NBA Draft 2011: 7 Players That Lucked Out in the Second Round
The 2011 NBA draft was deep with role players and fringe starters. Unlike years past, this draft did not have a LeBron James, a Yao Ming or even a John Wall. Sure, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams may make an All-Star game or two, but no one is going to talk about the impact they had on their team, their city or even the league.
For most draft picks it's all about finding the right fit to excel. Most prospects at this point in the process are good enough to play in the NBA; they just need to find the right team. If you happen to be one of those unfortunate late first-round/early second-round prospects, the option to join a team that might need you right away may sound alluring but might lead to your ultimately shortened career.
Those players drafted in the late first round and then late second round often find themselves with more time to develop. There is no one expecting them to come in and change the team. Unless you happen to be Tim Duncan going to the Spurs, going early in the first round may not be all that great either.
We will likely see some guy bust out of the NBA after a year or two, but for some of these second-round picks, the right team found them, and their careers will be better for it.
Charles Jenkins, Golden State Warriors
For a team that seems to be interested in selecting 6'3" guards who can score, Jenkins might be the next in line for the Warriors. Although Don Nelson is gone, the Warriors are still a young team that can get up and down the the court.
Jenkins is more similar to Monta Ellis than Stephen Curry, and if Ellis were to be moved, Jenkins would be the natural replacement. Jenkins is less a point guard than Steph Curry but is a better penetrator than Curry. Matching Curry and Jenkins should fit seamlessly if Ellis is to be moved or goes down with injury.
Jenkins needs time to work on his ability to run an NBA offense but has enough passing ability that he should be able to fit in with Curry and Ellis from day one. Jenkins has a good all-around game but needs time to develop if he is going to be a point guard. He could play right away if he is going to be a shooting guard, but he is still undersized.
The Warriors have the staff and the personnel to allow Jenkins to thrive. With Mark Jackson as coach, it won't be the run and gun Nellie ball Warriors of yore, but they still should be able to put up some points, and Jenkins will no doubt help.
Keith Benson, Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks found an undersized center of the future in Benson and have enough depth at the position that it should allow Benson time to build some strength so he can adjust to the NBA game.
Benson averaged a double-double his senior season and averaged 3.7 blocks per game. While he was obviously playing against inferior talent as compared to what he will face in the NBA, Benson showed timing and a willingness to get down low when need be.
Benson has range to his offensive game but has shown that he can face his opponent head on and get to the rim when necessary. The Oakland game plan was built primarily around Benson, so his coach tried to keep him out of contact situations.
With time on the bench behind Zaza Pachulia, Benson should be able to add bulk to his frame and then be able to take over the starting center position down the line. While Benson will never be a offensive force, he has the ability to change the game with his shot-blocking and rebounding skills, something the Hawks need.
Justin Harper, Orlando Magic
Sure, the Magic already have plenty of forwards on the roster. Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Earl Clark and Malik Allen all seem to be just okay but not capable of really stepping in and providing offensive help for Dwight Howard.
Harper is not going to be a power forward at the next level unless he adds some considerable strength to handle the pounding he will take down low. He is taller than most small forwards and may have trouble keeping up with them, but he should fit in with the Orlando Magic's overall offensive game plan.
Being able to sit on the bench and get some time behind Turkoglu, Harper should be able to get a sense for how he fits. Harper really found his shooting touch this last year. Even though his opponents were nowhere near as good defensively, shooting is just something you can't lose touch of.
As long as Harper understands that his goal is to stretch the floor and hit threes, he found the right team. If Harper can develop some inside moves, that wouldn't hurt either and would likely help him get on the floor much quicker.
Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings
The Kings drafted Jimmer Fredette and already have Tyreke Evans, so having Isaiah Thomas would seem to not be a great fit. However, Thomas is an exciting player who can create his own shot and will add a change of pace to the Kings offense.
Thomas has always been told what he could not do, whether he was undersized, couldn't run the point or couldn't lead his team, but he has always overcome it. With his ability to score being left undoubted, Thomas will now have to transition into being a point guard rather than a undersized combo guard.
With Evans, Fredette and Thomas all in the backcourt for now, the Kings should be able to keep the tempo of the game as fast as they would like without having to slow down. This should present problems for teams like the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs, who are only getting older.
The downsize to this is that turnovers may be an issue, and strong defensive teams can exploit this. Thomas averaged a 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio that he will need to work on to truly play point guard in the NBA.
Although the comparisons keep getting made to Nate Robinson, Thomas is a slightly better shooter and ball-handler. Robinson comes off the bench to provide a spark. Thomas, with some time, should be able to be a full-time starter and not just a sideshow for his team.
E'Twaun Moore, Boston Celtics
E'Twaun Moore consistently improved his game every year while at Purdue, forming a great partnership with teammate JaJuan Johnson. Now that both have moved to the NBA together, that time together should pay dividends for the Boston Celtics.
Moore is undersized and not quite as quick as the talent he will see in the NBA but should make up for that with his ability to learn and his high basketball IQ. Moore is talented to say the least and will take whatever Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have to give and make that part of his game.
When Moore was announced as the second-round pick for the Celtics, he came to a scenario where for at least one more year he will be allowed to develop his game. He will be paired with a former teammate with whom he already has great chemistry.
Moore could fit the role that Landry Fields does for the New York Knicks. He can shoot from outside and create when he needs to but doesn't need to have the ball to make a difference. For at least one year, being a role player will be the perfect fit for Moore and the Celtics.
Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets
Admittedly, Parsons is a personal favorite. A tall forward who is able to spread the floor and at times ran the offense for the Gators, Parsons should find a spot in the Rockets rotation right away.
Initially, Parsons is a mismatch because of his size at the small forward position. Unless Parsons adds considerable size to his frame, he will always be a small forward. Parsons could be put into the lineup at three other spots due to his varied skill set.
Darius Morris, Los Angeles Lakers
Morris is currently the point guard of the future for the Lakers. If Derek Fisher is back for one last excruciating season, the one thing Lakers fans should be happy about is that Morris could not have a better teacher.
Morris is a true point guard who has great vision and passing skills. His game at Michigan was centered on getting to the basket and finding open men. In a more traditional, half-court offense, Morris should thrive, giving him time to see the floor and make adjustments.
He needs to find a better outside shot, as he only shot 25 percent from beyond the arc and just under 50 percent from the floor in general. With time he should get better with his shot.
One of the things that has been said about Morris is that he is a natural leader. Running the point for one of the greatest of all time may prove to be difficult if he does not allow proper respect to Kobe Bryant. However, if he makes it clear he is willing to listen and learn, Morris should be fine and will make the post-Derek Fisher era much more smooth.