While most of our attention will be on who the Hawks will take in the first round of the NBA draft, we should also keep an eye out for potential diamonds in the rough known as the second round. Currently, the Hawks have one of the highest number of second round/ undrafted players on the roster.
Shelvin Mack, Mike Scott, Kyle Korver, Lou Williams, Gustavo Ayon, Mike Muscala, and Paul Millsap all got their NBA career started not by holding a jersey on stage but by getting a phone call in the late hours of Thursday Night while their neighbor next door nods off to sleep.
With that in mind, I decided to look at players that Ferry and Co. might be keen to draft once Adam Silver hands the hosting duties over to the new deputy commissioner, Mark Tatum.
For the second round, I’m going off of what I believe The Hawks GM would be looking for in a prospect.
1) Upperclassmen from non S-Class Elite NCAA Programs.
2) International Prospects that can be stashed for 1-2 years (and have the skills to come over afterwards).
*I’m going strictly off of draftsite info and videos made by people that seem to REALLY like Maybach Music and Lupe Fiasco instrumentals. I am a fan with a non-basketball business to take care of and can’t afford to fly to Eurocamp every spring.
On to the list!
Part I - Upperclassmen from non S-Class Elite NCAA Programs.
What do I mean by "S-Class Elite"? Basically this means the cream of the crop NCAA programs in power conferences. For Example:
This does not mean that the power conferences are excluded by any means. Mike Scott came from ACC minnow (at the time) Virginia. I believe that this is because executives from the Spurs tree stay away from bigtime AAU players.
In going after smaller school players, Danny Ferry is able to find players that haven’t developed the bad habits that come with a heavy AAU schedule. This leads to players with a developed jump shot and a better understanding on how to run a team concept.
So, which players may be on our radar?
Lamar Patterson, SG Pittsburgh
Lamar is a solidly built SG prospect at 6’5" 225 pounds with a wingspan of 6’11". Essentially, Patterson was the go-to guy for the Panthers and had to adjust to going from the vastly inconsistent Big East to the ACC. He did this by avg. 17 points, 4 rebound, and 4 assists a game. He was also known as good defender not by the use of physical abilities, but by his understanding of the game on both sides of the ball. While he’ll never be mistaken for a Point Guard or Kobe Bryant, with development in the Hawks system, he could definitely become a 4th guard with adequate offense and defensive abilities.
Joe Harris, SF Virginia (Senior)
We’re going back to the well. Harris is a below average athlete for the SF position at 6’6" 215 with a wingspan of 6’6". While that would usually be a death knell in the NBA of the 2000’s, in this world of specialization and understanding of a player’s contribution to the mental side of team defense, Harris remains a viable prospect. That’s because this guy can shoot the rock. Run him off a couple of screens and he’ll be sure to get off a good shot against another teams 8th man. On the opposite side, Harris is not going to make SportsCenter’s Top Ten", but he’s not going to make "SportsCenter’s Not Top Ten" either. This is a guy that knows how to play defense on a team level. Rotate out, don’t gamble, and survive to shoot another possession. He may only avg. 4 PPG his rookie year, but some of those nights are going to be of the 12pts on 4/5 shooting variety. Those nights you are going to be happy he’s on the team.
DeAndre Daniels, SF Connecticut (Junior)
This is cheating, and normally I would not think that Daniels would be a player that Ferry and Co. would look at in a prospect but with some digging you realize that he could be a player that could become a MAJOR steal in this draft if he comes to Atlanta. Being a five star recruit and coming from his home state of California to Connecticut, you would think that he’s the kind of person that did not produce because he developed bad habits growing up in the AAU circuit. This was certainly what I thought when I first heard about him coming in for a workout. But as you pull the curtain back on what his past 4 years have been like you realize just how unordinary his college career was and how much better he would be if he came to a stable situation like Atlanta.
1) DeAndre’s homestate is California, but he actually completed his final year of prep basketball at the IMG Academy in Florida. This place is the closest you’ll find to a European style youth academy in America. A big part of their process is refining their students to being in the best physical shape and learning how to play in a team setting. That means no AAU mixtape tours and bad habits.
2) UCONN from 2012 to 2014 was a school in crisis mode. Lax standards by the university in regards to academics caused them to be banned from the tournament in 2013, longtime coach Jim Calhoun was ill and resigned from the team before his freshman season even began, and multiple players from the team bailed out and transferred or entered the draft early. Not to mention that the conference he was in had a worse breakup than Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston. There was no continuity and DeAndre (a player that’s not been built to work on his own) suffered.
*If you want an example of how this can affect a player look no further than Andre Drummond. People wondered why a player of his talents could look so bad on the floor, well when you college career could make for a great season of soap opera TV, it’ll be hard to concentrate on the scouting report. If Drummond had been on a stable team, he would have been a top 3 pick in the 2012 draft.
Why do I bring this up with Daniels? Because if not for the foolishness going on at UCONN, he probably would be a mid-1st round pick. From a measurables prospective, the guy is great. 6’8" SF with a 7’2" wingspan and 3.2% body fat. He is an athlete. But even better, he understands how to be a role player. One thing that I won’t bring up with DeAndre is stats. This is because I believe that in his case they can’t be used. His freshman year was as bad as you can get from a distraction point of view and it has had a domino effect on each year afterwards. If things were better, maybe Drummond has a monster season and he feeds off of it. Maybe Lamb doesn’t leave and UCONN has a legit 2/3 combo. Maybe his 2013 center doesn’t bail and transfer so that he’s not stuck playing in the post. Fact is his stats have been corrupted and I think Danny knows it.
You put DeAndre on the Hawks however with their suddenly top tier player development coaching staff and you could have a second round steal. Daniels has the physical traits and upbringing to complement a team-first defensive concept as well as shut down his opponent. His shot isn’t broken and should be ready to consistently knock down open jumpers by year 2, and by year 3 you may be looking at the replacement for Demarre Carroll for less than the room exception.
The key is continuity. Second round prospects will not be able to contribute on day one, but if you have a good coaching staff, there will come a time in the spring when you want to give your starters some rest. Hawks fans have seen what bad player development can do to a prospect. From Donta Smith and Salim Stoudmire to Solomon Jones and Pape Sy, assets have been thrown to the side because in the end the system has failed to do its job.
But you’ve also seen Mike Scott put up 23 and 14 against New York and wondered if we have something special on our hands. Then the next year you have Mike Muscala get 15 points on 6-8 shooting against the Bucks. Sometimes you have to create your own luck.
Next post will be on potential second round international selections.