(Note: If you read yesterday’s post you can skip to the players, this intro section is the same as Part 1)
My work on the second round of this year’s draft has already started by looking at the potential late first rounders, but there are still a lot of other guys with the chance to be drafted in the second round. Rankings across different sites vary more in the second round, and generally no one has any idea what they’re doing when it comes to second rounders. Since the overwhelming majority of second rounders don’t ever play meaningful NBA minutes, majorly diverging from consensus isn’t really a problem.
Looking at the major sites opinion of guys certainly has value, but since no one consistently guesses second rounders well, evaluating them based on other things than just traditional scouting would seem to hold an edge. In that vein, while I’ve made an effort to watch a ton of almost everyone who has a good chance of being drafted in the first, I rely much more on analytic models and looking at skill sets that more easily “fit” in the NBA to project which second rounders have the best chance of succeeding.
Basically, any one thing that stands out for a prospect is what sparks interest for them being a potential second round “steal.” It could be a particularly translatable or intriguing skill set, an impressive “eye test”, or a high performance in a draft model that causes me to think a player is worth a shot in the second round. On the other end of the spectrum, being particularly bad in any one of those three areas is generally enough to move a prospect significantly down unless they’re exceptional in other areas.
I’m breaking the second rounders into three groups; overrated, underrated, or properly rated. For determining over/underrated I’m comparing my own ranking purely to the DraftExpress ranking only because the instances where DraftExpress and ESPN vary widely would be confusing to deal with otherwise.
Player-Team-Age (Draft Express Top-100 Rank, ESPN Top-100 Rank)
Michael Frazier-Florida-21.2 (DX 32, ESPN 39): Frazier is probably my favorite of the second round 3-and-D wings. His size limits him to only guarding shooting guards and he’s not a great creator, but he’s got everything else to be an effective role player on the wing. A strong frame and quick feet make him a solid defender, and offensively his shot is as pure as anyone in this draft. If he can just play average defense in the NBA his shooting is going to be enough to make him a valuable asset. Average defense isn’t a given, but Frazier has the physical tools and college profile to suggest he can. Frazier has a little extra upside also because he’s more than capable of running off screens to knock down shots, he’s not just a spot up guy.
Draft Value: Early 2nd 33-43
Richaun Holmes-Bowling Green-21.6 (DX 34, ESPN 36): I’d been ready to write about Holmes in the underrated section for the past couple months, but just recently his draft stock has finally caught up to near where it should be. He’s an athletic and effective defender who has good mobility and is a really dangerous rim protector, potentially able to guard both 4’s and 5’s. His awareness and effort level aren’t great, but they aren’t so awful as to inhibit from being a decent defender in the NBA. On offense, he’s an incredibly bouncy finisher around the basket, who also has a pretty soft touch on short shots that he’s not dunking.
What makes him exciting is that he’s a strong shooter from the midrange and even has shot 36% from three on over 80 attempts in his last two seasons combined. If he develops true NBA three-point range, a stretch 4/5 who can protect the rim and finish in pick and roll is hard to not be excited about, and even if he doesn’t he could still be a decent backup with his finishing and shot blocking. His awareness on both ends is poor so it’s far from a given he figures out the NBA games speed, but he has as much upside as anyone in the second round due to his solid production and amazing tools.
Draft Value: Late 1st/Early 2nd 28-38
Guillermo Hernangomez-Sevilla-21.0 (DX 35, ESPN 37): Hernangomez is a skilled and coordinated big guy who’s produced well at a young age in the high-level Spanish ACB. Despite his great production, draft models don’t love him because his underlying statistics aren’t particularly impressive. Lack of great mobility and poor leaping combined with bad defensive stats make him a probable minus defender, and he isn’t a good shooter or overwhelmingly skilled enough to really help out on the offensive end. He’s a smart player who knows how to play pick and roll on offense so if he figures out team defense he could be a good backup center, but he does carry some risk of being a negative on both ends of the floor.
Draft Value: Early/Mid 2nd 34-44
Cedi Osman-Anadolu Efes-20.1 (DX 48, ESPN 33): Osman is very well rounded for a wing player, lacking any glaring weaknesses. He can shoot a little, has good athleticism, plays with a lot of energy, and handles and passes pretty well for a wing. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any clear strength other than “playing hard”, so his path to becoming a useful wing is a bit unclear. The combination of skills and athleticism is intriguing enough to hope he finds a way to fit in, but he’s not particularly exciting in any way other than his awesome nickname of “Jedi” Osman. He’s also oddly really good at chase down blocks, a testament to his effort, athleticism, and instincts, but maybe not an indicator of NBA success.
Draft Value: Mid/Late 2nd 43-53
Alan Williams-UC Santa Barbara-22.3 (DX 54, ESPN 57): Williams might have the worst “tools” or “fit” of any prospect in this draft. He’s the size of a PF, a below the rim athlete, and he provides no outside shooting, the classic 5 in a 4’s body. However, he’s got simply fantastic instincts on both ends of the floor allowing him to be a surprisingly good defender in college, and a fantastic pick and roll player who makes good decisions and has a soft touch around the hoop. To go along with all that, he’s a great rebounder on both ends of the court. His lack of shooting or mobility means he will basically have to be a small 5 in the NBA. As a small 5 his lack of rim protection will probably prevent him from sticking in the NBA, but there is a chance he can overcome it with his awesome instincts.
Draft Value: Late 2nd 51-Undrafted
At the back end of the second round Darrun Hilliard, Josh Richardson, Nikola Radicevic, Tyler Harvey, and Chris Walker are all basically properly rated. Hilliard is my favorite and might be a little underrated, but all are fine picks in the 50-60 range. Obviously there are other prospects who are “properly rated”, but I’m not going to spend time focusing on guys everyone thinks should go undrafted.