The athletic ability of prospects in the 2013 NBA draft will often make the difference in the eyes of front-office personnel. Athleticism is not the only factor involved when scouting players, but leaping ability, lateral quickness and overall comparisons to rubber bands draw the attention of scouts, for better or worse.
With less than a week before Thursday’s draft, general managers around the league are aiming to scout the best value at their draft position. The top five picks are a complete crapshoot, so draft night should be filled with mystery and excitement.
What isn’t a mystery, though, is that hyperathletic NBA prospects have thrived even when falling low in the draft. Tony Allen (25th overall in 2004), Nate Robinson (21st overall in 2005), George Hill (26th overall in 2008) and Kawhi Leonard (15th overall in 2011) played tremendous basketball in the 2013 playoffs.
Of course, for every Leonard or Allen, there have been athletic duds like Gerald Green, Hakim Warrick, Fred Jones and Jeremy Evans.
Finding a diamond in the rough is no easy task, but starting that process by charting athleticism has worked out well for teams in the past. The most athletic prospects preparing to join the NBA in 2013 may not be the best available, but they possess the “wow” factor.
Note: Just to reiterate, this ranking in no way connotes the actual draft order. The following players are ranked strictly by their athletic capabilities. That doesn’t qualify them to be a top-10 pick or, in some cases, even a first-round pick.