The NBA Draft is usually clear-cut when separating the top players from the pack, but there are always a few sleepers. Due to their lack of size or athletic ability or failure to get on the court and flex their goods, red flags suffocate their draft potential. Every year, draft steals such as Donovan Mitchell emerge and the unexpected impact of their arrivals elevate the franchises that chose them to a higher plane. The Jazz took Mitchell at pick No. 13 of the first-round and by playoff time he was the best rookie in the league and the face of the Jazz franchise.
Donovan Mitchell was getting a lot of love from the Utah Jazz fans last night. https://t.co/1qDzdk3zxU
Here are three top potential steals in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft.
Aaron Holiday, Guard, UCLA
UCLA’s Aaron Holiday’s basketball pedigree is unquestionable. Holiday is the brother of NBA ballers Justin and Jrue Holiday so you have to assume he understands what it takes to make it at the next level. Skills wise, he’s probably better than Justin and a notch below Jrue.
Aaron Holiday, younger brother of Justin + Jrue – Made 2.8 3’s per-40 mins at a 42.9% clip as a junior. Rates in 98th% on guarded catch-and-shoot jumpers. Comfortable operating on or off the ball – Pitbull defender Full workout + interview >> https://t.co/pc4DJYD32d https://t.co/IV0JrcUXbr
Holiday has a deadly three-point shot that will help him in the NBA and proved this season that he can carry a team against top competition. The Bruins were just 17-18 last year, but Holiday averaged 20.3 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, and 5.8 assists per game (46% fg, 43% 3pt, 83% ft) as one of four players in the NCAA to average at least 20 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds.
Some project Holiday as a solid NBA backup, but his ability to score form anywhere on the floor and D-up in key situations shows starter potential. His 5-foot-11 size and penchant for turning over the ball is a setback, but the game is in his blood for sure.
Jevon Carter, Guard, West Virginia
Jevon Carter was one of the best defenders in college basketball and the heart and soul of Bob Huggins spunky West Virginia squad. Carter doesnt have all of the flashy physical skills or the offensive game that you find in the previously mentioned guards, but he put himself on the NBA radar this season as the floor commander for the frenetic-paced, wild-style West Virginia attack. Despite his accolades, Carter isn’t considered a Top 5 guard in the draft, which some people find ludicrous.
Backcourt players who are worse than Jevon Carter, but will be drafted before him because NBA scouts are horrifically bad at their jobs: – Trae Young – Collin Sexton – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Lonnie Walker – Jerome Robinson – Troy Brown – Chandler Hutchinson – Aaron Holiday
He led the Mountaineers with 17 points per game, made 38.8 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaged 6.6 assists while he flexed an improving offensive game. But his ability as a lockdown defender and his growing reputation as a menace on the press is what has elevated him to prime time player levels.
Carters next level defensive prowess was on full display when he went up against Trae Young in the Big 12 and slowed the gunner down considerably. Carter is among the best on-ball defenders in the college game and a gritty style like his will be a great addition to a winning team. Hes highly physical and also chips in 4.7 rebounds per game to go along with 2.9 steals.
Having an extra foul at his disposal in the NBA enhances his defensive aggressiveness.
Jevon Carter has met with nearly half of the NBA teams prior to next week’s draft. On Wednesday, he met with the @sixers and spoke to the media. https://t.co/NkCQ77PCmh
With a steadily improving offensive game, Carter seems like the type of player who may even slip to the second round but will be a solid NBA performer on a contending team for years to come. What he lacks in height and athleticism (Hes barely 6’1), Carter makes up for in leadership and his connection with his coaches.
Mitchell Robinson, Center, Chalmette HS (Louisiana)
Mitchell Robinson is projected to go in the early to mid 20s, but his talent dictates he should go much higher. Much, much higher. Robinson is a real sleeper pick who never actually suited up for a college team. At 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, he has freakish athletic ability with crazy hops, a nice shooting touch around the rim, shot-blocking skills and he can pull boards.
Robinson’s raw talents indicate that he could blossom into a borderline star in the NBA. The fact that he didnt play in college has hurt his stock a bit because the scouts dont know what to expect.
High School To NBA Prospect Mitchell Robinson
As a five-star recruit who effectively spent a year on sabbatical and did more traveling than balling, Robinson initially committed to Texas A&M, then followed Rick Stansbury to Western Kentucky, where he enrolled briefly before leaving campus, attempting and failing to transfer, and eventually choose to just chill for a year, then enter his name in the draft.
Hes already 20 years old and hasnt played against high-level competition, but as one of the more athletic big men in the draft, somebody will take a shot on him that could strike gold.