2013 NBA Rookies Who Already Look Like Draft-Day Steals
Everyone loves a good NBA draft steal. It's one of the reasons we cover the draft 12 months of the year.
Though none of the rookies has played an NBA game yet, summer league presented us with an opportunity to see how they'd fare against pro-caliber competition.
These are the guys who will one day make teams feel silly for passing on them in 2013.
Archie Goodwin, Phoenix Suns
Archie Goodwin was on steal alert before the draft even started.
A highly touted recruit who had some ups and downs as a freshman, Goodwin's stock had been spiraling downward. But his upside never wavered. Goodwin always had a big-time ceiling, and one that could produce lottery results if he's ever able to reach it.
He looked great this summer, excelling in areas he struggled in most at Kentucky. He knocked down eight of 14 three-pointers after shooting just 26 percent from three as a freshman.
There isn't much to question with regard to his attack game. At 6'5'', he's an explosive athlete who can get to the rim and finish around or over the defense.
Right now, Goodwin's decision-making, tunnel vision and erratic shooting might keep him from putting up numbers as a rookie. But long term, Goodwin looks like a steal 29 picks deep.
Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics
Not only was Kelly Olynyk dominant in summer league, but he also made it look easy.
He averaged 18.0 points through five games, shooting 57.8 percent from the floor. Despite a lack of athleticism and upward explosiveness, Olynyk was still able to shake defenders out of their Jordans.
He's got a move for each spot on the floor and a counter if his first look is taken away. Between head fakes, up-and-unders, face-up jumpers and fast-break buckets, Olynyk has an answer for every defensive sequence.
A super-skilled center with 7'0'' size may not need DeAndre Jordan-like hops to be effective. His lack of athleticism and so-so conference schedule had top-10 teams hesitant to pull the trigger, which is lucky for the Celtics, who appear to have gotten themselves a steal at No. 13.
Dennis Schroeder, Atlanta Hawks
Based on what we've seen at the Nike Hoop Summit and summer league, Dennis Schroeder passes each test required of an NBA point guard.
Physically, he's got broad shoulders and excellent length to go with standard 6'2'' size. He's lightning quick off of the bounce with a first step that makes him tough to stay in front of.
Fundamentally, Schroeder is a really solid pick-and-roll facilitator with a good feel for knowing when to dish, attack or pull up. He also has a very promising jumper that he's shown he can knock down inside and outside the arc.
Schroeder averaged 5.6 assists in summer league and looked the best out of all of the rookie point guards. It will be interesting to see how Atlanta handles a Jeff Teague-Dennis Schroeder backcourt long term, especially if Schroeder turns out to be the steal he appears to be.
Solomon Hill, Indiana Pacers
Not too many experts pegged Solomon Hill as a first-round prospect. The Pacers clearly saw something that most did not.
Hill was impressive during summer league, showcasing his versatile offensive skill set on the wing. He averaged 12.0 points in five games in Orlando, nailing 10 of his 15 three-point attempts.
Hill complements a deadly jumper with a deceptively effective off-the-dribble game, where he can beat defenders on the perimeter and swoop to the rim for a bucket.
He's got the touch to make shots, the agility to shake defenders and the strength to score inside. I could see Hill as a long-term reserve capable of supporting a lineup with his diverse offensive repertoire.
Carrick Felix, Cleveland Cavaliers
Apparently I'm not the only one to think the Cavaliers got a Round 2 steal in Carrick Felix. Cleveland was quick to hand him a four-year deal with the first three years guaranteed.
Felix is an above-the-rim athlete who has really expanded his offensive game. He averaged 14.6 points and an impressive 8.0 boards this past season while earning a reputation as a defensive ball-stopper.
Felix also added a three-ball to his repertoire, knocking down 37 percent of his long-range attempts in 2012-13.
In an off-ball scoring role, Felix will contribute as a spot-up shooter, slasher and target in transition. Between his ability to complement the offense, lock down defensively and crash the boards, he gives the Cavaliers an energy wing who can make plays without having his number called.
Felix looks like the first real steal of the 2013 second round.
Reggie Bullock, Los Angeles Clippers
Reggie Bullock dropped 18.0 points a game in Las Vegas despite not even shooting that well.
He looked like more than just a long-range specialist. Bullock moves well without the ball, finding ways to free himself up for open three-point looks, mid-range opportunities and easy catch-and-finishes at the rim.
There's no doubt that Bullock's role in the pros will be to stretch the floor and knock down jumpers. But it's a really good sign he was finding ways to put points up despite failing to connect on his three-ball.
There isn't much upside with Bullock, but 25 picks deep in the draft, the Clippers got excellent value.