A champion has been crowned, and now we’re less than a week away from the 2013 NBA Draft. Our first round sleepers are those players surprising to be taken so early, but expect to have a breakout season. These players have their weaknesses, but what draft prospect doesn’t? They will add great depth to whatever team gives them a chance.
Sergey Karasev (SG, Russia)
At 6’7”, 200 pounds and only nineteen years old, this international star looks to have an impressive rookie season. He is a smart passer and is great from long range, but lacks in athleticism. He maintained 15.2 possessions and .99 points per-possession throughout the season. He could only knock down 31.1% of his jump shots last season and struggled to stay consistent. He still looks to be a solid asset to the team that gets a hold of him.
Pierre Jackson (PG, Baylor)
Although he stands at only 5’10”, Pierre Jackson has a vertical of 44 inches. He is a fearless scorer averaging 19.8 points per game this season. He can attack any lane put in front of him. He is similar to Nate Robinson in skills, athleticism, and style. Jackson could very well be as successful as Robinson. Although he is shorter, he gets high elevation on his shots. He also has impressive ball handling skills and is able to stop on a dime.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG, Georgia)
Caldwell-Pope may only have played one season at Georgia, but his talents could easily land him a spot in the first round. He averaged 18.5 points per game and is known for his ability to get to the rim. He’s also had success guarding most shooting guards and small forwards. He lacks in ball handling, but once with a team that can easily be worked on.
Shabazz Muhammad (SF, UCLA)
At only 19 years old, this small forward from UCLA could make some big noise next season. He has been said to make baskets in his sleep. He needs work on his jump shot consistency, but with his work ethic makes him a great long-term prospect. His speed and athleticism also make him more valuable to teams around the league. Muhammad also suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, and the fact that he has been successful despite this is truly admirable.
C.J. McCollum (SG, Lehigh)
McCollum this season ranked third in overall usage at 20.8 possessions per-game and first in scoring efficiency at 1.104 points per-possession. He has an impressive jump shot, making 50% overall. With all this said, his senior season consisted of only 12 games, before suffering a season-ending foot injury. He has a high basketball I.Q. and excels in one-on-one situations and mid-range jump shots. But the fact that he is a versatile combo guard is attractive to many teams and that is why he will go in the first round.