One thing I noticed about this year’s draft is that the second round -- especially the early second round -- produced a number of guys that I think have a shot to turn into productive NBA players. Maybe I’m biased because I watched these guys too much when they were in college, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a handful of these guys ended up carving out solid careers:
Jeffery Taylor: Taylor has a long way to go offensively if he wants to become a good NBA player, but this year’s 31st pick in the draft does have an NBA ready skill: his defense. Taylor is a physical specimen, a 6-foot-7 wing that will be able to lock down three or four positions at the next level. If his jump shot continues to develop, Taylor could end up having a long career.
Bernard James: James went 33rd to Cleveland and was immediately shipped off to Dallas in exchange for Tyler Zeller. James is 27 years old, but he’s a young 27 physically (he didn’t play ball for a six year stretch) and an old 27 mentally (he wasn’t playing ball because he did three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan). He’s big, he’s athletic, he’ll defend and he rebounds the ball. What team couldn’t use a guy like that?
Jae Crowder: The thing about Crowder, who went 34th and ended up in Dallas, is that there really isn’t anything that he doesn’t do well on a basketball court. He can defend bigger players in the post and spread the floor with his ability to shoot and he can defend smaller wings on the perimeter while doing damage in the paint. I doubt he’s ever even going to be a starter at the next level, but couldn’t he play the same role as Ron Artest (minus the insanity, or course)?
Tyshawn Taylor: Taylor has the tools to be a successful point guard in today’s NBA. He’s got size, he’s athletic and he is a dynamic scorer that can make plays for his teammates. The problem for the Brooklyn-bound 41st pick is that he truly struggles with his decision-making both on and off the floor. He turns the ball over too much, he takes some silly shots and he found himself in trouble too often during his career.
Darius Miller: James Posey. Bruce Bowen. Danny Green. These guys are 6-foot-7 perimeter defenders that are knock-down three-point shooters. The first three have carved out solid NBA careers. Miller should be next in that line after going 46th to New Orleans.