NBA Draft: Late First Round Sleepers

Steve O Speak

Here’s my late first round sleepers for Thursday’s NBA Draft:

Jordon Crawford PG/SG- Crawford is starting to tick up draft boards, but I’d still be a little surprised to see him in the top 20. While I’d be surprised to see him that high, I don’t think it would be a reach at all. I love Crawford’s potential and athleticism, and think he can handle both the point and shooting guard spots. He reminds me some of Russell Westbrooke and think he will be an excellent pro. Crawford is one of the best pure shooters in this draft and can create shots off the dribble. If he is a full time point guard he will need to work on his passing, but otherwise he should be able to contribute immediately.

Devin Ebanks SF- Based on potential and athletic ability, Ebanks should be considered a lottery pick, but the reality is he will be lucky to be drafted at the end of the first round. Ebanks was a top recruit for WVU, and has led the Mountaineers to a pair of successful seasons, the problem is he has disappeared too often in big games. While there are some consistency concerns with Ebanks, the size and potential is real. I think he is a good bet going forward for some team at the end of the first round. I think he can develop into a solid starter with a little star potential.

Gani Lawal PF- Lawal is an interesting case, despite three collegiate seasons Lawal will only be 20 when the 2010-2011 season tips off. He has shown plenty of talent and potential at Georgia Tech over the years, and for me is a starting caliber power forward in the NBA. He might lack his Yellow Jackets teammate’s (Favors) upside, but I love his ability to work in the paint. He is a tenacious rebounder and can attack the rim. Lawal won’t be a top pick and could even fall out of the first round, but this guy is an NBA player, and some team will be very happy they drafted him.

Craig Brackins PF- A year a go Brackins was a surefire lottery pick, and yet now may be lucky to be drafted in the first round one year later. Brackins has excellent power forward size, and great range for a big man, yet is routinely getting overlooked. A lot of people question his numbers since they went down a little bit this past year, but he didn’t exactly have a lot of help at Iowa State. The other knock on Brackins is his age, which is a ridiculous since he is just 22. For some reason NBA teams consider this a knock, but I think it is an advantage for Brackins. He has a pretty good basketball I.Q. and should be able to contribute right away. I think he could even end up as a starter by mid season. He is a quick athletic big man, with a great offensive game, and impressive range, yet he is barely mentioned in the Top 25. I like Brackins as a very good starter in this league for the next decade.

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