NBA Draft 2011: Isaiah Thomas and Five Second-Round Prospects Worth the Risk
Among the players who will likely be available during the second round of the 2011 NBA draft are several that are well-known even among casual NBA fans.
Whether general managers are looking for role players, potential all-stars or spark plugs, the second round gives teams many players to ponder.
To compile this second-round list, I am using the players Chad Ford listed 45th or below in his mock draft on ESPN. However, I am not using top-of-the-second-round prospects or first-round bubble picks like Nolan Smith, JaJuan Johnson or Travis Leslie, to name a few.
There are also some players I don't have on this list that I still believe can make an impact on the next level.
Here is my list of late second-round prospects worth the risk.
No. 5: Jordan Williams
Weight: 247 lbs.
Chad Ford Rank: 48
Freshman: 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds
Sophomore: 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds
Obviously, scouts don't like his height but his 7'0" wingspan should make up for that. He also brings physicality and toughness every time he steps on the court.
Like Oakland's Keith Benson, Williams is a true center. Both can rebound exceptionally well, but Williams isn't as concerning on defense. Both should be able to contribute in some way in the future.
Williams likes to bully players on the block before showcasing a soft touch around the rim. He should be able to bring his energy, rebounding and post presence to the NBA relatively soon.
No. 4: Andrew Goudelock
Weight: 198 lbs.
Chad Ford Rank: 58
Freshman: 13.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists
Sophomore: 16.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists
Junior: 19.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists
Senior: 23.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists
I understand that at 6'3" he is a bit of a 'tweener since he is not a point guard by trade. He is, however, a great shooter with crazy range. I would rank his range in the top-three in the draft class behind Jimmer Fredette and equal to, if not better than that of Klay Thompson.
He shot around 41 percent from long range in his career at the College of Charleston. One concerning factor, however, are his 3.2 turnovers per game in his senior season.
Taking a chance on a shooter such as Goudelock is something every team should consider during the second round. If a player can shoot the ball, a spot on the floor will be available on most occasions for 10-20 minutes per game.
Maintaining a roster spot and minutes on the court will depend on his ability to defend as well as his overall athleticism.
No. 3: Demetri McCamey
Weight: 205 lbs.
Chad Ford Rank: 53
Freshman: 8.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Sophomore: 11.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists
Junior: 15.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 7.1 assists
Senior: 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists
He improved in every category except rebounds from his freshman through junior seasons. In 2011, though, he back-tracked by decreasing his points, rebounds and assists statistics from his junior season.
Once projected to be a first-round selection, McCamey lessened his draft stock during his senior season. Nevertheless, he still is worst the risk in the second round.
Scouts question his shot selection and overall athletic ability, which is fair. They also believe that he over-passes on most occasions.
I can't defend him in those areas, though the most important area to me is athleticism. But, we have seen NBA players who weren't very athletic dominate the competition (see Zach Randolph).
McCamey doesn't have to be extremely athletic to play in the league, but he just needs to be effective. He could be effective as a point guard for which ever team he lands with. His court vision allows him to see the floor well enough to make plays. He could also continue to improve at finishing around the rim.
Not to mention that he does show deep range, as he shot 45 percent from three in his senior season. He might not be a star in the NBA, but he could be an effective point guard for many years if placed in the right situation.
No. 2: Scotty Hopson
Weight: 205 lbs.
Chad Ford Rank: 50
Freshman: 9.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists
Sophomore: 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists
Junior: 17 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists
If second-round prospects are considered "risky," Hopson should be near the top. He could be one of the bigger risk-reward players in this year's draft.
When Hopson and Tennessee came to play Pittsburgh at CONSOL Energy Center, he looked like the best player in college basketball. He scored 27 points on 10-13 shooting including going 3-3 from long distance.
It turned out that Hopson and the Volunteers were just having one of those days in which everything was going right.
He also disappeared in a number of games. He will need to improve in many areas at the next level, especially his defense.
Hopson may provide more of a risk in the latter part of the second round than anyone else on this list, but his upside could be higher as well.
No. 1: Isaiah Thomas
Weight: 186 lbs.
Chad Ford Rank: 49
Freshman: 15.5 points, 3 rebounds and 2.6 assists
Sophomore: 16.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists
Junior: 16.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists
If you learned anything from J.J. Barea and his performance during the postseason, it is that undersized players can ball too.
Whether he is penetrating the lane, finding teammates or hitting from range, Isaiah Thomas has many traits that would suit a team looking for a fire starter.
Eventually, he could possibly be a starter, but his services could fit well with any team looking to contend next season.
Every team needs a spark off the bench. Thomas, like Andrew Goudelock, could be that spark that ignites a team on any given night.
Scouts dislike his size, but his athleticism will make up for his 5'10" (if that), 186-pound frame. He was one of the most clutch performers in all of college basketball this year.
I wouldn't hesitate at taking a shot on Isaiah Thomas if given the opportunity, and NBA general managers shouldn't either.