By Hocine LOUKKAF on 5/7/2018
Every year, Less than ten 2nd round draftees succeeds in the NBA, from getting their first NBA contract to becoming stars, such as Denver do-it-all center Nikola Jokic or current Warrior trash talker Draymond Green. In this article, we will try, by position, to find those underrated gems who may have a long term NBA career, or more…
#1 Elie Okobo, 6-3 PG, 1997, Pau (France) (12.8pts 4.5as)
The French PG could end up in the first round. He has used the year to make the transition from only SG to combo guard. Good physical tools, deceptive athlete, good shooter. Must keep his focus whatever the situation is and keep improving his bball IQ.
#2 Aaron Holiday, 6-1 PG/SG, Jr, UCLA (20.3pts 5.8as 43% 3pt)
Your classic microwave out of the bench. Very good from three with large amount of shots taken, has become the main man even if he has to cut down his turnovers. With his two brothers already in the NBA, knows what it takes to make it in the League.
#3 Landry Shamet, 6-4 PG, So, Wichita State (14.9pts 5.2as)
Shamet is another PG who could en up in the first round. He’s a very good shooter with 44% 3pt and almost three 3pts made per game. Good passer who has been a leader for the Shockers. His lack of athletic gift may limit his potential.
#4 Shake Milton, 6-6 PG, Jr, SMU (18pts 4.7rbds 4.4as)
One of the most polarizing prospect, ranked from late first to late second round. Great physical tools at 6-6 with an almost 7ft wingspan. Also a very good shooter with 43% 3pt. Limited by lack of athleticism.
#5 Tony Carr, 6-5 PG, So, Penn State (19.6pts 5as 4.9rbds)
Like the two players above, Carr is a tall PG with very good outside shooting. He has displayed very good leadership with almost a triple double in the NIT championship game (15pts 14as 9rbds 1to). Yet, he is a poor athlete who shot below 40% inside the 3pt line and will have trouble defending faster players.
#1 Donte DiVincenzo, 6-5 SG, Jr, Villanova (13.4pts 4.8rbds 3.5as 40% 3pt)
DiVincenzo has had the kind of special year crowned by a MOP performance in the NCAA championship game. He’s good at everything but may lack the special skill to be a first rounder. He has to be more consistent than he was before the NCAA tournament and could end up a good player in the League.
#2 Jerome Robinson, 6-5 SG, Jr, Boston College (20.7pts 3.3as 40% 3pt)
A versatile guard, Robinson is as quick as he is a good shooter, causing a lot of problems to opponents. He doesn’t have a special weakness but must work on being consistent as he was far less efficient over the last games of the season.
#3 Josh Okogie, 6-4 SG, So, Georgia Tech (18.2pts 6.3rbds 2.5as 1.8stl)
I have already talked about Okogie in one of my last articles. If he decides to stay in the draft, he will at best get drafted in the second round. The Georgia Tech alumni has tools to be a good two-way player but has to be more consistent offensively and upgrade his already good defense.
#4 Grayson Allen, 6-5 SG, Sr, Duke (15.5pts 4.6as)
As Duke has become a one-and-done school, Allen had to get accustomed to a new role after his exceptional sophomore year. After a tough junior season, Allen has learnt to find the balance between scoring and being a better passer. He could be a nice addition a la JJ Reddick.
#5 Malik Newman, 6-2 SG, So, Kansas (14.2pts 5rbds 2.1as 41% 3pt)
Newman may not have the size but he has the heart. The former high school star is the kind of player who will bring immediate scoring from the bench (25pts per game over his last NCAA tournament’s games). He’s undersized but a very good rebounder.
#1 Melvin Frazier, 6-5 SF/SG, Jr, Tulane (15.9pts 5.6rbds 2.9as 2.1stl)
One of my favourite sleepers. Despite being a bit old, Frazier has improved a lot between his sophomore and junior seasons. With a 7+ft wingspan and great athleticsm, he can play both swingman positions and has a variety of tools wich make him an intriguing prospect. Can shoot, finish to the rim and also one of the best 3 and D prospects of this draft.
