Second-round picks are hinted at in NBA trading years in advance as consumable afterthought with only token value, and while it’s true that the success rate on second-draft picks doesn’t is not stellar, flights can be found even down in the 45-60 choices. Just look at Jalen McDaniels, the 6-foot-9 forward that the Hornets selected 52nd overall in 2019 via a trade with the Thunder.
By the end of his second season in the league, McDaniels had worked his way into Charlotte’s starting lineup in what would have been his senior season at San Diego State had he chosen to stay in college. Prospects who forego remaining eligible for college without a first-round grade are subject to criticism, but McDaniels and others like him have shown that there can be value in teams – and a life in it. the league for players – from the end of the second round.
So who are the best bets to make a splash in the league as the second round steals this year? We’ve already covered a few players who could move up to undrafted free agent status, but with the draft getting closer, let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing candidates to be second-round steals.
Breakdown: Criticize Ayayi for never becoming more than a great role player for Gonzaga, but this proven ability to play a supporting role for a top team is exactly why he could be a second-round steal. As a 6-5 wing, Ayayi is not a domineering former college keeper who will need to be deprogrammed to play with a lower utilization rate. On the contrary, he’s a proven 3-point shooter with an excellent 2: 1 assists-to-turnover ratio in college who brings a legitimate secondary skill to the table as a rebounder. He’ll never be a star, but Ayayi’s floor is high.
Breakdown: No one is going to claim Matthew Hurt is ready to be an impact defender in the NBA, but his offensive play is ready for the NBA, as evidenced by his 3-point shot mark of 44.4% on 5.3 attempts per game for Duke last season. At 6-9, Hurt can score from anywhere on the pitch – he scored 63.9% of his 2 points last season while leading the Blue Devils with 18.3 points per game. Hurt’s defensive limitations may keep him from becoming a regular NBA starter, but his full offensive ability should ensure Hurt has a base level of skill that exceeds that of a typically selected player in the second round.
Breakdown: As explained in a recent edition of the Dribble Handoff, Walker already has a plan to follow, as his former Florida State teammate Terance Mann is a similar player who carved out a niche in the NBA after being selected 48th overall in 2019 FSU. The two were four-year-old guys for the Seminoles brainwashed by coach Leonard Hamilton’s selfless and defensive ethic. Mann has grown into a solid 3-and-D wing at the next level, and Walker should be able to do the same. He has a better wingspan than Mann and shot the 3-point ball better than Mann in college.
Breakdown: Champagnie’s 3-point shot mark of 28% over two college seasons means he’s unlikely to sneak into the first round as a 6-6 winger. But he’s playing first-round caliber defense and bouncing like crazy. How exactly this unique skill set translates into a modern NBA roster is a mystery, but Champagnie’s engine and intangibles earn him a detour late in the draft. Plus, it’s not like Champagnie is an unnecessary offensive player, as he did well attacking the basket last season while leading Pittsburgh in goals with 18 points per game. For teams ready to try their luck, Champagnie’s advantage of versatility, defensive potential and rebounds should outweigh offensive concerns if he is still on the board at the end of the second round.
Breakdown: Looks like Livers’ stock is sifted by the stress fracture that kept him out of the NCAA tournament and the fact that he turns 23 on July 28. But while the former Michigan forward is healthy, he has NBA skills. With a career 3-point shooting mark of 41.2% and great positional versatility at 6-7, he’s a ready-to-go role player at the next level who can hold multiple positions and knock down open shots. . He’s not very good at dribbling, but you don’t need to be a punch maker. If Livers is 100% physically, he will prove to be one of the biggest steals in the 2021 draft class simply because his shooting, versatility and stability as a player who rarely fouls and rarely returns the ball.