NBA Draft 2020: Sleepers to Watch Out For

Audio/Story posted November 15, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McLaughlin

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 mem6936@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

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Matthew McLaughlin

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.

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Juan Mendez

Freshman / Journalism

Juan S. Mendez is a freshman from Sogamoso, Colombia majoring in journalism at Penn State University. He is a frequent CommRadio contributor, primarily through multiple weekly podcasts on fantasy football, NFL game picks, international soccer and more. Joined by Cole Koffler, Connor Donohue and Matthew McLaughlin, Juan is one-fourth of the brand-new Premier League Podcast, which is becoming a new staple of CommRadio sports. Bilingual, and with a substantially dispersed knowledge, Juan intends to work covering multiple sports internationally in English and Spanish at a professional level.
To contact Juan, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Adam Sheetz

Freshman / Broadcast Journalism

Adam D. Sheetz is a freshman from Reedsville, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism. I am a writer and on-air personality for the CommRadio sports department. His writings include Heisman Watch articles, Around the SEC, Around the ACC and Penn State football content. He was an intern doing color commentary for baseball, football and field hockey for WCHX 105.5 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. If you’d like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Jonathan Draeger

Freshman / Broadcast Journalism

Jonathan “Jon” Draeger is a freshman from Butler, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and on-air personality for the sports and news departments for CommRadio. He has been featured on live shows and podcasts about collegiate and professional football. If you would like to contact him, you can do so at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).