Three Second Round Steals for the 2017 NBA Draft


With the NBA Draft only 14 nights away, the rumors are heating up and fans are anxiously awaiting what will happen in the off-season. The beginning of the off-season always begins with the NBA Draft which includes a high amount of drama and anticipation. In today’s article, I would like to break down three players I believe will be steals in the 2nd round. Before I break down the next three players, I want to mention that Jonathan Jeanne (who is a projected 1st round pick) has been diagnosed with a potentially career-ending disorder. I hate seeing and hearing this news because Jeanne was gaining a lot of buzz after the Draft Combine. It is now inevitable that Jeanne will fall to the 2nd round but will most likely be taken by a team with multiple picks who is willing to take the risk. The NBA community wishes nothing but the best to Jonathan and his family. Now, let’s discuss three possible steals for the 2nd round of the NBA Draft.

1. Caleb Swanigan, Power Forward/Center, Purdue University: Caleb Swanigan was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and was a finalist for National Player of the Year. Swanigan came back to school in the fall for his sophomore season, after participating in the 2016 NBA Draft Combine. The major concerns for Swanigan were: getting into better basketball shape, learning how to avoid double teams in the post and score, along with adding some range to his jump shot. If you review the tape, you can see how much Swanigan improved from his freshman season to his sophomore season. He is a pure back to the basket scorer. He isn’t afraid to absorb contact and finish at the rim. Swanigan also has the ability to step through double teams and finish in the paint. While he has a soft touch around the painted area, he is skilled enough to face his defender in the post and shoot a 12-15 foot jumper. The biggest knock on Swanigan is lateral quickness. While Swanigan has the ability to score at will in the paint, he has a hard time defending his man. This has scared teams off because the traditional big man in today’s NBA must be able to guard wing players if they switch in a pick and roll situation. Swanigan still has plenty of room for improvement, but if you’re looking at a guy in the late 30’s early 40’s to make a difference, Swanigan is by far the most skilled big man in the 2nd round.

2. Josh Hart, Shooting Guard, Villanova: Josh Hart has made a name for himself by being on a highly respected (and 2016 NCAA Tournament Champion) Villanova team. Hart is entering the Draft after his senior season at Nova and he looks to be a difference maker wherever he winds up. It isn’t often that you see a senior in today’s NBA Draft going in the lottery (besides Buddy Hield last season) so that is why many suspect Hart falls to the 2nd round. The NBA is always looking for talented wing players that can defend and shoot the three-point shot. One thing that Hart has perfected over his four-year NCAA run are those skills. His basketball IQ has improved drastically since day one at Nova and it has allowed him to use his smarts to overcome his weaknesses on the court. Unfortunately, Hart isn’t the most creative with the ball. He is more of a catch and shoot type of guard than one who can create off the dribble. He is still developing his court vision to become a better passer, but last season he averaged 3.8 assists per game. There are plenty of teams that could use a guy who is able to defend at a consistent level and knock down three-point shots. Hart is my favorite sleeper in the entire 2nd round.

3. Cam Oliver, Power Forward, Nevada: Oliver might be a bit of a surprise to you. I have to be completely honest, I haven’t paid much attention to the Mountain West Conference, but the more I read and study film on Oliver, the more I am intrigued. Oliver came back to Nevada for his sophomore season and led them to a 28-6 record. He averaged 16 points per game and shot 39% from the three point line. The beautiful thing about Oliver is his motor. The guy can flat out rebound the basketball and he had eight games this season with four or more blocks. He is explosive and loves to finish above the rim with power. While everything I am saying about this young man screams first round level talent, there are some concerns, First and foremost, Oliver played in a weak, mid-major conference. He wasn’t going against the upper echelon teams of the NCAA but he wasn’t horrible against them either when competing in the NCAA Tournament. Second, he needs to increase his basketball IQ. Too often he would settle for outside jumpers and that is not his best attribute. Lastly, Oliver seems to get lost at times on the court and scouts have questioned his heart and motivation to achieve greatness. He is definitely skilled, but he has to prove that he is willing to become a better player. Oliver is compared to Kenneth Faried. If you are compared to the manimal and you’re settling for three’s, there is a cause for concern. Ultimately, I believe all of Cam Oliver’s weaknesses are fixable if he is drafted into the right environment.

About Mohamed Bah

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