2013 NBA Draft: The 5 Most Underrated Prospects

The 2013 NBA Draft is just over a month away and with the lottery completed, mock draft season is in full swing. The mocks, positional rankings and projections will be at a premium over the coming weeks and many players will either get over-hyped or under-appreciated.

Every year, there are countless players who are talented prospects, but fail to receive much praise from the public.

Here are five prospects who aren’t getting much love, but are talented prospects:

5. Pierre Jackson, PG, Baylor

If there’s going to be a second-round steal this year, there’s a good chance that Jackson will be that player. He stands just 5’10″, but he makes up for his lack of height with underrated quickness. He has drawn comparisons to Nate Robinson and Jackson’s ability to become a streaky scorer in any game makes the comparisons justified. He likely won’t ever develop into a starter in the NBA, but he’ll be a welcomed burst off the bench and could easily become a team’s go-to sixth man in crunch time.

4. Shane Larkin, PG, Miami

Like Jackson, Larkin is limited in measurables, as he stands at just 5’11″. However, he more than makes up for it with his elite athletic ability. Larkin set an NBA Draft Combine record in the vertical jump, maxing out at 44 inches. His explosiveness combined with his speed and agility makes him primed to succeed in the NBA. He showed at Miami that he is capable of being the general of an offense, as well as be a scoring threat on any given possession. He’s currently projected to get selected at the end of the first round and can step in right away as a starter.

Kelly Olynyk

Olynyk has rare offensive skill for a center. (Flickr.com photo by SD Dirk)

3. Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

The 7′ center needs to add more weight and muscle to be a force in the paint in the NBA, but he’s also one of the most offensively skilled big men in recent years. He handles the ball with ease and looks like a guard at times with his ability to pull up for a mid-range shot with ease. He has a lengthy frame with plenty of room for improvement and his athletic ability and offensive skill set will make him a starting center in the league. He’s projected to go in the late lottery, but whichever team drafts him will get a dynamic player who can rely on his scoring ability until he comes around physically.

2. Shabazz Muhammad, G/F, UCLA

Perhaps the most underrated pure talent in this year’s draft belongs to Muhammad. The versatile guard/forward has the scoring ability and athleticism to be a shooting guard in the NBA, but small forward is certainly not out of the picture. Despite arriving to UCLA with as much fanfare as any prospect in the country, he managed to fly under the radar last season on an underachieving Bruins squad. However, Muhammad still managed to average 17.9 points per game and finish with a 3-point percentage of 37.7. He’s projected to go in the mid-to-late lottery in June’s draft, but certainly has the potential to be the best player out of this year’s draft class.

1. Jamaal Franklin, G/F, San Diego State

Despite being a talented shooting guard who has the skill set to also play small forward in the NBA, Franklin is getting little to no lottery consideration. Standing at 6’5″ and weighing 191 pounds, Franklin has the ideal frame to be a swing guard/forward at the next level, particularly due to the fact that he has plenty of room to improve physically. He has a lengthy, thin frame that could easily add another 10 to 15 pounds of muscle. He’s a smooth player who can drive to the basket, but does need to improve his jump shot. Defensively, he uses his inherent length and athleticism to cover large areas on the court. He certainly deserves to be a late lottery pick in the upcoming draft.

Tags: 2013 NBA Draft Baylor Gonzaga Jamaal Franklin Kelly Olynyk Miami NBA Nba Draft NBA Draft Underrated NBA Draft Underrated Prospects Pierre Jackson San Diego State Shabazz Muhammad Shane Larkin UCLA

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