Now, hear me out. Predicting how the second round of the NBA draft goes is like being this poor dude: Sooner or later, the right answer is going to be “turkey,” even though you will be utterly wrong 99 percent of the time. And trades in this round are like catfights in The Real Housewives of Atlanta: They talk about them all the time, they make little sense, and somehow Kordell Stewart is involved. Finding an excellent player in the second round is rare, but it does happen at times. Some second-rounders in the past ten years include Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, Monta Ellis, Paul Millsap, Marc Gasol, Carl Landry, Nikola Pekovic, DeAndre Jordan, Marcus Thornton, Danny Green, Lance Stephenson, Chandler Parson, and Isaiah Thomas.
I also believe that mock drafts of the second round is not necessarily a product of thorough research by draft gurus like Chad Ford and Jonathan Givony (who are both great analysts) as much as it is a reflection of which players gurus like the most. For example, Chad Ford is in love with Baylor guard Pierre Jackson while NBADraft.net has listed Memphis big Adonis Thomas as a draft pick since he was in high school. I will be doing the same thing here. But I am going to go ahead with a lightning round and give some semblance of a projection for the second round and we can laugh the next day on how wrong it was.
#31- Cleveland Cavaliers- Glen Rice Jr. SG Rio Grande Valley Vipers
That’s right, we have an NBA D-Leaguer in the second round! He is not the first (Mike Taylor did it in 2008), but Rice Jr. is definitely the most talented one. He got kicked out of Georgia Tech after suspensions and a brush with the law, and proceeded to turn the Vipers into the 2001 Lakers of the D-League this season, winning 16 games in a row and sweeping every playoff opponent to the D-League championship. He is not the shooter his daddy was, but he is very athletic, he can rebound at the guard position, and he consistently dominated pro guys at the developmental level. Nice pickup.
#32- Oklahoma City Thunder- C.J. Leslie PF NC State
OKC still needs some strong bodies down low, and Leslie has the tools to physically dominate smaller forwards. His dunks are emphatic and nasty, and he has great energy when he feels like playing hard, which is the knock on him. He should have done more at NC State.
#33- Cleveland Cavaliers- Isaiah Canaan, PG Murray State
He would be a good backup in the case of Kyrie Irving getting hurt, which has happened quite often. He’s a point guard from a small school, but Canaan has been on draft radars since MurrayState almost went undefeated in the regular season in 2012. Then in a summer camp, he reportedly beat Chris Paul in a game of one-on-one. He is very quick on the catch-and-shoot, he has the overall game of a point guard at just foot six feet tall, and he is a shot maker. Canaan was one of the only guys in college that made me think would make the shot even when it was a bad attempt because he was that dangerous when he was open. He is a backup at best, to me, because he lacks strength and won’t be able to finish in the paint.
#34- Houston Rockets- Deshaun Thomas, SF/PF Ohio State
Thomas played at the 4 spot a lot but he is 6’7” so small forward might be his position. He has never met a shot he didn’t like and was the Buckeyes’ only true scoring threat before losing to WichitaState in the Elite Eight. He can hook a shot in with his back to the basket and can make three-pointers with that hurky-jerky release. All of Houston’s decisions will be made with the idea in mind of Houston going hard after Dwight Howard in free agency, so this pick might get shopped to keep cap space.
#35- Philadelphia 76ers- Pierre Jackson, SG Baylor
He is a lot like Isaiah Thomas of the Kings in shotmaking ability and size but has much better athleticism than you would expect from a guy under 6 feet tall. He was absolutely scorching in Baylor’s NIT championship run but he really shined when he still played with Quncy Acy, Quincy Miller, and Perry Jones, all of whom got picked in last year’s draft. Many people counted him out before he went to the combine and impressed scouts. Don’t greenlight him too much, though, because shit will get out of control in a hurry. The Sixers definitely need a scoring guard, so here you go.
#36- Sacramento Kings- Ricardo Ledo, PG Providence
Ledo didn’t play a minute at Providence due to academic issues. His situation is similar to that of Kansas top pick Ben McLemore, with the big difference being that McLemore stuck around to show what he could do as a sophomore. Some pundits claim that he could have been as impactful a PG at Providence as Michael Carter-Williams was at Syracuse, but basically, he is sight unseen. The Kings don’t mind that. Ledo’s stock is rising quickly, though.
#37- Detroit Pistons- Mike Muscala, C Bucknell
Muscala is 6’11” and barely missed a shot at the combine, showing scouts the ability to be a stretch 4 or stretch 5 in the vein of a Ryan Anderson. He has a 7’ wingspan and he can rebound as well. Defense is not his forte, though. He would be a good change of pace at center to go with Andre Drummond.
#38- Washington Wizards- James Southerland, SF Syracuse
Southerland has the height to play the small forward position and he is an excellent three-point shooter. He disappears at times and was awful in the Final Four game against Michigan, going 2 for 9. Still, a good set shooter from deep and at his height, it is hard to block that shot.
