We all know about Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, and O.J. Mayo, but what about those who are slipping under the radar that may end up being as good or even better than these players?
They are called "sleepers," but I just call them the "Karl Malones" (who slipped to No. 13 in 1985) or the "Gilberts and Redds" (Gilbert Arenas and Michael Redd, who slipped to the second round in 2001 and 2000, respectively).
There is no specific order, but here are my 10 "sleepers" that people need to look out for.
1. JaVale McGee, C, Nevada—At 7-feet tall with a 7'6" wingspan, this man should be on everybody's radar. He can shoot from the NBA three-point range and has many post moves. He needs to work on defense, but who doesn't? He has all the tools to make a legit NBA center. I saw him play the last two seasons and his growth is impressive as a player. He will come into the league and make an impact. I think he is better than Andrew Bynum. Grizzlies should look at him.
2. Nathan Jawai, C, Austrialia—At 6'10" and 275 lbs, he is called the Aussie Shaq. Raw talent, but the Raptors really pointed him out and, since then, he has been getting some looks. Can be a solid big man. 76ers should look at him.
3. Joey Dorsey, C, Memphis—So physical and athletic, yet people are saying he is a second-round pick. He reminds me of Ben Wallace (the younger version from the championship Pistons). He will not be a great scorer but will get rebounds and block shots. He is a must. Jason Maxiell has had a similar role, but Maxiell is not as athletic as Dorsey. He deserves to be a first-round pick. Jazz should look at him.
4. Pat Calathes, SF/PF, St Joseph's—He is basically a 6'11" point guard. Calathes started out as a point guard before switching to forward. I played against him, and he is really something. To be that big and have that ballhandling ability, he has all the tools to work with. Can fit into many clubs if they are willing to work on a project. Lakers should look at him.
5. Jason Thompson, PF, Rider—I saw him play and he looked like an NBA player. Maybe it was because he was playing high school talent, but he is so aggressive and just does everything. To me, he is a lottery talent. Orlando should look at him.
6. Kentrell Gransberry, PF, South Florida—I saw him play a few games this season and he stuck out to me against Connecticut, which has NBA talent with its big men. He handled them. He is a big body who just gets boards and works hard. Could be an NFL tight end, but if he loses some weight he can be a nice asset to a team. Miami should look at him.
7. Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown—Top-10 talent last season who is being put as a late first-round pick. He is the best passing big man and has all the tools. Only worry: He played about 20 minutes a game in college. He reminds me of Ilgauskas. I really think he is unappreciated. Good person and good player. Wizards need to get him.
8. Ty Lawson, PG, UNC—The fastest player in all of college basketball with the ball. He is undersized, but can be a T.J. Ford-type of player. Worst case for him is Dee Brown from Illinois couple years ago. Really like him over D.J. Augustin. Think he can make an impact for a NBA team. Nuggets should look at him.
9. Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama—This big man can play. Really athletic and can be a player like Carlos Boozer. Rockets should look at him.
T10. David Padgett, C, Louisville—A tie for the last spot, which is getting into "ultimate sleeper" territory. These are two players who used to be first-round talent, but unfortunately had knee problems and surgeries. Both players came back and have really impressed me. Padgett is really athletic and can make an impact. Nuggets should look at him.
T10. Bill Walker, SF, Kansas St—Bill Walker was a top-five pick out of high school, and he still has a lot of talent. Michael Beasley took away from his season. He is really talented and I watched him all season. He impressed me. I talked with him and he does not know why he is not talked about being a lottery pick. Orlando should look at him.