Quick. What do Chandler Parsons, Charles Jenkins and Isaiah Thomas have in common?
I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere, but the real answer is that all three of them were drafted in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft and went on to make huge contributions for their respective teams.
In Parsons and Thomas' cases, they even made the all-rookie teams. And that all came in a year when the draft class was especially thin.
If Mr. Irrelevant from a thin draft can produce arguably one of the best rookie seasons of the year, imagine what the second-round picks from an absolutely stacked class can do in 2012-13.
Let's take a look at which prospects stand out.
Jared Cunningham, SG, Oregon State
Cunningham often did the ball-handling at Oregon State, but his propensity to turn the ball over and a 1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio suggest he won't be able to run the point in the NBA.
That's fine, though, because Cunningham measured 6'5" in shoes and has the athleticism and electric first step that will help him overcome his lack of strength (188 pounds).
No, not athleticism. Ridiculous athleticism. This kid is easily one of the best leapers in the draft. Take a look:
As a combo guard, the Oregon State product will be able to score effectively in three ways: penetrating off ball screens, in transition and knocking down jumpers off the catch.
According to DraftExpress.com, Cunningham was most dangerous on the break with OSU, "converting 66% of his field goal attempts and getting to the free throw line at a prolific rate."
However, he still needs to improve his jump shooting. He shot just 33.8 percent from long range, but he has the mechanics and form that propose he will get better with more repetitions.
On defense, Cunningham's quickness makes him an absolute menace. He was named to the Pac-12 all-defensive first team, and he averaged an impressive 2.5 thefts per game.
Cunningham may not have the ideal size of an NBA 2-guard, but his lightning-fast game and scary athleticism will make him a nice role player at the next level.
Kyle O'Quinn, PF/C, Norfolk State
While he won't propel into the first round like Kenneth Faried, O'Quinn is seeing a major rise in his stock after shocking the college basketball world in March.
En route to leading Norfolk St. to a win over No. 2 Missouri, O'Quinn dropped 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.
And then he did this, which captured the hearts of America:
O'Quinn is going to capture the heart of whoever drafts him, too.
The 22-year-old has elite size. He measured out at 6'8.5" and 241 pounds with a ridiculous 7'5" wingspan.
What makes him special, however, is that he combines that size with solid athleticism and a passion for the game you can't teach.
Much like Faried, O'Quinn is going to give you 114 percent each game. He might not have a polished offensive game, but he's going to dominate the glass, beat opposing centers down the court on the fast break and block a lot of shots (he averaged 2.7 during his senior year).
Scott Machado, PG, Iona
If Kendall Marshall gets a pass for his lack of defense, athleticism and shooting ability, shouldn't Machado get a similar one?
The dynamic point guard out of Iona averaged an insane 9.9 assists per game, which is 0.1 more than Marshall.
He doesn't nearly have the vision that Marshall does, but he will be able to run an NBA offense efficiently.
Machado doesn't have elite size (6'0.5" without shoes), but he's a good shooter (40.4 percent from long range) and plays pesky defense (1.6 steals per game).
He will really benefit if he gets picked up by a team that likes to get in transition, but even if he doesn't, there's no question Machado can make a Charles Jenkins-like impact in 2012-13.
And for a player who is slated to be drafted near the end of the second round, that's an absolute steal.
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