#39- Portland Trail Blazers- Arsalan Kazemi, PF Oregon
Kazemi had a great college career at Rice and in his final year at Oregon where he was a great rebounder and individual defender. He is also a decent shooter and never quits on a play. He is not tall enough to play center and you’ll never see him soar in for a dunk. Think Glen Davis with a tad more height and not as much junk in the trunk.
#40- Portland Trail Blazers- James Ennis, SF Long Beach State
If the Blazers really like someone late in the first round, I can see them swinging a deal with these two back-to-back picks along with a player to get there. I honestly never saw Ennis play for The Beach. He sounds like another Quincy Douby to me. That was a joke before I noticed that Douby scored 75 points in a game in China. WHO AM I TO DOUBT EL DOUBY?!
#41- Memphis Grizzlies- Erick Green, PG Virginia Tech
Trust me, Green is only a point guard on paper. He led the nation in scoring at Virginia Tech, where in one game early in the season he destroyed freshman Marcus Smart. If you need a scoring guard, no need looking any further than here. He is an efficient passer, but he is not looking to pass most of the time. Memphis likes to give chances to guys with an attacker’s mentality like Quincy Poindexter, and Quincy will be a restricted free agent next season.
#42- Philadelphia 76ers- Trevor Mbakwe, PF Minnesota
Mbakwe was a six(!) year player in college, going from juco to Minnesota, where he missed almost a full season to a knee injury. He is 24 years old, and he plays like it. He has huge hands and long arms, and he is really aggressive under the basket when you give him space. His scoring is still an unfinished product, though, and he had his share of legal trouble at both schools he attended. Philly needs size, like I mentioned previously, so they’ll probably take another big body here.
#43- Milwaukee Bucks- Brandon Paul SG Illinois
I really liked Brandon Paul. Every time I saw him in a big game that Illinois played, Paul either took the game over or did what he could to keep them in it. He thrived in the Maui Invitational, where guys like Kemba Walker and Adam Morrison boosted their draft stocks in the past, and his long arms make him a tough match-up when he does that step-back three-pointer that he can make most of the time. He also stared down Miami and almost took the game from the Canes in the second of the NCAA tournament. The Bucks need a shooter to replace J.J. Redick, and he might be the guy to do it.
#44- Dallas Mavericks- Archie Goodwin SG Kentucky
This guy’s stock dropped big time from when he declared to play for the Wildcats. He probably had the best offensive numbers of all the incoming freshmen on a disappointing Kentucky team, but John Calipari covertly called him “uncoachable” and he turned the ball over like crazy (he averaged 3 TO’s a game). When ready, he would be a silky guard who can play both positions in case of an emergency. Dallas is likely to lose two or three of their guards in free agency, including O.J. Mayo, who has a player’s option this offseason.
#45- Portland Trail Blazers- Lorenzo Brown, PG NC State
This would be the second Wolfpack guy to get picked in the second round after C.J. Leslie. Brown is tall and extremely crafty in transition, but he lacked assertiveness and is not always in a scoring frame of mind. He might wind up being a good change of pace for the smaller Lillard, because Brown is definitely a point guard.
#46- Utah Jazz- Kenny Kadji, PF/C Miami (FL)
Miami didn’t win the ACC by accident. They had a lot of good senior players on their team to go with Shane Larkin, and Kadji was my favorite. He originally played at Florida before transferring to the U, where he showed good rebounding skills and the one skill that sets him apart from a lot of the other centers: He is a great shooter with range to go with a 7’3” wingspan. That’s scary for slower centers who don’t want to hop out of the paint. He is already 25 years old, so plug him in while you can.
#47- Atlanta Hawks- Nate Wolters, PG/SG South Dakota State
Wolters was a do-it-all at the mid major level. He led the Jackrabbits in every major category except for blocks. He scored 53 points in a game and played Trey Burke to basically a draw in the first round of the tournament. He is a killer at the three-point line and he is 6’5” so he can grab a board if you box out the lane. They have him as a point guard, which I can see in Atlanta because they need one to go with Teague.
#48- Los Angeles Lakers- Grant Jarrett, PF Arizona
I didn’t see much of Jarrett, but let me say this: If a guy that barely got blow for Arizona turns into a decent NBA player, what does that say about how good Arizona is going to be next season? If the Wildcats win 30 games next year, you’ve been forewarned.
#49- Chicago Bulls- Andre Roberson, PF Colorado
The second round is not always to fill a need for NBA teams; it is used a lot to strengthen your identity. The Bulls were in the top ten in rebounding, and Roberson was second in the country in rebounding. He is also a sneaky good athlete with a lot of intangibles. He lacks aggression, though. The Bulls’ never-say-die mantra might be able to get him going.
#50- Atlanta Hawks- Colton Iverson, PF/C Colorado State
Colorado State led the country in rebounding as a team, and Iverson was the main reason why. He is listed at 7 feet, but he plays a lot of his game under the rim on offensive boards. He and Roberson are in the same boat, the only difference being that while Roberson is shorter, Iverson is not nearly the athlete that Roberson is. But I think both guys will get a shot because like Jeff Van Gundy always says: Rebounding always translates well from college to the pros. Just ask the teams who passed on Paul Millsap, who led the country in rebounding in college, 46 times in the 2006 draft.
