3 Sleepers In The 2017 NBA Draft


Draymond Green, Isaiah Thomas, Manu Ginobili, Jimmy Butler. Combined, these players have nine All-Star Appearances, six NBA Championships and one thing in common: not being high draft picks. Green was the 35th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Thomas was the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Ginobili was the 57th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, and Jimmy Butler was the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The point is, many valuable players in the NBA haven’t been high draft picks and there are many players picked outside the lottery who have the potential to become key contributors on NBA franchises. Here are three players in this year’s draft who have the potential to become valuable pieces to an NBA team.

Josh Hart, SF, Villanova

Josh Hart isn’t the highest jumper, the fastest player, or the best shooter in this draft. However, Hart is a jack of all trades and can help a team win basketball games. During his junior year at Villanova, Hart was a key member of the National Championship team, averaging 16 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 APG, and 1 SPG. In his senior season, Hart improved his scoring and efficiency, averaging 18 PPG while shooting over 50 percent from the field and over 40 percent behind the arc. Hart was named the 2017 Big East Player of the Year and garnered a First Team All-American selection with his outstanding play.

Hart isn’t the best athlete in the draft, but if a team needs a valuable asset off the bench, he would be the way for them to go.

Frank Jackson, PG, Duke

When you think of the 2016-2017 Duke Blue Devils, Frank Jackson isn’t the first name that pops into your head. However, despite flying under the radar at Duke, Jackson averaged 11 PPG, 3 RPG, 2 APG. Even though he played alongside stars in Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, and Grayson Allen, Jackson was able to put the ball in the basket consistently for Duke and was a valuable player on the squad.

The knock against Jackson is that he isn’t a true Point Guard. However, he is only 19 and is an extremely gifted athlete who can score the ball very well. If he is in the right situation, he could end up becoming an effective scorer off the bench while running a bench unit, a la Patty Mills.

Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue

Caleb Swanigan is a monster. The Big Ten cowered as the 6’8” beast destroyed opponents night in and night out. He can score the ball from down low or beyond the arc and was one of the best rebounders in the NCAA last season. Swanigan put up 18.5 PPG and 12.5 RPG while shooting 53 percent from the field and 45 percent from behind the arc. In today’s NBA, big men who can shoot is a valuable asset, and Swanigan is a threat from deep.

Slated to go in the late first round to early second round, the only knock against Swanigan is that he isn’t a great athlete. However, Draymond Green, a player very much like Swanigan in college, was not considered a great athlete but turned out alright in the NBA. Swanigan has the potential to impact a team like Draymond Green has for the Warriors, and in my opinion, is the biggest sleeper in the 2017 NBA Draft.


About Gautam Ratnam

Gautam is a writer/editor for TLSM. Born and raised in the Bay. #Dubnation. Twitter: @GautamTLSM

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