Jun 23, 2011, 8:15 AM EDT
Every year somebody gets drafted in the second round and by December we’re already asking how so many teams missed on him. Call it the Landry Fields effect.
It’s impossible to predict who that will be out of the 2011 NBA Draft, but we can take a few guesses.
Here are some second rounders to watch — and to be happy when your team drafts him.
Jimmy Butler, 6’8” small forward, Marquette: Everybody wants this guy to make it. He has one of the best stories in the draft — kicked out of his home by his mother at 13 and made homeless, living on friends couches (playing hoops at the local high school) until a family took him in, ala the “Blind Side.” Thing is, the guy can play and impressed teams at his workouts. He actually has a little Landry Fields in him — one of those guys who can do a little bit of everything well. The key is he can defend so that should get him minutes.
Malcolm Lee, 6’5” shooting guard, UCLA: Speaking of guys who can defend — other teams have been bringing him in to work with the elite guys in this draft, because they know Lee will make them work or it. He’s long and athletic and guys who come out of UCLA seem to blossom as a pro in a way they do not for Ben Howland. He’s got to improve his shot — he hit just 29.5 percent from three last year.
E’Twaun Moore, 6’4” shooting guard, Purdue: He is a favorite second round sleeper for a lot of teams. If you can get a shooter in the second round that’s a winner, and he has NBA range (40 percent from three last season). Another guy with a well-rounded game. He’s not an explosive athlete and a bit small for the position, but he just plays tough.
Malcolm Thomas, 6’9” power forward, San Diego State: He was overshadowed by Kawhi Leonard but Thomas is a smooth player and good athlete who can finish at the rim. He is long, can defend and is a good shot blocker. There are concerns about his size at the four, and he doesn’t have an offensive game outside the paint (his offense is pretty raw generally) but teams are intrigued with his potential.
Diante Garrett, 6’4” point guard, Iowa State: He wasn’t drawing a lot of interest during the season, but when he got into workouts (starting at Portsmouth Invitational) teams liked what they saw. He’s a tall point guard with a quick first step. His natural inclination is to be a facilitator, but he needs to improve his shot and cut down the turnovers. This is a guy that may spend a year in the D-League, but a few years from now may be a quality rotation player.
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