Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/26/14
We’ve heard the endless debate about whether Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid should go No. 1 and taken a look at some of the leading prospects just outside those top three — although a shake-up might be coming. We even broke down some potential impact seniors. The key to the draft, for those without a blockbuster pick, is gaining decent value out of their selections. That could mean nabbing a player from a less-herald program or a team that underachieved last season. The NBA game is vastly different from college, and a player who struggled in school could develop into a competent professional. This is different from our list of top players outside the lottery, which consisted of players who only appear to have one or two shortcomings. The players on the following list either seem like riskier bets or are extremely promising talents who have yet to gain much exposure. Deonte Burton, Nevada. (PG, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds) Burton has the strength and the aggressive mentality to be a scary backcourt scorer. He just wasn’t too keen on passing the ball. It remains to be seen whether that was due to the quality of his teammates of if that is a true deficit to his game. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia. (G, 6-6, 200) Bogdanovic has great size and slashing instincts for a guard, although he doesn’t always try, which can be a problem. Also, his name is Bodgan Bogdanovic. Cory Jefferson, Baylor. (PF, 6-9, 220) Jefferson has the length and athleticism to play the four in the NBA, and he has shown he can be an excellent finisher. He shot 61 percent from the field as a junior, although his accuracy dropped to 50 percent last season. Semaj Christon, Xavier. (PG, 6-3, 190) Christon possesses uncommon size and finishing ability for a point guard, including a reliable runner that is increasingly being used as a short-range alternative for guards. He’s not much of a floor general, although he did cut back on his turnovers last season. P.J. Hairston, D-League. (G, 6-6, 220) Eventually, Hairston’s story could be a common one for incoming draftees. After being ushered out of North Carolina for accepting improper benefits, Hairston played last season with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League. After averaging 21.7 points per game, Hairston could be a mid-first round pick. Zach LaVine, UCLA. (G, 6-5, 180) LaVine has a tendency to play soft despite some scary athletic potential. There is also some disagreement over what position he will play. He doesn’t really create well enough to play the point, but he would need to add muscle to play on the wing. Photo via Twitter/@NevadaBlueCrewFiled under: Ben Watanabe, College Basketball, NBA, Top Stories
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