Under-the-Radar 2014 NBA Draft Prospects Who Could Shock the NBA World
We've heard about the NBA prospects who are expected to make this a star-studded draft class. But what about the other guys?
There's always a select few players capable of making the jump from afterthought to can't-miss prospect.
Michael Carter-Williams wasn't a no-brainer lottery pick heading into last year. Neither was Anthony Bennett, Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore.
And there's always at least one second-round guy to emerge as a legitimate NBA role player.
These are the under-the-radar prospects who could make a dent on NBA radars this season despite receiving little recognition heading in.
James Young, Kentucky, 6'6'', SG/SF
With all eyes on prized freshman Julius Randle at Kentucky, James Young might be slipping a little too far under the radar.
Young was another highly touted recruit, and one with serious NBA potential. At 6'6'', he's got a scorer's body, athleticism, instincts and skill set.
He comes in with a good-looking lefty jumper, which he can make off the catch or by separating from his man.
Young also has terrific defensive potential, given his 6'11'' wingspan and size on the wing.
There's a good chance that Young emerges as Kentucky's No. 2 prospect behind Randle, much like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did playing alongside Anthony Davis.
With two-way upside and a polished offensive game, a one-and-done trip to the lottery is a real possibility.
Jahii Carson, Arizona State, 5'11'', PG
The NBA alarms don't usually sound off for prospects under 6'0''. But Jahii Carson is a different breed of little man.
He averaged 18 points and five assists last season, posing as one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country. And with lightning quickness, a strong frame and the ability to execute in traffic, there's good reason to believe that Carson's strengths should translate to the pros.
He's a breakdown guard who can generate offense with the ball. And whether it's in a starting role or as a lightning rod off the bench, there is plenty of room for guards who can create scoring opportunities.
Look for Carson to follow in the footsteps of Shane Larkin, whose strong play at Miami made people forget about his size.
Pryzemek Karnowski, Gonzaga, 7'1'', C
Pryzemek Karnowski hit NBA radars following his strong play for Poland's national team. But he didn't have much of a chance to make an impact with Kelly Olynyk emerging as one of the top centers in the country.
Now that Olynyk is with the Celtics, the frontcourt is Karnowski's—all 305 pounds of him.
At 7'1'' with incredible strength and mass, Karnowski is an absolute bully on the block. He uses his size and monstrous frame to gain position down low and his soft hands and touch to convert offensively.
You can't help but think of Nikola Pekovic, a productive NBA center with similar physical tools and athletic limitations. Karnowski may not have much skill, speed or hops, but he should have the chance to simply overpower whomever he lines up against.
After averaging 5.2 points in just 10.1 minutes, Karnowski should be in line for a monster workload as a sophomore. He'll remain a target for any team outside the lottery looking to immediately beef up its front line.
Chris Obekpa, St. John's, 6'9'', PF
Rim protection has become a valuable asset for NBA teams to chase. And Chris Obekpa offers a ton of it.
He led the country in blocks per 40 minutes last season. Obekpa is more than just a 6'9'' athlete with extreme length—he's got the timing and instincts shared by previous top-shelf shot-blockers.
Though a work in progress in every other aspect of the game, Obekpa's defensive potential could generate serious NBA interest. We've recently seen Bismack Biyombo get taken in the lottery based solely on his ability to secure the interior.
This year, Obekpa will look to expand his game and become a bigger threat on the offensive end. He's a target for lobs and dump passes, and he knocked down a few jumpers as a freshman.
If he can show a little more this year with regard to his offensive development, as well as sustain his elite shot-blocking rate, Obekpa might be one of the more under-the-radar first-round prospects to follow.
Perry Ellis, Kansas, 6'8'', PF
Though everyone is talking about Andrew Wiggins, it's Perry Ellis who should emerge as Kansas' go-to offensive weapon.
Ellis isn't the standout athlete of your typical lottery pick, but he neutralizes his physical limitations with polished skills, precise timing and offensive instincts.
He's got great footwork, with the ability to face the rim and put it on the deck or spin into the lane for a bucket. In the paint, Ellis does a nice job of absorbing and finishing after contact.
Ellis also sports a promising mid-range jumper, and appears ready to fill a role as an inside-outside power forward.
He's not the sexy upside pick that his freshmen teammates might be, but there's no doubt Ellis is a legitimate first-round talent. Look for his numbers to skyrocket across the board in his sophomore year at Kansas.
Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall, 6'6'', SF
You have to appreciate a prospect who continuously adds to his game.
Just an athlete to start his career, Fuquan Edwin has emerged into an all-around solid basketball player. After averaging 7.9 points as a freshman and 12.5 as a sophomore, Edwin exploded for 16.7 a game in his junior year as a top scoring option.
However, his NBA appeal stems from his "Three and D" potential. He knocked down two three-pointers a game last year at a 42.5-percent clip. And at 6'6'', with a strong upper body and smooth athletic ability, he also projects as a tough perimeter defender. Edwin finished top two in steals in the Big East as a sophomore and junior.
He's the type of guy a playoff team could use in a limited yet specified role. Edwin isn't an upside pick; rather, a potential speciality reserve who can shoot it and defend.
Eddie Griffin and Samuel Dalembert were the last Seton Hall players drafted back in 2001. With another strong year, Edwin should have a great shot at being the next.