NBA Draft 2020: Sleepers to Watch Out For
Host Matt McLaughlin and analysts Juan Mendez, Adam Sheetz and Jon Draeger take a look at some of the more underrated players in this year's NBA draft that could fly under the radar and make an impact.
Every year, there’s always an underrated draft pick that turns out to be a key contributor on a contending team down the line. Two years ago, Pascal Siakam exploded onto the scene during the Toronto Raptors’ championship run, and this past season saw the emergence of Duncan Robinson with the Miami Heat.
These are three players who may be underrated now but will become key players with contending teams.
Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
Last season, Cassius Winston put up very good numbers with over 18 points and 5.9 assists per game along with 45% shooting.
Although this class is loaded with guards, Winston has a high basketball IQ to run pick-and-roll sets and active hands on the defensive end to contribute to a contending team late in the draft.
While they’re not a contending team, the Oklahoma City Thunder is a rebuilding team that could use Winston’s experience and shooting to run the second unit on the floor at the very minimum.
Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
Martin Jr. is coming out of high school, but his powerful 6-foot-7-inch, 215-pound frame allows him to switch between wing and power forward, which can ideally help a smaller, perimeter-oriented team such as the Atlanta Hawks.
Last season at the IMG Academy, Martin averaged over 20 points per game while shooting 35% from the field. While that percentage isn’t eye-popping, it’s enough for defenses to respect his jump shot, which can lead to more space in the lane for a rolling Clint Capela or driving Trae Young.
In an era of positionless basketball where versatility is treasured, Martin Jr. can fit in with multiple teams, but the Hawks give him the best chance of getting into the wing rotation with Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish.
Paul Reed, F, DePaul
In a similar build as Martin, Reed offers a good combination of size, length and vertical ability to contribute as a pick-and-roll center on a small-ball team such as the Houston Rockets or as an athletic wing on the Chicago Bulls.
Last season at DePaul, Reed averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and two assists per game while shooting over 50% from the field.
To maximize his offensive potential, the Rockets would be a great fit because he can bring more energy in transition off the bench and can take more of the defensive responsibilities off P.J. Tucker.
As for his defensive potential, Reed can already jump out of the gym, but the Bulls need wing defenders to limit Eastern Conference wings such as Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, especially with Lauri Markkanen’s atrocious defense in the paint.
Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism
Matthew “Matt” McLaughlin is a freshman from Abington, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and analyst in all three departments for CommRadio. He’s been featured as an analyst on live shows such as Daylate Tailgate, State College Saturdays and Hail Mary.
Second-year / Journalism
Juan S. Mendez is a second-year student from Sogamoso, Colombia majoring in journalism at Penn State University. He is a frequent CommRadio contributor through play-by-play and production for Penn State sports, primarily soccer. As a writer and podcast member, he also contributes in covering the NFL, NBA, international soccer, college sports, and occasional music reviews. Bilingual, and with a substantially dispersed knowledge, Juan intends to work covering multiple sports internationally in English and Spanish at a professional level.
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Third Year / Broadcast Journalism