We officially survived The Bubble. We adjusted, adapted, and social-distantly cried or cheered depending on the fate of our teams. Bron Bron is yet again a champ of the known carbon-based universe. The Brow is newly minted and giddy in his child-like man hoodness. Horton-Tucker tipped the scales and made the Larry O’ come back to the smoggy post apocalypse that is 2020 Los Angeles.
Let’s pause a moment to think back on all that has happened in hoops over the last decade.
From Blackberrys to the newest iPhone 12, things have changed. Cellular bandwidth and offensive pace in NBA games have both increased remarkably. Phones and centers in the basketball landscape have both gotten significantly lighter and faster, but are they any more durable? Remember the 2008 Nokia cellphone?
What hasn’t changed over the past 10 years is that gems can be found in the second round of the NBA draft. In the below piece, I will highlight some of the best.
- Danny Green – With the 45th overall pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected UNC prototype cyborg, Danny Green, a 3-and-D player who shot 40% from three while contributing 1 steal and an elite 0.8 blocks. Green has played for the Spurs, Raptors, and Lakers over his career. He’s a three-time NBA champion and made the All-Defesive Second Team back in 2017. Green is drinking the same smoothies as Bron Bron 🙂
- *(Rank 2019/20: 98th)
- Patrick Beverley -The Los Angeles Lakers selected Beverley with the 42nd overall pick, but they traded his draft rights to the Miami Heat and Pat Riley, who patted Pat Bev on the back and said “Raise hell, kid.” Always exhibiting Tazmanian-esque energy, Beverley is a career 39% shooter from behind the arc, while contributing 1.2 steals and 4.4 rebounds. He was named to the All-Defensive First Team in 2017 and Second Team in 2014 and 2020. Pat Bev is still a contributor for a contender, a cantankerous, nagging contributor.
- *(Rank 2019/20: 60th)
- Patty Mills -The Blazers pulled the trigger on the short sniper from Saint Mary’s with the 55th pick. First aboriginal player. Career 39% three-point shooter.
- *(Rank 2019/20:126th)
- Jody Meeks -With the 41st overall pick, the Lakers selected Meeks. He lasted 10 years, peaked at a respectable 15 ppg, then pursued boxing.
- Jonas Jerebko -The Pistons selected the tall savvy Swede. Jerebko most recently was a champion with the 2018 Warriors and now plays in Moscow. He lasted nine years in the Association. Not bad for a 39th overall pick. A classic stretch 4.
- DeJuan Blair -D Blair had a solid career as a defender and rebounder, while playing without a meniscus in either leg for seven years! A medical marvel.
- Hassan Whiteside – With the 33rd overall pick, the Kings selected Mount Whiteside, who thunders the Himalayas at dawn and sends ice to the top of Mount Kilamanjaro. For such a monster to come out of the 2nd round is a huge miracle. Mount Whiteside halts all drivers with hailstorms and freezes drivers to induce second-row turnovers. Mount Whiteside burns villages night and day with Force only Andre Drummond understands. Unreal averages of 12.1 career rebounds and 2.4 career blocks. Hassan is a force.
- *(Rank 2019/20: 11th)
- Nemanja Bjelica – Nemanja is the classic Euro utility player, a la Detlef Schrempf. He does it all and is an all around stud rotation player who hurts no one and saves the day occasionally. Pre-Covid, I attended quite a few Kings games, and the Golden 1 center loves them some Nemanja. A 41% three-point sniper who pulls down 6.4 rebounds, Nemanja is money. Selected with the 33rd overall pick, the Wolves struck gold.
- *(Rank 2019/20:55th)
- Bojan Bogdanovic – With the 31st overall pick, Pat Riley was at it again, snagging the 39% three-point sniper. Gem in the rough. 20 ppg! Bogey for 3!
- E’Twaun Moore – Danny Ainge grabbed this 39% three-point bomber from Purdue. He’s a utility knife and great bench roll player. Valuable for a 55th overall.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 150th)
- Davis Bertans –With the 41st pick, the Pacers selected this lanky assassin. He shot 41% from three and scored and 15 ppg last year. Bertans is cash and will get paid this offseason.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 51st)
- Isaiah Thomas – The Cow Town Kings nabbed this tiny UW killer. See, All-Stars DO come out of the 2nd round, ma! Note: 18.1 career scoring average! Congratulations, “Armored Truck” Thomas!
