My Sleeper Prospect: James Southerland

So everybody always has their "sleeper pick" in the draft. Like a good plumber, or lawyer, or car guy...everyone has that one guy in the draft that no one either knows much about or just doesnt generate enough buzz (usually for good reasons) but its the guy you want your team (or even just SOME team) to draft, a guy who can potentially validate whatever basketball knowledge you think you may have....

James Southerland is my guy, my sleeper pick, the guy I want the bulls to draft.

Who is he?

James Southerland is a 6'8 forward from syracuse who has just finished his senior year. Hes certainly one of the older potential rooks, already at age 23, and was considered to be M.C-W's assist guy (the guy who gave M.C-W the most assists by converting his passes into buckets). His senior year was by far his best year, he averaged 13.3 pts , 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and an assist per game all while shooting at 45% from the field (39.8% from 3pt land) in just under 30 minutes a night. This has been his breakout year, as in the previous year he only averaged about 16 minutes a night, and his freshman year he averaged half that.Hes a solid athlete (more on that later) and tested alright despite having 8%body fat (221lbs)

What is he good at?

Shooting. By far the thing Southerland excels at is shooting the long ball. Hes got very good length at 6'8 and as you can see from the videos below, has a very high and fairly quick release. Hes mostly known for his ability to catch and shoot, but hes got good feet and was known in his senior year to come off screens and knock down the midrange jumper as well as the 3 ball. He was one of the better defenders in the Syracuses zone heavy defense, though its hard for scouts to predict how that translates to the nba. For what its worth he scored the second highest lane agility test for a sf, at 10.9 seconds, which isnt extremely awesome, but it just means he has the tools to be a solid defender (also has a wingspan of 7'1 and a standing reach of 8'10)

What is he Bad at?

While hes no slouch of an athlete, the 8% body fat is sort of a flag. Hes also extremely streaky, sometimes he looked like a stud who cant miss, and sometimes he has no idea how to find the bottom of the net. Hes a shooter through and throughout, and regardless of whether hes hitting or missing, he has the confidence and desire to shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Many scouts wonder if hes a good defender or not because his teams played heavy zone. They also wonder if he would have the speed needed to be considered a sf in the nba, since in college he was used as a pf quite often.

How does he fit with the bulls?

As a bench sf, i think southerland fits a niche that the bulls have been missing since korver was let go. A sf shooting specialist. I honestly think that after Crabbe, Southerland is the best for that niche. He has a fairly high floor, and if he can shed some of that body fat and continue to increase his speed, thibs can make him a good 3 and d guy. He is probably never going to be a star, but if he can be the specialist that we thought cook could be (which i feel is a real possibility) i think he can be a great rotation player on a very small rookie contract for the next few years.

Where do you think he will be drafted?

I think he might go earlier than the bulls pick in the second round, i say he goes somewhere around the 47th pick overall (give or take 2).

Link Dump: profile

DraftExpress profile

One Mans Opinion

Highlights against Louisville

Trying to keep his team in the game 1

Trying to keep his team in the game pt 2 (both of these combined show that he has a desire to win)

General Highlight reel (check out that stroke)

So what do you guys think, and what are your sleeper picks in this upcoming draft?

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