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NBA Draft 2011: Isaiah Thomas and Five Second-Round Prospects Worth the Risk

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIJune 20, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Isaiah Thomas and Five Second-Round Prospects Worth the Risk

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:  Isaiah Thomas #2 of the Washington Huskies reacts after making a last-second shot in overtime to defeat the Arizona Wildcats 77-75 in the championship game of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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

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    COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 23: Jordan Williams #20 of the Maryland Terrapins celebrates against the Florida State Seminoles at the Comast Center on February 23, 2011 in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Position: C

    Height: 6'9"

    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

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 01:  Andrew Goudelock #10 of the College of Charleston passes the ball in the 2011 Reese's College All-Star Game after practice for the 2011 Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 1, 2
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Position: SG

    Height: 6'3"

    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

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11:  Demetri McCamey #32 of the Illinois Fighting Illini looks to pass the ball against the Michigan Wolverines during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2011 in In
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Position: PG

    Height: 6'3"

    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

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    ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Scotty Hopson #32 of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts during their 74 to 85 loss to the Florida Gators in the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Ke
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Position: SG

    Height: 6'7"

    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

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Isaiah Thomas #2 of the Washington Huskies reacts in the second half while taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 i
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Position: PG

    Height: 5'10"

    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.

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