Building the All-Underrated 2014 NBA Draft Team
Considering how deep the 2014 NBA draft is, it's not surprising that there are several prospects who are underestimated by fans, media and scouts.
Some of these guys don't get enough love because they're upperclassmen, and some are underrated because there's an ill-perceived hole in their game.
We put together an "All-Underrated" squad of talented players, broke down their draft outlook and explained why they'll exceed expectations in the Association.
Who made our roster? Read on to find out!
Point Guard: Vasilije Micic, Serbia
Vitals: 20 years old, 6'4", 188 pounds
Why he'll exceed expectations, in one word: Vision
From a draft stock/mock draft perspective, Serbian Vasilije Micic may not be underrated. It's a deep draft, and it's understandable that he will fall to the second round.
However, compared to many of the other second-round prospects, he's a sleeper.
It's not a stretch to say he has the best vision, timing and passing accuracy of any guard in this draft class. He has an amazing ability to deliver the orange sphere exactly where his teammates need it and exactly when they need it. In addition, he's cagey enough to pick his spots to penetrate successfully for buckets or assists.
Micic will undoubtedly have trouble defending the speed of opposing backcourts, but he can still have a substantial role in the league. He could be a poor man's Jose Calderon, and Eurohopes.com compares him to Greivis Vasquez and Nick Calathes.
Leading up to the draft, fans and media often get caught up in measurables, athleticism and upside. Sometimes we fail to accurately value elite skills, like Micic's passing ability.
Shooting Guard (Combo): Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado
Vitals: 21 years old, 6'6", 205 pounds, 6'8.25" wingspan
Why he'll exceed expectations, in one word: Versatility
Much like Micic's situation, we're not saying Spencer Dinwiddie's current draft stock is way off. Given his ACL injury and recovery, it's understandable. Rather, everyone is underrating what he'll bring to the table once he gets healthy.
With the Colorado star out of the spotlight for so long, it seems we're underestimating exactly what he can accomplish on a nightly basis. His playing style was never predicated on outstanding athleticism, so he's going to attack with a nice assortment of skills.
Entering his junior year, there were some doubts about his shooting, and we wondered what his role would be if he wasn't a productive assist man. He answered those questions by shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc and increasing his per-40 minute assists from 3.7 to 4.8. Instead of being a tweener guard, he'll be a competent combo guard.
ESPN's Chad Ford pegged Dinwiddie as a borderline first-round prospect before his injury. That's not massive disrespect, but it's underrating him.
As a crafty facilitator with a 6'8" wingspan and an improved shooting stroke, coaches can use him as an initiator or on the wing. If healthy, he offers more value than several projected first-rounders, and he'll certainly outplay his second-round peers if his return to the court is smooth.
Small Forward: Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
Vitals: 20 years old, 6'7", 210 pounds, 6'10" wingspan
Why he'll exceed expectations, in one word: Improvement
Glenn Robinson III was overrated in 2013. Now he's underrated in 2014.
Projected to go late in the first round or early in the second round, Michigan's high-flyer could be a huge steal if he reaches his potential. Judging by his predraft exploits, he's well on his way to improving a key element to his game and career.
The biggest knock on him over the past couple years has been his three-point shooting, and for good reason. He shot 31 percent in college, hit less than one triple per night and was inconsistent beyond 15-18 feet.
Over the past couple months, though, it looks like he's worked hard to turn that deficiency into a non-issue. At the NBA Draft Combine, he drilled 18 of 25 threes from college range and 13 of 25 from NBA range. Additional workout footage shows he's comfortable from deep and has a workable stroke.
Some players have a better ability to improve than others, and Robinson's style of play and shooting form certainly look polishable.
If the three-point shot is a legitimate component of his game, he'll be extremely dangerous as a supplementary scorer. He'll thrive in the open floor due to his athleticism, and he'll also stretch defenses with his upgraded jumper.
Power Forward: Dwight Powell, Stanford
Vitals: 22 years old, 6'11", 234 pounds, 7'0.5" wingspan
Why he'll exceed expectations, in one word: Stretch
"Stretch," as in "stretch 4."
Stanford's Dwight Powell is the type of power forward who will give his team flexibility by offering outside shooting.
He has a pretty-looking shooting delivery, and he may have range out to the three-point line in the NBA. In addition to spot-up jumpers, Powell can connect off the dribble or elevate quickly after running to a catch-and-shoot opportunity.
He doesn't have much of a low-post game, but his ample size (6'9.5" in socks, 6'11" in shoes), strength and athleticism will allow him to play above the rim and hold his own defensively. In other words, he'll be able to handle the length and agility of opposing reserves on both ends. Factor in his smarts and experience, and you've got a great bench asset.
Most experts and mock-ologists predict Powell will land in the late second round, but he may wind up being far more valuable than that. SheridanHoops.com scribe Maxwell Ogden recently targeted him as a sleeper "who could easily slip into the first round" and was showing why at the combine.
Size and shooting are two of the most valued traits in basketball, and Powell owns both.
Center: Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State
Vitals: 24 years old, 7'2", 254 pounds, 7'4" wingspan
Why he'll exceed expectations, in one word: Mobility
Since he's 24 years old and not much of an advanced scorer, Arizona's Jordan Bachynski isn't viewed as a valuable draft pick. He might even go undrafted.
When players enter the league at that age, we tend to see them as senior citizens and almost completely dismiss them as assets. Don't make that mistake with Bachynski, because he has the tools to be a superb backup center. With a 9'0.5" standing reach, a 33.5-inch vertical leap and superb mobility, the 2013-14 NCAA blocks leader will alter a ton of shots.
B/R Lead Writer Jonathan Wasserman said Bachynski "looked engaged at the NBA combine, particularly during big man run-the-floor drills, where he finished strong and made a number of defensive plays around the rim."
Offensively, you're not going to get a ton of isolation production, but he'll finish all the close stuff because he gets off the ground quickly for a big man. After that, his long arms and 250-pound frame do the rest.
Don't minimize his mobility, because it makes him a transition weapon. His sprint time at the combine (3.36 seconds) was faster than guys like Patric Young and Johnny O'Bryant, and even faster than OKC's swift backup center Steven Adams posted last year.
Sixth Man: Jordan Clarkson, Missouri
Vitals: 21 years old, 6'5", 186 pounds, 6'8" wingspan
Why he'll exceed expectations, in one word: Attack
Another Jordan rounds out our All-Underrated squad, but this one is of the backcourt variety.
Clarkson's stock suffered late in the year because his shooting struggled and Missouri floundered. It's tough to sell yourself as a combo guard when you shoot 28 percent from distance.
Fortunately, his shot looked great at the combine, as he hit 13 of 25 from the NBA three-point line and 22 of 25 from the college line.
The rest of his game is about attacking and getting into the teeth of the defense. Blessed with great speed and springs to go along with a 6'5" body, Clarkson will do some damage as a slasher. He'll access the rim and also execute drive-and-dish plays.
If his outside shooting is for real, then he'll be an even more effective creator. Imagine a Tyreke Evans-type player with a jumper. Scary.
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