With scouting so advanced these days it's getting tougher and tougher for a player to fall through the cracks and become a second round sleeper, but every year there are players who emerge in that role.
Maybe they play in a smaller college conference, maybe they're a bit undersized, or maybe the hype machine just hasn't caught up to the work they've been doing in secret.
Whatever it is, you can be sure there are going to be some second round picks making a huge impact on the NBA in the future. Here are some possible value picks that could make an NBA general manager look brilliant.
Payton Pritchard - Oregon
Peyton Pritchard spent the last four years being one of the best point guards in college basketball but due to his lack of size or athleticism he's almost certainly going to fall to the second round.
Pritchard has a polished pick and roll game and can thrive as either a pull-up shooter hunting his shot or as a distributor looking to collapse the defense before finding a teammate. He shot 42% from 3 in his final year at Oregon with most of his attempts coming off the dribble, something that will serve him well in the pro game.
Earning the trust of coaches can be tough for young point guards but Pritchard is likely to have respect right away as a responsible ball handler. Despite being one of the most high-usage players in the country over his four college years he only averaged two turnovers per game, and defensively he knows all the proper rotations and works hard to fight over screens.
Right now an undersized, unathletic player who can hit shots off the dribble and guard his position is Fred VanVleet - a player whose four year college career arc looks a lot like Pritchard's. While it's unlikely Pritchard goes entirely undrafted he could be set up to have an NBA impact that is somewhat similar to that of VanVleet.
CJ Elleby - Washington State
The NBA is a shot maker's league and CJ Elleby is one of the best shot makers in the draft.
For starters, Elleby is 6'6. That height is important when taking on high-level defenders and if his height isn't enough he also has a high release that seems entirely unfaced by any closeouts. What makes Elleby so special of a shooter is that he excels at shooting off movement, something you don't normally see from lanky wings. Whether it's sprinting off a screen to catch and release or stepping back after a combination of dribbles Elleby always seems to maintain his balance and that allows him to keep a pure release.
Washington State struggled mightily this year and Elleby was tasked with dragging a team lacking talent through the PAC-12 schedule and that hurt some of his percentages, something that likely eliminates him from first round pick consideration. However, as a big-time shotmaker with size he absolutely looks the part of an NBA weapon and he could end up being a major steal in the draft.
Leandro Bolmaro - FC Barcelona (Int'l)
Oftentimes a lack of athleticism is what eliminates a player from first round consideration and that could be the case for Leandro Balmaro despite the fact he shows huge upside in other areas of the game.
Bolmaro is a special passer, someone who has vision for the game that simply can't be taught. In the halfcourt he is an assassin in the pick and roll, using his distribution ability to find the open man the moment a defender leaves them to help in the paint. In transition Bolmaro has become known for his stretch passes, often bounce passes that weave through the arms and legs of defenders as if the ball had eyes and was controlling itself.
Bolmaro also has great size as a 6'6 guard and can defend his position. He currently plays for one of the best clubs in the world outside the NBA in FC Barcelona but as a young player doesn't get that many minutes. For that reason teams haven't known exactly how to evaluate him, something that could see him fall to the second round where an intelligent team will happily scoop him up.
Isaiah Stewart - Washington
With the declining role of the center position in modern basketball teams are going to be hesitant to use first round picks on a traditional big man and for that reason a quality center is likely to fall to the second round and end up overplaying his pick position.
That player could very well be Isaiah Stewart from Washington. Stewart is as solid as a rock at 6'9, 250 pounds and plays the game with energy and physicality. While he's built thick, he's not slow by any means and is more than comfortable moving his feet laterally, something any NBA big needs to do. He's also a great leaper which teamed with his wide frame makes him an intimidating rim protector not many drivers can finish around.
Offensively Stewart sets great screens and has great timing on rolls. His sense of knowing where to be for a drop off pass or an offensive rebound makes him a productive scorer, someone who loads up on points without needing a play called for him.
A one-and-done college player he is far from a finished product but he has all the tools of a productive NBA big man and he could end up thriving when given the spacing of the pro game.
Reggie Perry - Mississippi State
When you look at bigs that are having success in the modern NBA it's the ones that are fluid enough to move around the court defensively and athletic enough to space the floor vertically in the pick and roll as a lob threat. Reggie Perry does both of those things.
Looking like a sculpture carved out of granite the 6'9 Perry is quite the physical specimen. His strength was unmatched by just about anyone in college and it seemed like he was capable of out-jumping anyone he needed to as well. These traits helped make him one of the best rebounders in the country, someone who takes immense pride in going up in a crowd and coming away with a contested rebound.
Perhaps where Perry is most fun to watch is on the defensive end where he can be a pest guarding the pick and roll. If the scheme demands him to hedge ball screens he'll fly out to a ball handler and send him back towards centercourt with ease. If in a more NBA-style drop coverage he drops back to the paint and loads onto the balls of his feet, ready to fly out in any direction he needs to make a defensive play. Perry has the physical gifts to hang in the NBA defensively, something not a lot of young bigs have.
Offensively Perry shows great timing as a lob catcher and also shows deft footwork when catching the ball around the hoop. He's not someone who wants to catch the ball on the block and forces a post up but if he gets the ball anywhere near the paint he makes quick and decisive moves that get him into a position to score.
Projecting what centers are capable of having an impact in the NBA is tough but Perry is someone who looks the part and could end up having first round production despite the likely second round pick placement.
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