In the final edition of our Big Board series we’ll be taking a look at an array of prospects slated to be available in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Because this half of the draft is so unpredictable and because I did not get a chance to watch some of these players, there will not be a designated order in which they appear. These are simply the best players, in no specific order, forecasted to land outside of the first round in the eyes of most draft aficionados.
(Key: The Nuggets possess the 38th and 50th picks in the Draft. Those who appear underlined are players who may be available with the 38th pick in the Draft but will likely be off the board by the 50th pick. Those who appear in italics are players I covet most.)
Doron Lamb // Kentucky // Shooting Guard
An extremely underrated player at this point. Probably the second best shooter in the Draft next to John Jenkins. Has great range and can score in a variety of ways going to the basket. Undersized for a shooting guard but likely won’t be asked to do much besides score off the bench. Possible second coming of Jason Terry.
Jared Cunningham // Oregon State // Shooting Guard
One of the best pure athletes in the Draft. Biggest strength is his quickness and defense which results in a barrage of steals. Was selected to the Pac 12 All-Defensive Team twice. Regarded as the best defensive player in his conference by a wide margin. Can play both point guard and shooting guard. Loves to get out in transition.
Orlando Johnson // UC Santa Barbra // Shooting Guard
Fantastic offensive talent. Never average less than 18 points per game during his career in Santa Barbra. Shot 43 percent from 3-point range last season. More well rounded than people realize. Has an excellent frame and solid athleticism. Can score from anywhere on the court. Put up monster numbers against top-level competition including a 36-point, 10-rebound, four-assist, two-block, three-steal performance against UNLV.
Kyle O’Quinn // Norfolk State // Center
One of the fastest risers in the Draft. Won MVP at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Was the driving factor in Norfolk State’s upset of Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament where he put up 26 points, 14 boards and two blocks. Stands 6-10 in shoes with a 7-5 wingspan. Has decent post moves but can rebound and block shots at a very strong rate.
Jae Crowder // Marquette // Small Forward
Won Big East Payer of the Year in just his second season as a Division 1 athlete (after transferring from a junior college). One of the strongest players in the Draft. Very undersized for a power forward at 6-4, but can play other positions. Had one of the more eye-popping statistical seasons in college basketball. Can do virtually everything on the court well except create his own shot. Seen as one of the most underrated prospects in the eyes of many stat geeks.
Mike Scott // Virginia // Power Forward
Scout after scout raves about him being the steal of the Draft. He has a fantastic mid-range game and polished jump shot that rarely misses the mark. Range extends out to 3-point range. Played at a slow pace at Virginia but still put up great numbers. Very efficient scorer. Reminds many of Udonis Haslem. Can contribute immediately.
Darius Johnson-Odom // Marquette // Shooting Guard
A shooter who thrives off jump shots and driving to the basket. Underrated as an athlete. Has great intangibles and is an extremely hard worker. Somewhat limited outside of scoring. Doesn’t do much else besides shoot. Has been very vocal about wanting to improve. Wants to defy his detractors.
Kevin Murphy // Tennessee Tech // Shooting Guard
A pure scorer who dropped 50 midway through the season. Is one of the best players in the Draft at creating his own shot. Can light it up from beyond the arc. Has good size for a shooting guard. Improved in other areas of the game as his career progressed. Can get tunnel vision at times.
Eric Griffin // Campbell // Power Forward
An absolute freak of an athlete. Was known last year for a series of incredible dunks. Started playing basketball at a very late age. Is still maturing but has shown phenomenal improvement in just four years. One of the best shot-blockers in the Draft. Could be a steal at 50 but will need time to develop before he’s a contributor at the next level.
Scott Machado // Iona // Point Guard
Led the NCAA in assists last season. Has outstanding court vision. Loves to push the pace. Is essentially Kendall Marshall at half the price. Has a toned frame but is somewhat diminutive. Not a great scorer. Needs to continue improving his shot from outside.
Furkan Aldemir // International // Power Forward
Put up ridiculous rebounding numbers in the Euroleague Tournament. Manages to get points even though he’s not a great offensive player. Is an average athlete but rebounds like his life depends on it. Needs to bulk up and improve his post-scoring tactics.
John Jenkins // Vanderbilt // Shooting Guard
Best shooter in the Draft. Flat-out incredible from deep. Does a good job of scoring off screens and finding the open spot on the floor for a pull-up jump shot. Led the SEC in scoring each of the past two seasons. Doesn’t do anything besides shooting at an elite level but does everything well and plays the game the right way. Some question his mediocre athleticism.
Marcus Denmon // Missouri // Shooting Guard
Very undersized for a shooting guard. Had an outstanding season scoring the basketball and leading Missouri to a No. 1 ranking in the country. Shot better than .460 percent from the field, .400 percent from downtown and .895 percent from the line. Has NBA range and then some. Size appears to be a serious hindrance according to many scouts.
Khris Middleton // Texas A&M // Small Forward
Was ranked as a potential first rounder prior to the start of the season but suffered injuries and inconsistent play thus damaging his draft stock. One of the more creative players in the Draft. Has a very intriguing midrange game. Needs to improve his jump shot. Could be excellent value if he’s dedicated to improving.
Terrell Stoglin // Maryland // Point Guard
Is listed at 6 feet without shoes but looks much smaller. A pretty awful passer for a point guard. Is really a shooting guard at heart. Not a great defender because of his size. Led the ACC in scoring as a sophomore. Can light it up in a variety of ways, including from downtown. Has an impressive handle and can penetrate with speed when needed.
Festus Ezeli // Vanderbilt // Center
Some believe he’s the best center in the Draft. Didn’t have the type of season many predicted he would. Is still very raw on offense and has concrete hands when it comes to receiving passes from his teammates. Has great physical tools including a chiseled frame and lengthy wingspan but doesn’t always utilize them as best he can. Would likely be tempting to select. Still has a long way to go before he’s an NBA pro.
Robbie Hummel // Purdue // Small Forward
Was once considered a first rounder. Sat out the entire 2010-11 season with his second ACL tear. Injury history will almost certainly play a role in his NBA career if drafted. Is an excellent shooter for a power forward. Can open the floor up for his teammates. Has one of the best basketball IQs in the Draft. Very good passer. Never forces the issue. Lets the game come to him. A hot name at this point in time.
Kevin Jones // West Virginia // Power Forward
Had a truly great season last year averaging 20 and 11 as a senior. Can stretch the floor but tends to fall in love with shots he doesn’t often make. Is a much better low post threat where he scores in a variety of ways. Has a soft touch around the rim. Plays with childlike enthusiasm. Finds a way to get things done in the face of adversity. Meteoric rise raises questions about his long-term success in the NBA.
Kim English // Missouri // Small Forward
Had a breakout season as a senior averaging nearly 15 points per game for one of the best teams in the country. Had a great showing at the PIT. Has been lighting it up from distance in workouts. Isn’t much more than a shooter but can stroke it with efficiency. Also not a great athlete. Fairly one dimensional but competes on both ends of the court.
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