#2 Dzanan Musa, 6-8 SF, 1999, Cedevita Zagreb (14pts 3.6rbds)
The best scorer his age in European youth categories, Musa has trouble adjusting to the senior level. He’s decent at everything but must improve his strength, shooting and versatility. A draft and stash pick who may slip to the second round.
#3 Caleb Martin, 6-7 SF/SG, Jr, Nevada (18.9pts 5.4rbds 2.6as 40% 3pt)
An old junior, Martin was less successful during the tournament than during the season. Yet he had several 20+pts game and has shown very good outside shooting at his size. Not the swiss knife his twin is but a solid rotational player.
#4 Chandler Hutchinson, 6-7 SF, Sr, Boise State (20pts 7.7rbds 3.5as)
A versatile forward, Hutchinson is able to shoot or finish at the rim thanks to his 7ft wingspan. He’s also a pretty good rebounder but must necome a better defender while improving his shooting consistency.
#5 Keita Bates Diop, 6-7 SF, Jr, Ohio State (19.8pts 8.7rbds)
A three who can also play the small ball four, Bates Diop excels at taking mid range shots and posting less physical players. He can also shoot from three. A jack of all trades master of noe who may find a spot as a reliable combo forward.
#1 Moritz Wagner, 6-11 PF, Jr, Michigan (14.6pts 7.1rbds 39% 3pt)
After a successful tournament, Wagner has decided to enter the draft. Thanks to his consistent outside shot, he’s typically what the teams are looking for to stretch the floor. He must keep working on his strength to be solid enough on the boards and on defense.
#2 Chimezie Metu, 6-10 PF, Jr, USC (15.7pts 7.4rbds 1.7blk)
At 6-10 with good athleticism, Metu seems to have the tools to succeed in the NBA. Yet, he hasn’t improved enough between his sophomore and junior seasons and still is a very inconsistent shooter. Metu needs to be put on the hardwork to gain versatility.
#3 Ethan Happ, 6-10 PF, Jr, Wisconsin (17.8pts 8rbds 3.7as)
Happ is a very old school type of inside player but damn he is efficient. A very smart and tough PF, Happ has a very high bball IQ and very good hands in the post. He must develop his outside shot to follow the footsteps of former Badgers Kaminsky or Leuer.
#4 Ray Spalding, 6-9 PF, Jr, Louisville (12.3pts 8.7rbds 1.7blk)
Like Metu, Spalding is an athletic PF who loves to attack the rim. He brings a lot of intensity and has become a very good rebounder with 8.7rbds in less than 30min. If he can develop a reliable 3pt shot, he may interest some teams as a rotational inside player.
#1 Tryggvi Hlinason ( picture), 7-1 C, 1997, Valencia (3pts 1.9rbd 0.7blk in 8min in Euroleague)
Probably the highest ceiling sleeper of the bunch, Hlinason is clearly someone to take a gamble on. He went in four years from being a farmer in Iceland to joining one of the top Spanish teams, which has, unfortunately, struggled in finding him playing time.. A very tough center a la Steven Adams with pretty god athleticism for his size, Hlinason has been very good with the Iceland u20 team with averages of 16.1pts 11.6rbds and 3.1blks in 2017 u20 Euro but also with the senior as he posted 19pts and 7rbds in a friendly game against Valanciunas. Whatever the trend says, you always need that type of tough minded Goliath in a team.
#2 Udoka Azubuike, 6-11 C, So, Kansas (13pts 7rbds 1.7blk)
A pure center, Azubuike has developed well with Kansas. he shoots an incredible 77% from the field but don’t expect him to shoot beyond 15 feet. He doesn’t fit the stretch bigs model teams are looking for but if a team needs rebounding and defense, he could help. Must develop his bball IQ.
#3 Melvin Govindy, 7-0 C, 1997, Cholet (France) (15pts 8.5rbds in 20min in French u21 champiosnhip)
Two years away from being two years away, Govindy is a very raw prospect who must learn first to focus on being a professional. For the moment, he hasn’t yet to play with the pros in Cholet, the same team that produced Seraphin and Gobert. He’s big, moves pretty well, and even starts shooting from outside. He could be the perfect draft and stash pick and has a very high ceiling if he understands what it takes to succeed.
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