- Draymond Green – Draymond “Money” Green won the Michigan High School State Championship, the NCAA Title, and the NBA title three times before the age of 30. I adore Dray’s game as a Point Forward tweener. The bell curve of his stats, however, seemed to peak in 2015. Dray is paid and aging, but Dray be Dray be Dray all day……H to the Izzo….but Draymond why the pull up 3s!!?
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 58th)
- Tomas Satoransky –Sato’s minutes waxed upwards ever so slightly in Chicago last year. How will Billy Donovan utilize the rangy Frenchman? He’s locked in at $10 million a year and, at 6′ 5″, can cause problems in isolation and back down and survey in an old school refreshing way: inside/outside/inside, ok back outside for 3 kind of way. He contributed 9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game last season. All career highs! Grabbing a starting point guard caliber player at pick 32 is a win.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 94th)
- Jae Crowder –Solid starter on any team in the Association. Was a huge help to Miami’s Bubble surge. He’s an UFA who will get paid this offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised if Riley re-signs this dreadlocked, former 34th overall pick, for his veteran energy and grit.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 89th)
- Khris Middleton – How in the world did this 6′ 7″ stud from Texas A&M slip to the 39th pick?! Kris “Long Money” Middleton possesses a lazer shot and his huge frame and playmaking ability make Kris an unheralded assassin. He averaged over 20 ppg for second time in his career last season.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 24th)
- Will Barton – Selected with the 40th overall pick, Barton is a Top 50 talent when healthy. The deep Denver Nuggets team may be close to moving on from this lanky scorer. Can Will put together a healthy full season? He will most likely exercise his $14 million Player Option for this upcoming season.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 84th)
- Mike Scott – A serviceable stretch 4. Shoutout to the 757, which is my hometown of Virginia.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 200th)
- Kyle O’Quinn – O’Quinn is a per-minute beast. He’s the rare Norfolk State player to make the Association and stick. For those of you needing cheap blocks, hit up the Big KOQ.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 190th)
- Allen Crabbe – Has the legs of a 40 year old, which means don’t expect more than half his games suited. Meh.
- Mike Muscala – Got some touches last year and stepped up when Steven Adams missed time. Moose stays ready and contributed 1.1 three-pointers in 12 mpg. When Muscala is the best sleeper of this draft, you know it was a bad draft.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 171st)
- Raul Neto – The tiny, tough point guard has bounced around the League. He’s been serviceable but lacks a jumper.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 179th)
- James Ennis – Has been a useful real-life player, but meh for fantasy
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 191st)
- Nikola Jokic – Yes, this was “The Best” picture from a pro photographer of Joker. He grew up with two large M.M.A. fighter older brothers, hence his nasty action-off-of-contact old school moves. How did Joker go 41st overall? Future Hall of Famer in the 2nd round! Triple gold platinum.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 7th)
- Joe Harris –With the 35th pick, Cleveland grabbed this ights out shooter, who is an UFA and may receive a nice contract soon. Where will Joe land? He’s contributed 2.5 three-pointers and 14.5 ppg.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 127th)
- Spencer Dinwiddie – A delightful surprise who has bloomed into a reliable facilitator. Spentz broke the 20 ppg mark this past season! Incredible diamond in the river bed of the second round at 38th overall.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 56th)
- Jerami Grant – Rangy role player who offers elite efficiency and a new school PF/C skill set. With Paul Millsap now an UFA, I expect Grant to surge. His 3-and-D approach gives the Nuggets a versatile C/PF/SF to pair with gunners. Selected with the 41st pick, Grant was once part of the “The Process” in Philly.
- *(Ranking 2019/20:61st)
- Glenn Robinson III – Selected with the 40th overall pick, Glenn Robinson slipped in the draft after a great NCAA tourney run. The Wolves saw his potential and nabbed him. GR3 is an UFA and has shown his value has great elasticity based on team and role.
- *(Ranking 2019/20:143rd)
- Dwight Powell – Efficient and effective rim runner who is rehabbing from an Achilles injury. Lets pray for D. Powell.
