As we’ve seen in the last few years the picks made in the second round of the NBA draft can be equally as important as the lottery picks. With championship winners, an MVP, and numerous NBA starters coming in the last 5 years. This is a list of players that many experts expect to fall into the second round, and outperform their draft position within their first few years in the league.
Bold and italics indicates a strong statistical category
- Wendell Moore Jr. – Duke | 6’5 Guard | 21 years old
Wendell Moore Jr. will be the third member of his Duke team to go in this draft, but that is not a knock on him at all as this Duke class is the best we’ve seen in college basketball in a long time. Moore was one of the main ball handlers and playmakers for one of the top offenses in college basketball, leading them to the Final Four. Moore led the team in assists and was one of the most efficient scorers on the team. Moore is a well sized guard at just over 6’5 but holds great two-way upside because of his 7’1 wingspan. He recorded one triple-double this year and I expect his great all-around play to continue if he receives playing time at the next level. Moore has a chance at being drafted at the end of the first round, but I have him making an impact as one of the first picks in the second round.
- College Stats: 33.9 MIN, 13.4 PTS, 5.3 REB, 4.4 AST
- Shooting Splits: 50.0 FG% – 41.3 3P% – 80.5 FT%
- John Butler – Florida State | 7’1 Forward/Center | 19 years old
John Butler is one of the most raw prospects coming into this draft, but many would consider him to be a poor man’s Chet Holmgren. With a slender 7 foot plus frame, Butler is an above average shooter at his height and has shown shot-blocking and playmaking flashes last season for the Seminoles. Butler will be a project player for whoever drafts him, and will definitely spend some time in the G-League, but he has a chance at being a force in the NBA with a little bit of work.
- College Stats: 19.0 MIN, 5.9 PTS, 3.2 REB 0.7 AST
- Shooting Splits: 41.6 FG% – 39.3 3P% – 44.0 FT%
- Andrew Nembhard – Gonzaga | 6’5 Guard | 22 years old
Andrew Nembhard is one of the oldest players in this draft class; thus, he is one of the most polished. After 4 years in college at Florida and now Gonzaga, Nembhard has been able to find his niche in Mark Few’s run-and-gun system as their primary playmaker and ball handler. Nembhard has been one of the best passers in college basketball throughout his college career. Nembhard’s great passing and above average scoring will translate well at the next level. I expect him to get picked in the early 2nd round to a contending team in need of a backup point guard, a role he will fill well in the NBA.
- College Stats: 32.2 MIN, 11.8 PTS, 3.4 REB, 5.8 AST
- Shooting Splits: 45.2 FG% – 38.3 3P% – 87.3 FT%
- Jabari Walker – Colorado | 6’9 Forward | 19 years old
Jabari Walker was one of the bright spots on a very average Colorado team. Walker is first and foremost well sized as a small or power forward in the NBA and was one of the best defenders in the Pac-12 being able to confidently defend almost all players on the court. Walker doesn’t possess highlight reel athleticism or an ankle breaking handle, but he was the top scorer on his team and has a great all around offensive game. Walker could blossom in the NBA as a great positionless player at the next level. He has shown flashes of good playmaking even though his assist total may look abysmal. His main priority is to improve his jump shot, especially from three, but outside of that Walker will hopefully get a chance to grow offensively on the team that drafts him. I expect him to be drafted in the 40 to 50 range, and he will at least make an immediate impact defensively, and possibly as one of the better two-way players in the second round.
- College Stats: 28.1 MIN, 14.6 PTS, 9.4 REB, 1.4 AST
- Shooting Splits: 46.1 FG% – 34.6 3P% – 78.4 FT%
- Dominick Barlow – Overtime Elite | 6’9 Forward | 19 years old
Dominick Barlow has continued to impress me and move up draft boards after his great performance in the NBA combine scrimmage games. Barlow is one of the younger players who will fall to the second round. Barlow spent the last year playing for Overtime Elite in their first year of operation after rejecting countless D-1 offers. Barlow has the potential to be the textbook definition of a stretch four with a clean jumpshot, great athleticism and good size with a 7’3 wingspan. Barlow dominated at OTE, but their competition has been questionable, hence the biggest OTE prospects (Barlow as well as guard Jean Montero) are projected to fall this low. Barlow will most likely be picked by a rebuilding team, giving him the ability to develop and polish up his game. In my opinion Dominick Barlow has one of the highest upsides in the draft even though he is expected to fall into the second round. Barlow did still show some immature play in the combine scrimmages with silly fouls and turnovers, but I expect them to improve in time.
- Overtime Elite Stats: 36.0 MIN, 21.1 PTS, 8.4 REB, 2.1 AST
- Shooting Splits: 52.8FG% – 33.9 3P% – 76.4 FT%
- Jean Montero – Overtime Elite | 6’3 Guard | 18 years old
Jean Montero is the other Overtime Elite member to be drafted in this class. Unlike Barlow, Montero joined OTE with one offer and not much hype around him. Montero proved all the doubters wrong by showing his skills for OTE and quickly moving up draft boards. Montero has slowly been falling purely due to other guards’ great play in the NBA combine. Montero is a shifty small guard who can score off the dribble and has an above average three point shot. He is a guard that almost every team in the NBA can use, and I expect him to find a role no matter what team drafts him. Though Montero was somewhat inefficient at scoring the basketball at times, he is also a great playmaker who has a knack for getting his teammates open shots, a skill that easily translates to the next level.
- Overtime Elite Stats: 36.0 MIN, 21.9 PTS, 9.5 REB, 6.0 AST
- Shooting Splits: 40.1 FG% – 27.5 3P% – 77.7 FT%
- Justin Lewis – Marquette | 6’8 Forward | 20 years old
Justin Lewis is one of the best small forwards that will be available at the end of the second round. Lewis had a breakout year for Marquette leading the team in scoring and rebounding after an abysmal freshman year for the Golden Eagles. Lewis’s great improvement from his freshman to sophomore year just shows the potential for even more improvement at the next level. Lewis is first and foremost a great scorer, he handles the ball well and has shown ability to score from all three levels with multiple 20+ point games. Lewis is well sized with one of the highest wingspans among small forwards at nearly seven feet three inches. Lewis’s size and scoring ability will give a chance to be a great two way player and a steal falling late into the second round.
- College Stats: 32.1 MIN, 16.8 PTS, 7.9 REB, 1.7 AST
- Shooting Splits: 44.0 FG% – 34.9 3P% – 76.1 FT%
- Josh Minott – Memphis | 6’8 Forward | 20 years old
Josh Minott is one of the most athletically gifted and NBA built forwards in the draft. His college stats at face value were quite underwhelming, but Minott has the size and athleticism to be at the least a great defender in the league. Minott recorded one of the highest verticals at the NBA combine and showed his defensive skill-set through his limited minutes at Memphis. Minott will be drafted purely on potential as he has above average defensive ability and little to no offensive game. He has shown flashes dropping a few 10+ point games when he is given the minutes, but as of now Minott is being drafted on his size and athleticism over what he showed for Penny Hardaway this season. Minott looks to possibly sneak into the end of the first round, but I expect him to be at least a great defender if not a great two way player in the NBA.
- College Stats: 14.6 MIN, 6.6 PTS, 3.8 REB, 0.9 AST
- Shooting Splits: 52.2 FG% – 14.3 3P% – 75.4 FT%