2019 NBA Draft: Five Second-Round Prospects to Keep an Eye On

Liam McKeone

The 2019 NBA Draft is finally here. This year’s draft class has a lot of variance, more so than usual, and no one really knows how the draft will pan out. Plenty of guys projected to go in the late teens may drop to the end of the first round, and some second-round guys could jump to the mid-twenties. It’ll be an unpredictable night outside of the first three picks, and it’ll be a lot of fun.

The second round rarely produces guys who can come in and produce immediately, but there have been a handful of second-round finds that turned into solid rotation players in recent years. Look at Detroit, for example; Bruce Brown and Khyri Thomas were both second-round picks this past season, yet Brown ended up as a main rotation player who played 20 minutes a night and Thomas projects to be a similar type of player as soon as next year. Here are the likely second-round picks you should hope your team takes a chance on.

Darius Bazley, F

There have been a lot of rumors surfacing lately that Bazley has received a first-round promise from a team picking late, so there’s a chance he’s off the board by pick 31. Should he remain available as the second round begins, he’ll be highly sought-after. The former five-star recruit decommitted from Ohio State and Syracuse before originally deciding to enter the G-League, then ultimately just trained himself while taking a $1 million “internship” with New Balance.

He’s a tantalizing prospect who is as close to a complete unknown as you can get in this draft, which plays both for and against him. He’s an athletic combo forward who can shoot well enough to stay on the floor and possesses the physical attributes to become a high-level defender. His literal lack of tape is why he’ll drop, but he has the prerequisite athleticism to play in the league, and the right coaching staff could turn him into a valuable player in due time.

Jontay Porter, C, Missouri

Porter is a highly-skilled big man who projects as a second-round pick after tearing his ACL twice in six months, the latter stemming from a refusal to listen to rehab advice from his doctors. When healthy, though, he’s worth taking a chance on. He’s a great passer and screen-setter with a wide array of dribble moves he can turn to in isolation situations. He’s also a good shooter, and his offensive potential is generally high.

He wasn’t a good athlete before the ACL tears, though, much less after, and his shooting motion may prove to be an issue early on. Still, Nikola Jokic showed that skilled big men who can survive on defense provide value, and Porter could do that, even if he’ll never be anywhere near Jokic’s level.

Eric Paschall, F, Villanova 

Paschall is a ready-made 3-and-D defender if he can prove he’s quick enough and good enough beyond the arc to stay on the floor. He’s on the older side for a draft prospect at 23, making him attractive to teams needing an immediate contributor of that type.

He’s steady if unspectacular, and teams can’t have enough solid wings in today’s NBA. He doesn’t have anything like the ceiling many of his fellow prospects projected to go in this range have, but he’s also not nearly as big of a risk.

Louis King, F, Oregon 

King is a talented scoring wing with great size and length for the modern NBA, clocking in at 6’8″ with a 7′ wingspan. He has a sweet shooting touch from the midrange and deep and knows how to score in isolation.

Unfortunately, he was also a ball-stopper of the worst degree at Oregon, doesn’t have nearly the advanced kind of handle to be an effective scorer in the league, and showed little to no signs of life while on defense. He’s only coming off his freshman year, so he’s still growing in every sense of the word, but only a team with time and resources to invest in King will do so.

Terence Davis, G, Ole Miss

Davis is a long, wiry senior coming out of Ole Miss who looks the part of a valuable and productive wing in the NBA. His first step is among the better in this draft, and overall he’s a good offensive player who can play a wide variety of roles in an NBA offense. Defensively his lack of bulk will be a problem, but he was quite capable both on and off the ball on that end of the floor at Ole Miss.

However, his shot was inconsistent most of the time, and would often end up turning the ball over in an effort to do everything himself. Combined with an inability to finish at the rim, and teams that select Davis are banking on him turning into a deadeye shooter who’s quick enough to chase after the smaller guards in the NBA. If he can, though, he’s the prototype of the type of player teams are looking for in their backcourt.