A lot of the talk about the 2013 NBA draft has centered around the absence of top end stars and the absence of prospective star NBA players among the top 10 selections. That’s a fair criticism. However, that doesn’t mean that the draft doesn’t represent good value for the teams entering it with picks. If anything it just balances out the weight of the picks. Basketball Schedule breaks down five players that will probably picked up in the late first round or early second, who have a chance to make an impact in the NBA.
Okay, so we have cheated just a little bit with our first pick. Muhammed was a highly rated recruit entering the 2012-13 college basketball season and was fully expected to have a big impact during the season for a promising UCLA squad. That never came to fruition and the Bruins ultimately bowed out early in the NCAA tournament.
However, Muhammed remains a talented player with an exciting skill set. He plays small forward and has good size and offensive skills to make an impact from that position. For that reason and considering the strength of the draft, there is reason to believe that Muhammed could be taken a little earlier than the lower first round where many are projecting him to fall.
He remains a risk higher up in the draft, but in the late first round Muhammed would be a great pick-up.
It’s harder to make an impact at South Dakota State than playing in one of college basketball’s bigger conferences, but Wolters played well enough to attract attention and make the Jackrabbits a popular upset pick against Trey Burke and the Michigan Wolverines in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Ultimately Wolters and South Dakota State couldn’t pull it off, but the fact remain that he is an extremely talented point guard with good size and scoring ability. There are some questions about the way in which his game will transfer to the NBA level, but he looks like a player who should be a great late first round pick-up.
Withey is another player who status varies wildly from mock draft to mock draft. However, there are at least two reputable boards that are currently placing the former Kansas Jayhawks center as going in the second round. That would be an absolute steal in this draft. Withey wasn’t known for great offense at college level, but he showed some potential stepping up in a big way during the NCAA tournament and his all-round defensive game should ensure that he features on an NBA roster in some capacity for the next decade or so.
Mbakwe disappointed for much of the season with the erratic and baffling Minnesota Golden Gophers. However, the talent is still there for a potentially slightly under-sized power forward. He has some skill on the offensive end of the floor and might be able to contribute defensively as well. Mbakwe isn’t likely to ever become a starter in the NBA, but if nurtured in the right way he could be a useful contributor off the bench and he looks likely to go late in the second round.
There are plenty of questions to be asked of Kelly. Can he stay healthy? Can he round out his all-round game? What sort of scorer is he capable of being in the NBA? With all of these questions being voiced, this is an extremely talented player who definitely has the potential to make a serious impact at the top level. He has a Jared Sullinger feel about him in terms of draft status. Injury concerns, successful college career, questions about transition. Sullinger surprised plenty of people with his impressive 2012-13 rookie performance off the bench for the Boston Celtics this season. Maybe Kelly can do the same for a team next year?