There is something about second round players that I just really like. Maybe it’s because they come into the league hungry and with a big chip on their shoulder for being overlooked. Most play with a sense of urgency because unlike the Draft’s first thirty, there is no guaranteed paper. Last year, second rounders like Luc Mbah a Moute, Mario Chalmers and DeAndre Jordan made some noise. Here are five late round rookies who are going to GMs pay for passing on them.
1. DeJuan Blair, Spurs: Many were shocked when this big man from Pitt slipped all the way to the 37th pick. In the summer league, Blair gave everybody a preview on what he can do by averaging 16.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. His toughness and soft touch should be a good fit with Gregg Popovich’s system. Blair has the potential to be the next Paul Millsap.
2. Chase Budinger, Rockets: With his size, athleticism and shooting touch, Chase was destined to be a lottery pick. But leading up to the draft, scouts and GMs started questioning his toughness, leadership skills and ability to put the ball on the floor. Like Blair, Budinger impressed in the Summer League averaging 17.8 points, while shooting a ridiculous 72.7 percent from three-point land. With Yao out, the Rockets will definitely welcome another scorer.
3. Jodie Meeks, Bucks: Scoring 54 points in game in college didn’t stop scouts from hating on Meeks’ game. The former Kentucky Wildcat was labeled as being too small for a shooting guard with poor shot selection and a lack of a handle. Meeks had a good showing in Vegas, but still has a lot to prove. Lucky for him, he plays on the Bucks so the opportunity for burn will be available. If he proves to be a good three-point shooter on this level, he could have a job for years to come.
4. Sam Young, Grizzlies: Just like Blair, his teammate at Pitt, Young was a projected first rounder. A third team all-american, he was one of the best players in college basketball last season. Young has a Kobe-like work ethic and is a great athlete. He had some big games in the summer league and will find himself in the rotation come fall.
5. Taylor Griffin, Suns: For the past two years, Taylor has been buried in the shadow of his famous younger brother Blake. But those who have seen Taylor play knows he has some game himself. He is a hard nosed player who rebounds and blocks shots well considering his size. Griffin reminds me a little of Matt Harpring the way he plays.
Which second rounder do you think will contribute the most?
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