This year's NBA draft offers one of the deepest player pools in recent memory, giving every team with a first-round selection a chance to strike gold.
The term "sleeper" gets thrown around a lot, and it often gets lavished on the same player so frequently that he becomes over-valued. This year, UCLA's Zach LaVine represents the guy some team is going to overextend for because everyone loves him so much.
The guys in this article don't have that universal support yet, which is mostly because they're not perfect. Well, nobody is perfect, but the limitations of these players stick out more than the rest.
Teams picking in the bottom portion of Round 1 should target the following players on draft day, however, as each of them still offer some solid upside.
When: Thursday, June 26
Where: Barclays Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
TV/Live Stream: ESPN, WatchESPN
|7||Los Angeles Lakers|
|9||Charlotte Hornets (From Detroit)|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers (From New Orleans)|
|12||Orlando Magic (From New York via Denver)|
|16||Chicago Bulls (From Charlotte)|
|17||Boston Celtics (From Brooklyn)|
|18||Phoenix Suns (From Washington)|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder (From Dallas via Houston and L.A. Lakers)|
|23||Utah Jazz (From Golden State)|
|24||Charlotte Hornets (From Portland)|
|27||Phoenix Suns (From Indiana)|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|30||San Antonio Spurs|
|33||Cleveland Cavaliers (From Orlando)|
|34||Dallas Mavericks (From Boston)|
|36||Milwaukee Bucks (From L.A. Lakers via Minnesota and Phoenix)|
|37||Toronto Raptors (From Sacramento)|
|39||Philadelphia 76ers (From Cleveland)|
|40||Minnesota Timberwolves (From New Orleans)|
|42||Houston Rockets (From New York)|
|47||Philadelphia 76ers (From Brooklyn via Dallas and Boston)|
|48||Milwaukee Bucks (From Toronto via Phoenix)|
|52||Philadelphia 76ers (From Memphis via Cleveland)|
|53||Minnesota Timberwolves (From Golden State)|
|54||Philadelphia 76ers (From Houston via Milwaukee)|
|56||Denver Nuggets (From Portland)|
|58||San Antonio Spurs (From L.A. Clippers via New Orleans)|
|59||Toronto Raptors (From Oklahoma City via New York)|
|60||San Antonio Spurs|
Kyle Anderson, SF/PG, UCLA
It's difficult to appraise Kyle Anderson because we haven't seen many other players like him. I don't see many other 6'9" small forwards that successfully transitioned to point guard last season.
Anderson stuffed the box score during his sophomore season, posting 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per contest. Sports-Reference measured his effective field-goal percentage at 51.7.
Does he has the quickness to keep up with the game's greatest competitors? Assuming he returns to his more natural forward slot, will he score well enough at the next level while guarding stronger opponents?
During the college season, he offered a retort to those questioning his ability to carry over his skills to the pro level.
"My slow, methodical game wasn't going to work at the college level," Anderson said to the Los Angeles Times' Chris Foster. "I pretty much do whatever I want on the court this season."
Anderson will hopefully find the right team to harnesses his talents as a glue guy. Think how Boris Diaw dishes out pinpoint passes for the San Antonio Spurs while playing underrated defense. He's not a star, but his contributions went a long way for them this season.
Anderson won't star in any billboard advertisement campaigns, but most teams will be happy to land a role player like him in the latter half of Round 1.
Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
In normal civilization, a 23-year-old fresh out of college has a bright future ahead of him or her. In the NBA, such an individual would be viewed as old.
Adreian Payne is three or four years older than most of his fellow draft cohorts. That's a lot considering an athlete's short shelf life. As of 2011, the average NBA player lasted 4.8 years in the pros, and a hobbled, unproductive Steve Nash is the only 40-year-old currently hanging around.
So those extra years could mean everything for an organization trying to extract as much value as it can out of its employees. Luckily, the age and perceived lack of upside surrounding Payne will present him as a bargain to a team in need of an immediate contributor.
Payne would unlikely have landed a first-round nod had he left Michigan State before playing a full four seasons. He gradually earned more minutes for Tom Izzo's squad every year, though, and the extra playing time led to a career-high 16.4 points per game last year.
The 6'10" power forward especially gained NBA scouts' attention by developing an outside game. He converted 1.4 three-pointers per game, nailing 42.3 percent of his long-distance attempts.
Such an inside-out force will endear himself to several NBA squads. His age could shove him outside the lottery, but Payne should remain at least a top-20 selection on draft night.
K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
K.J. McDaniels has some legitimate offensive concerns that will knock him outside the top 20, but his defensive presence keeps him in the first-round mix.
During his junior season, McDaniels swatted 2.8 blocks per game while swiping 1.1 steals. While he was on the court, opponents scored 91.8 points per possession, per Sports-Reference. As a team, Clemson netted a 95.5 defensive rating.
The problems come with his shooting limitations. While he tallied 17.1 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting, he fared poorly behind the arc. He shot a measly 30.4 percent from three-point territory, a problem he compounded by attempting 138 threes.
But in the right situation, he can improve with some breathing room after defenders focused on stopping him when facing Clemson's limited offense. At the very least, he just needs to stop taking so many threes if he can't make them effectively.
As a mid-range scorer, McDaniels is competent enough, and he'll earn the big bucks on the defensive side.