As teams prepare for the NBA Draft, coaches and GMs across the league are looking for a hidden gem that can potentially blossom into the next star of this generation. The word “potential” is commonly thrown around to describe the players that possess a high ceiling. While GMs and coaches don’t draft based on a prospect’s dunking ability, athleticism does play a crucial role in war rooms across the league. The words athleticism and potential are commonly linked.
Remember the name D.J. Stephens? He played at Memphis last year, averaging 7.6 points and 6.6 rebounds a game. There’s a good chance he goes undrafted this year, but the man can absolutely fly. Stephens set a combine record with a 46-inch vertical leap, and he was so ridiculous, we ran a list of his top 12 dunks with the Tigers. Yet he’s not the only high-flyer in this 2013 Draft class.
From lottery lock to undrafted, we take a look at the top 10 dunkers other than Stephens in the 2013 NBA Draft.
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7-0, 235 pounds
It’s hard for big fellas to get the love they deserve above the rim, especially when they’re a Blue Devil. But as a seven-footer, Plumlee is as powerful as they come. We’ve often seen him throw down reverse two-handed jams in traffic. He’s a very good in-game dunker. As if his body of work at Duke wasn’t enough to convince you, he also once dunked three basketballs at the same time. Plumlee has a 36-inch vertical.
6-6, 204 pounds
Caldwell-Pope falls on our list where he is projected across many draft boards: right outside the top 10. In his second season at Georgia, the 6-6 shooting guard averaged 18.5 a game while shooting over 50 percent from inside the arc, due to his strong pull-up game and ability to attack the basket. The SEC Player of the Year showcased his above the rim mentality at Georgia, including on an and-1 dunk over Georgia Tech that was good enough for a 2012 Dunk of the Year nomination.
10. SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD
6-6, 222 pounds
If you’re wondering why Shabazz is only 10th on the list after winning the McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Contest just a year ago, it’s because of his shallow body of work that he put together at UCLA above the rim. While he may not have posterized defenders in blue and gold like he did at Bishop Gorman, there is no doubt that the Las Vegas native is a high riser with his 37-inch max vert. Muhammad’s stock has fluctuated probably more than any other prospect in the draft as boards have him going anywhere from mid-lottery into the 20s. Scouts have questioned whether he can create his own shot but the 6-6 small forward could be the steal of the draft as he possesses the will and drive to win.
9. NERLENS NOEL
7-0, 206 pounds
He may be No. 1 on our mock draft board but Noel faces some tough competition in our top 10. While being the biggest guy usually works to his advantage, the players below him simply lack the size and wingspan that makes Noel look like he’s playing every game in NBA Jam. Noel’s 7-3.75 wingspan is known for leading the country in blocked shots at Kentucky, but it also comes to use when snatching up tough lobs and dunking over victims. Check out his footage below that include him literally jumping over Auburn’s Frankie Sullivan on a lob pass.
8. JAMAAL FRANKLIN
6-5, 191 pounds
SG, San Diego State
Before I state the particulars, there’s one thing you need to know about this man right off the bat: Franklin literally threw himself an alley-oop off the glass in traffic and punched it through the net like it was nothing. At 6-5, Franklin nearly has a 7-0 wingspan, which is not ordinary for someone his size. If you thought that the self alley-oop was a fluke, check out his alley-oop reverse slam dunk below where he channels his inner J.R. Smith.
7. BEN McLEMORE
6-5, 189 pounds
McLemore has crazy bounce with a 42-inch vertical. As a surefire top-five pick, McLemore showcased his athletic talents under Bill Self‘s tutelage. Known as a plus athlete who has improved his jumper over time, McLemore has all of the tools to create posters next year in the league. Check out his impressive in-game windmill and posterization of an Oregon State defender below.
6. VICTOR OLADIPO
6-4, 213 pounds
Oladipo is another Dunk of the Year nominee from 2012 and he continued to showcase his spectacular athletic gifts for the Hoosiers in 2013. Oladipo is the shortest on our list (but with a 42-inch max vertical), making his dunk resume even more impressive. A definite lottery pick, expect Oladipo to continue his jam sessions next season in the Association.
5. JAMES ENNIS
6-7, 201 pounds
SF, Long Beach State
Ennis is a unique, under-the-radar prospect that may find himself getting drafted towards the end of the first round after averaging 16 points per game at Long Beach State this past season. Much like the dunkers ahead of him, Ennis has an abnormal wingspan, giving him the length needed to posterize defenders with authority.
4. TONY MITCHELL
6-9, 236 pounds
PF, North Texas
Mitchell may have some NBA teams questioning his motor based on his output last season at North Texas, however, the combination of his 7-2.5 wingspan and insane vertical leap make him a gamble worth taking. Check out the Dallas native’s highlights below, including hurdling over a Jackson State defender.
3. RODNEY WILLIAMS
6-6, 217 pounds
Williams is a tantalizing prospect who displayed some serious bounce throughout his college career. He recently measured a 42.5-inch max-vertical leap and has a 6-11 wingspan. Check out his footage, featuring a ridiculous one-handed alley-oop with his left hand against Penn State.
2. ANDRE ROBERSON
6-7, 206 pounds
Colorado product Andre Roberson is a 6-7 tweener that seems to grab every rebound, as featured in Dime #72. While he was at the top of the nation in rebounding this past season, it may have been his astonishing athleticism that made him stand out. Time and time again, Roberson baptized defenders under the rim, including Arizona State’s 7-2 center Jordan Bachynski and Cal’s 6-9 Kaileb Rodriguez.
1. DOUG ANDERSON
6-5, 218 pounds
Anderson put up respectable numbers at Detroit during his senior season, averaging almost 12 points a game. But it wasn’t his stats that separated him from the pack. Anderson is an absolute freak of nature and showed off his talents during the 2013 College Slam Dunk Contest, in which he was crowned champion. However, this wasn’t his first dunk title. Anderson had previously won four other dunk contests, including two that were called off after he shut down the gym with his first dunk.
In this contest, Anderson caught a bounce pass in the air and put it between his legs before finishing with authority and followed it up by throwing down a spectacular between-the-legs, 360 slam.
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