In the NBA draft, we’ll get to see some of the best homegrown and international players get picked by NBA teams to give them a chance of living their NBA dream. Mock boards often present us with the best picks to go. However, the NBA draft is just as unpredictable as March Madness. The biggest winners don’t often go to the teams that pick first or high up in the order.
Sometimes, there are hidden gems in the lower parts of the draft. Take, for example, Nikola Jokic and Draymond Green. These talented Allstars were picked in the second round, with Jokic at 41st while Green was picked at 35th. With that said, let’s take at the underrated players to enter this year’s NBA draft:
Oscar Tshiebwe – Kentucky
6’9 – 255 lbs. PF/C
Projected: 31st pick overall
One of the biggest reasons Kentucky is rolling to the top is the Oscar Tshiebwe hype train. Don’t get it wrong; many fans are hyped because of Tshiebwe’s play on the floor. March Madness prop bets have Kentucky at +155 going to the Final Four. These odds favor the Kentucky Wildcats due to the high motor that Tshiebwe brings to the court.
Oscar Tshiebwe is a monster in the paint and on the boards, providing valuable minutes for Kentucky. He averages 16.2 points and 15.3 rebounds per game. Although Oscar has the size, strength, and athleticism, many scouts question his limited range and NBA readiness. If Tshiebwe can work on his range, he can definitely be a starter or an effective piece for contending teams in the NBA. Don’t sleep on the hype train when he gets to the NBA.
Kennedy Chandler – Tennessee
6’1 – 170 lbs. PG
Projected: 28th pick overall
Kennedy Chandler leads in 3 stat categories for the Tennessee Volunteers. He leads the team at 13.6 points per game, assists at 4.6, and steals at 2.3 per contest. As a 6’1 point guard, he moves fast with the ball. He also has good shooting mechanics, which show a lot of promise when he gets to the pros.
His weakness lies with his size. Chandler might have difficulty finishing in the paint due to his size. Although he’s a good ball-handler, he doesn’t show much ability to break down defenses. Kennedy Chandler also needs to improve his free throw shooting as he’ll want to take advantage of getting bumped towards the paint. With due time, Chandler can improve and contribute to teams willing to draft him.
Jamaree Bouyea – San Francisco
6’2 – 180 lbs. – PG
Projected: 32nd pick overall
4th in the WCC, the San Francisco Dons owe a lot to their star point guard, Jamaree Bouyea. Averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game, he’s one of the most underrated point guards in the conference. Bouyea excels at creating space for himself. He is also efficient when driving towards the basket. His handles are top class, and his deceptive first step is one of his biggest weapons.
Even though he loves driving towards the paint, he doesn’t get to the free-throw line as much. Although he’s slowly improving his three-point shooting, he doesn’t get too much elevation on his jump shots. Jamaree Bouyea also lacks elite athleticism and explosiveness, two qualities that a score-first guard should have. If he improves playmaking and passing, he’ll contribute quality minutes as an essential role player in the NBA.
Bryce McGowens – Nebraska
6’6 – 175 lbs. SG
Projected: 22nd pick overall
NBA teams looking for a lengthy and athletic shooting guard should consider picking Bryce McGowens from Nebraska. He’s an intelligent ball-handler, leading in scoring for his team at 17.2 points per game. He’s also impressive when it comes to avoiding contact when getting to the air. McGowens can contour his body easily, making it hard for defenders to block him once he goes for a finish.
As a shooting guard, Mcgowen should improve his three-point shooting. As a smart offensive piece, he lacks defensive consistency. He often struggles with pressure defenders and quickly turns over the ball in such situations. Another year in college can be beneficial for him, but if he continues to improve, he can easily be a fan favorite in the NBA due to his athleticism and knack for scoring.
Johnny Juzang – UCLA
6’7 – 215 lbs. SF
Projected: 40th pick overall
As the 2nd best team in the PAC-12 division, UCLA believes in the strong play from Johnny Juzang. Juzang leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.0 points per game. Although he’s playing guard at UCLA, his more natural position is small forward. Considered one of the best, pure shooters in this year’s draft, Juzang has a lot of potential in the NBA.
Johnny is also a good ball-handler and can easily get away from defenders for a wide-open shot. Shooting, however, is where the upsides end for Juzang. As a small forward, he lacks the required athleticism. He’s also average when it comes to speed. Juzang also struggles to finish during transitions, often relying heavily on his jump shooting. Teams in the NBA can benefit from Johnny Juzang’s unique skill set as he’s easily compared to Duncan Robinson.
The players mentioned above are some of the most underrated in this year’s draft. Although they’re ranked lower on the draft boards, they have the potential to be important pieces for NBA teams.