The book on the 2013 NBA draft heading into Thursday night was that there was little top-flight talent, but plenty of depth. That depth was on full display as several prospects surprisingly fell into the second round and landed in some ideal situations that will allow them to develop quite nicely.
It's quite uncommon for a second-round pick to step up and become a star as a rookie, but teams usually aren't looking for stars in the second round. If a second-round pick sticks on an NBA roster and becomes a useful player, then he is generally considered to be a success.
Here are three second-round selections in particular who will defeat the stigma associated with their draft statuses and become productive, contributing players as rookies next season.
While Kansas center Jeff Withey is unlikely to become an offensive force at the NBA level, he entered the draft as one of the most dominant defensive forces in college basketball. That seemingly should have been enough to make him a first-round pick, but Withey slipped a bit before the Portland Trail Blazers nabbed him at No. 39. If nothing else, Withey should have a role in Portland as a rookie.
Teams don't usually find complete players in the second round as every prospect has a red flag or two. Withey's suspect athleticism and lack of offense are marks against him, but he is a top-notch shot-blocker and can rebound as well. He averaged nearly four blocks and 8.5 rebounds per game last season, so the Blazers should have a steal on their hands. According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Withey is a perfect fit in Portland as the Blazers need a player of his ilk.
Jeff Withey is an absolute steal for the Portland Trail Blazers here. He's exactly what Portland needs - a tough, defensive-minded center.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 28, 2013
Depth was a big issue for Portland last season and it is probably the biggest reason why the Blazers struggled so mightily. LaMarcus Aldridge is the starting center, but he is offensive-minded to say the least. Meyers Leonard was a first-round pick last year; however, the seven-footer still has a lot of developing to do. Withey pretty much is what he is at this point, and while he'll need to adjust to the NBA game as well, he should be a valuable defensive center immediately.
Glen Rice Jr.
Shooting guard Glen Rice, Jr. was one of the most polarizing prospects in this year's class due largely to his status as a D-League player. Rice was dismissed from Georgia Tech due to off-court issues, but he eventually caught on with the Rio Grande Vipers. He performed well enough to be selected No. 35 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was ultimately dealt to the Washington Wizards, though, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.
source confirms Glen Rice Jr. going from Philly to Washington for 38th and 54th picks— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 28, 2013
Rice won't be a starter for the Wizards as John Wall and Bradley Beal are locked into the starting lineup, but he can definitely be a scoring threat off the bench next season. Even though some might argue that Rice is at a disadvantage since he was kicked off his college team, playing in the D-League allowed him to get acclimated to the NBA style of play. He clearly felt comfortable by the end of the season as he averaged 25 points and nearly 10 rebounds in the playoffs as he led the Vipers to a title.
Rice is the type of player who can provide instant offense when he is hot, and that is something that Washington could really use off the bench. The Wizards are starting to build something special with Wall, Beal and new first-round selection Otto Porter, and Rice can be part of that. Every successful team has productive bench players and Rice should be one in Washington.
California shooting guard Allen Crabbe entered the draft as a likely first-round selection, but a number of shooting guards were taken ahead of him, and he surprisingly slipped to the second round. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected him No. 31 overall and seemed to add to their already-impressive haul, but they decided to trade him instead. The beneficiaries were the Portland Trail Blazers as they acquired Crabbe for a pair of future second-rounders, according to the Associated Press.
Which second-round pick will contribute most as a rookie?
The Blazers already selected combo guard C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh in the first round to potentially play alongside Damian Lillard, but they had so little depth to begin with that Crabbe figures to get some minutes as well. Crabbe was an extremely consistent player at Cal, and he seemed to get better with each passing season. He averaged more than 18 points and six rebounds per game last season and hit roughly two three-pointers per contest in each of his three years at California.
He will be a welcomed presence off the bench for the Blazers as they lacked a reliable scoring guard behind Lillard last season. Since Lillard and McCollum are similar players, they won't always be on the floor together. When Portland needs a more prototypical shooting guard on the floor, Crabbe is a guy who can definitely step in. He's a smart, crafty player with a good shooting stroke, so he'll fit in well.
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