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NBA Draft 2012: Projected 2nd-Round Picks Who Will Have Strong NBA Careers

Matt MoranContributor IIIJune 15, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Projected 2nd-Round Picks Who Will Have Strong NBA Careers

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    Every team wants to find a second-round steal on the night of the NBA draft, but the reality is that most second-round picks struggle to earn playing time or even make the cut on their respective teams.

    These four players, however, will go on to have successful careers because they are all experienced college stars that can make the necessary adjustments at the next level. 

    Note: Heights and weights from NBA combine

4. Jae Crowder, Marquette

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 241 pounds

    NBA comparison: Jared Dudley, Phoenix Suns

    Crowder figures to be a small forward in the NBA, but he has the strength to spend some time at power forward.

    He shot 49.8 percent from the field in his senior season at Marquette, and averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. According to DraftExpress.com, Crowder made 61 percent of his field goal attempts inside the arc.

    Although he is undersized, Crowder uses his body well and positions himself in the correct places around the rim to rebound at a high level. He can also knock down the open trey, and is a smart decision maker off the dribble. While he may lack the lateral quickness to guard elite small forwards, he could be a versatile option off the bench in the NBA. 

3. Darius Miller, Kentucky

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    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 233 pounds

    NBA comparison: Trevor Ariza, New Orleans Hornets

    Miller was the ultimate role player on a Kentucky team that was full of future NBA stars, and he showed scouts that he plays with only one thing on his mind: winning.

    As a senior, Miller helped the Wildcats in any area the team needed. According to his DraftExpress.com profile, Miller is a good spot-up shooter with a quick release, but he struggles to create his own shot.

    Miller can guard multiple positions on defense, and should have the size and strength to hold his own against the most athletic wing players in the NBA.

    In time, Miller could be a sixth man who stays on the floor late in games thanks to his defensive versatility and ability to catch and shoot.  

2. Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 177 pounds

    NBA comparison: Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks

    Taylor fits the prototype for a successful NBA point guard. He has plenty of speed, a long frame and an above-average outside shot.

    He had NBA-level talent the day he arrived at Kansas, but he struggled with turnovers all the way through his collegiate career. 

    Whichever team selects Taylor better have patience, because he will take a while to adjust to the speed and talent of the NBA game. In college, Taylor's talent made up for his deficiencies. In the pros, his talent alone won't get the job done. He needs to learn how to run an effective offense and limit his bad decisions.

    Taylor is good enough to spend his rookie season as a backup point guard and see about 15-20 minutes per game. How much and how fast he develops will determine if he is a lifelong backup or a future starter. 

1. Will Barton, Memphis

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 174 pounds

    NBA comparison: Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers

    Barton's superior leaping ability and overall athleticism have some front offices praying that he falls to the second round. Of all the players on this list, Barton has the best chance to be selected late in the first round. 

    However, Barton is extremely skinny and lacks NBA-level strength, factors that will undoubtedly hurt his draft stock. 

    While his physical frame is lacking, Barton is a skilled player who uses his length to his advantage on both ends of the floor. He made 50.9 percent of his field goals and averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as just a sophomore for the Tigers. 

    Barton projects as a shooting guard in the NBA. Both his length and speed will help him match up with the league's most talented perimeter players. However, Barton must add bulk to avoid being pushed around on rebounds and to hold his own in the post. 

    Offensively, Barton has a decent outside shot, and possesses the athleticism to get his own looks from time to time. He could be a deadly player in transition, whether leading the break or finishing it. 

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