The NBA Draft’s second round gems

March 22, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Draymond Green (top) blocks the shot of Louisville Cardinals guard Peyton Siva (bottom) during the first half in the semifinals of the west region of the 2012 NCAA men

Let’s look at the following list of names: Manu Ginobili, Michael Redd, Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer, Luis Scola, Monta Ellis, Marcin Gortat, Paul Millsap, Marc Gasol. What to they have in common? If you guessed that they are ALL successful second round NBA Draft picks, you are correct. Now obviously, some have experienced a higher degree of success than others, but the fact remains that their respective teams were (and in some cases, still are) extremely impressed with their late selection of talent and scouting abilities.

Now that Summer League is in the books and we’ve had a quick look at the most recent draft class, are there any second round players that could contribute right away this season or better yet, become eventual stars in the league? Though it may seem like an obvious list, if I were a wagering man (I’ll never tell), here is my best bet on four potential second round gems:

Jae Crowder, Mavericks
To this day, I’m still shocked that this guy fell into the second round, although it wasn’t by much at #34 overall. I love this guy’s game. He was drafted by the Cavs, but shipped on Draft day to the Mavs in package to acquire Tyler Zeller. I happened to catch a lot of Marquette games this past season and was enamored with Crowder’s versatility in averaging 17.5 points per game. He can score by banging down low or by using a very nice shooting stroke from the outside. His work on the glass is also impressive as he plays much bigger than his listed 6’6 height suggests. A NCAA average of 8.4 rebounds per game is nothing to joke about. I think his all-around game will translate seamlessly into the pro game and while he may never become an All-Star, he should project to a sure-fire starter and solid rotation guy for many years. He also averaged 16.6 ppg in 5 Summer League games. As much as I love Tyler Zeller (I’m a Tar Heels fan), I think the Mavs made away with a the better deal on Draft night. Time will tell.

Draymond Green, Warriors
Another guy that was projected to go in the first round, but slid down just behind Crowder. Green was a big time player for a big time program (Michigan State). A few of his Michigan St. credits include: 2012 First Team All-American, 2012 Big East Player of the Year, the all-time career rebounding leader in school history (1,095) and just the third player in NCAA history to have 2 career triple doubles in the NCAA tournament (the other two guys were named Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson… not sure who they are). In the NBA, at  only 6’7 he’ll be considered slightly undersized as a power forward, but that’s really the only position that suits him. He’s still a big body at 230 pounds and any guy that averages a double-double in college (10.6 rpg) has at least the ceiling to be a solid NBA player. I just hope in a few years time, we’re comparing Green to Al Jefferson and not Ike Diogu.

Doron Lamb, Bucks
Put Doron Lamb almost anywhere but on that loaded Kentucky team, and he gets so much more attention. His creative scoring ability, as he can both shoot the ball efficiently and get the free with contact, will translate to the league. He averaged 14.0 ppg for the Bucks in Summer League, while leading them to a 4-1 record overall. He compares well to Ray Allen and Richard Hamilton in the way he is extremely active getting open off the ball. In the league, he’ll be a knock down shooter (49% and 52% three-point shooter in two seasons at Kentucky) who may get called upon to handle point guard duties when needed, since he’s slightly in between positions in the backcourt. But with his aptitude for scoring, there’s certainly a place in the league for him and the Bucks might be the perfect place to being his career.

Robert Sacre, Lakers
Sacre could be considered the “Mr. Irrelevant” of this draft, as he was taken with the very last pick. Call me bias (he is Canadian after all), but I think Sacre fell too far. I mean, can’t we see him being the perfect backup to Dwight Howard in Los Angeles? Then, when Dwight has had enough and wants out, Sacre can step up. Joking aside, I love Sacre’s bulk and array of post moves to be successful in the league. The big knock on Sacre is that he doesn’t always play to his size and didn’t dominate the other big men in his conference at Gonzaga. Instead of exploding on the boards, he relied mostly on his size and timing to rebound and block shots. He wouldn’t be the first guy coming out of college that was said to have not used his size properly in college. Carlos Boozer anyone?