2013 NBA Draft: Borderline 1st-Round Prospects with Instant Impact Value

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2013 NBA Draft: Borderline 1st-Round Prospects with Instant Impact Value
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

There's talent to be found at the bottom of the first round in the 2013 NBA draft. 

That may be a blanket statement to some, but based on past trends and what we know about this year's class in relation to the "borderline first-round" status that many prospects have received, there's a good chance at least one starter will emerge anywhere between the No. 25 and No. 35 picks. 

In that same range over the past three drafts, we've seen Greivis Vasquez, Quincy Pondexter, MarShon Brooks, Norris Cole, Jimmy Butler, Festus Ezeli and Jae Crowder get drafted in that 10-or-so pick range and do well for an NBA franchise right away. 

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This year, the glitz and glam of the top five picks will dominate draft night, but don't shy away from watching the selection show into the late hours of the show if your team still has picks to use. 

Here's a look at four guys who are going to be borderline first rounders this year, and why they are going to be this year's crop of impact talent in the middle part of the two-round draft. 

 

PG Pierre Jackson, Baylor

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

I've been high on Pierre Jackson throughout the entire draft process, and that's not going to change as we are closer to the 2013 NBA draft by the second. 

This tweet from Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears would help confirm that Jackson is going to be a trade target of a number of teams if he gets into the late-20 range:

The All-Big 12 standout led the conference in both points and assists per games during his senior season with the Baylor Bears, making big shots in big moments for Scott Drew in both of his two seasons in Waco. 

Jackson started at the College of Southern Idaho, and after his junior college days were over, he joined up with the Bears and their hotbed of basketball talent. He did not disappoint—16.7-point and 6.5-assist totals through two seasons lay testament to that idea. 

Jackson is NBA-ready in several aspects of the game that he will need to be in the rotation as a backup point guard for whichever team drafts him. He shoots the ball well from the three-point line, isn't afraid to take the big shot, gets to the free-throw line with success (6.7 attempts and an 80 percent average in 2012-13) and has the mentality that does not match his 5'11" frame. 

The obvious comparisons here are Nate Robinson and J.J. Barea, but another one to consider is Jameer Nelson. If Jackson can limit turnovers on his second unit and shoot the three-pointer like he did in college, there's no reason he won't carve out a 15-minute-per-night role somewhere in the NBA next season. 

 

SG/SF Reggie Bullock, North Carolina

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Buzz about Reggie Bullock has really started to pick up over the last few weeks, and when you take a gander at his stats, it's no wonder he's being projected anywhere from No. 19 to the Cleveland Cavaliers to No. 30 and the Phoenix Suns. 

Bullock averaged a solid 13.9 points and 6.5 rebounds during his junior season at North Carolina, but the stat that stood out the most was his three-point shooting. 

After his first two seasons averaged out to roughly 33 percent, he exploded as a junior, hitting at a 43.6 percent clip from the outside and making defenses pay for leaving him open on the perimeter. 

Dick Vitale is among those who feels that Bullock is being seriously underrated:

Joining a team in a defense and shooting role, Bullock should make waves that won't be anticipated if he continues to use his outside shot to his advantage. 

Teams in need of wing help will look closely at the Tar Heel standout, even more so when you consider another ex-UNC player—Danny Green—flew under the radar before starring in the NBA Finals for the San Antonio Spurs this year. 

 

SG Ricky Ledo, Providence

The biggest "mysteries" of this draft are current NBA D-League standouts Glen Rice Jr., Giannis Antetokoumpo and Ricky Ledo

Out of those three, only Ledo has a chance to star for an NBA team right away. Yes, I said it—Ledo could star. 

Ryen Russillo has already listed him as one of the top shooters in the draft, even with zero college experience over the last year:

Providence will be listed as Ledo's college for the 2012-13 season, but he didn't play a minute for head coach Ed Cooley's squad during his freshman season on a college campus. The NCAA ruled him only a partial qualifier last season, meaning he was reduced to practice squad duty this season. 

It was enough to convince scouts he's ready to be both a first-round pick, in some cases, and without a doubt a player who has the mental and physical makeup to translate his skills to the NBA in a high school-type way. 

Chris Dortch noted as much in his expose for NBA.com about the young guard and his path to this point. 

Scouts came after hours to watch Ledo work with Cooley after Providence practices, and they've seen enough there and throughout the draft process to consider him a first-round candidate. One thing is for sure—if Ledo is around after the Minnesota Timberwolves pick at No. 26, Denver will have so many trade offers for the pick it won't know what to do with them. 

 

C Jeff Withey, Kansas

Jeff Withey isn't a flashy player. His game is built on turning defense into offense, and he did that job well over the course of his four years at Kansas. 

His offensive game will need work, but Withey should be an ideal candidate as a backup/spot-start center from the first moment he steps into training camp this year. 

He averaged 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game for the Jayhawks this season, and did so while shooting 58.2 percent from the floor. 

As Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star notes, he's also made himself available to any and every team that wants him to come in for a workout:

Other big men have highlighted the top of this draft, including those abroad (Rudy Gobert and Lucas Nogueira) who have gained more attention because of their long-term prospects. But Withey is NBA-ready after four years with Bill Self, and you shouldn't sleep on him as a candidate to win a starting center job in the next three years. 

Right away, he'll contribute to his new franchise. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report FC Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter. 

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