Who could be this year’s diamond in the rough in the NBA Draft?

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Every year, there is a quality player who slips through the cracks in the NBA Draft and falls to the second round. Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, and Draymond Green are just a few examples that come to mind. This year, my list of second-round prospects I like is a bit longer than usual. And while the Hawks are unlikely to keep all three of their second round picks, they still are in Travis Schlenk’s possession. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some prospects that are projected to go in the second round, but could have a high return on value.

Moses Brown, C, UCLA

You will not see UCLA big man Moses Brown featured on many mock drafts. He is one of the most slept on prospects in this class, but considering he is keeping his name in the NBA Draft, he believes he is ready for the next level.

Measuring in at 7’1″, Moses Brown has length you cannot teach, toting a 7’4″ wingspan and a 9’2″ standing reach. On top of that, the kid can move up and down the court given his size and is already dominating the boards as a freshman. He is currently skinny and growing into his frame, but with time, he should be able to do the same in the NBA once he fills out. His instincts as a shot-blocker are second to none, blocking a shot in every game played and averaging 1.9 a contest. He even had an eight-block performance early in the season. On top of this, he rarely gets in foul trouble and plays a super efficient brand of basketball.

His scoring has been inconsistent, but he is a rebounding machine. Brown is old school, he stays in the paint, using post moves and short face-up shots to score. His early decision to make the jump to the NBA and his dated game could force him to go undrafted, but whatever team takes a chance on him is getting a 7-footer with a ton of potential who needs to add size.

Sagaba Konate, C, West Virginia

Sagaba Konate projects to be a great defender off the bench that can stretch the floor, and we all know how valuable that can be in today’s game. Though undersized for a center at 6’8″, Konate is a force on the boards. Not only that, he is one one of the best shot blockers I have ever seen, albeit at the college level. He just added the three ball to his arsenal in his Junior season but has hit at a 39.1% rate in the small sample size he did play before an injury. Konate has the makings of an elite role player with room for more, which is all you can ask for in the second round. With this Atlanta Hawks team needing some more defense going forward and all centers on the roster on expiring deals, Konate could be a great pick.

Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue

I will go ahead and make my bold prediction for this article: Carsen Edwards will end up an NBA starter. Avid college hoops fans have been familiar with Edwards for a while now, but he put himself on the map for casual fans with his NCAA Tournament performance. It was the stuff of legends. Edwards had two 40 point games and made a tournament-record 28 3-pointers. Edwards was an upperclassman and is a bit undersized. But one thing is for sure: he’s got “it.” And his three-point shooting will at the very least make him a backup point guard in this league for a long time. And if you didn’t know, the Hawks could use one of those.

Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri

A year ago, Jontay Porter was one of the best stories in college basketball. After his older brother, Michael Porter Jr., committed to Missouri, Jontay reclassified to get a shot to play with his brother. Michael, unfortunately, was sidelined practically the whole season with an injury, but the younger Porter still shined.  At the conclusion of last season, Porter was viewed by many as a potential lottery pick, but he surprised by electing to return to school. Unfortunately, he would never step on the court for Missouri again. Porter tore his right ACL and MCL in a scrimmage at the beginning of the season. To make matters even worse, he re-tore his ACL in March. Porter has a ton of potential, but it is unclear whether his injury history will allow him to live up to it. He will have to redshirt his freshman year more than likely, which makes him a lottery ticket for any team willing to take a chance on the medicals in the second round.

Iggy Brazdeikis/Jordan Poole, Michigan

There are a couple of guys coming out of Michigan that have caught my eye in this draft process.

Iggy Brazdeikis was one of the most impressive freshmen in college hoops last year, but he has gotten no love leading up to the Draft. He is a bit undersized at 6’7″, and lacks the rebounding ability you want from a big man. However, he can score in bunches, from the inside and outside. At the very least, he should be able to come off an NBA bench and help a team stretch the floor. But something tells me the Big 10 Freshman of the Year has bigger plans. After all, he came in as a freshman and led the Wolverines in scoring.

Jordan Poole does not have as much upside to me, but I do think he can have a long career in the NBA. The NCAA Tournament hero took the next step by becoming a vital cog for Michigan last season, displaying his playmaking and shooting ability. A team who takes him late in the second round could get excellent value.

Jared Harper, PG, Auburn

Atlanta locals likely know a good bit about Jared Harper, but the whole nation learned who he was in this year’s NCAA Tournament. He led Auburn on a miracle run to the Final Four without one of their best players. Standing under 6 feet and being an upperclassman, Harper is going to have a tough time in the Draft. However, his elite speed, terrific shooting ability, and will to win gives him a chance to make a nice career for himself in the NBA. I would have no problem taking a flyer on him as a bench option who can wear down opposing defenses while Trae Young gets his rest.


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