The hallmark of a great GM isn’t his ability to find stars high in the draft but finding late round steals. We have seen late picks like Draymond Green, Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell, and Isaiah Thomas blossom into stars, far exceeding their draft value. Who will be this year’s big sleeper?
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Note: This list is based not on how good the player is but how big of a sleeper they are comparatively.
5. Tyler Hall, SG, Montana State
Tyler Hall is not a household name in the slightest but is a mid-major sleeper that could surprise some people. The Montana State product is an elite shooter and a creative scorer overall. His size, athleticism, and defense limit his value, but Hall should be great value late in the draft. Over his three-year college career, he has shot 41% on 8.2 attempts per game. His game reminds me a bit of former Lehigh State guard C.J. McCollum. Hall’s shooting and scoring ability give him a good chance to make a G-Leauge roster early and maybe make an impact on an NBA team.
4. Melvin Frazier, SG, Tulane
Like Hall, Frazier is a smaller school junior shooting guard but plays much differently to him. The long 6’5″ wing is a freakish athlete who uses his athleticism to the best of his ability. He attacks the basket well and is a very good defender. His quickness, length, and size will allow him to defend multiple positions at the next level. Not to mention, he is a highlight dunk waiting to air on SC Top 10. In his junior year, he improved his three-point shot by 12% to a very good 38.5%. Frazier’s tools give him excellent upside, making him a possible late first round selection.
3. Chandler Hutchison, F, Boise State
I did a full draft profile on Hutchison, you can read it here. Hutchison is a versatile wing whose game is tailor made for today’s NBA. He can shoot the three, handle the ball, pass a little bit, rebound well, and play good defense. He is a Swiss Army Knife that any NBA team would love to get their hands on. Many mock drafts have had him go late in the first or fall out of the first round altogether, which is absolutely ludicrous. Some team should take Hutchison in the late teens, maybe even earlier. The Boise State product should be an effective role player day one and a potential star if the chips fall into place.
2. Lonnie Walker, G, Miami
Lonnie Walker is a player that I have seen a conflicted opinion about. He ranges from 14-25 on most mock drafts, even though I would comfortably take him at 12 if I am the Clippers. Sure Walker didn’t produce as well as he could have during his freshman season but the tools to be an elite scorer are all there. He is an explosive athlete with great touch and great shooting mechanics. He is a willing passer and has shown some signs of good vision. His defense isn’t world-beating but he is a good enough on-ball defender to hold most 1s and 2s in the NBA. If you were to ask me today who this year’s Donovan Mitchell is, Lonnie Walker is my answer.
1. Jalen McDaniels, PF, San Diego State
Jalen McDaniels is a name that most of you probably haven’t heard but I assure you that name will become familiar soon. The 6’10” forward is a fluid athlete who moves incredibly well for a big man. His offensive game is still developing but he has shown good touch around the rim and even a three-point shot at times. He has an excellent motor and grabs offensive rebounds regularly. He is a deceptively skilled offensive player and a willing defender. His main weakness is his slight frame, limiting his ability to defend bigs. He has shown the ability to switch on the perimeter and says that he can guard 1-4 even if I’m not convinced of that. For a player that likely will be a second-round pick, McDaniels has a chance to be the biggest sleeper in this draft class.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.