Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 11/9/14
With the 2013 NBA Draft rapidly approaching, here are five guys you need to keep an eye out for. Whether it’s because of proven talent or potential, these five players will make an impact in the NBA. Alex Len Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports The Ukranian center is already rapidly rising on most draft boards, and for good reason. Although his numbers weren’t off the charts (11.9 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and 2.1 blocks in his sophomore year at Maryland), he has proven he has a solid post-up and back-to-the-basket game, a rarity in today’s NBA. Len, listed at 7’1 and 255 pounds, has the size and athleticism to be a very good center in the NBA. Len runs the floor well and is a good finisher off pick-and-rolls. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Len smoked Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel in November (23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks) and Duke’s Mason Plumlee in Maryland’s upset win over the Blue Devils on Feb. 16 (19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks). So why haven’t you heard more about Len? Inconsistency and a tendency to disappear for long stretches of a game.  Len was terrific against Noel and Plumlee, but mediocre against inferior competition. Does he have the motor to excel in the NBA? That’s a question general managers will be wondering come draft night. Still, Len is only 19 years old and has great size and mobility. He definitely showed enough in his two years at Maryland to think that he could be a steal in this year’s draft. He can post-up, he can finish off pick-and-rolls, has good athleticism and proved to be a solid rebounder and defender. Reggie Bullock Photo Credit: Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI Bullock is being projected as a late first round pick and he is never going to be a star in the NBA. However, when I look at Bullock, I see one of the best “bets” in the draft. By that I mean, you know exactly what you are going to get with Bullock and that’s not a bad thing. The former Tar Heel is a terrific shooter with great size (6’7 and 205 pounds). Bullock averaged 13.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 2.8 APG on an impressive 48.3 percentage from the field, including 43.6 percent from three-point range. Bullock is not a shooter that can put the ball on the floor, he’s not going to create his own shot and he’s not going to create for others. And while he hasn’t proved to be a defensive stopper in college, one would think that with the right coach and the right system, Bullock could flourish as a one-on-one defender given his physical attributes. He might not be a franchise cornerstone, but you know Bullock will shoot very well and rebound efficiently for his position. If you ask me that’s a great bargain for a late first round pick. Jackie Carmichael via thesportsfeast.com Fans from the Missouri Valley Conference know all about the 6’9 power forward out of Illinois State. Carmichael is a great rebounder, a tough defender and quite simply, a guy that will make all the necessary plays to help a team win. He might not have a sterling post-up game, but he will certainly grind and is a great finisher around the basket His biggest weakness is that he didn’t play in a Big Six school and perhaps that he doesn’t have elite size at the power forward position. But given that Carmichael improved his rebounding and scoring numbers every year at ISU, it’s safe to say Carmichael will keep improving because he works his butt off. His game is not flashy and you can’t expect him to carry a team offensively (although he did average 17.4 points per game his senior year), but Carmichael finds ways to score and he is a proven difference-maker on the defensive end. He’s not a guy that lottery teams will want, but definitely a guy that can contribute right away on a winning team. Pierre Jackson via bayloruniversity.tumblr.com If you want a guy that can score and give you a spark off the bench, Jackson is your man. Projected to go in the second round (or undrafted), Jackson could turn out to be a steal. Jackson possesses tremendous speed and is a very good playmaker, along with the fact that he’s also a capable shooter. When he’s out on the break he’s almost impossible to guard and he can push the ball as good as anyone. Because of his size, Jackson doesn’t get the attention he deserves. He’s listed at 5’10 and 180 pounds. Despite the height he averaged 19.8 PPG, 7.1 APG and 3.8 RPG on 42.7 percent shooting and 35.9 percent from three-point range at Baylor his senior year, but yet we somehow heard a lot more about his teammate Isaiah Austin. General managers will hesitate to draft a “short” point guard, but one shouldn’t overlook Jackson’s potential in the NBA. He probably will never start for an NBA team, but Jackson can flat out score and create for others, that’s a valuable asset for any team looking for help off the bench (I’m looking at you Memphis). When talking about draft value, you will certainly get great “bang for your buck” if you invest on this guy late in the second round. Steven Adams Photo Credit: Elise Amendola/Associated Press Make no mistake, Adams is still very much a project, but one that should be worth the investment. The former Pittsburgh Panther is only 19 years old and is listed at 7’0 and 250 pounds. Adams’ value, like Len’s, is higher because of his size at the center position. But even if Adams’ numbers aren’t exactly eye-popping in his lone season at Pittsburgh (7.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 2.0 BPG in 23.4 minutes per game), Adams has all the big-man qualities that GM’s are always craving: size, range, athleticism, defense and a post-up game. Adams won’t see much action next year and will need time to continue developing his offensive game and getting used to the quickness of the NBA game. But Adams is a big presence in the middle and has freakish athleticism. Expect to hear everyone saying he’s a “raw” player on draft night. The New Zealand native probably doesn’t deserve to be picked higher than mid-first round, but give the guy a couple of years and he could turn out to be a very productive center in the NBA. He already has size and athleticism and in a center-starved league, that’s always a hot commodity. -Zamarripa
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