NBA Draft: Who Will Be the Best Late Pick This Year?
The NBA draft went off as predicted—Derrick Rose No. 1, Michael Beasley No. 2, O.J. Mayo No. 3, and so on. Next came the dozens of experts trying to determine the winners and losers, and who will make the biggest impact, etc.
But if you look a little deeper at who was drafted late, you might find some hidden gems.
Who will be the darling of the draft, the one player that makes other teams shake their heads for passing over him? Beginning with the second-round picks, there are a host of quality players that could make an immediate impact:
Chalmers was chosen by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 34th pick, then traded to the Miami Heat for two future second-round picks and cash. All he did was average 12.8 points per game for Kansas, get named to the all-Big 12 second team and all-Big 12 defensive first team.
However, we will always remember him for hitting the game-tying three-pointer against Memphis in the National Championship game.
Weaver was chosen by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 38th pick, and at 6'6", his size should be a nice addition for new head coach Larry Brown. He played all four years at Washington State, so with his age and maturity he should be ready to contribute. He averaged 12.2 points per game, and was fourth in the Pac-10 in steals.
Douglas-Roberts was chosen by the New Jersey Nets with the 40th pick. It was a big mystery to me why he fell so far. He averaged 18.1 points per game, was picked for the all-NCAA tournament team, and was voted Conference USA player of the year.
CDR shot a team-best 41.3 percent from the three-point line, and at 6'7", he has the size and quickness to compete in the league.
Plaisted was chosen by the Seattle SuperSonics with the 46th pick and then sent to Detroit to complete the D.J. White trade. Though not a shot blocker, his 6'11", 245-pound frame should be a plus at the next level.
He has been criticized for losing focus at times—but make no bones about it, Plaisted can score. He needs to improve his free-throw shooting, but has shown the ability to put the ball in the basket with either hand.
Walker was chosen by the Washington Wizards with the 47th pick, then shipped to the Boston Celtics for cash. Few people know about him because he played second fiddle to Michael Beasley at Kansas State, but Walker managed to average 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
If you're a Celtics fan, you have to like this guy. Under the tutelage of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen, he should work out just fine. He's 6'6", 220 pounds, and can jump out of the building.
Hendrix was chosen by the Golden State Warriors with the 49th pick. He averaged a double-double at Alabama with 17.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He shot 59.8 percent from the field—and at 6'9" and 255 pounds, he has the build to play in the NBA.
Foster was chosen by the Dallas Mavericks with the 51st pick. While he needs to add some weight at the next level, he can certainly score. He averaged 20.6 points per game and scored 32 points in a win against No. 1 Tennessee, as well as 42 against Mississippi State.
He also shot nearly 80 percent from the free throw line during his four years at Vanderbilt.
Gist was chosen by the San Antonio Spurs with the 58th pick. At 6'9" and 235 pounds, he certainly has the size to compete. He averaged 15.9 points per game while at Maryland and runs the floor well.
He has the ability to shoot from the outside, hitting 31 percent from behind the arc and almost 74 percent from the free throw line. He is also a shot blocker who averaged 2.3 swats per game.
Gist would need to add a few pounds but is definitely strong, and with some work he could fit nicely in the team concept in San Antonio.
There's the list of players that could make an impact sooner rather than later. There could be a few more, but this is a good start.
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