In years past we have seen a ton of talent come from the second round of the draft. Some have become stars like Manu Ginobili, Carlos Boozer, Monta Ellis, Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas. Others have become some of the leagues premier role players like Stephen Jackson, Mehmet Okur, Luis Scola, Mo Williams, Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat, Paul Millsap, and from last years draft, Isaiah Thomas. Here are 9 players Zach Schotz and I believe to be the next group of legit second rounders.
1. Darius Johnson-Odom (SG, Marquette)
There’s just something about lefty scorers that make my knees buckle. Johnson-Odom can score on command, and although he was stuck at the point guard position for Marquette, he still put up 18.3 ppg, shooting 44%. As a Sophomore he was on fire and shot 47% from three-point land, but as he shot more that number declined to under 40% by the end of his Senior year. If he can work to get that trifecta back, he can be a huge sparkplug offensively.
2. Mike Scott (PF, Virginia)
Scott was one of the most underrated players in the nation last year. He shot 56% from the field averaging 19 ppg and 8.3 rpg for the Cavaliers. With the downside combination of being an “in-betweener forward” (too slow for SF, undersized at PF), and 23 years old, he’s fallen to the 2nd round. Regardless of size and age the talent and value is still there, especially in the 2nd. He has an automatic 15 footer, great rebounding skills, and could be a huge threat if he can improve his perimeter shooting.
3. Scott Machado (PG, Iona)
After Kendall Marshall, Scott Machado is the best distributor in the draft. However, he has some turnover problems and didn’t have the most talented competition being on Iona. On a brighter note his 9.9 apg totals are still impressive, specifically when you’re looking at a later 2nd rounder in a weak point guard class. Pass-first point guards are extremely valuable in this league, and if he has a good mentor he can blossom.
4. Drew Gordon (PF, New Mexico)
The UCLA transfer has been a double-double machine for the Lobos and still has tons of upside despite being a Senior (21 years old). He has a solid mid-range game and can crash the boards just as well as anybody else in this draft pool. At the combine his vertical was 34.5, which will result in thunderous put-back dunks.
5. Kyle O’Quinn (C, Norfolk State)
It’s hard to not be a fan of this guy after his performance in the NCAA Tournament. Well, unless you’re a Missouri fan of course. Kyle O’Quinn put his team on his back and the 15th seeded Norfolk State Spartans knocked off the 2 seed Missouri Tigers in one of the tourney’s most exciting game. However, leading your team to one of the biggest tourney upsets doesn’t get you picked in the first round somehow, so O’Quinn is looking like a 2nd rounder right now. As an NBA prospect O’Quinn has tremendous length with his 7’5” wingspan, and good size at around 6’10, 240 pounds. He will definitely contribute early in his career because of his ability to defend and rebound.
6. Kevin Murphy (SG, Tennessee Tech)
Back-to-back random school guys. Murphy established himself as one of the nations most prolific scorers after putting up 20.6 points per game and knocking down a consistent 41% of his three’s. Murphy’s smooth stroke and ability to hit jumpers from everywhere has got him labeled as possibly the next MarShon Brooks. After Brooks’ above-average rookie season it’s hard to believe he’s not a first rounder over smaller shooters like John Jenkins.
7. Orlando Johnson (SG, UC-Santa Barbara)
Johnson might be my favorite person on this list. He can do it all. At 6’4, 225 pounds, Johnson scored 19.7 points per game and shot 42,7% to go with 5.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. He also contributed on defense with 1.1 steals and .7 blocks. For small school guys like Johnson it’s always interesting to see how they match up at the combine. Johnson not only matched up, but had some of the most impressive measurements in draft history. At 6’4.5” with shoes on, Johnson has a 6’11” wingspan and a 39” vert. Johnson is someone who can really flourish in an up-tempo system in the NBA and should be a key role player early on in his career.
8. Kevin Jones (PF, West Virginia)
I find it hard to believe that the Big East Player of the Year is buried in the second round of the draft. Jones put up monster numbers with 19.9 points per game and 10.9 rebounds per game in his senior season. He also had an astonishing 4.3 offensive rebounds per game. At around 6’7, 250 pounds, Jones is a very strong power forward who will always be cleaning up rebounds. He has a huge wingspan at 7’1.5”, which will help him continue to rebound at a high level in the NBA. Jones has a good jumper for a power forward as well, which is something that’s extremely valuable in the NBA.
9. Jeff Taylor (SF, Vanderbilt)
He’s definitely the most likely from this list to be a first rounder (late 1st). But, it’s still hard to believe considering he is probably the best perimeter defender in this draft. He also has developed a stroke from three, shooting 42.3% last season. Taylor is super athletic with a 40” vert and point guard-like quickness. Taylor is a Battier or Afflalo type player who can guard multiple positions, and not be a liability on offense like Sefolosha and now Metta World Peace.