- Jordan Clarkson – After eight years in the Association, Clarkson is still only 28 years old. This UFA may have boosted his value during his short stint in Utah, averaging 15.6 points in 24 mpg. Destined to be a sixth-man scoring machine, he improved his FG% to a career-high 46% last year in Salt Lake City.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 90th)
- Cedi Osman –The Turkish Thunder cometh. He scored 11 ppg last season and the Cavs locked him up for a few more years. The Wolves initially selected him with the 31st overall before being traded to the Cavs.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 151st)
- Montrezl Harrell – Selected one pick behind Cedi, the Rockets grabbed Trezz at 32nd overall. One of the biggest free agents this upcoming offseason, a big payday could be coming for the UFA Trezz. Where will he land? He put up serious numbers last season (18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 27.8 minutes per game) and could blow up given the right scenario.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 32nd)
- Richaun Holmes – Major game comes to Cow Town! Holmes scored 12 points and 8 rebounds per game and was on the brink of the coveted 1-1-1 club: 1.3 blocks and .9 steals. Not bad for 37th overall pick from Bowling Green.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 76th)
- Josh Richardson – Josh Rich is a jack of all trades. I refuse to call him J. Rich, though. That, my hoops fans, is reserved for the one and only Jason Richardson 23. This 40th overall pick helped create the pipeline of Tennessee players into the Association. Shooting 43% from three and contributing 1.2 steals per game with 13.7 ppg, Richardson is a 3-and-D prototype.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 59th)
- Pat Connaughton – Rebounds well. And can throw a baseball.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 109th)
- Norman Powell –The Bucks saw great skill in this 43rd pick out of U.C.L.A. He was great during Bubble play, averaging 16 ppg, which doubled his next-best campaign. Big things in the Big North with Norm on the storm.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 73rd)
- Ivica Zubac – With the 32nd pick, the Lakers grabbed this Euro center from Bosnia, but traded him to the Clippers in 2019. Ivica contributed 8.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and .9 blocks per game last season for the Clippers.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 141st)
- Cheick Diallo – Cheick is still at the restaurant waiting on that check. The rest meh.
- Patrick McCaw – Has a knack for winning rings while hurt. Ahem. Warriors and Raps.
- Jake Layman – Surprisingly only shot 33% from three last year with Timberwolves.
- Georges Niang – Niang is a grinder with a silky top-of-the-key 3-point shot. The Pacers saw promise in this 5oth pick banger, who, to his credit, went from having no three-point shot in college to now converting 40% from beyond the arc.
- Abdel Nader – With the 58th overall pick, the Celtics grabbed Niang’s college teammate, Abdel Nader. I do believe Nader will stay a rotation solid for the upcoming years. He had career-highs with 6.3 points per game, 46% field goal percentage, and 37% from behind the arc.
- Thomas Bryant – With the 42nd overall selection, the Jazz grabbed wonder child, Thomas Bryant. He has great potential for a fourth-year upswing. Bryant contributed 13.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game last season. Not bad for a 23-year-old big. He also emerged with a deadly three-point shot, as he coverted 40% of his 2 attempts per game.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 19th)
- Frank Jackson – This Kentucky PG shows glimpses, but remains buried in N.O.L.A. Meh…
- Dillon Brooks – Brooks is a classic overachieving Oregon scorer. I dig his Hutzpah. He led the NBA in fouls committed last year. Selected with the 45th overall pick, Dillon slipped into the laps of the Rockets due to anticipated lack of defensive focus. He has shown his willingness to “grit and grind” in Memphis, producing 0.9 steals to go with 16 ppg last year with an energized, young, and surging Grizzlies’ core.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 78th)
- Monte Morris – This tough, tiny, Flint-stone is a bedrock level backup PG and will be in the league for a long time. He has one more year left on his Denver deal.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 95th)
(not 2nd rounders )*
- Mitchell Robinson – Mitch Rob is my favorite NBA player. He wants skulls!! He will take your backpack and put it up on the second floor balcony where no one can grab it except he, the Skull Taker. He is a 22-year-old generational talent on the defensive end. Slower, angrier, younger, larger Dennis Rodman, perhaps? He can Mutumbo all. New Knicks coach, Tom Thibideau, loves defense and is known for over running his starters. Hmmmmm, juicy to think of MitchRob’s value with30 mpg. He slipped to the 36th overall pick due to sitting out a year between college and the draft. However, as soon as he stepped on the U.N.L.V. court at the Las Vegas Summer League, it was obvious this dude is a generational talent.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 13th)
- Jevon Carter – Carter was solid at West Virginia, was stellar at Las Vegas Summer League, and is a decent pro back up PG.
