Whose value is ascending beyond their initial draft position? Which players are cashing in pay raises for their front offices?
1. Jaime Jaquez Jr. | Miami Heat (18th overall)
"Heat Culture" is such an overused phrase that it's starting to get annoying. Yet, with every year Miami is finding a diamond in the rough, whether in the draft, G-League, or undrafted players. Much like that app that lets you follow politicians' investments, NBA executives would kill for the "players that Pat Riley really likes" app. Jacquez fell to 18th in the draft due to his age (he was a 4-year player with UCLA) and that his jump shot had been inconsistent during his collegiate career. Something that NBA teams seem to have ignored when scouting him: Jaquez is flat-out good at basketball. He's averaging 13 points per game on the season, and it seems that he's blossoming at the perfect time. Utah had two draft picks with Jaquez available, but who knows if his talents would be as well-displayed as they are with Miami.
2. Brandin Podziemski | Golden State Warriors (19th overall)
Brandin Poziemski, the one they call "Podz", has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak season for the former world champs. Coming out of Santa Clara, he went from being projected as an undrafted player to being a first-round pick for the Warriors. Despite being on a team with more guards than they know what to do with, his Swiss Army Knife, do-it-all style of play has been incredibly valuable. Excellent playmaking and finishing have cemented his value for Golden State's offense. He's still growing, and I would rather have Keyonte George moving forward, but Podziemski is a player to keep your eye on.
3. Jordan Hawkins | New Orleans Pelicans (14th overall)
An athletic, efficient sharpshooter is valuable for any team. Jordan Hawkins fits that mold perfectly and has proved to be a fantastic addition to New Orleans' roster. Unfortunately for Hawkins, the Pelicans roster is just like me at Buffalo Wild Wings--they've ordered more wings than they can handle. If given more playing time, Hawkins could be making more of an impact for his team. I don't know if Utah would have been the right landing spot for Hawkins, but it would be great to see him find a bigger role with his team.