Concluding the NBA Draft second round analysis, let’s take a look at picks 51-60. I’m just going to give quick blurbs on each pick and how I think they fit. Do they have a shot to make the team? Can they make an impact next season?
51. New York Knicks — Thanasis Antetokounmpo — 6’6, SF, Greece/D-League
Just in case you couldn’t tell by the rather unique last name, Thanasis is Giannis’s brother and possesses some of the same freak athleticism that his brother does, as well as some of the measurements with his long 7’0 wingspan. It’s impossible to not be impressed by Thanasis’s athleticism for the wing position, which makes him an excellent potential defensive prospect. However, I’m not particularly sure he’s a legitimate NBA prospect at this juncture. It was smart of him to take advantage of the Giannis hysteria that engulfed the NBA community this year by moving over to the D-League, as I’m not sure he’d have been drafted otherwise. There’s some athletic skill to work with here, and he’ll need to improve the shot. My guess is nothing comes of this pick, but it’s a decent flyer.
52. Philadelphia 76ers — Vasilije Micic, 6’6 PG, Serbia
Micic is a fascinating prospect, and one that was absolutely worthy of this selection by the Sixers. Playing on the same team as Nikola Jokic in the Adriatic League, Micic started at point guard and averaged 12 points and six assists over 31 minutes of playing time. Unfortunately, he also added 3.6 turnovers per game to those numbers, which led the Adriatic. When taking that into consideration along with his inability to shoot from the outside, Micic doesn’t look like a particularly appealing prospect. But then you look at how he got there. He has excellent feel in the pick-and-roll, and finishes well around the rim on drives. His vision is also fantastic, he just tries to do too much sometimes. My guess is that Micic probably stars in Europe for many years and never comes over to the NBA regularly. However, if the Sixers or Mega Vizura can rein him in a little bit, this could be a steal, and the Sixers could have just drafted a really solid backup point guard.
53. Houston Rockets — Alessandro Gentile, 6’5, SG, Italy
Gentile has been a high-level player in Italy for a few years now and is already a member of the Italian national team. First and foremost, Gentile is a jump shooter that can make shots from distance. That would be his role in the NBA, despite the fact that he’s shown some ball skills. His shot selection can be questionable, but his mechanics are beautiful and fluid. The biggest problem with Gentile will be the defense, as he lacks the lateral quickness and length to defend in the NBA right now. The question will simply be if he can defend enough to necessitate his offensive skill. I’d predict that Gentile is one of those guys that will probably be able to make more money throughout his career starring in Europe than he will as a role player in the NBA, so he never comes over and plays meaningful NBA minutes.
54. San Antonio Spurs – Nemanja Dangubic, 6’8, SG, Serbia
The THIRD (!!!!) player drafted off of Mega Vizura in Serbia after Jokic and Micic, Dangubic was the MVP of the 2014 Adidas Euro Camp in Treviso for European prospects this year. Dangubic is a 6’8 guard/forward that is a smart off-ball player with decent ball-handling and slashing skill offensively. However, despite decent mechanics the shot didn’t fall this year, so that will need to be his biggest source of improvement. He’s also a good athlete that tries to dunk over people and works hard on the defensive end. The Spurs will be happy to let him develop overseas for a couple years, and maybe there is a decent chance he develops into a role player for them in the future.
55. Oklahoma City Thunder – Semaj Christon, 6’3, G, Xavier
Christon is one of those guards that can get to the rim whenever he wants, but his limited size makes him a more questionable prospect than someone like Jordan Clarkson. He’s still not much of a jump shooter, although this season he improved to 39% from three on limited attempts. It’s just not something he feels confident taking though, and his free-throw percentage still hasn’t crept above 70% for his career. His point guard skills aren’t there either. Xavier pushed him to a more off-guard role this season, which is a role he’s better-suited to as he is asked to slash from the wing and get into the paint to create for himself and others. The questions are whether or not his size causes problems for him defensively and whether he’ll be able to improve his shot enough to keep the defense off-balance in order to get to the paint. Given that the Thunder already have Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb, the odds are high Christon spends time in the D-League this season and develops.
56. Orlando Magic — Roy Devyn Marble, 6’6, G, Iowa
Marble is another player that got to the rim whenever he wanted this season, but questions still linger about his flat jump shot. He played point guard for the Hawkeyes this season and averaged 17 points and 3.6 assists per game. At 6’6, he has the size to play SG in the NBA, but he’ll need to improve his range to take advantage of his slashing game. If he can do that, Marble could become something similar to an E’Twaun Moore, who has now played nearly 200 NBA games in his career.
57. New York Knicks — Louis Labeyrie, 6’10, PF, France
Labeyrie is an athletic stretch-four prospect that probably won’t ever materialize into anything. He averaged six points and four rebounds in 12 minutes per game in France while shooting 56% from three on one attempt per game. He’s a pure draft and stash at this point in time that isn’t ready to play in the NBA any time soon.
58. Philadelphia 76ers — Jordan McRae, 6’5, SG/SF, Tennessee
McRae is pretty much the prototypical “3 and D” prospect, and was grossly under-appreciated throughout the draft process. While it was his well-rounded offensive game that stood out for fans during his collegiate career, it is his defensive potential that impressed scouts. Standing 6’5 with a near 7’1 wingspan, McRae defended three positions in college and will be able to do the same in the NBA with his good quickness and great length. Beyond the defense though, he has solid ball-skills, is a willing passer, and a solid shooter from three point range. His mechanics look strange, but it’s a fluid, balanced shot that he might be able to improve as he continues to grow as a player. This is another player that the Sixers could probably use immediately off the bench, and at worst he’ll get minutes in Delaware.
59. Brooklyn Nets — Xavier Thames, 6’3, SG, San Diego State
Thames is an undersized two guard that doesn’t have a great first step, possesses a somewhat flat jump shot from distance, and weak length for the shooting guard position. He defended well in college, but his length and size is going to cause problems for him as he transitions. This isn’t particularly a pick that I like, especially in conjunction with the Markel Brown selection. Brown is pretty clearly the better NBA prospect as a two guard due to his shooting, athleticism and length, so my guess is that the Nets see some sort of untapped point guard potential in Thames that I don’t.
60. Brooklyn Nets — Cory Jefferson, 6’9, PF, Baylor
The Nets closed out the draft with a guy that I like a lot in Jefferson. In fact, I like him more than I liked his partner in the Baylor front court, Isaiah Austin, before Austin’s Marfan syndrome prognosis. He’s an explosive athlete with a 7’0 wingspan and a tremendous motor. He also showed some surprising range this season making 37% of his threes on one attempt per game, meaning he might have some untapped potential spacing the floor. He’ll have a bigger defensive adjustment than most because of Baylor’s tendency to play zone. But he’s a tough, energetic, rebounding big that has the potential to replace Andray Blatche this season after the Nets let him go in free agency.
Superlatives for this part of the draft:
Favorite pick: Vasilije Micic
Least favorite pick: Xavier Thames
Best chance to make an immediate impact: Jordan McRae
Best long-term prospect: Micic