NBA Draft 2014: Projecting Top Sleeper Prospects in This Year's Class

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIApril 27, 2014

RENO - JANUARY 9:  Thanasis Antetokoun #19 of the Delaware 87ers shoots the ball against the Texas Legends during the 2014 NBA D-League Showcase presented by Samsung Galaxy on January 9, 2014 at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Not all 2014 NBA draft prospects come with the hype of Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins.

Drafting wisely and scouting properly are the keys to succeeding in the second round of the NBA draft, where several sleeper prospects will likely go off the board. Their potential is high, but question marks surrounding their past seasons are why they don't rank higher on draft boards.

These players can outperform their draft positions if they are put in the right situation. It's not a common feat, but several second-rounders in the NBA right now are performing like lottery picks. Take Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons, for example.

I'm not trying to say that these guys are locks to be the next Parsons (or another player of equal value to his team), but the following three players have the potential to be solid contributors during their NBA careers.


Patric Young, PF/C, Florida

David J. Phillip

Senior Patric Young put together a strong season at Florida in 2013-14, averaging 11.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 26.3 minutes per game. He also shot 54.1 percent from the floor.

Those are very solid numbers, and he has the size (6'9", 249 lbs) to be a power forward in the NBA. He was mostly a center with the Gators, but he won't find much success (at his size) at that position at the next level.

The thing that likely scares a lot of teams about Young is that he is already 22 years old. He played all four years at Florida and proved to be a consistent force under the basket, though, so that should be enough to convince teams that he is worth a selection. He averaged at least 10 points and six rebounds each of the past three years at Florida. That type of consistency is invaluable.

He does project as mostly a rotational player at first. He was the SEC defensive player of the year last year, and that alone makes him valuable for teams that could use a boost in the frontcourt. Couple his defensive skills with his offensive efficiency, and Young is a solid prospect.

He's great in transition because of his surprising quickness and agility. If drafted by the right team, Young can make an impact early on.


Jahii Carson, PG, Arizona State

rick bowmer

Point guard Jahii Carson is just 5'11" and 167 pounds. Needless to say, his frame isn't ideal. His athleticism and speed are both uncanny, however, so that will be what potential teams will be looking at.

He is fast with or without the ball in his hands. He loves taking advantage of defenses in transition, as he is quick enough to blow right through the middle of defenders who are trying to get back and contest the shot. As a pure athlete, he also has great leaping ability and can dunk regularly if nobody is in his way to the rim.

Teams that are considering Carson will have to understand that his overall offensive game is a work in progress. While he is great in transition and with the ball in his hands, shooting can be a struggle at times. He simply doesn't have the size to get good looks over lanky defenders, and he'll find many of those at the next level.

His skills as a facilitator could also use some work, but his struggles likely come as a result of a lack of focus. He has the talent, but he sometimes gets lazy and pays no mind to defenders when distributing along the perimeter. This results in tipped passes and easy turnovers.

Carson has a high ceiling if he can work on his skills as a point guard. He'll unfortunately always struggle to get good looks on his jumpers, but plenty of teams would be willing to utilize him as a rotation player in transition.


Thanasis Antetokounmpo, G, Greece/NBA D-League

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 15:  Thanasis Antetokounmpo #19 of the Deleware 87ers dunks over his brother, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks during the Slam Dunk Contest as part of the NBA Dream Factory presented by Boost Mobile 2014 at Sprint Ar
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If he's anything like his brother Giannis, then Thanasis Antetokounmpo is going to be a very good player in the NBA.

The 21-year-old has a polished offensive game. He can shoot from the perimeter, slash to the basket and make plays above the rim. His length is an asset on both ends of the floor, as it helped him to be an elite defender in the D-League for the Delaware 87ers.

He blocks shots well for his position because of his length. With the size of a shooting guard, he can be trusted to defend both longer guards and smaller point guards. He moves his feet quickly and is aggressive on the ball.

Of the three players outlined here, Antetokounmpo is the most NBA-ready. His length and quickness will make him an asset for teams, even if it's as a bench player who only sees about 15 minutes per night. That will increase with time, however, as his new team will quickly realize that his motor will be too valuable to keep on the bench.