NBA Mock Draft: 5 Potential Second Round Picks Who Will Have Major Impacts

Jimmy Kelley@JimmyKelley_Correspondent IApril 9, 2012

NBA Mock Draft: 5 Potential Second Round Picks Who Will Have Major Impacts

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    Predicting the NBA Draft is far from an exact science. Every incoming draft class is full of college stars and international sensations who could live up to our massive expectations or collapse under the weight of their own potential.

    Once you get past the stars that get drafted early, the draft becomes even harder to predict.

    Circumstances start to come into play more than talent, as good teams look to fill needs and roles instead of simply taking the best player available.

    Then we get into the second round where most players will fight to make rosters and earn minutes in the league. Last year's draft had everything listed above as players like Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson have lived up to expectations for their lottery teams, while players like Kenneth Faried have carved out niches on playoff contenders.

    Last year's second round has also revealed a few budding stars that fell into the right situations. The Houston Rockets' Chandler Parsons and Sacramento Kings' Isaiah Thomas have exceeded expectations and become vital parts of their teams.

    The 2012 Draft looks to be no different, as there are plenty of budding stars projected to go early on, but what about those second rounders? Are their any Isaiah Thomas-types in this class?

    Here are five players who will likely go in the second round and could make major impacts on their teams. 

Draymond Green, Michigan State

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    Draymond Green has everything you look for in a young player.

    Maturity, physical strength, a desire to work hard and energy that is contagious. The senior from Michigan State is projected to fall towards the second round due to his relatively small stature—he's only 6'6"—and lack of a true position.

    At MSU, Green functioned as the Spartans point forward and was essentially the starting point for most of their possessions.

    He would typically catch around the free throw line, evaluate the defense and the play would go from there.

    Unfortunately, point forwards don't really exist in the NBA, and Green falls right between being an undersized power forward and an oversized small forward.

    Green may not have a position, but I believe that will work in his favor. His versatility will get him on the floor, and his energy and high basketball IQ will keep him there.

    Someone like Green is too smart and too talented not to make an NBA team. In the right situation, Green will thrive as the leader of the second unit and become a valuable part of that team.

Will Barton, Memphis

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    Will Barton is one of the purest basketball talents in this class, but his thin frame (165 pounds) has people doubting whether he will be able to stay healthy in the NBA. He also struggled with poor shot selection at Memphis and that always translates to the NBA.

    All that being said, Barton is an extremely gifted scorer and is coming off a season in which he averaged 18 points per game while also shooting 50.9% from the field. Both numbers are up from a year ago when he averaged 12.3 ppg while shooting just 42.8%.

    Barton has been projected anywhere from the late first round to the mid second round meaning the chances he falls to an established team are pretty high. Barton would do well in a bench-scorer role a la J.R. Smith before eventually growing into a starter.

    Too many people are sleeping on Barton but he has the potential to be someone who can take over a game and make headlines in the NBA.

Kris Joseph, Syracuse

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    Similar to Green, Kris Joseph is hard to define in terms of where he fits on the court.

    Fortunately for Joseph, his skill set lends itself much better to playing small forward. One of the knocks on Joseph is that he will need to add strength to rebound from that position in the NBA.

    During his four years at Syracuse, Joseph established himself as a diverse offensive threat, thanks to his blend of size and explosiveness.

    At 6'7" and 210 pounds, Joseph could play power forward for many Division I teams, but thanks to his ability to handle the ball, he found himself being guarded by much smaller players.

    Joseph played a big role on this year's team, but you wouldn't think so when looking at his numbers.

    Every category saw a small step backwards except for one: turnovers. Joseph was able to take care of the ball much better this year and settled into his role on a team that almost had too much talent for its own good.

    Joseph is slated for the mid-to-late second round and will likely end up on a team that needs a wing scorer off the bench. Given the right situation, I believe Joseph could be one of the gems of this draft class.

Yancy Gates, Cincinnati

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    Yancy Gates scared away a lot of basketball fans with his role in the early-season brawl with Xavier.

    Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin was quick to defend him, saying that Gates is a good kid who made one mistake.

    After serving his suspension, Gates turned a lot of heads during Big East play as he powered his way through the conference, finishing the season with averages of 12.2 points and 8.9 rebounds.

    Gates was especially good during the Bearcats run to the Big East title game, serving as the inside presence against Syracuse en route to an 18-point, seven-rebound performance.

    As we saw with Kenneth Faried, if there is one thing that always translates from college to the NBA, it is rebounding, and Gates is very good at that, particularly on the offensive end. Gates is also a dangerous player in transition when he is in shape.

    That "when he is in shape" part is another knock on Gates, as he has had conditioning issues in the past, but this season, he seemed to put them behind and had a great senior season.

    At 6'9" and 260 pounds, Gates has the body of an NBA power forward and will do well with an established team that will take him late in the draft.

    Rebounding and toughness are two things every team needs off the bench, and Gates is capable of bringing both of those.

Marcus Denmon, Missouri

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    Marcus Denmon is an undersized shooting guard. There really isn't too much more you can say about him, because that is exactly what he is and what he will be forever.

    Denmon is one of the best shooters in the class and, despite his 6'3" frame, can get his shot off over just about anyone. As a senior, Denmon's shooting percentages dropped a bit but that can be blamed on the four-guard offense they were forced to run at Missouri.

    As a junior, Denmon shot 50 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from three-point range, both staggering numbers for a shooting guard. His efficiency has made him a late game assassin, and he has always done well to take care of the ball.

    Unfortunately, he is undersized.

    Denmon is projected to fall in the late-first or early-second round and will likely serve a sixth man or bench scorer role. Everyone needs an instant offense guard like Denmon on their bench, and it is hard to imagine him not being an NBA player.

    As I said in the beginning, the NBA Draft is as inexact of a science as there is.

    Everyone thought Darko Milicic was a can't-miss prospect, and that Isaiah Thomas was too small to create his own shot. Basketball players will always find a way to keep playing basketball, and I believe these five players will settle into the NBA just fine next year, despite their second-round status.