In every NBA draft, you have the LeBron James and the Kobe Bryants of the group. Last year, it was Andrew Wiggins. This year, it’s Kentucky’s Karl Anthony-Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. We know them, we love them (or love to hate them) and we know they’ll be making more money in their first game than most of us will see in a lifetime, but what about the other players in the draft? Who are the other stars of the draft? Who are we not talking about that we should be? With so many NBA hopefuls, it’s hard to keep of track everyone so to help you out, here is the biggest standout (other than KAT and Okafor, obviously) and the biggest sleeper pick for the 2015 NBA Draft.
Biggest Standout: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky.
How can you not like Willie Cauley-Stein? Seriously though, this guy is awesome. Aside from his love for art and school, this 7-footer has game.
His defensive prowess, along with his ability to finish at the rim will be enticing to a lot of teams in the draft. On a team stacked with stars, Cauley-Stein managed to stand out. In just 25 minutes, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and John Wooden All-American averaged 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He played a major role in helping Kentucky get to back-to-back Final Fours and a historical 38-1 season.
His presence alone could back down any offense. He has the ability to guard every position on the court, from the perimeter to the rim. He’s quick in transition and if you lob the ball, you can bet he will find it. One can argue that his numbers have slightly declined since his sophomore campaign, but don’t forget he shared the paint with Karl Anthony-Towns in that period.
Cauley-Stein is an all-around good guy and works well with the media (take some notes, Marshawn Lynch,) so what NBA team wouldn’t want him representing them? We often talk about how a player’s game will translate to the NBA, but it’s very rare that we talk about the fame and fortune the prospects are faced with once they leave the proverbial collegiate nest.
There are a lot of distractions that can cause a rookie to fail, but if there’s one player to be picked as the most prepared for the off-court antics, it’s WCS. He has dealt with crazy Kentucky fans and lofty expectations for the last three years. If a player can survive that, they can survive anything.
Cauley-Stein is projected as a top 10 pick in the draft and could even sneak his way into the top five.
Biggest Sleeper: Delon Wright, Utah.
You may have heard his name, but do you respect his game? Don’t expect him to be a franchise player, but he can definitely be an impact player.
With his unique skillset and 6’5 height, the second team All-American honoree can be a reliable backup point guard or shooting guard. He attacks the lane and can knock down shots from outside the arc (just ask Stanford.) Not only does he get to the charity stripe, he’s effective when he’s there – an 83-percent free throw shooter.
The Los Angeles native averaged 14.5 points and 5.1 assists per game, proving that he creates for himself, and shares with his teammates too. His size and his ability to change directions quickly will keep defenders on their toes.
What makes Wright the best sleeper prospect is his defensive game. He pulls down an average of 4.9 rebounds and pickpockets the ball 2.6 times per game. His press game is strong and his basketball IQ is apparent, making him really shine on the defensive end.
Wright is slated to be a late first round or early second round pick.
The NBA Draft is Thursday, June 25th at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. Who are you most impressed with? Who do you think will go number one? Let us know on social media at Facebook facebook.com/thecoachsdaughters, Twitter @CoachsDaughters or Instagram @TheCoachsDaughters and be sure to follow us on Snapchat @CoachsDaughters!