Drafting is by no means an exact science. Highly touted players often prove nonexistent on the NBA court, and other players slip through the radars of many teams and end up excelling in the big time.
Often, athleticism and upside take precedence over character and proven results in determining which player a team will select with their picks. History has shown us that for the few successes achieved through this method, there are just as many failures, if not more.
This article highlights some of the players who are not projected lottery picks, but have skill sets and attributes that could make them steals for teams should they fall late in the first round or into the second.
Luke Babbit (Nevada)
Unheralded out of Nevada, Babbit is a long, lean forward who has not faced strong competition at the collegiate level. However, he has a strong work ethic and is solid from beyond the arc, which is a valued asset at the small forward position. Babbit needs to pack some muscle onto his 6'9" frame in order to hold his own in the paint, but could be an eight to 10 point producer off of the bench if he gets enough minutes.
Hassan Whiteside (Marshall)
Whiteside is another player who did not play in a particularly fierce league, but has an excellent set of skills and is a prototypical center who can run the floor with the best of them. Whiteside is an accomplished shot blocker and shows a penchant for hustle on defense, which cannot be said for all seven footers. Whiteside is just a pup, and his inexperience may keep him out of the top 15, but any team will be lucky to nab this athletic big man.
Quincy Pondexter (Washington)
Although he sounds like the kid from your high school who tucks his t-shirts into his underwear, Pondexter is a physical and athletic forward who, unlike many of the players in this draft, has a proven track record. He does not have the explosive ability that some of the other entries in this draft class possess, but he has shown maturity and a strong work ethic which will help him excel at the next level. Pondexter is an instinctive rebounder, which may help him garner more boards than those with a larger frame.
John Scheyer (Duke)
Many will disagree with this pick, but Scheyer is an efficient and productive guard who has experience winning. On the right team, Scheyer could be a valuable game manager coming off of the bench. Scheyer needs to bulk up a bit, but they make protein powders with over 2,000 calories per serving now so anything is possible. He has good size for a PG at 6'6" and has a quick release, which could help him put up some clear shots on inside-out passes.
Craig Brackins (Iowa State)
Brackins is a player whose success will be determined by what team he is picked for. Although he does not have the size or the skills to be a true center, Brackins at the PF position could make for a lethal combination of speed and ability if paired with another capable big man to hold down the paint. Brackins has a soft touch from mid-range and his size makes his jumper extremely difficult to guard, especially when he's paired up with 6'8-6'9 forwards.
Tim Ohlbrecht (Germany)
Dirk Nowitzki he's not, but Ohlbrecht is a lean and athletic finisher who is hovering just under the seven foot mark. Olhbrecht is a fast break threat and possesses a high basketball IQ, which is a trademark of European ballers. Ohlbrecht is a sure-fire free-throw shooter who needs to gain some physicality to his game in order to get to the line. Ohlbrecht might take a few years to develop, but could be a top-tier big man with the right coaching and attitude adjustments.
Trevor Booker (Clemson)
Booker is most likely a second-rounder, but will be a value pick for any team whose lap he happens to fall into. Booker is a throw-down dunker who can electrify the crowd and shake even the most confident defenders. Booker played center in college, and will even be undersized as a PF in the NBA at 6'7". Booker may not ever make a starting five but is a hard-nosed defender and a ballhawking rebounder, and so should find himself a role to fill on any NBA team.
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