NBA Draft 2013: Unheralded Players Building Serious Hype

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2013

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23:  A general view of the dravt stage during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The NBA draft is about finding the right pieces that will help bring a championship to a franchise, and the 2013 edition of the annual event features several unheralded players who are slowly building hype and climbing draft boards.

The following players are expected to be picked in the waning stages of the first round or in the second round, but each will be much better than that after making the transition to the NBA.

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

As a sophomore at Georgia, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope evolved from a wild freshman shooting guard who didn’t play under control to one of the best pure 2-guards in the entire nation.

With that much development mentally and physically in one year, the upside for a player like Caldwell-Pope must have teams picking late in the first or early in the second round on alert if he falls to them.

The Georgia shooting guard averaged 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds, but it's his very impressive work ethic, which has only gotten better as Caldwell-Pope has grown into his body and matured, that will have teams taking note.

Now the 2-guard could add an offensive spark off the bench to a serious contender.


Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas

As one of the NBA-ready bodies coming out in the 2013 draft, power forward Tony Mitchell of North Texas is already the ideal size for the transition to the NBA.

The young star is drawing comparisons to Thomas Robinson of the Houston Rockets, and Mitchell is ready to step onto the court from day one and use his physical prowess to handle the strains of the NBA.

Mitchell is known for his defensive abilities more than anything else, but with NBA coaches demanding 100 percent effort at both ends of the floor, the fact that the power forward still amassed over 13 points per game shows how much promise he has in the offensive zone.


Glen Rice, SF, Rio Grande Valley

After getting kicked off the Georgia Tech basketball team for his poor conduct and signing with the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers, small forward Glen Rice was an afterthought when it came to the 2013 draft for most NBA teams.

While his time with the Vipers didn’t start great, his increased minutes through the season and into the playoffs and his offensive explosion in the D-League finals have re-opened the eyes of teams that had written him off as having maturity issues.

There is no question that Rice is a long-term project, but for organizations that have strong foundations, like San Antonio and Oklahoma City, taking a player who needs guidance isn’t a big issue.

As long as teams believe Rice can play lights-out in the NBA like he did in the D-League finals (29 points, 11.5 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks per game), he will be a late first-round or early second-round pick.