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NBA Teams Chase ‘Next Herb Jones’ in Second Round Draft

In the recent past, the second round of the NBA Draft seemed to be approaching the status of a footnote, “oh, by the way” part of ESPN’s five-hour annual broadcast. Many of the second round picks were traded. Others were used to select international prospects who stayed overseas without breaking into the league. Deals involving second-round players were barely mentioned. Indeed, Round 2 may be such an afterthought that some of the quick picks announced by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum never appear on ESPN’s TV broadcast taking place during the commercial break.

While at times it seemed like the second round of the NBA was losing prominence, it’s possible that those days are over and there are many factors involved. The introduction of bilateral contracts in 2017 expanded squads from 15 to 17 players per team. The pandemic has meant that many of these two-way signers have been needed to contribute to games over the past two seasons, rather than just sit at the end of the bench and wait for an opportunity to play.

As a result, a strong argument can be made that the second round of the NBA draft never actually took place. more important because registry depth has never been more important. The second round of 2021, led by New Orleans forward Herbert Jones (35th overall) and Chicago defenseman Ayo Dosunmu (38th), was one of the highest scoring in recent history. Jones scored 2,335 minutes in the 2021–22 regular season, one of only nine second-round rookies to play at least 500 minutes (compared to four in the previous two campaigns). Dosunmu scored 679 points, becoming one of eight second-round rookies to score at least 200 points (compared to four in the 2020–21 season and only one in the 2019–20 season). Jones and Dosunmu played a vital role in helping New Orleans and Chicago reach the NBA playoffs, ending the post-season drought for those franchises since 2018 and 2017, respectively.

In the weeks leading up to Thursday’s event, numerous website designs were essentially asking the question “Who’s the next Herb Jones?” while looking for potential minor thefts. In addition to their 8th pick in the lottery draft, New Orleans also owns a pair of 2nd round picks 41 and 52.

Here are a few second-round prospects that seem to be gaining popularity in the draft and/or have regional ties:

Patrick Baldwin Jr, Milwaukee

A highly touted high school prospect in 2021 who chose an unconventional NCAA direction to play for his father as his college head coach, Baldwin was once considered a first-round lockout but is now labeled a potential sleeper. According to USA Today, the 6-10 forward “has physical skill and defensive ability that makes him a tempting second-round option.”

Crimson Tide have produced several pros in recent years, including the 2021 lottery pick (Josh Primo), the best second-round pick in that class (Jones), and two other recent high picks (Colleen Sexton, Kira Lewis Jr.). The 6-foot Davison was named by many analysts as one of the best athletes in this draft.

One of the most accomplished players in the draft, the 6-5 guard played 131 college games in four seasons, as evidenced by a 2021 Final Four appearance. NBADraftRoom.com on Nembhard: Managing a second-team offense in the NBA, which is a skill that should help him pick him in the second round or make him a priority free agent signing.”

Dereon Cibron, NC

A sports slasher, his performance at the Chicago Draft Combine helped him gain significant attention. ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony tweeted that Sibron “helped himself in two strong outings with impressive speed, ball possession and passing while playing mostly PG at 6’6″ with a wingspan of 6’9”.

Jalen Williams, Santa Clara

Like Sibron, this 6-6 guard had a great time in the Windy City. USA Today noting that he was “an NBA draft star”. Williams has an absolutely insane physique, perfect for success in the modern NBA. He graduated in 90th percentile or higher in his three-quarter sprint and standing upright.”

Jaylene Williams, Arkansas

Not to be confused with Jalen Williams, he has a completely different game and build from the similar-sounding defender. A 6-10 center, this Razorback is described by USA Today as “one of the most intriguing big men in the draft and arguably the best passer in the position.” At the SEC, he was particularly adept at hype, including charging fees at a high rate.

Which of the potential players predicted not to be selected in the top 20 in the first round is your biggest sleeper in the draft?

@rtnorthrup: Love (Colorado forward) Jabari Walker as a potential second round nominee.

@roland_padilla: (UCLA security guard) Johnny Juzang. I think he will be someone who can provide an instant attack from the bench. You need to improve your defense to stay in the league.

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