2013 NBA Draft Sleepers That NBA Teams Will Steal in the Second Round
Let's be as definitive as possible here.
Each of these five 2013 NBA draft sleepers will be taken in the second round, and each of them will stick around in the NBA for a long time.
Some of them will be career rotation players, and others will eventually morph into starters, but they all have staying power at the professional level.
When you're drafting a player in the second round, that's what you're looking for.
Starters in the second round are rarities. Good ones only come around once every few years, and usually not in a draft class as weak as this one. Over the past five draft classes, only Chandler Parsons, Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson, Danny Green, Marcus Thornton, Mario Chalmers, DeAndre Jordan, Omer Asik, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Goran Dragic have emerged as consistent starters.
That's 10 players over five drafts. As a reference point, 50 players drafted in those second rounds have yet to step foot onto an NBA court, including Chukwudiebere Maduabum. I will be forever bitter if I learned how to spell his name for nothing.
But let's be clear here: While this draft class may be weak at the top, it's quite deep, and the second round is overflowing with players who can find homes on one of the 30 teams in the Association.
These are the best of the bunch, even if they aren't going to work their way up into the first round.
Note: All measurements and stats come from DraftExpress.com.
Team: N.C. State
Vitals: 6'5", 189 pounds
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 12.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.6 blocks
Lorenzo Brown doesn't have the prototypical athleticism or explosiveness that you expect from an NBA point guard, but he makes up for it with his size, smarts and fluid style of play.
When he lined up at the point for N.C. State, most people typically wondered why a small forward was running the show. His 6'5" frame tends to leave that impression, even if it's not particularly filled out.
He does have excellent dribbling skills, and the ball often looks like it's on a string. Despite the lack of quickness, Brown is more than capable of penetrating into the interior of a defense and doing his damage from there. He won't score much, but the floor general does a masterful job involving his teammates.
In fact, he led the ACC in assists per game during the 2012-13 season, finishing sixth in the country in the category. The point guard has a knack for passing, and it's this, more so than anything else, that makes him a sleeper this year.
Brown, at worst, is going to be a rotation guard, but he has to develop the holes in his game before taking the next step.
Vitals: 6'7", 201 pounds
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 16.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.3 steals
James Ennis' most impressive attribute is his length, as it will allow him to make a two-way impact at the professional level.
The Long Beach State product boasts a 6'7" frame and a wingspan that falls in just half an inch shy of seven feet. And we know he can jump, seeing as he used to be a high-jumper instead of a basketball player.
In fact, Ennis only has two years of high-level basketball experience (according to DraftExpress.com's Joe Treutlein), and he's still putting up these well-rounded numbers. As raw as he is, there's so much room for him to blossom into a star.
The small forward made great strides on defense during his final season with Long Beach State, and that's a great sign for his continuing development. If you have an athlete like Ennis who isn't a defensive liability and already possesses great touch around the basket, then you have a player who's well worth molding over the course of a few years.
Ennis is a project, but he's one with a nice reward at the end of the tunnel.
Team: Virginia Tech
Vitals: 6'3", 178 pounds
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 25.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.2 blocks
By averaging 25 points per game during the 2012-13 season, Erick Green led the entire country in scoring, and he did so while playing in a major conference.
He's the first person from one of the so-called power conferences to do so since Glenn Robinson and Kurt Thomas in the early 1990s. This is a pretty rare feat, and it's one that shines a light on just how solid Green's scoring instincts are at 22 years of age.
The biggest knock on the Virginia Tech standout is his height. Although a combo guard, Green only stands 6'3" and has a wiry, 178-pound frame. Despite his incredible perimeter shooting skills and devastating pull-up jumper, this is a big concern for most teams in the Association.
However, I seem to remember that the same was said about guys like Dwyane Wade and Stephen Curry when they were coming out of school. They were too short to play shooting guard and might not have the passing skills necessary to stick at the 1.
Last time I checked, it worked out well for those guys.
Now, I'm not saying that Green is the next coming of Wade or Curry. He's not. Curry is a better shooter and distributor, and Wade is far more athletic.
All I'm saying is that it's worth giving Green a shot early in the second round.
Vitals: 6'11", 230 pounds
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 18.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.3 blocks
Mike Muscala will no longer be able to physically bully other big men like he did during his final season at Bucknell, but he brings far more to the table than his size and ability to bump around smaller players. Plus, he hasn't filled out his frame yet and should eventually check in far above 230 pounds.
As a senior, Muscala finally figured out how to rebound.
DraftExpress.com's pace-adjusted rebounds stat puts Muscala at 14.8, tied with some guy named Kevin Love in the historical database. Grabbing 11.1 boards per contest, the big man finished fourth in the NCAA. His rebounding percentage of 21.0 was even more impressive, leaving him trailing only Alan Williams and Chad Posthumus, neither of whom faced as much quality competition as Muscala did.
Muscala also had the second-best PER in the country during the 2012-13 season, behind just Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk. He displayed a veritable arsenal of moves in the post and could also step out to hit jumpers.
Level of competition aside, Muscala did it all in college.
Vitals: 6'1", 181 pounds
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 10.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.2 blocks
Take a gander at the point guards who have started for recent national champions: Raymond Felton, Taurean Green, Mario Chalmers, Ty Lawson, Nolan Smith, Kemba Walker, Marquis Teague and Peyton Siva.
Every one of those players was drafted into the NBA, and most of them have been successful. Green and Smith are the exceptions, but they were both playing on pretty stacked teams. Green in particular.
Siva steered a Louisville team to a title, and the top pro prospect in this year's draft from that team is Gorgui Dieng, who would be exceedingly lucky to find himself in the lottery.
An incredible athlete with great defensive skills and a developing jumper, Siva fits the billing as a backup point guard. He probably won't ever morph into a starting-caliber floor general, but that's not what teams are typically looking for late in the second round.
He has a championship pedigree now, and that rarely turns out to be a negative for a point guard.
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