The 2013 NBA draft doesn’t seem to be loaded with star talent at first glance, even at the very top of the class.
While notables like Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo and more are worthwhile to get excited about, they still have their flaws.
However, the ones that aren’t getting much publicity and fanfare are more interesting, as these relatively unknown athletes could end up being the best NBA players to come out of the draft.
Let’s take a look at a few of these unheralded, under-the-radar prospects.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
KCP is a gifted prospect that very well may be one of the top-five talents at his position in a few seasons.
The Georgia Bulldogs star is able to do all the things required from a modern off-guard, which is a rarity these days. Many franchises employ a platoon at the position, by having specialists in defense and shooting log limited minutes throughout a game.
If Caldwell-Pope is on the roster, that’s no longer necessary—he can simply do it all.
This young man has unlimited range on his jumper, the ability to get to the rim and is always looking to create his own shot. He can pass well for the position and is perfectly capable of guarding most shooting guards and small forwards.
The only area in which KCP lacks is ball handling, but with the number of prolific point guards in the league these days, he should be able to get by just fine while he develops those skills.
Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Karasev is a Russian sniper that can knock down shots from anywhere in the arena.
The high-upside 19-year-old stands at 6’7” with a 200-pound frame, adequate size for a swingman in the Association.
How will Karasev fare in the NBA?
He can line up at the 2 or 3 depending on the situation, with his length and versatility allowing him to create match-up nightmares for the opposition to figure out.
In addition to his long-range gunning, Karasev is a smart passer that loves to move the ball around when he can’t get a good look at the basket. He’s not going to jack up low-percentage shots and would rather defer in those situations.
Add in the fact that he’s somewhat able to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket and you are looking at one of the next great shooters in the NBA.
His main weakness is strength and athleticism, which are two things that he should be able to improve when he reaches American shores with a new diet and weight training.
Ricky Ledo, SG, Providence
Despite not playing a single minute of collegiate basketball, Ledo could be selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft.
It wouldn’t be surprising, as this 20-year-old has the high ceiling, elite athleticism and scoring touch that most teams are looking for in a combo guard.
He’s an excellent shooter with range out to the three-point line, but truly excels when he creates off the bounce and finds a way to penetrate into the lane.
Ledo isn’t much of a passer yet, but he’s an excellent finisher once inside the teeth of the defense and isn’t afraid to continually fire up shots from the restricted area.
He has some off-court concerns and character issues to deal with, but Ledo could be a bona fide star selected in the latter portions of the first round if he’s able to iron these out.