Every year the top NBA Draft prospects are one-and-dones from blue blood universities or elite international players that appear in mock drafts years before the actual draft. Many do find success, but far too often are players who spent two years or more in college overlooked. Said players are less likely to come in and become stars but can find success as role players. There are also underrated players in every NBA Draft that are late first-round steals, the same can be said for the 2020 NBA Draft.
2020 NBA Draft: Three Underrated Players
Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt
Today’s NBA is heavily reliant on three-point shooting. Aaron Nesmith certainly brings this skill to the table.
The Vanderbilt sophomore shot 52.2 percent from three on 8.2 attempts per game this past season. That’s not a typo – he is a lights out shooter. Nesmith is the 2020 NBA Draft’s best shooter, and that will make him jump up draft boards.
He averaged 23 points per game last season, and besides his three-point shooting he also shot 51 percent from the field and close to 83 percent from the free-throw line. At only 20-years-old, he also has solid NBA size at 6’6″ and 213 pounds. There won’t be a growing period and he will be an immediate contributor.
Nesmith needs to be in an offense that can allow him to be a spot-up shooter. He hasn’t shown much potential in being able to create his own shot but he will find a niche in the league without that. If Nesmith finds himself on a team with a bonafide playmaker, he’s an ideal draft pick for a team looking for more shooting. He’s been described as a poor man’s Klay Thompson, meaning he carries a lot of value outside of the lottery.
Jalen Smith, Maryland
Jalen Smith will enter the league as a project, but one certainly worth taking. First of all, he’s a big man with an outside shot. The era of big men with the sole ability of interior play has ended, and Smith fits the bill for the next generation of the position.
He’s not an elite shooter like Nesmith. Smith made 32 three-point shots in 31 games at a clip of 37 percent, but that clearly shows that the skillset is there. Shooting isn’t all he brings, however, as he stands at 6’10” and is a solid rebounder and elite shot blocker. He averaged close to 11 rebounds and over two blocks per game last season. Smith also has solid inside offensive play as well. He improved his body and strength over the off-season, and that will only come easier with NBA trainers.
To truly flourish, Smith will have to better his awareness and passing. He totaled 25 assists last season, and that’s going to have to improve. His upside is very high, however.
Desmond Bane, Texas Christian University
College basketball seniors often get overlooked when it comes to the draft. Desmond Bane is one of the 2020 NBA Draft’s prime examples. He came into the college ranks as an unknown but developed into one of the Big 12 Conference’s top players.
From a physical standpoint, Bane passes the eye test. He won’t face growing pains when it comes to the physicality of the pros. He’s also one of the most impressive three-point shooters in the draft. He has shot over 42 percent from three the last three seasons, the lowest percentage actually being 42.5 percent. Besides that, he’s shot over 50 percent from the field in three of his four seasons and doesn’t struggle at the free-throw line.
The Horned Frogs’ depth was rather thin last season, so Bane had to step up as a playmaker as well as lead scorer. He did this well and averaged about four assists per game. He won’t be asked to do the same in the NBA, but the potential is there.
Bane’s shooting, defense, and IQ will allow him to find a role on any team.
Embed from Getty Images