When it comes to the NBA draft, getting anything of value in the second round is a major bonus. We know the stories of players like Gilbert Arenas, but it is extremely rare that a second round pick makes the impact that Marcus Thorton did for New Orleans this year.
With that in mind, teams should be looking for players that can add value to their squad even if the player may never be a star. Many college players who stayed until their senior year fall into this category, because if they had big upside they would have left early.
These are eight players who will go in the second round and be ready to step into an NBA rotation.
Players who almost made the list: Matt Bouldin, Charles Garcia, Gani Lawal, and Trevor Booker
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Harangody showed up to Chicago in great shape and looked more athletically prepared than during his injury riddled senior campaign. He’s only 6'6" without shoes, but he is a little longer than some thought (6’10’’ wingspan).
The All-American simply produces, though it’s sometimes hard to focus on what he produces in spite of how he gets it done.
Simply put: he has nice strengths and glaring weaknesses.
He might get blocked more at the next level, but he’ll still be the one working hardest to secure rebounds and bullying his way to the rim. In the process he’ll draw some fouls and create momentum for his team, two great attributes of a bench player.
His shot is a bit wonky, but it goes in. He sets hard screens and makes good enough decisions to contribute off the ball as a part of an offensive system.
Defensively, Harangody can’t stay in front of anyone he is long enough to guard. That being said, this team will find ways to match him up with offensively deficient bench players on the opposing team and limit the damage.
After suffering from nasty character issues at Louisville (snark, snark), Derrick emerged as a leader and model citizen last year at UTEP.
Although he is a bit undersized and can’t really jump, he might be the strongest big in the draft not named Cousins. Put him on the block and let him go to work.
He isn’t the physical specimen of a Craig “Rhino” Smith yet, but he’s a little taller and certainly more skilled. His footwork and finesse, paired with his outstanding strength, makes him a nightmare to defend. He’s also an effective rebounder, especially on the offensive end.
If he can lose some weight he will no doubt improve his defensive and rebounding ability by becoming a little more explosive. He also needs to find a face up game to hurt teams that try to smother him with size.
Second round players that don’t bring it every night usually don’t make it in the league, and this will probably be Big D’s biggest problem. That said, the man gets buckets—and that usually means getting paid at the next level.
Yeah, I said it.
Scheyer is 6’6’’ in shoes but sports only a 6’3’’ wingspan. He doesn’t have good foot speed. He doesn’t have particularly deep range at this point and he isn’t all that strong. He’ll be the constant victim of isolation dribble drives in the NBA.
Now let me tell you why many teams would be happy to have him. He makes a terrific rate of his open shots. He rarely turns the ball over even though every team tried to pressure him all over the court. He always makes the right play.
His jump shot has perfect form and it’s not hard to project him as a pure spot up three point shooter.
As a back up point guard (he's a great pairing with a smallish shooting guard), you can turn the keys over to Scheyer and know your team will execute.
He anticipates well and can shepherd most guards to help on defense.
After an excellent NCAA tournament run in which he outplayed nearly every guard he faced, Sheyer is ready to be a solid contributor on a well coached team. He won’t be as good as J.J. Redick because he doesn’t do one thing really well, but this Duke guard will contribute positively to his team in a number of facets.
Like Jon Scheyer, Vasquez has good size for an NBA point guard but only average athleticism.
Unlike Scheyer, Vasquez has a flair for the sensational and often converted his outstanding court vision into laser guided dimes in the ACC.
He turned the ball over too much, but that’s attributable to his role as both scorer and creator at Maryland. In the NBA, his great basketball IQ will help him make the most of his shooting and passing ability. One has to imagine that he will be much more efficient in his role off the bench.
Vasquez has the potential to spearhead a second unit that likes to run, and he’ll be effective running the pick and roll even if he doesn’t quite have the wheels to seal the deal.
Look for Greivis to find his way into the SportsCenter Top 10 a couple times next season and add intelligence and toughness to any team that drafts him.
Zoubek is enormous and loves to crash the offensive glass. That’s about all you need to know about the NCAA’s most dominant offensive rebounder, because that’s about all he can do.
He’s very strong, sets effective screens, and has good fundamentals all over the court. (Did you think he was going to sink that free throw in the final seconds of the National Championship?)
Beyond his strength, there’s little to like. He will get decimated in the pick and roll and has plodding feet with little leaping ability.
That being said, he won’t shrink over his NBA career, and if he can continue to add some post moves (he’s looked good in a couple of showings this Spring), he could develop into a solid rotational behemoth. Even if he doesn’t, he fills a need for any team that needs size and rebounding off the bench.
Brackins was a border line lottery pick last year, but fell hard after a rough statistical season with the Iowa State Cyclones.
Brackins is a very smooth and skilled stretch for with average athleticism. It’s not hard to project that his stroke will allow him to shoot the NBA three at a reasonable clip, though he will also need to develop his inside game.
Brackins doesn’t offer much defensively and showed some worrisome rebounding habits, but he also played with fairly weak teammates.
Brackins has predictably looked great in workouts because of his skill level, but he will slip to the second round because he is a one-dimensional prospect.
That said, he can provide a spark off the bench and his offensive game is NBA ready. Teams looking for bench scoring from their front line would do well to secure this skilled big.
Sherron’s stock really took a hit from his inconsistent play during his senior year. He’s the only major prospect under six feet (what?! A regular sized human?!) and he didn’t really add anything new to his game this season.
However since his season unceremoniously ended at the hands of Northern Iowa, Collins has been doing work. He’s sporting a six pack after battling weight issues throughout his career and is still built like an NFL power back.
In pre-draft workouts, he’s shown off a consistent J and a fiery competitiveness that resulted in a 7-1 record in a Vegas 3-on-3 competition. His crossover is still the nastiest in the draft and he will definitely mix up some poor veterans next year.
His tremendous strength makes him a tough defender and an effective penetrator despite his size (something like Jameer Nelson without the stepback jumper).
Collins benefits from good coaching and has an excellent understanding of the pick and roll. There may not be a high potential for his NBA career, but he can get anywhere on the court and it is a safe bet he will be a top five point guard in this draft.
Varnado is an excellent prospect to be a rotational player that can impact games immediately. He has superb timing when coming from the weak side to block shots (7’4’’ wingspan, nearly 5 blocks per game), though he will move from the center to a power forward position at the pro level.
Varnado won’t "wow" you with his post moves, but he’s been adding a nice 15-20 foot jumper this spring, and his quickness projects very well in terms of covering stretch fours on the perimeter.
As a power forward, he will be a versatile defender and willing rebounder. Anything he gives you offensively is gravy, and his work ethic and development leave plenty of room for optimism in that department.
Any team that drafts Varnado will be hoping for plenty of performances like the one that so frustrated DeMarcus Cousins in the SEC Tournament Championship.
Varnado went for 18 points on 8-13 shooting along with five blocks and nine rebounds while holding Cousins to only three made baskets.