Five 2nd Round Rookies That Can Make an Impact on Their Team

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What do Paul Millsap, Manu Ginobli, Dennis Rodman and Alex English all have in common? They were all 2nd round selections in the NBA Draft and have had successful and long careers in the league.

Being a second round selection does not have all the glamour that some first rounders may have but that does not mean its the end all for that player.

Here is a list of five players, 2nd round selections that were drafted in this past draft that I believe have the potential to make an impact with their respective teams.

1. A.J. Hammons

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A.J. Hammons was selected by the Dallas Mavericks 46th overall. The big man played for Purdue for four seasons and was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Hammons is a big body standing at 7’0″ and can be a great rim protector for the Dallas Mavericks. Currently the Mavs have Andrew Bogut and Salah Mejiri as the only centers on the roster. They recently cut ties with JaVale McGee, so it may be a sign that they are comfortable with what they have.

Andrew Bogut, who was brought in from the Golden State Warriors, will be the clear starter. However it is not full guaranteed that he will be healthy for an entire season, as he has battled with his fair share of injuries. Look for Hammons to compete for backup minutes and maybe even get some looks as the starting center. If he can work on his post game a little more and overall offense work, he can be a nightly double-double threat.

2. Kay Felder

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Felder has quickly become a fan favorite before the draft was held. He was selected 54th overall by the Atlanta Hawks and was then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The former Oakland University star averaged 24.4 points and led the NCAA in assists with 9.3 per game. The 5’9″ point guard averaged more points than top picks Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown. He may be undersized but from watching him play in college, he has the heart and I think he’ll have success with Cleveland. Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas are example of smaller guards that have found success in this league and Felder has the potential to be on that list.

Kay Felder does have the chance to become a regular guy in the rotation. The Cavaliers do have Kyrie Irving as the starting point guard but the backup job is up for grabs since Matthew Dellavedova left to sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. Felder has the ability to shoot the ball and is a great passer.

3. Isaiah Whitehead

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Isaiah Whitehead was selected with the 42nd overall pick by the Utah Jazz and was traded to the Brooklyn Nets on draft night. I think being traded to Brooklyn was a lot better for his young career rather than being buried in a heavy guard rotation in Utah. Whitehead had a decent two years at Seton Hall buy had some injury problems during his time there. He did finish on a high note, winning the Big East Tournament MVP and Big East First Team honors.

As far as his playing time, I think he will get a ton of minutes. Brooklyn’s starting point guard might be Jeremy Lin but management is definitely grooming Whitehead as the future starting guard. But as stated earlier he’ll still get minutes early. The Nets do not have a lot of depth at the guard spots so we might see more of Whitehead earlier than we thought.

4. Malcolm Brogdon

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The former Virginia Cavalier was a defensive stopper in his four years in college and is a current member of the USA National select team. He won multiple defensive awards, including the ACC and National Defensive player of the year. Brogdon also shot the ball well, shooting 41% from three his senior season. He is a good catch and shoot type of player and he has the potential to earn playing time quickly in Milwaukee.

The 36th overall selection comes into a crowded backcourt with the Bucks. The starting guards are set with Micheal Carter-Williams, Khris Middelton and even Giannis Antetokounmpo playing the point. The backup guard spots include Matthew Dellavedova, Rashad Vaughn and Tyler Ennis. Out of the list of guys here, Brogdon has the biggest hill to climb as far as early play time. With his defensive ability, he can set himself above everyone else has a a crucial part of the Bucks second unit.

5. Georges Niang

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Niang had a nice four-year career at Iowa State University. He won multiple Big-12 awards during his time there and averaged 20.2 points his senior season. He can do all the little things, bang down low with the big men and step out and shoot the three. There has been questions on what he will be his primary position at the next level. Niang is a small forward that can also play power forward and can even play center if the Pacers want to go small ball.

Pacers president Larry Bird was impressed by Niang’s skillset, which ultimately led to Bird using Indiana’s 50th overall selection on him. The Pacers has acquired a lot of assets this past offseason. Paul George is the clear starter for them at small forward and Thad Young will most likely be the teams starting power forward. Georges Niang does have the ability to earn minutes in both backup spots. Every team has that one player that does the little things to succeed and Niang has the ability to be that guy for Indiana.

 

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