty more value to be had once you dive deeper into the first round. 

Here, we'll highlight a trio of first-round prospects flying under the radar heading into June's draft.


Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, PG

Before a disappointing performance in the Final Four (two points, two assists and five turnovers), Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams' stock was flying through the ceiling.

The 6'6" floor general averaged 11.9 points and 7.3 assists per game last season as a sophomore, struggling from the field at times but making up for it with sensational defense and a selfless style of play.

Carter-Williams demonstrated tremendous court vision in two seasons with the Orange, and his length was key in Jim Boeheim's vaunted 2-3 zone defense. 

The knocks against Carter-Williams are that he needs to bulk up in order to match up with NBA guards and that he must improve and become a more consistent shooter to become more effective at the next level.

While it's hard to argue the 21-year-old is ready to dominate right away, given his size and ability to penetrate with a quick first step on the offensive end, Carter-Williams looks poised to become a lottery pick and eventually an impact player in the NBA.


Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, SG

After a quiet freshman year at San Diego State, Jamaal Franklin exploded onto the scene in 2011-12, playing increased minutes and boosting his scoring output from 2.9 points to 17.4 points per game. 

A long, athletic shooting guard, the 6'5" Franklin is at his best when he's slashing to the basket or making a play above the rim. His leaping ability is impressive, and his rebounding prowess is exceptional for a 2-guard. 

The X-factor for Franklin is his competitiveness. Scouts and coaches won't be questioning his motor anytime soon, and that's key for his development at the next level.

Like Carter-Williams, though, Franklin has to improve his jump shot in order to truly make a difference on the offensive end in the NBA. But given his athleticism and desire to win, there should be no doubt that he'll continue to improve in that area. 

Franklin could go anywhere from the mid- to late-first round this summer.


C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG

Another talented guard few are talking about this summer is Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, who is best known for helping lead the Mountain Hawks to an upset win over Duke in the first round of the 2012 NCAA tournament. 

As a senior this past season, McCollum absolutely lit it up for Lehigh, averaging nearly 24 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting from the field and 51.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

He averaged at least 19 points per game in each of his four seasons with the Mountain Hawks.

The knock on McCollum is a significant one, however. He hasn't played since last January after suffering a foot injury, and there are concerns about his health and whether or not he's worth a first-round selection. 

Assuming he can return to being the player he was before the injury, some NBA team is going to land an efficient scoring guard who can also impact the game defensively. McCollum averaged 2.6 steals per game as a junior.


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