NBA Draft 2013: Underrated Players Who Will Be Stars in the Pros

Bill StollContributor IIIJune 27, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 09:  Erick Green #11 of the Virginia Tech Hokies drives for a shot attempt against Miles Plumlee #21 of the Duke Blue Devils in their Quarterfinal game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 9, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the 2013 NBA Draft coming up Wednesday, June 27th at 7:30 ET, much of the focus has been on top prospects such as Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo and Alex Len. 

While the consensus on this draft crop is that it is weak with a lack of true star power and overall depth, there are undoubtedly some diamonds in the rough.  By the end of tonight, a few teams will be walking away with absolute steals in their later picks.

The first is Erick Green, a point guard from Virginia Tech.  Though projected to fall somewhere in the late first to early second rounds, Green has all the tools necessary to become an elite NBA scorer.  He lead the NCAA last season with 25 points per game.  Keep in mind he scored buckets on buckets in the ACC, not a mid-major conference against relatively weak opposition.

He also had a player efficiency rating of 31.6, good for ninth in the NCAA.  His best aspect is his spot-up shooting.  He has one of the best, if not the best, jump shots in the entire draft class, shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc last season. 

Any team who can nab the ruling ACC Player of the Year will be getting a scoring threat for years to come.

Next is Jamaal Franklin, a shooting guard/small forward tweener from San Diego State. 

Franklin's biggest detractors point to his size limitations, as he stands at 6'5".  This could pose an issue in the NBA against the bigger small forwards he would be asked to guard.  However, for his size he is a relentless, high-energy player who can contribute offensively and on the glass. 

Franklin averaged 16.9 points per game last season, and more impressively averaged 9.5 rebounds per game as well. 

While it's doubtful Franklin will ever be the go-to-guy on his team, he would be an excellent second or third option, and an ideal sixth man to come off the bench, similar to the role James Harden played in Oklahoma City.

Providence's Ricky Ledo poses a very tough question for teams in this year's draft.  The shooting guard prospect was ranked by MaxPreps as the 18th-rated recruit in 2012.  He was a McDonald's All-American and boasts a scoring ability nearly unparalleled in his recruiting class. 

Here's the problem: He didn't play a single game for Providence last season.  He was academically ineligible and missed the whole season. 

His behavior on and off the court raises several red flags, as he bounced through four high schools in five years.  One coach even said, "He's the single worst human being I've ever been associated with on a basketball court."  Ouch. 

While there is a lack of game-tape on Ledo, he performed very well at the combine.  Some team will take a late flyer on Ledo, and they could wind up with steal of the draft.

Every year there is one great prospect who falls in the draft for a series of bizarre reasons.  Think Kawhi Leonard in 2011. 

This year, that player will almost assuredly be UCLA's small forward Shabazz Muhammad.  Muhammad, last year's second-rated high school recruit, performed well in his freshman year; however, he never truly set the world on fire as many thought he would. 

That aside, he had a very respectable year for the Bruins, putting up nearly 18 points and five rebounds per game. 

Muhammad shoots well from the field and posted a 38 for his three-point percentage.  Some team will scoop him up somewhere between picks 15 and 25 tonight, and they will have drafted themselves a solid swingman who can contribute on both ends of the floor.