#51- Orlando Magic- Rodney Williams, SF Minnesota
Williams was such a tease. Another guy that NBADraft.net was in love with until his senior season in Big Ten play, where he did little to nothing in a year where more was expected out of Minnesota’s team. His athleticism is definitely his greatest trait, and a sure pick for the Dunk Contest next year, which, given the recent winners, means that he won’t be doing anything else. Here’s a pretty one right here.
#52- Minnesota Timberwolves- Ray McCallum , PG Detroit
Another mid-major point guard! But unlike C.J. McCollum, Canaan, or Wolters, Ray is more of a traditional “run the offense” point guard with the skills to take over in key moments. He was heavily recruited in high school, but went to Detroit to play for his dad, who was the head coach (Awww). He is short, but he has more jump to him than you would think from looking at him. I also have to mention his teammate Doug Anderson, who had one of the greatest “drop the mic” slam dunk contest performances you will ever see. I’ll tune into summer league on NBATV if I know this guy is out there against lazy defenses.
#53- Indiana Pacers- Erik Murphy, PF Florida
A prototypical “stretch 4” who can knock down three point shots. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, RYAN ANDERSON! But Murphy reminds me of Jared Dudley if Murphy can get more cut. I refuse to believe Florida was that good all year long with only one pro on their team (2014 prospect Patric Young).
#54- Washington Wizards- D.J. Stephens, SF/PF Memphis
#55- Memphis Grizzlies- Dwayne Dedmon, C USC
He’s really, really big. That’s about it.
#56- Detroit Pistons- Alex Abrines, SG Spain
Spain has been a great resource for guards and small forwards who like to attack off the dribble, and Abrines is a good candidate after playing for FC Barcelona in the Euroleague Final Four. Another possibility in the second round is his teammate, Marko Todorovic. There might be a slew of international picks in the second round (more than I project here) due to the impending super luxury tax, so a lot of GM’s will take “draft and stash” guys in order to stay under the salary cap and keep some value for the future.
#57- Phoenix Suns- B.J. Young, SG/SF Arkansas
Young got a lot of hype after a really good freshman season at Arkansas under Mike Anderson, but he had a sophomore slump and didn’t show any improvements until late in the season when the team was on the tournament bubble. He is pretty good on the attack, but he doesn’t try all the time. He has no jump shot and he never played in a conventional offensive set under Anderson.
#58- San Antonio Spurs- Myck Kabongo, PG Texas
The Spurs went with a Texas point guard two years ago with Cory Joseph and are pleased with what they got. Kabongo seemed poised for a good sophomore year until he got suspended for a random NCAA rules violation that cost him most of the season. Kabongo didn’t do himself any favors by playing poorly when he came back. The other point guard that might sneak in late here is Phil Pressey from Missouri.
#59- Jackie Carmichael, PF Illinois State
A four-year-player who competed for years against Creighton and Wichita State in the Valley, Carmichael is a multi-skilled (which is NBA speak for “finesse”) power forward, so he can make a play facing the basket at the 4 spot. He was especially impressive at the LeBron James Academy against other top college and high school players last summer.
#60- Memphis Grizzlies- Vander Blue, SG Marquette
Remember, the last pick in the 2011 draft was Isaiah Thomas to the Kings, so I’ll give the last slot to Blue, who showed a knack for taking and making big shots for Marquette in their run to the Elite Eight. Blue measured out poorly in the combine and his decision-making is sketchy, but I really love what Buzz Williams gets out of his guys at Marquette. He turned Wesley Matthews, Lazar Hayward, Jimmy Butler, and Jae Crowder into solid pros. He might do it again.
OTHER POTENTIAL PICKS:
United States: Phil Pressey (PG Missouri), Adonis Thomas (PF Memphis), Richard Howell (PF NC State), Robert Covington (SF, Tennessee State), Norvel Pelle (PF), Will Clyburn (SF Iowa State), Ryan Broekhoff (SF Valparaiso), Peyton Siva (PG Louisville), D.J. Cooper (PG Ohio), Carrick Felix (SG Arizona State), Michael Snaer (SG Florida State), Ryan Kelly (PF Duke), Angelo Sharpless (SG Elizabeth City), Khaliff Wyatt (SG Temple), Elias Harris (PF Gonzaga), Solomon Hill (SF Arizona), Seth Curry (SG Duke), Brandon Davies (PF BYU), Ed Daniel (PF Murray State), Matthew Dellavadova (PG Saint Mary’s), Zeke Marshall (C Akron), and Ramon Galloway (PG/SG La Salle)
Internationals: Nemanja Nedovic (SG Serbia), Marko Todorovic (C Serbia), Bojan Dubljevic (PF, Serbia), Alexandre Paranhos (SF Brazil), Augusto Lima (PF Brazil), Raul Neto (PG Brazil), Oleksandr Lypovvy (SF Ukraine), Vitalis Chikoko (C Germany), Mouhammadou Jaiteh (C France)