- Devonte’ Graham – Diamond in the rough out of Kansas. The Hawks hawkeyed Graham with the 34th overall selection. Wow, DG jumped up from 4 ppg to 18 ppg, an unheard of second year leap. What’s in store for Graham in Year 3? Charlotte found a gem.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 33rd)
- Gary Trent Jr. – Trent Jr. is a marksman and earned my respect this past year watching him handle the pressure of the Orlando bubble and providing Portland with a new future weapon. He is a lights out shooter who will take some of those Carmelo FGA next year. Year 3 for GTJ looks bright.
- Isaac Bonga – Bonga is the real deal. He is a super tall combo guard, a la recently retired Shaun Livingston, and still awaits a breakout.
- Rodions Kurucs – The 40th overall pick by the Nets failed to improve much this past year. He lost minutes in a deep Nets group by frankly better players. Though his ceiling may be low, he’s a solid rotation player considering the second-round cost.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 107th)
- Bruce Brown – Brown can do it all. Nothing flashy, but 9 points, 5 assists, 5 rebs, 1.1 steals, and .5 blocks is solid. Think of a more athletic Brogdan with bigger shoulders.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 63rd)
- De’Anthony Melton – Melton will steal the napkin you dropped before it hits the ground, running around the room from the far side of a banquet table. Thief! Tony Allen says he’s the real deal Thief. Has surprising off-the-bounce driving ability to the rack as well. The 1.4 steals per game in 19 minutes is elite.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 119th)
- Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk – Svi can shoot, as he showed at Kansas. He raised his three-point shooting from 38% to 40% last year, while also playing 22 mpg for Detroit.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 142nd)
- Keita Bates-Diop – Still waiting on the other shoe to drop for Bates-Diop.
- Shake Milton – Shake will be a back up caliber NBA combo guard for a decade, as he is the only other ball handler for the 76ers not named Ben or Josh. Dallas found great late 2nd round value in Shake with the 54th overall pick. The 76ers produced gold with a team-friendly three-year deal at less than 2 million.
- Cody Martin – The Martin twinz are both five-tool ball players. Can’t tell them apart. Can you? This former 36th overall pick by MJ and the Hornets has made them look savvy.
- Daniel Gafford – The Bulls grabbed this big guy from Arkansas with the 38th pick. Projected as raw, Gafford will gaff your pizza and roll it up into a burrito and eat it in front of you. The 1.3 Bpg in 14 mpg is elite! Move over Cristiano Felicio.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 140th)
- Eric Paschall – The Warriors struck gold with this 41st pick from Villanova. Paschall is the real deal, an old school, do-it-all ISO master who will juke and jam on your face like that dude at the Wednesday YMCA runs. Yam on your face! Benefitting from countless one-on-ones with Spider Mitchell, Paschall has all the tools for half court, isolation basketball for buckets. His rookie stats of 14 ppg and 4.8 rpg on 49% shooting speaks to his savvy.
- *(Ranking 2019/20: 71st)
- Bol Bol – Bol Bol is loooong, lean, and can do stuff stuff. Still remains a breakout candidate with upside.
- Talen Horton-Tucker – Horton-Tucker aka THT. Remember this name, kids. In my 30-team dynasty league, I have been trying to pre-pry THT asap, but to no avail. Grab this man. He has the body of Kwahi with the defense instincts. Just one side of Kwahi is worth a late pic on THT IMO, LOL. This 46th overall pick comes from the rugged tradition at Iowa State. His 1.3 Spg in 14 minutes last year was elite.
- Terance Mann – With the 48th pick out of Florida State, the Clips took a solid small forward/combo guard. He is great on the glass from the guard position and his efficient play at PG/SG/SF/PF provides unique versatility. Once he develops a confident step-back jumper, he will get minutes.
The moral of this tale is that gold is mined in the 2nd round of the draft every year. Usually, two to eleven players become serviceable role players for NBA teams. A whopping four All-Stars have surfaced from the 2nd round over the past 10 years. Compare this to an average of about four All-Stars coming out of each and every year’s First Year Draft Lottery. Lots of projection here, as these young bloods are just coming into their potentials. Normally, I am in the bleachers of U.N.L.V. for NBA Summer League, to scout upcoming rookies. Alas, this year, I will leave it to the scouts and pundits to tell you who to grab and when.
Draft well my basketball heads. GRIZZLE.