2014 NBA Draft: Loaded draft means talent will slip to second round
Here are 10 sleepers that teams may find available in the second round of the NBA draft. Several will be pro-ready for the 2014-15 season.
Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker will likely comprise the top three picks of the 2014 NBA Draft in some order, but what about the players who could make an impact further down the line?
Here are 10 potential second-round sleepers in the 2014 NBA Draft:
K.J. McDaniels, Clemson: There's a good chance McDaniels could be snatched up by the end of the first round but if that isn't the case, he'll be found money for whoever drafts him. Armed with great length at 6 feet, 6 inches, McDaniels can defend multiple positions and fits the description of a prototypical NBA wing. Built to be a quality role player at the pro level, McDaniels averaged an 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks for Clemson last season but must improve his outside shooting (30.4 percent from three-point range) if he's to stick as an NBA small forward.
Cory Jefferson, Baylor: Jefferson already fits the profile of an NBA power forward. At 6-9 and 220 pounds, Jefferson has the necessary strength to defend his position at the NBA level. Another thing to keep in mind about Jefferson? He made 14 three-point shots last season as a junior after only making three as a sophomore and has shot the ball exceptionally well in early workouts. While he's built like an interior presence, Jefferson has also worked hard to develop a face-up game on offense and that's something that should benefit him moving forward. This should be a rotation player somewhere in the next few seasons.
Jabari Brown, Missouri: Brown is a shot-maker. The 6-5 wing didn't win a great deal during his college career but he made shots. Brown sank 80 three-pointers last season, shooting 41 percent from that range. Brown also shot 46.7 percent from the field, an impressive number considering he was known primarily as a jump shooter.
P.J. Hairston, North Carolina: Similar to Brown, Hairston gets buckets. And he gets them in bunches. Despite an off-the-court incident that made him miss all of last season with the Tar Heels, Hairston is still a Top 20 pick talent-wise that could slide to the early part of the second round. A legitimate 6-6, Hairston made 89 three-point shots and shot 39.6 percent from three-point range two years ago for North Carolina, who desperately missed Hairston's ability to stretch the defense last season. Just as Danny Green has found a home with the Spurs, Hairston could flourish if he gets into the right situation where a team desperately needs someone to add spacing and keep the defense honest.
Johnny O'Bryant, LSU: A pure five-man in college, O'Bryant will transition to power forward in the NBA and has the ability to rebound his position from day one. O'Bryant is 6-9 and a legitimate 260. He's a brute who will bang, hit the glass and won't be afraid to mix things up in the paint. The most important thing for O'Bryant at the professional level will be his ability to develop a pick-and-pop game so he can play off his point guard on offense.
DeAndre Kane, Iowa State: Kane will be 25 years old when the NBA Draft happens in late June and is more physically ready to contribute at the professional level right now than most perimeter players on the board. At 6-4, Kane is a unique talent that can defend three or four positions and is strong enough to absorb contact at the NBA level while finishing through contact. The long term for Kane though, will depend on his ability to shoot. Two years ago when he was at Marshall, Kane shot 24.8 percent from three-point range but improved to 39.8 percent last year with the Cyclones under Fred Hoiberg. The concerns over Kane's age shouldn't exist. This is a player who is more "man" than just about anyone else in the draft and is ready to give a franchise five to seven quality years beginning next season. Expect Kane to land somewhere between 25 and 40.
Markel Brown, Oklahoma State: If Brown didn't play in the same backcourt as Marcus Smart, he would have regularly been talked about as one of the best guards in college basketball. A freak athlete, Brown has the tools to be an elite on-ball defender in the NBA and already rebounds his position exceptionally well (5.1 rebounds last season). At 6-4, Brown will have to be able to play some point guard to stick at the next level, but it says here he has the competitiveness, athleticism, and grit to be an effective pro in the right situation. A relentless worker, Brown's shooting percentage increased every year during his college career.
Deonte Burton, Nevada: An electric scorer, Burton has the athleticism needed to put the ball in the basket at the NBA level. A relentless penetrator, Burton got to the free-throw line over seven times per game last season and averaged 20.1 points in 13-14. An inconsistent shooter who is more of a two-guard than a true floor general, Burton is only 6-1 but boasts a 6-6 wingspan and could be a "microwave" type scorer off the bench. This isn't a bad selection for a team looking to add offense in reserve.
Jordan Adams, UCLA: Ask anyone who was around the Bruins' program over the past two years and they'll tell you that Adams was without question UCLA's best all-around player. A deceptive scorer, Adams isn't a great athlete but finds seams in the defense and knows how to read his opponent. At 6-5, Adams has long arms and boasts a 6-10 wingspan that helped him average over two steals per game in each of the last two seasons. A terrific defender who drills shots on offense, Adams doesn't necessarily look the part but has dropped 20 pounds since the end of last season and has the IQ, toughness, and savvy to stick in the NBA.
C.J. Wilcox, Washington: This is another player who could be selected in the latter part of the first round, but if he slips past 30 Wilcox will be a major steal. At 6-5, Wilcox has the size for an NBA two-guard and is an effortless shooter. In four years of college, Wilcox never made fewer than 63 three-point shots in a season and never shot less than 36.6 percent from long range. He made 90 three-point shots last year for the Huskies while averaging 18.3 points. This is an NBA level shot-maker.
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