Pic by EdRost88
As we edge closer to this year’s draft, general managers around the NBA are putting together their final plans for which players they feel will have a positive impact on their team. While much of the focus in this draft will be on whether players can step straight into the league, there will be a host of young players who could still be well worth taking a chance on. For the likes of Golden State Warriors, currently 2/13 with 32Red to become NBA champions this year, these later first round picks could end up being better selections than those players being snapped up right at the beginning of the draft.
So which of those players should teams be looking at towards the end of the first round and early in the second round?
Frank Kaminsky: Had the seven-footer been one of the Wisconsin Badgers players throughout his college career, Kaminsky could have expected to have been given a number-one pick status in this draft. After spending his first two years at university on the bench, it wasn’t until later in his time at Wisconsin when the big man really began to fulfil his potential. By the time the 22-year old left college he was one of the toughest players to defend in the country. Capable of scoring and creating from anywhere on the court, Kaminsky could well be a number-one draft pick in all but name. There will be plenty of NBA teams keen to snap up this year’s National college player of the year on the back of a season in which he collected a whole host of awards.
Jerian Grant: On the back of a sensational couple of seasons, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey showed just how highly he valued Grant by handing him the captaincy during his final year. Despite some disciplinary and motivational issues earlier in his college career, Grant showed how much he has grown up over the past couple of years, leading by example and captaining one of, if not the, best offenses in the country, and leading the team into the Elite Eight. At 6’5″, Grant is more than capable of playing in either guard positions. His improved maturity both on and off the court should also have convinced NBA teams that they would be signing a 22-year-old who has grown up significantly. While a starting spot might be out of the question in his first year in the league, Grant looks to be a very safe option for those teams looking for a scoring option to come off the bench later in games.
Montrezl Harrell: The most appealing aspect of Harrell’s game could be the fact he doesn’t try to be anything other than what he is. And what he is is an extremely effective and willing power forward. At 6’7″, the 21-year-old might not be the most physically gifted big men heading into this year’s draft, but that’s not to say the former Louisville star won’t be fairly high on the list of a lot of NBA teams this month. Aside from his natural finishing ability, Harrell’s main quality is his willingness to run through brick walls for the cause. Whether it’s knocking down perimeter jumpers, scoring with his back to the bucket or collecting rebounds, Harrell could be an ideal pick for one of those teams looking to add options to their roster, especially in the big man department. Those teams being tipped by bettors with the likes of 32Red and UNIBET to be contenders next season might not be looking at the power forward, but there will be plenty of NBA teams who have room for a player who works as hard as Harrell does.
Michael Frazier: If you’re looking for a guy to sink three-pointers for fun, Frazier could be just the player you need. He might have his limitations as a player, but when it comes to shooting from beyond the arc, he was almost unmatched during his time at Florida, recording 73.2 percent during his three-year college career. While the shooting guard’s three-point percentage dropped somewhat last season, due in part to an ankle problem, Frazier still left university with an enviable three-point shooting percentage of 43.2. While some players excel when they are a team’s best player, Frazier is one of those who really performs at his best when playing alongside other talented individuals. That is a very positive sign for a player about to enter the NBA. Kyle Korver was probably the first player to carve out a lengthy NBA career based solely on his shooting. Frazier certainly has the pedigree to match the Atlanta veteran’s achievements.