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The NBA Draft takes place in a week and many basketball fans are anxious to see where high-profile players like Harrison Barnes and Bradley Beal wind up. The 2012 draft class has no shortage of big time names. In fact, this could be one of the best draft classes we’ve seen in years. But the true greatness lies with the depth of this class. Here’s a list of the top 5 sleeper picks in next week’s draft.
1. Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas, Senior) – The senior guard, who was (unfairly) overshadowed by big-man Thomas Robinson, helped lead the Jayhawks to the championship game last year. He is a pure point guard who flat out loves the game of basketball. Critics are quick to point out his shaky decision-making, but his heart and quickness cannot be questioned. If given a few years to mature behind a veteran, Taylor could be a solid NBA player for many years.
2. Draymond Green (Michigan State, Senior) - At 6-7, Green will have a hard time getting any serious first-round consideration. But any Big Ten basketball fan will tell you that Green is one of the most polished seniors in the country. He averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds in the best league in college basketball last season, all while ignoring and dismantling his “undersized big-man” label. He’s a true leader and a proven winner. Expect Draymond to be taken in the first few picks of the second round.
3. Tony Wroten (Washington, Freshman) – Wroten was quietly one of the better freshman guards in the country last season, probably because he played in the pitiful Pac-12. But the 6-6 point guard is certainly on NBA scouts’ radars. With that kind of size, Wroten will have no trouble finding a spot on an NBA roster next year. He’s a freak athlete and a gifted passer. NBA coaches will help him develop his jumper and help turn him into a future starter. I would not be surprised if Wroten sneaks into the late first round.
4. John Jenkins (Vanderbilt, Junior) – By far the best shooter in this year’s draft. That alone will pretty much guarantee Jenkins a spot in the first round. But he’s also an underrated ball-handler who hardly ever makes mistakes. NBA scouts are weary of Jenkins because of his lack of athleticism and seemingly one-dimensional game. But I would be very pleased if my favorite team picks Jenkins, as he could certainly be J.J. Redick 2.0.
5. Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette, Senior) – Did anyone else see DJO play at Marquette last season? The dude was an absolute beast. I don’t care that he’s a 6-2 shooting guard; his scoring ability is undeniable. If Eddie House and Derek Fisher can have successful NBA careers, there is no reason why Johnson-Odom can’t as well.
The NBA Draft takes place on June 28.
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