2023 NBA Draft: 5 Prospects that can be surprising steals

NBA Draft prospect Marcus Sasser (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Draft prospect Marcus Sasser (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The 2023 NBA Draft features a handful of underrated prospects

The 2023 NBA Draft is just a few days away, and this year’s draft features plenty of prospects who have gone under the radar throughout the draft process. Let’s take a look at five underrated prospects in this year’s draft and why they have what it takes to be quality players in the NBA someday.

Brandin Podziemski, Guard, Santa Clara

I am going to be brutally honest here. It is insane that Brandin Podziemski is the 29th-ranked prospect on the consensus big board.

After not playing very much as a freshman at Illinois in 2021, Podziemski transferred to Santa Clara for the 2022 season. He exploded this year, averaging roughly 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals per game on 60.2% true shooting.

He was really good as a shooter, hitting 43.8% of his shots from downtown on roughly six attempts per game, and he displayed legitimate skill as a playmaker, sporting an assist rate of 20.5% and averaging 3.7 assists to just 2.3 turnovers. That’s really good offensive output and gives him a nice foundation as a secondary ball handler and shot creator.

His activity on defense was good, too, as he recorded a steal rate of 2.8% and a block rate of 1.4%. To make things even better, he tested pretty well at the NBA combine, appearing to be a pretty good athlete. He likely won’t be a great defender in the NBA due to his size, but perhaps he can be just good enough not to be a negative on that end of the floor.

Although Podziemski is an extremely talented offensive player, he does have some flaws. He has an extremely short wingspan which could impact his ability to defend on the perimeter and finish at the rim. He also struggled vs. top 100 teams this season, and his production took a big dip when he faced off against high-level competition. These are pretty significant issues, and they could keep him from reaching his ceiling and becoming a high-level player in the NBA.

Still, Podziemski possesses an extremely valuable skillset, and his ability as a scorer, shooter, and passer is rare to see in an underclassman. If he works out in the NBA, he should be a very good role player with a shot at becoming a quality starter. In my opinion, he should be a top-20 pick, without a doubt.