One of the largest misconceptions among talent evaluators that’s been picking up steam in today's NBA is age and potential. The false notion is that If you stayed in college more than one year, something must be wrong with your game.
The problem this creates is it stands in the way of proven players being chosen over someone who might or might not become what executives think they can. Front offices become enamored with athletic intangibles and youth with a majority of these kids, having supreme confidence they can mold their raw prospect into a star, while willfully passing on proven commodities.
With a majority of the second round talent pool being upperclassmen, some teams make a habit of drafting international players with the intentions of stashing them long term and keeping them off the current payroll. Other teams shop away their second round picks for cash considerations, giving NBA teams with good scouting departments chances for great value later in the draft.
Take this past 2016 NBA Draft for example. Malcom Brogdon was one, the first player ever to earn conference player and defensive player of the year honors in the prestigious ACC. The only so called perceived downside to Brogdon was that he stayed in college for five years, a red flag to all 32 NBA teams that passed on him in the first round before the Milwaukee Bucks came around and eventually selected him 36th overall. Brogdon is considered one of the heavy favorites to walk away with NBA Rookie of the Year come June 26th.
The list of these second round steals runs long, with recent gems like Phoenix's Tyler Ulis and MVP candidate, Mr.Irrelevant Isaiah Thomas. With the inevitable to continue, here are a few prospects the Suns should look to target at picks 32 and 54, and continue their recent second round draft success.
He definitely watches his fair share of CP3 highlights. A lightning quick point guard who can fill it up, Evans excels in manipulating the pick and roll. His decision-making in those situations is what makes him such a good offensive point guard. He would be a BPA selection with Tyler Ulis already picked last year, but he would definitely be the best player available at 32 if he's on the board.
Bell is a freakish athlete with great intangibles; Possessing exceptional natural basketball instincts on the defensive side of the floor, averaging over two blocks and one steal a game his junior campaign at Oregon. Bell could carve a himself a nice role off the bench with his defensive prowess.
The 6'6 Hart, a true two way player, possesses the tenacity and versatility on the defensive side of the ball and the efficiency and intelligence to be a day one contributor. Although Hart is not an elite athlete, he uses has great body control and is a tremendous finisher at the rim. Hart cleaned up his jump shot mechanics going into his senior season and it paid dividends for him, raising his three point field goal percentage from the previous season, a five percent improvement from 35 to 40%. One thing you will never have to question is Harts effort and desire to compete.
Bacon is microwave scorer who only needs to see the ball go through the net once to get him in a groove. The versatile wing looks the part of an NBA wing with a long frame and potential to become an impact player on the defensive side of the floor. Consistently aggressive offensively, Bacon has shown the ability to be a shot maker and score from all three levels of the floor. He is a better shooter than his 33% three point field goal percentage from his sophomore season portrays; Possessing fluid mechanics and NBA coaching his jumper should look to become more consistent.
The 22-year-old Thornwell has a strong, mature body that he uses well. He can guard multiple positions because of this. He's a prototypical 3&D role player, and those are valuable in today's NBA. The team lacks depth behind Devin Booker, and Thornwell would mesh well with Ulis off the bench.
Brooks is a versatile scorer and a much improved jump shooter. Often being asked to play out of position this year actually benefited Brooks in the long run, becoming a better finisher and creator.