The 2014 NBA Draft class is loaded with top-tier talent and prospects. Already being proclaimed as one of the greatest ever, there are several players whose talents will flourish at the professional level. That being said, the second round of the draft could showcase guys who could make an impact in the NBA as well. Here are a few guys who, while flying under the radar, we see taking roster spots come fall.
Florida's Patric Young is a guy who has been up and down big boards and mocks everywhere. He's been everywhere from potential top-20 pick to undrafted. I say he'll go somewhere in the 30s. Unquestionably the most scrutinized of the potential second-rounders, Young would've likely been a top selection last season had he come out. His senior season in Gainesville might prove to be the biggest con in snagging him. He's extremely raw in the post and a bit undersized but possesses the essential mechanics defensively to succeed. I see a little Glen Davis, without the baby fat, in Young's game. He won't ever be the fastest player on the court, but he's big enough (his muscles have a cult following...seriously) to mesh with even the strongest in the big leagues.
Although he doesn't have the prototypical arsenal scouts love and he's a bit undersized, there's no denying Jabari Brown's scoring ability. He averaged a shade under 20 points per game for Missouri last season and was often the one called upon to make the big shot on a roster that also featured likely first-rounder Jordan Clarkson. Brown is in the mold of Jodie Meeks, meaning he won't do much outside his specialty but excels enough in that one trait than an NBA club will find a roster spot for him. Call this a homer pick, as I am a student at the University of Missouri, but don't say Brown's scoring won't translate. He could be a poor man's Jamal Crawford.
Like his counterpart Aaron Gordon in Tuscon, Arizona's Nick Johnson can flat out fly. He's athletic but doesn't possess the size (at 6'2, he's a combo guard) or the upside that so many other guards in the class share. Ultimately, as a professional, he poses more problems than scouts would like to see, but then again there are several NBA players who share very similar skill sets. Think of Johnson as an explosive but very limited pro.
His young brother, Giannis, might be headed for NBA stardom some day, but for now Greece's Thanasis Antetokounmpko remains a mystery. Secretly, I wish Milwaukee would take him in the second round to pair with The Greek Freak. He's a defensive-minded individual with crafty, long arms who is very limited on the other side of the floor. Thanasis displays shades of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and brings energy to any club. He has a work ethic any coach will love, which leads me to believe he'll find a spot on some bench somewhere.
If there's a mid-major prospect who thrives on the big stage, it's New Mexico's Cameron Bairstow. Originally from Australia, Bairstow lit up the city of Albuquerque during his four seasons in the desert. He's a hard-working big who primes himself on success in the paint, despite not being the most athletic specimen in the class. If nothing else, teams will see a guy who always puts forth his best effort. He scored in bunches in college, largely due to his improving post game and solid mid-range jumper. He's already 23 years old, which doesn't boil over well, and isn't the fastest tool in the shed. Nonetheless, the work ethic and stroke might be enough to seal a bench spot somewhere. It doesn't hurt that he stands 6'10 and weighs 250 pounds, measurements that will stack up well in the NBA.
(Image taken from onsugar.com)