The 2018 NBA Draft is practically here, and just like most years, the question on everyone’s mind is who is going to be the first pick? While the likely answer to that may be Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, it still remains unclear, however, that is not why we are here.
Every year, there seems to be a diamond in the rough that nobody seemed to be talking about heading into the draft, but comes to everyone’s mind when they look back at it.
With that being said, here is a list of our top three most underrated players heading into this year’s draft.
Miles Bridges (Michigan State)
Projected to go in the mid-teens, there are few players as equipped as Miles Bridges to come into the NBA and make an immediate impact. The 6-7 forward was stellar for Michigan State in the two seasons he spent there, averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds his freshman year, followed by 17.1 points and 7.0 rebounds his sophomore year. Bridges has a 6-foot-10 wingspan, and at 220-pounds is athletic enough to play the three or the four. He is a capable spot up shooter, and can put the ball on the floor to go and get a basket.
During his time with the Spartans, Bridges also showed some versatility in the pick-and-roll, as both a roll man and ball handler. While he still needs to polish some of his skills at the next level, if a team takes him anywhere outside of the top 12, it’ll be looked back on as a steal.
Jalen Brunson (Villanova)
The Naismith Player of the Year, and the starting point guard for a Villanova team that has won wo of the last three National Championships, Jalen Brunson just keeps winning. Projected as a late first round to early second round pick, perhaps because of his size or average athleticism, Brunson is one of the most overlooked players in this draft. The 6-foot-3 (probably closer to 6-foot-2) 21-year-old has shown an insanely diverse skill set on the offensive side of the ball.
Brunson shot close to 41 percent from deep this past season and showed confidence taking the ball inside, be it posting up other guards, or finishing at the rim. Perhaps his best asset, however, is his IQ.
The Wildcat guard was extremely efficient at running his teams offense and has a knack for making the right play, especially when running the pick and roll. Brunson averaged 18.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this past year en route to his second National Championship title. Despite his height and average athleticism, any team that takes him at the end of the first round or early second round will be getting a highly skilled player who not only has experience playing in clutch games, but someone who is already a proven leader on the court.
Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech)
Perhaps one of the most overlooked players in this year’s draft, Josh Okogie, who is projected to go late in the first round, is everything you could want in an NBA prospect. the 6-4 guard has a seven-foot wingspan and can guard any position 1-3. Okogie has great athleticism, and during his time at Georgia Tech has shown he is capable of knocking down three’s.
In two seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Okogie averaged 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game his freshman year, and 18.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game during his sophomore campaign. Overlooked perhaps due to being on an unsuccessful team, Okogie has what it takes to play at the next level, and is undoubtedly one of the most underrated players in this year’s draft.