NBA Draft 2014: Highlighting Sleeper Prospects on Road to Lottery

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIApril 28, 2014

UCLA's Kyle Anderson urges on his team during the second half of a third-round game against Stephen F. Austin in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Gregory Bull

With the playoffs now in full swing, we know which 14 teams will be involved in the 2014 NBA draft lottery.

Although the order has yet to be officially set, knowing the franchises owning lottery picks and having a good indication of available prospects goes a long way at this point in the year.

Early draft selections seem to be rather straightforward. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid will certainly be some of the first to be selected. The latter portion of the lottery picks remains rather murky.

Based on team needs and the impending draft order, we could see some surprise prospects rise to lottery-pick status.

Let's take a look at a few of these prospects who could be sleeper lottery picks when the draft rolls around June 26.


Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

There's plenty to like about former Michigan State standout Adreian Payne.

He's an explosive big on both ends of the court, attacking the rim on offense and providing a physical presence on defense. Highly experienced in Tom Izzo's system, Payne plays with a great amount of hustle.

Payne isn't limited to the paint.

He has a nice stroke from downtown and shot an impressive 42.3 percent from three-point range during his senior season. A capable free-throw shooter, Payne shot 79.0 percent from the foul line during his senior year as well.

Payne stands at 6'10" and weighs in at 245 pounds. He bulked up while at Michigan State, and his frame suggests he would be able to continue that trend in the NBA.

It took a little while for Payne to get going in college; however, he improved with each passing season. His toughness and versatility could propel him up draft boards in June.


Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse

Jerami Grant decided to declare for the NBA draft after his sophomore year at Syracuse. His decision could very well pay off.

Grant stands at just 6'8", but he has a huge wingspan for his size at 7'2". That length makes him a big threat on the defensive side of the court.

His wingspan paired with his athleticism allows him to be an effective shot-blocker on the wing.

Grant's lateral quickness and agility gets him in position to come down with offensive boards frequently, allowing for additional second-chance opportunities.

He handles the ball well and has the necessary speed and vision to thrive on fast breaks. At just 20 years of age, Grant has tremendous upside.

If he can add a jumper to his repertoire, Grant could become a serious threat in the NBA.


Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA

Kyle Anderson may project as a point guard in the NBA—that's a scary thought considering his 6'9", 230-pound frame.

His height makes him a matchup nightmare for opposing guards. Anderson has the ability to create shots for himself but can also use his vision to dish to his teammates.

Anderson made huge strides as a shooter this past season connecting on 48.3 percent of his shots from downtown and 73.7 percent from the foul line.

With his length, shot-making ability and skill set, Anderson brings plenty of versatility, as he may be capable of playing three or four different positions.

Some teams may be concerned with his lack of speed; however, his high level of agility, fakes and spin moves more than make up for that shortcoming.

Anderson's versatility could make him a rather coveted prospect for multiple NBA teams, and he could certainly wind up coming off the board within the first 14 selections on draft day.