If you believe all the pundits, this is not the year to have a high draft choice in the NBA Draft, because the talent at the top is a bit uninspiring. Just look a little farther down the draft boards, however, and you’ll find some decent players that will be taken long after most casual fans have lost interest.
These guys can help NBA teams, both now and in the future, so pay close attention when their names are called on Thursday night.
Guard Marshon Brooks, Providence: Brooks was the whole show for the Friars last year, and he commanded extreme attention from the rugged defenses of the Big East. He still averaged 24.6 points per game, good for second in the nation.
Of course he took a lot of shots, but it was because he expected to do that. He’s long enough to get his shot off and could be an immediate bench contributor for a team needing instant offense. In a few seasons, don’t be stunned if he’s scoring bunches in the points in the pros as well.
Forward Kenneth Faried, Morehead State: Right now, he might be a one-tool player, but what a tool it is. No one in NCAA history ever grabbed as many rebounds as Faried.
One-dimensional players like that can knock around the NBA for years just filling their role. But Faried has the athletic ability to be more than that. Maybe he can develop into a scorer much like Paul Millsap did in Utah, or maybe he can become a high-energy type big man like Joakim Noah.
No matter what, he’ll clean the glass without having to be asked to do so, which will make him a coach’s favorite wherever he goes.
Forward Justin Harper, Richmond: Very quietly last season, Harper developed into a force in what was a very competitive Atlantic 10 conference. He’s got a sweet stroke from long range, which, considering that he’s 6-foot-10, should have general mangers salivating.
He is a bit on the thin side, which means that it may take him a while to bulk up and bang bodies with some of the NBA’s toughest inside players. Until then, he can be a slightly smaller version of Channing Frye, which could make him a very valuable spot performer for some team needing to space the floor offensively.
Guard Reggie Jackson, Boston College: The name conjures images of clutch performance right off the bat, doesn’t it? Apart from that, this is a guy who steadily built his game at BC over the years.
He started off as a raw performer, and developed into a solid college point guard last season who understood how to make his teammates better. He also wants the ball with the game on the line.
While Jackson is never going to be an expert passer, he can be an effective tweener guard with the ability to make plays for some second unit. He could be a Jason Terry type down the road.
Guard Andrew Goudelock, College Of Charleston: Everybody speaks of Jimmer Fredette as the best shooter in this draft, but I’d say that Goudelock is has an even purer stroke when open. There’s the rub, of course: Can Goudelock, who is 6-2 and doesn’t have point guard skills, get his shot off?
That may be a problem, but if you put him on a team with a dynamic two guard who can handle the ball, Goudelock can spot up and do some major damage. He’s an even deeper sleeper than most because he’s likely headed for the second round or might not get drafted at all, but I’m here to tell you he’ll find a niche in this league.