By Taylor Sturm @TSturmRS on June 24, 2014
With the 2014 NBA Draft coming up on Thursday, most of the focus is on which college players will be Lottery selections. However, the key to an NBA team’s success moving forward is as much the players who are chosen late as it is the players chosen early. With so many NBA teams revealing glaring needs, late second-round prospects will have opportunities to play. Here are 10 late second-round prospects with the best chance of playing as rookies.
Jabari Brown was one of the best scorers in college basketball last season with 19.7 points per game. His scoring consistency against the talented defenses of the SEC and “clutch” ability is not something that can be taught. Many NBA teams need an offensive boost from the bench, and Brown could immediately see playing time for a team that lacks scoring depth.
Although not an elite scorer, his potential will get him drafted and his defense will get him on a team. Khem Birch excels at defensive abilities that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
Cory Jefferson has NBA size and athleticism, but is missing some of the key aspects of his game that would put him into the late-first, early-second round. With so many teams hurting for a long-term back-up power forward, he will have multiple opportunities to see minutes next season.
There are several NBA teams looking for a go-to scorer with size. Although a little short at 6-foot-7, LaQuinton Ross could use his bulk to his advantage to score in the paint. Ross is the type of player who could have a few quiet years in the NBA and then explode two or three years down the road.
Nick Johnson is an explosive scorer. Every time he touches the basketball, it’s almost guaranteed that it’s going to find the bottom of the net. Many NBA teams are desperate for a consistent scorer from range; Johnson could be that player.
Dwight Powell is one of the most underrated players in the 2014 NBA Draft. His size, coupled with his athleticism, is deadly to his opponents. He gave some of the better college basketball teams fits all season long, including Arizona and Kansas. With the right team, he could turn into a consistent 20-30 minute player.
Arguably the most explosive dunker in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jordan McRae is an elite college basketball scorer. His stats are vaguely reminiscent of James Harden’s in college, but his inconsistency has seen him drop down many draft boards. McRae has what it takes to be a key sixth man in his rookie season and a starter in years to come.
Russ Smith was an elite college basketball player with the Cardinals, but that doesn’t always translate to success in the NBA. His reputation and ability to score should get him at least a shot at playing time at the next level.
Johnny O’Bryant dominated both defensively and offensively in the paint for the Tigers in his time with the team. His ability to score and defend puts him above several power forwards and centers in the draft. If chosen by the right team, he could find himself in a position to be a go-to sixth or seventh man.
Roy Devyn Marble was explosive all season long, but ran into a road block against Tennessee in Josh Richardson. His draft stock suffered a little, moving him into a late second-round position, but remember, Richardson shut down two of the top shooters in the country to a combined 2-20. Marble will bounce back and be successful in the NBA. His work rate, vision and potential are rivaled by few in the Draft, and he should debut early in his career.
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