NBA Draft 2013: Analyzing Biggest Steals in Round 2
The 2013 NBA draft didn't present a lot of star power and surefire immediate contributors to instantly turn the fortunes of struggling franchises, but there was some surprising value to be had in Round 2.
Whether it was a player's specific fit into a team's system, a rather surprising fall in stock or any other reason, several selections in the final 30 stand out and could have key roles as rookies.
Below is a breakdown of the three second-round picks most likely to find immediate success in their newly discovered NBA destinations.
Note: Free agency information is courtesy of ESPN.
Memphis Grizzlies (No. 41): Jamaal Franklin, G/F, San Diego State
At the combine, Franklin had to wear a protective boot on his sprained ankle, which hampered him from impressing teams in workouts as well. That's all that could be explained for his significant slide in the draft.
Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy was certainly stunned:
Jamaal Franklin going this low was a huge surprise. There was talk that he could be a top 20 pick earlier in this process. Huge slip.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 28, 2013
The perception is that Franklin can't hit a three-point shot either, and that was a detriment to his stock. However, it is important to note that he played nearly every position for the Aztecs in college and led the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals in his final season.
Having to do that much on the court at once is demanding to say the least, so it should be forgiven if he didn't have enough lift on his perimeter jumper at times.
Franklin appears to be holding a grudge against those who passed on him, vowing to make them pay:
Jamaal Franklin: "The only people who are going to be depressed about this draft are the people who passed on me." http://t.co/b7g5eWVI1q”— AztecHoops (@AztecHoops) June 28, 2013
Playing with a chip on one's shoulder can be helpful, and for someone with the athletic ability of Franklin, he should fit right in with the Grizzlies.
Lockdown perimeter defender Tony Allen is an unrestricted free agent, and Franklin has the potential to step in and be a starter in the very near future. His upside on defense is significant, and he's already more of an asset offensively than Alllen.
ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) said that Franklin could become "Tony Allen 2.0" for the Grizzlies, and it's difficult to argue with him.
Los Angeles Lakers (No. 48): Ryan Kelly, C/PF, Duke
The 6'11" former Blue Devils star will plug into an offensive system that is ideal for his skill set.
Head coach Mike D'Antoni's uptempo "Seven Seconds or Less" offense is a dream for a player like Kelly, who was surrounded by perimeter-oriented players at Duke for his whole career. Kelly shot the three better than 40 percent in each of his past two seasons, truly serving the stretch 4 role well.
Pau Gasol may be a bit small to plug in at center, but it would undoubtedly give him more opportunities to post up and be an effective passer from the lower block.
In any event, the big man seemed excited to see Kelly join the fold:
Meanwhile, Kelly could spread the floor, and with his high basketball IQ, he should be able to make the right play more often than not.
Any contribution Kelly makes in his maiden campaign is hinging on whether or not star center Dwight Howard stays. According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, there's "very little chance" Howard will re-sign.
Jordan Hill will be in the rotation, too, but Kelly brings a dimension to the Lakers offense that is an absolute dream for D'Antoni. Kelly should help the squad at some point this coming season as it looks to rebound from a disappointing effort in 2012-13.
Chicago Bulls (No. 49): Erik Murphy, PF, Florida
Speaking of "stretch 4" types, that is precisely what Murphy is—and it's something the Bulls desperately needed.
Who was the biggest Round 2 steal?
With the return of Derrick Rose forthcoming, Chicago's frequently sputtering offense will have at least one big-time scorer to count on. However, the versatility and size the Bulls could deploy with the addition to Murphy should have the rest of the Eastern Conference extremely alarmed.
Defense has never been an issue under Tom Thibodeau, who is a genius in that regard. The Bulls' frontcourt is full of tough, hard-nosed players, but no one who can stroke it from the outside.
Enter Murphy, who will benefit greatly from the penetration Rose gets into the lane and likely improve defensively—or have his deficiencies covered up on that end at the very least—under Thibodeau's tutelage.
The threat Murphy could provide simply by standing out at the three-point line would put Rose in more isolation situations, and Rose could also find him easily on mid-range pick-and-roll plays.
Minutes may not be significant for Murphy in the early going, but Thibodeau now has an unprecedented offensive asset at his disposal.
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