Players to Watch After the Lottery

Players to watch after the lottery

6/27/13 in NBA   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Jan 9, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears guard Allen Crabbe (23) dribbles the ball up the court during the second half at Haas Pavilion. The Washington Huskies defeated the California Golden Bears 62-47. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY SportsKenneth Faried, Eric Bledsoe, Greivis Vasquez: just a few examples of solid NBA players drafted outside the top 14 in recent years.  While you may not find the Kyrie Iving’s and Blake Griffin’s of the world once you enter into the mid-teens, there’s still plenty of promising options out there.  
 
Here are some key players to watch for in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, players that could very find their way into NBA rotations by the start of the 2013-14 season:
 
Allen Crabbe, SG, California
 
I’ve been crazy about Crabbe’s NBA potential for a while, and can’t figure out why the league isn’t entirely sold on him.  But for whatever reason, it appears Crabbe will be available after the lottery is finished.  He’s probably the best pure shooter in this year’s class and at 6’6”, he has all the properties of a premier NBA shooting guard; a great team player that could really be a steal.
 
Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
 
Again, I can’t really understand what NBA scouts are missing here.  Withey’s everything you need in a starting NBA center.  At 7’0”, 222, he’s a huge presence in the middle of the lane.  Opponents consistently struggled to get good looks in the paint against Kansas purely because of Withey’s shot-blocking ability.  And while he’ll surely have his work cut out for him in the NBA, he has all the tools necessary to become a great defensive big men and capable finisher on the offensive end as well.
 
Gorgui Dieng, PF/C, Louisville
 
I’m really interested to see how Louisville progresses without Dieng manning the middle of the lane.  His motor and presence was pivotal in the team’s Championship run and whatever NBA team he ends up on will get one of the hardest workers in the draft.  A great shot-blocker who’s always in the right place, Dieng can instantly make any NBA team’s defense more complete.
 
Feb 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Diego State Aztecs guard Jamaal Franklin (21) dunks against the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the second half at the Thomas and Mack Center. UNLV defeated San Diego State 72-70. Mandatory Credit: Josh H. Holmberg-USA TODAY SportsJamaal Franklin, SG/SF, San Diego State
 
Franklin is just an all-around intelligent winger.  The main question most NBA scouts are asking is whether his game can fully translate to the pros.  He probably doesn’t have the necessary quickness to play as a guard, but I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t make for a solid starting small forward.  He’s got a great jump shot, passes the ball well and always seems to find the holes in opposing offenses.
 
DeShaun Thomas, SF/PF, Ohio State
 
As a Michigan fan, I can assure you that I clenched my teeth any time I ever saw DeShaun Thomas take an open or moderately open jump shot.   And usually, the clenching was for good reason.  Thomas has excellent range with his shot, but all in all, he’s just a great scorer no matter where he is on the court.  He may get taken in the post by bigger power forwards or beaten off the dribble by quicker small forwards, but on the offensive end, Thomas will undoubtedly find ways to contribute.
 
Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray St.
 
Probably one of the biggest wild cards in this year’s draft, Canaan is an extremely fun player to watch and one of the best NCAA scorers in recent memory.  At 6-feet flat, most concerns are regarding his height and his care with the ball is also up for debate.  The most immediate comparison is undoubtedly Nate Robinson, but after this year’s postseason, a lot of teams may be jumping at the opportunity to find an electrifying, undersized guard to lead a second unit.
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