It seems every NBA Draft has a prospect or two that’s taken way too low. In recent years, here are players taken in the second round who’ve turned into good-to-very-good NBA players: Draymond Green , Jae Crowder , Isaiah Thomas , Allen Crabbe , Jerami Grant , Norman Powell , Chandler Parsons . This year, there will another player or two or three who slips into the second round and winds up being labeled a steal.
With that in mind, I know you’ve got opinions. Perhaps questions. We all still do. You might be asking yourself, “How is this guy slotted so low?” or “Why does everyone think he’s a top-10 player in this year’s draft?” You’re not alone. I ask those questions, too. Every year, without fail, there are players ranked so much higher than I think they should be, and vice-versa.
Let’s discuss those players in depth. For prospects I think are overrated,. Below, four players whose stock I think is too low as we get ready for the selections.
1. Caleb Swanigan , Purdue Boilermakers
Should be taken: Late teens
Figures to be taken: Mid-to-late 30s
This won’t take long. I’m more in on my Swanigan opinion than any other player on the board. He’s a beast. He can shoot from deep, can work the post, is one of the 10 best rebounders at the college level I’ve ever seen, and his attitude is terrific. He’s ready to contribute off the bench immediately for any NBA team. He’s going to last in the league, barring injury, for a decade-plus. I can’t be more clear than this. Swanigan (18.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 3.1 apg) is projected in the 33-43 range, and it’s a joke. Guy should be a top-20 pick. He’s going to be as productive and impactful as Draymond Green, another veteran college player who proved his worth, showed a dynamic skill set and still didn’t get taken in the first round.
2. Jonah Bolden , UCLA/KK FMP Beograd
Should be taken: High 20s
Figures to be taken: Early second round
I think Bolden will go stride for stride with Swanigan in terms of having the best NBA career among 2017 second-rounders. If you sort of recognize the name, UCLA Bruins hit big on the recruiting trail when Bolden, who is from Australia but played prep in the U.S., committed to Steve Alford. Bolden then wound up missing his freshman season in 2014-15 because he was ruled a partial qualifier. After earning limited minutes with the team in 2015-16, Bolden bolted on UCLA and left college basketball altogether. He played in Serbia most recently and averaged 12.9 points, 7.2 boards and shot 48 percent.
Doing this in a solid overseas league, and adapting to different coaching, but maintaining consistency, well to me it signals that Bolden is ready for the NBA as a role player — minimally. In my eyes, the only reason Bolden’s not considered a first-rounder is because of his age and roundabout route to the draft. Physically, he looks ready. I think he’s one of the 15 most gifted players in this draft.
3. Monte Morris , Iowa State Cyclones
Should be taken: Picks 30-35
Figures to be taken: In the 50s
Morris’ absurd 5.17 assist-to-turnover ratio last season was one of the best of any point guard in college basketball over the past two decades. Morris is collectively projected to be a mid-to-late second-round pick. I’m fine with him being considered a second-rounder, I suppose, but when you consider his composure and leading ability as a natural point guard, it’s hard for me to have confidence in 30 other players the way I do with Morris.
In the second round you’re essentially taking flyers on guys and hoping they make the roster. Morris is a near-guarantee to do that. He’ll be a decade-long backup point guard in the league, I think. Safe pick. Not flashy, but so productive in sticking to his strengths. He distributes and does not lose on possessions. I also think his game is so reliable, he’ll succeed no matter what franchise he ends up at. The definition of “point guard” is changing by the year. Morris has traditional PG attributes but an understanding of the high pick-and-roll and command of the half court.
4. Josh Hart , Villanova Wildcats
Should be taken: Mid-30s
Figures to be taken: Mid-40s
I agree with Reid Forgrave’s general assessment on Hart Malcolm Brogdon . Brogdon, of course, was one of the best rookies in the NBA last season, and he did this after being a second-round selection following four solid years as a integral part of his college team’s scheme. Hart possesses a lot of those same qualities. As a senior, he was a top-five college hoops player, averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals and shot above 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3.. Hart has a lot of tangibles that make him an ideal follow-up to
There’s no one thing Hart does that is wowing from an NBA perspective, but he’s a well-built shooting guard who wants to play defense, can rebound well for his size and doesn’t force his shots. He’ll be a tremendous addition to any locker room. I do agree with evaluators that put him in the second round, but I disagree with the notion that he’s a guy who should go after the 40th pick. I’d go high first round on a guy like Hart, who has the work ethic and track record to suggest he’ll be able to stay on an NBA roster throughout his 20s.