NBA Draft 2013: 5 Second-Round Prospects with First-Round Talent

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IJune 23, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04:  Pierre Jackson #55 of the Baylor Bears is named the MVP after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes during the 2013 NIT Championship at Madison Square Garden on April 4, 2013 in New York City. Baylor defeated Iowa 74-54.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The second round of the NBA draft hasn't always been a hotbed for underrated talent, but lately, there have been few places better to take a chance on a player who has the talent to compete with anyone taken in the 30 picks or more before him. 

For a point of reference, just look at the 2008 NBA draft. 

Six players (Nikola Pekovic, Mario Chalmers, DeAndre Jordan, Omer Asik, Luc Mbah a Moute and Goran Dragic) who have been all consistent starters on NBA rosters were all taken in the second round in 2008, and that was five years ago. 

Granted, the second round can be extremely hit or miss. The infusion of international talent and one-and-done college prospects has made it harder than ever to assign value or worth to a growing list of players trying to make it in the best basketball league on earth. 

While the first-round prospects will continue to dominate the national scene over the next few days, the mark of a good draft can often times be getting a guy like Manu Ginobili (1999), Dennis Rodman (1986) or Alex English (1976). 

Below is a look at five 2013 NBA draft prospects with first-round talent. In other words, keep a close eye on them when your team is picking in the second round if these guys are still on the board. As ESPN's Chad Ford surmises, some of them might not be there for pick No. 31 on:

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Check out the sections below to see why these five crack the list. 

2013 NBA Draft Second-Round Prospects with First-Round Talent

PG Pierre Jackson, Baylor

Pierre Jackson's two-year stint in Waco was nothing short of spectacular. His measurements (5'10", 180) appear to be what's keeping him out of first-round lock status when it comes to the draft. 

As it always is with small guards, the buzz about Jackson hasn't been high over the past few weeks. Other guards with bigger (literally) pedigrees grab most of the attention, since it's very hard to succeed when guarding a player who can go right over the top. 

It's no secret—every position in the NBA has a higher average height than the last generation, and that starts at point guard. Names like Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams and Derrick Rose help cement that theory. 

But Jackson, who averaged 16.7 points, 6.5 assists and 1.6 steals on 44.1/37.9/80.8 shooting splits (FG/3PT/FT) during his time at Baylor, is a true gamer who cares nothing about the size of his opponent or preconceived notions about height and the NBA. 

When I watch him play, I see a version of J.J. Barea who will be much more equipped to handle the rigors of a backup NBA PG job than his Puerto Rican counterpart. 

There's been buzz about Jackson as a first-round talent, and depending upon how the first round shakes out in the point guard department, that could very well be true. However, it's more likely he lands in the second round, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a team of interest target a trade in the 31-35 area for his services. 

PF Ryan Kelly, Duke

Kelly is one of the best stretch 4s in the draft, and his time at Duke lent us to the idea that he'll be knocking down shots for a long time if he stays healthy in the NBA. 

A Ryan Anderson look-alike with a little bit of Dirk Nowitzki (poor man's of course) mixed in inside the three-point arc, Kelly can make some waves over the next few months if he comes to the league and does what he did in college—knock down threes. 

Matt Bonner might also be an apt comparison for the senior forward, who shot 42.2 percent from downtown in just 23 games; Kelly might have had a breakout season for the Blue Devils but was injured in January before he could hit the meat of ACC play. 

One knock on Kelly? He isn't overly athletic, or maybe even in shape. This tweet from Paul Coro is a bit concerning. 

Since the injury knocked him out of a few games and he's never had to be a fitness guru, it might be OK to give him a pass here. Either way, Kelly likely won't sneak into the first round but would be a nice fit for a team looking for bench help of the long-distance variety. 

PG Myck Kabongo, Texas

Kabongo was poised to be a star in his sophomore season at Texas, but an injury before the year ever began limited him to just 11 games for Rick Barnes' team during the 2012-13 season. 

Texas didn't get much attention this year in the Big 12, and Kabongo is a prospect who is really lost in the shuffle if you look at the point guard pool in this year's draft. 

His team had a down year, he was injured and concerns about his ability to shoot the ball consistently at the next level are certainly warranted (40/31.1/71.5 over two seasons). 

But from a quickness and pure point guard standpoint, there isn't going to be anyone available after Jackson comes off the board that is going to have the upside as an NBA professional that Kabongo will have. 

As a sophomore in 11 games at the end of Texas' season, he averaged over 14 points, five assists and five rebounds per game, and those kind of numbers don't chalk his performances up to being a fluke. 

Teams with point guard needs who don't address them in the first round would be wise to take a long, hard look at the 6'1, 180-pound point guard. 

SG Brandon Paul, Illinois

There's a lot to like about Illinois shooting guard Brandon Paul. 

He's a four-year player for the Illini. He got consistently better each year he was in college. He can shoot the ball well from the outside. Oh, and he has a clutch gene that was on display several times this season. 

Sporting News compared him to one of the hottest shooting guard names in the NBA right now:

Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld also had rave reviews for the young man back in April:

An intense pre-draft workout scheduled has allowed a number of teams to see this young man in action, and Paul could wind up being the one shooting guard that no one is talking about to have a Jimmy Butler-like impact when he has the chance to contribute. 

Paul averaged 16.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a senior, and did it all while shooting 32.5 percent from the three-point line. As a second-round sleeper of sorts, he's going to be a great value pick because it's already clear that his game and his work ethic are first-round caliber. 

C Mike Muscala, Bucknell

Another four-year player to keep an eye on in the draft is Bucknell center Mike Muscala. 

The 6'11" big man helped his team to an NCAA tournament berth this year, and although it fell short of the ultimate goal, Muscala impressed a lot of people with his ability to use his post game around the basket to strong results. 

His senior season averages—18.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks—all lend to the idea that he is poised for a strong bid as a late first-round, early second-round prospect, and the buzz surrounding his name (see Ford's tweet) does the same. 

Muscala is durable, polished at what he does and can make an immediate impact at the next level without the labels of "raw" or "developing." That kind of skill set is hard to find in the second round, and although his upside is severely limited, his current game is not. 

Honorable Mentions

PG/SG Seth Curry, Duke

SG Archie Goodwin, Kentucky

PF CJ Leslie, North Carolina State

PG/SG Erick Green, Virginia Tech

PF Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota

PG Peyton Siva, Louisville

Follow Bleacher Report FC Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter. 


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