NBA Draft 2012: 5 2nd-Round Players Who Will Have Long NBA Careers

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 5 2nd-Round Players Who Will Have Long NBA Careers

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    Last season, 59 selections passed before Sacramento selected former Washington guard Isaiah Thomas, making him the 2011 NBA draft's "Mr. Irrelevant."

    The 5'9" guard became anything but irrelevant in his first season with the Kings. He established himself as a starter in the second half of the season and made an All-Rookie Team while compiling an impressive 12-3-4 on the nightly stat sheet.  

    It seems like, every year, there's a Thomas or Houston's Chandler Parsons—who was a big reason the team felt comfortable moving Chase Budinger for the No. 18 pick—waiting for teams to reap the rewards of their talent.  

    Here are a few projected second-rounders (using Chad Ford's latest mock draft) who, though they may not be future Hall of Famers, are certain to have long NBA careers..

Kim English, SG, Missouri

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    Projected Selection: No. 31 to the Charlotte Bobcats.

    Coming into the draft process as a player who many thought would go late in the second round or even undrafted, English has gone soaring up draft boards after impressing teams with his beautiful outside stroke.  

    While English was easily the least athletic member of his starting five at Missouri and isn't a superb defender, teams late in the first round and second round are more concerned with finding players with translatable skills than massive upside.

    And English's off-ball skills and catch-and-shoot ability certainly make him a candidate for instant contribution coming off a contender's bench.  

Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

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    Projected Selection: No. 43 to the Atlanta Hawks.  

    Like English, Doron Lamb is never going to be compared to Vince Carter circa 2001 athletically. But he's a better athlete than his Missouri counterpart, is a better ball-handler and may even be a more consistent shooter.  

    Lamb just had the great (mis?)fortune of playing with one of the most talented basketball teams in college basketball history, and he kind of got lost in the shuffle, as scouts concentrated on his more talented teammates.  

    What's unfortunate for Lamb will be a great reward for whatever team picks up the 20-year-old former Wildcat.  As a rookie, he'll be able to come in and spell starters, and he has the potential to develop into a fourth option on a contender.  

Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas

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    Projected Selection: No. 46 to the New Orleans Hornets.

    A four-year starter at Kansas, Taylor probably would have landed in the first round in each of the past two seasons.  Instead, Taylor will likely be a mid-second-rounder and has become a victim of teams having "too much" tape on his game.

    Teams know he's a bit of a tweener whose jumper is a still a work in progress after four years of working at the collegiate level.  They know his ball-handling needs improvement so that he can play the primary point guard position in the NBA.  And they know he wasn't always a consummate citizen at Kansas.

    But Taylor is also an explosive athlete who can lock down both guard positions on the defensive end.  Offensively, he's a high-IQ player who rarely makes the wrong decision on where to go with the ball.  In the second round, getting a guaranteed rotation player is a steal.  And Taylor is, at the very least, a solid seventh or eighth option from the bench.  

Jae Crowder, SF, Marquette

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    Projected Selection: No. 48 to the New York Knicks.

    To be honest, I barely gave Crowder a second thought in my early evaluation process until I saw the guys at Wages of Wins singing his praises.  

    According to their Average Predicted Wins Per-48 Minutes statistic, Crowder ranks as the second-best prospect in the entire draft behind Anthony Davis.  

    While I'm certainly not ready to go that far, he has some great translatable skills (NBA body, insatiable motor, ability to guard both forward positions) that place Crowder among this draft's elite second-round picks.  

    He's also almost comically undersized for his most natural position (power forward).  If Crowder can improve his outside jumper, the guys at Wages of Wins might be right about him being the steal of the 2012 draft.  

Drew Gordon

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    Projected Selection: No. 57 to the Brooklyn Nets.

    Don't tell the Penn State Alumni Association, but I grew up a UCLA fan and may have been a Bruin if, you know, they would have accepted me.  

    During my college application process, Gordon was supposed to be the next big thing for UCLA basketball in the post-Collison/Westbrook era. But Gordon ran into trouble early in his UCLA career and never even scratched his potential in Westwood.  

    After a transfer to New Mexico, Gordon became an elite rebounder and shot-blocker while stretching the floor comfortably to around 15 feet.  While he is a markedly improved player, Gordon still needs to work on adding strength and footwork to be able to play in the post consistently.  

    At pick No. 57, he's well worth the risk for a player that the Wages of Wins guys have at No. 10 in their Predicted Wins Per-48 Minutes stat.