The 2020 NBA Draft is almost here and the hype around some of the biggest names continues to grow at an exponential rate. A new mock draft seems to pop up every day and prospects such as Anthony Edwards, Lamelo Ball, and James Wiseman receive all the spotlight. But this year, after the first three picks, there is a great amount of uncertainty among draft experts on the next few tiers of potential draftees. This gives the opportunity for some prospects to become a much higher selection than they were projected on mock drafts. These players are considered sleeper picks. Over the last few years, we have seen many of these picks, and this year is no different. Here are the biggest sleeper picks in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Paul Reed, DePaul
The fact that Paul Reed is a sleeper pick in this year’s draft is somewhat baffling. Reed averaged 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and shot 51.6 percent from the field. The 6-foot-9 junior is currently projected to be a second round pick and is not ranked higher because of his age and the fact that DePaul isn’t a bigger school and they are struggling mightily against their Big East conference slate. These reasons are ridiculous. Although Reed may have just finished his junior season, he still just turned 21 years old this past June. Reed’s college, DePaul, is part of the Big East conference which is not a bad basketball conference at all and upholds a very high level of play each and every game.
In terms of Reed’s game and NBA potential, Reed is an extremely good defender and has vastly improved his shooting while in college. The big man has shown signs of being a versatile stretch 4 on the NBA level. His sometimes janky and methodical dribble breakdowns dominated college big men, and his surprising agility and explosiveness allowed him to consistently drive to the hoop and finish and draw fouls. Reed and his tough style of play look like they will immediately translate to the NBA and he can be a guy that surprises many NBA fans. Teams that are targeting a power forward or small-ball center towards the later half of this year’s draft should definitely keep their eye on Paul Reed. He has distinctly modern skillset for a big, and should play well in the small ball era on a team that doesn’t care about Reed’s lack of a physical presence down low.
Saddiq Bey, Villanova
Another Big East player, Saddiq Bey, has gone under the radar of many draft scouts this year which is very surprising seeing that Bey is a 3-and-D player, an archetype that teams drool for. Villanova sophomore is projected to go from anywhere between the end of the lottery to the late first round. This college season, Bey averaged 16.1 points 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, while shooting 45.1 percent from three. The 6-foot-7 small forward was seen as a disciplined and physical defender who could guard the 1 through 4. Bey’s game is comparable to that of Danny Green. Both players boast a deadly perimeter shot and are known for their defensive prowess. With a 7 foot wingspan, Bey would be especially powerful paired with an explosive point guard who could cover for Bey’s ball-handling deficiencies Bey is an excellent prospect and has the potential to be one of the league’s best 3-and-D players. If he can develop the ability to create his own shot or even perfect his already developed skills, Saddiq Bey might be the biggest steal of the draft.
Elijah Hughes, Syracuse
Elijah Hughes is a junior from Syracuse who had a breakout year this season. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard led the ACC in scoring averaging 19 points as well as having 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest. Hughes is projected to fall anywhere between the late first round and the middle of the second round. Earning All-ACC 1st Team honors, Hughes is able to create his own shot extensively and is capable of scoring in bunches on any given night. Hughes is a solid defender but will be drafted for his offensive tools and polished skills finishing around the rim and on the perimeter. But as a combo wing who only shot 34% from 3 in 2019-2020, Hughes will have work to do before he can contribute at an NBA regular level. Whether its developing a shot in the pros like Jalen Brown or focusing on contributing in other areas of the game like TJ McConnell, Hughes certinaly has some work to do before he is an NBA regular.