NBA Draft 2013: Sleeper Picks with Legitimate NBA Futures

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIMay 28, 2013

The 2013 NBA draft is less than one month away, which has general managers and scouts scrambling to find the player that will help guide them into the future. While some prospects have emerged as top-10 locks, others have fallen under the radar.

The question is, which of the sleeper picks have legitimate NBA futures?

Fans and analysts are quick to crown talented players with solid college resumes or pure athleticism as the next big steal. The fact of the matter is, there's more to it than just a reputation and physical gifts.

It's about finding the player with translatable skills, a powerful motor and the body necessary to succeed at the next level.

Fortunately, those players appear to be hiding in plain sight, as many potential first- and second-round draft choices possess that upside. The question is, which of those players can actually put it together and make a career at the next level?

Let's find out.


Isaiah Canaan, Murray State Racers

Position: Point Guard

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'0", 188 pounds, 6'5" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

24.28 PER, 21.8 PPG, 4.3 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 37.0% 3PT


The point guard class is deep in 2013, especially as we dig into the second round. If there's one player that can separate himself from the second-tier options, however, it's a small school floor general.

Isaiah Canaan of the Murray State Racers.

Canaan has a strong build at 6'0" and 188 pounds with a 6'5" wingspan. His height may be an issue, but with a wingspan that massive and the strength necessary to drive and defend the perimeter, Canaan shouldn't experience too many issues.

Especially not with the skills he has in place.

Canaan is an excellent ball-handler that thrives in attacking off the bounce. He has deep three-point range, finishes well in traffic and explodes up and down the court in transition, which fits well into this generation's up-tempo approach.

As a rangy defender with active hands, Canaan is more than capable of putting it all together in a two-way capacity.

The key for Canaan is that he's an efficient player that can work off the ball. With more and more teams adopting a duel lead guard system, he'll have the opportunity to see the floor more often than the average point guard selected in the late first to early second round.

Canaan should be a serviceable point guard at the next level if his abilities translate as they project.

Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State Redbirds

Position: Power Forward

Age: 23

Height & Weight: 6'9", 241 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

27.31 PER, 30.6 MPG, 17.4 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 1.0 SPG


In a class in which there is a lack of true power forwards, Jackie Carmichael may just emerge as the best 4. That may be a powerful statement with the presence of Anthony Bennett, but here are the facts you need to know.

Carmichael has a similar build to Bennett, is equally as explosive athletically and possesses a significantly more polished skill set—upside is another topic, but Carmichael is safe.

Carmichael could be this year's Carlos Boozer, going from being a second-round draft choice to an All-Star. Not only is he built in a manner similar to Boozer from a physical perspective, but he possesses the skills to warrant the comparison.

The difference is that Carmichael projects to be a better defender.

Carmichael is one of the top interior presences in this draft. His arms go up as soon as his assignment touches the ball in the post. He possesses the rare mental gift of knowing how to contest a shot without jumping, which is evident in his ability to properly react to head and ball fakes.

When Carmichael does leave his feet, however, he explodes off the ground and blocks shots as well as any other player at the 4.

Offensively, Carmichael is an efficient scorer that can work out of the post or dive out of the pick-and-roll. He's also an aggressive rebounder on both ends, which suggests that he'll be able to get touches without having an offense designed around him.

If the All-Star upside doesn't pan out, Carmichael's rebounding and tenacious defense could make him a player built in the mold of Udonis Haslem—a two-time NBA champion and key player on this year's Miami Heat.


Erick Green, Virginia Tech Hokies

Position: Point Guard

Age: 22

Height & Weight: 6'3", 178 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

2012-13 Season Averages

31.48 PER, 25.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.3 SPG


As you move into the late-first-to-early-second-round range, the point guard position is flooded with upside. From explosive athletes such as Pierre Jackson and B.J. Young to players possessing extraordinary size such as Lorenzo Brown and Ricardo Ledo, there are limitless options.

As all of these players garner hype, however, we can't help but wonder—why isn't anyone talking about the nation's leading scorer?

Oftentimes, college basketball's leading scorer is the best ball stopper on one of the nation's worst teams. Other times, they're talented scorers, but lack the necessary size to make the leap to the next level and play their natural position.

Virginia Tech point guard Erick Green is the exception to the rule.

Green led all players with an average of 25.0 points per game against a deep ACC that routinely double-teamed the scoring guard. With this in mind, one might expect Green's slash line to resemble that of a star that couldn't handle the burden.

Instead, Green tallied those 25.0 points on a slash line of .475/.389/.816 and averaged just 2.2 turnovers per game—what more do we need to say?

Green has excellent size for the point guard position, standing at 6'3" with a 6'6" wingspan. He's progressed in a significant manner as a facilitator, has range on defense and always seems to make the right play when it matters most.

Everyone is looking for this year's Damian Lillard—all signs point to Green being that diamond in the rough.