While plenty of prospects have been covered leading up to Thursday night’s NBA Draft, there are a few lower-profile names fans should be aware of, particular in the latter stages of the evening. Here are five sleeper candidates to watch for:
Travis Bader, Oakland: A 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Bader is the NCAA’s all-time three-point shooting leader and has enough size for his position to have a legitimate shot at carving out a niche for himself as a long-range specialist.
Billy Baron, Canisius: Coached by his father in college, Baron’s size for a point guard, shooting ability, toughness and understanding of the game are intriguing as an end-of-the-bench reserve with the ability to run an offense.
Bryce Cotton, Providence: While his diminutive size can’t be ignored, Cotton’s explosiveness and knack for scoring, as evidenced in the Friars’ NCAA Tournament upset win over North Carolina, makes his a viable option as a change-of-pace, instant-offense backup.
Andre Dawkins, Duke: Although he didn’t post gaudy numbers and had an even career, partially due to a redshirt year needed to recuperate from his sister’s tragic death, Dawkins is a knockdown shooter with solid athleticism and size, as well as plenty of big-game experience.
Ronald Roberts, St. Joseph’s: One of the better available athletes, Roberts is undersized for a power forward, but makes up for it with his powerful frame, high energy, defensive prowess and ridiculous bounce.
Fans should also be on the lookout for a run on international players in the draft, possibly beginning toward the end of the first round. Here are five overseas prospects who could be selected Thursday:
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia: A shooting guard with size, long-range accuracy and ballhandling ability, Bogdanovic (not to be confused with Bojan Bogdanovic, a Croatian player the Nets own the rights to) is a polished player who has excelled against Europe’s best competition.
Nikola Jokic, Serbia: Jokic is a versatile young big man with the potential to stretch defenses with his shooting, but also burgeoning skills a post-up scorer, though he must add strength to his slender frame.
Vasilije Micic, Serbia: The teammate of Jokic is a big floor general who thrives as a pass-first distributor and true point guard, despite his lack of athleticism and shaky outside shooting.
Ioannis Papapetrou, Greece: Papapetrou was a freshman starter at Texas before leaving school to turn professional in his home country, where he played sparingly, but is still regarded as one of the more talented young players in Europe, something supported by the flashes he displayed in college.
Walter Tavares, Spain: A massive 7-foot-3 center, Tavares has only been playing basketball for a few years now, but while the native of Cape Verde is a project, he has already developed into one of the best shot-blockers in the highly-regarded Spanish ACB league.