Around this time of year all the mock drafts and “experts” start to form a concesnus about where players will be drafted. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, NBA GMs and scouts are making their own lists, disregarding the opinions of the many, trying to find the one player who will help their team the most.
Here, in no particular order are the five players that I feel are underrated by the mock drafts. I think these five players will be drafted higher than most people (outside of NBA front offices) think.
Most mock drafts have him going somewhere between the 12 and 16 picks in the draft. I think he is a sure-fire top 10 pick and might even crack the top 5. He is a legit NBA power forward who is just scratching the surface of his potential. There are very few players who hustle as hard as Thompson and combined with his size and athleticism that makes him very hard to stop. He is one of the best offensive rebounders to come into the league in a long time. Also a very good shot blocker and weak side defender.
This 7 foot foreigner is as skilled a big man as you’ll find. He can handle the ball, face up and shoot threes and make all the passes. With Dirk Nowitzki showing his worth and competing for an NBA championship it could entice a team in the top half of the lottery to take Montiejunas in hopes of finding the next Dirk. It could be well worth it, even if he takes a few years to develop. Some NBA fans are stilled weary of their team drafting the next Darko but Motiejunas is much more like Bargnani or Dirk and should develop into an All Star in a few years.
At 6,10 but very skinny Johnson might have trouble holding is own on the low block in the NBA but his quickness and high skill level should more than offset his slight frame. He is a very quick leaper, a good all around athlete and has developed into a dangerous mid-range jump shooter. Johnson is a veteren player who has a lot of experience and good maturity. He should continue to develop his offensive game and could become a threat from three point range, a stretch four, along the lines of a Robert Horry type player. Some mocks have him dropping to the second round. I think he could surprise and might even slip into the top 20.
Williams is not as tall as some had hoped but he still has legit size for the power forward position. Williams is a great rebounder and is still very young and just learning to take advantage of his size and strength. He has become a quicker and more fluid athlete over the past year and should continue to work on his conditioning and quickness in the pros. Players who can rebound and defend on the low block are very valuable in the NBA and I think Williams could be a first rounder.
Diebler is not in most mock drafts and there’s a good chance he goes un-drafted but he could still find a spot on an NBA roster. Great shooters are hard to find and even though he lacks athleticism he has good size and should be able to hold his own physically. I don’t expect Diebler to come in and set the league on fire but he could become a nice three point specialist off the bench.