Seven sleepers to watch in 2014 NBA Draft

Markel Brown of Oklahoma State sizes up the opposition. (Photo: Emily Nielsen)

Who will be the Danny Green, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin or Isaiah Thomas of the 2014 NBA Draft?

Leading up to this year’s draft, we were fortunate to bring folks onto the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast who have in-depth knowledge on this year’s pool of prospects. Ryan Blake, senior director of Scouting Operations for the NBA, joined us a few weeks ago, as well as Mike Schmitz, video coordinator for Draft Express.com, to discuss the 2014 Draft.

We asked both Schmitz and Blake to highlight a few prospects who may not be household names now, but could someday be viable role players in the NBA.  Here’s whom they singled out:

Jamil Wilson

College: Marquette
Age: 23
Height: 6-7
Weight: 225 lbs.
Position: Forward
ESPN.com Projection: Second round to undrafted

What’s there to like?

Wilson is 6-7, but he plays more like he’s 6-9 due to his length. He possesses good fundamentals and effort on the defensive side of the ball. Wilson comes from a program that’s developed gritty players in the past: Jimmy Butler and Wesley Matthews.

Markel Starks

College: Georgetown
Age: 23
Height: 6-2
Weight: 166 lbs.
Position: Guard
ESPN.com Projection: Not ranked

What’s there to like?

Starks performed very well at the annual Portsmouth Invitational in Virginia this year. He possesses very strong handles, quickness and the ability to change directions with ease. Starks is also an active defender.

Shayne Whittington

College: Western Michigan
Age: 23
Height: 6-11
Weight: 244 lbs.
Position: Forward
ESPN.com Projection: Second round to undrafted

What’s there to like?

He’ll likely play power forward at the next level, but Whittington showed that he could play center at the Portsmouth Invitational. He also demonstrated an ability to be a stretch four by showing off his range, which extends out to the NBA 3-point line. He’s a pretty good rebounder and shot blocker.

Cory Jefferson

College: Baylor
Age: 23
Height: 6-9
Weight: 218 lbs.
Position: Forward
ESPN.com Projection: Second round to undrafted

What’s there to like?

Jefferson passes the physical test of the prototypical NBA power forward. He has good athleticism, possesses solid length and moves well laterally. He’s also a pretty solid shot-blocker. His offensive game is limited, but it can be developed with the right coaching.

Markel Brown

College: Oklahoma State
Age: 22
Height: 6-4
Weight: 185 lbs.
Position: Guard
ESPN.com Projection: Second round to undrafted

What’s there to like?

Brown has great athleticism and great length for a player his size and is a “heady player,” according to Blake. He’s also a very good defender for his position.

Melvin Ejim

College: Iowa State
Age: 23
Height: 6-7
Weight: 219 lbs.
Position: Forward
ESPN.com Projection: Second round to undrafted

What’s there to like?

Ejim is another player that has good defensive upside because of his length and physical build. He has pretty good strength and is a guy who puts in the work to overcome his deficiencies. Ejim’s also has solid leaping ability.

K.J. McDaniels

College: Clemson
Age: 21
Height: 6-6
Weight: 195 lbs.
Position: Forward
ESPN.com Projection: Mid-first round

What’s there to like?

McDaniels is a very athletic forward that can guard multiple positions. He’s also a tremendous shot blocker, having averaged close to three blocks per game from the three spot this past season. Not surprisingly, he has great upside as a defender in the NBA.

 

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.