With the draft less than 24 hours away, some fans believe that outside of the top 2 picks there is not much talent to select from. Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot of hidden talent that the fans may not see that can make an instant impact to a number of teams. Here are the top 5 slept on talents (in no particular order) in this year’s draft. Let’s get started:
1. Kris Dunn (Providence) – 6’4 205 lbs.
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In most mock drafts, Kris Dunn is projected to go 3rd overall, so some people don’t really see him as a “steal” per se. But he is. If it weren’t for Ben Simmons entering the draft, Kris Dunn would easily be the #1 overall pick. Yes I’m saying it, EASILY. Kris Dunn is a better and more versatile player than Brandon Ingram, but with Ben Simmons going 1st to Philly, and the Lakers being in no need of another point guard, Dunn drops out of the top 2 and grabbing #1 Overall talent at #3 makes him a steal. Kris Dunn averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.2 assist per game in his last season at Providence. Dunn is an excellent play maker who can create for both himself and his teammates. Not to mention, Kris Dunn is hands down the best defender in the draft. Averaging 3 steals per 40 minutes, Dunn is athletic enough to defend both guard positions, and is physical enough to guard the SF in small ball rotations. With the plethora of elite guards in the NBA, a talent like Dunn has a unique skill set, and a competitive spirit that coaches dream of having. If the Celtics don't take him at 3rd overall, expect some teams to trade up.
Best Fit: Bulls, Pelicans, Bucks
2. AJ Hammons (Purdue) – 7’0 278 lbs.
AJ Hammons is the most complete center in the draft, but saw his draft stock fall to the second round after a poor offensive output in the NCAA Tournament. Despite his performance, he’s still the best big man available. Hammons, who averaged 15 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game, is a top notch low post scorer who establishes his dominance in the paint with his 7' 278lbs frame. He is comfortable and capable in the pick-and-roll and, has a nice mid-range jump shot in his arsenal to complement his low post ability. Hammons is the ultimate rim protector and can find immediate value for teams looking to add a capable big man and is worth way more than a second round price tag.
Best Fit: Celtics, Trailblazers, Cavaliers
3. Dejounte Murray (Washington) – 6’5 170 lbs.
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Dejounte Murray is a lengthy guard with a 6’10 wing span and a ton of potential. Murray is an agile guard who isn’t afraid of contact and has excellent change of pace ability allowing him to get to the basket at times with ease. Not to mention, his floater is automatic. Dejounte Murray is a capable 3 point shooter with room to improve. With his length, Murray has the potential to be an elite defender. Murray isn’t a day one starter, but he has the potential to be a great starting guard 2-3 years down the line. Improvements to his decision making and 3 point shooting percentage is crucial to Murray's development.
Best Fit: Bucks, 76ers, Bulls
4. Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) – 5’9 160 lbs.
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Tyler Ulis, the little man with the big heart, was one of the best players in all of college basketball this past season. though his size has always been questioned, and he always has an answer with his amazing play on the hardwood. Ulis is an excellent floor general, at times shows flashes of a young Chris Paul with his pin point passes and perfect lobs. Tyler Ulis is a quick guard who is very capable of creating his own shots, and runs the pick and roll game with a routine perfection. Ulis has arguably the best handles in the draft and to compliment that, he is able to change gears quickly. Although he’s 5’9 he shot an incredible 50% from the field. Ulis was also a very good defender. With his quick hands and tight on-ball defense he is a menace for opposing guards, though I would like to see him hit the weight room to help him defend more physical guards.
Best Fit: Clippers, Bulls, 76ers, Nuggets
5. Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga) – 6’10 238 lbs.
Sabonis is a big that dominated throughout the NCAA Tournament, putting him in the lottery projection in most mock drafts. At 6’10 and 238lbs, Sabonis' mobility, ability to switch on guards off screens and contest effectively. and athleticism to run the floor on fast breaks were crucial to Gonzaga’s success. Versatility aside, the real eye catcher for Sabonis is his great post scoring. He’s able to get into good positions and utilize a wide variety of post moves with excellent foot work and basketball IQ. With the NBA changing, people seem to question his potential impact in the NBA. Though he doesn’t take a lot of jump shots, he has a high percentage when he does shoot. Even without a reliable jump shot, he is able to create plays out of the post.
Best Fit: Hawks, Raptors, Mavericks
Honorable Mentions are Isaiah Whitehead of Seton Hall and Jaylen Brown from California. Isaiah Whitehead was once considered a lottery player but his poor performance in the NCAA Tournament had most scouts reconsider. At 6'5'' he's a big guard and a lights out shooter. Jaylen Brown was the #2 player in the nation going into the season, and he had a productive freshman year. Scouts question his ability to shoot and handle the ball but I think he still has more potential than most players in the draft.
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How do you feel about these players? Where will they end up? Tweet us your thoughts at @Playbook_Blog.