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2020 Draft Position Preview: Second Rounders

Some Second Rounder to Scout Out as Draft Day Draws Near
by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer

2020 Draft Position Preview: Second Rounders

Some Second Rounders to Scout Out as Draft Day Draws Near

What are the realistic expectations for a second rounder? Role player? Possible starter? Longshot draft-and-stash Euro?

Like every NBA team, the Cavaliers have had all of the above. Some have succeeded right here in Cleveland and others blossomed elsewhere, but the knife cuts both ways. For every Danny Green there’s a Mark Price.

Aside from Price, the Wine & Gold have had good fortune in the second round over the years – from Hot Rod Williams to Daniel Gibson to Anderson Varejao.

The Cavs used this year’s second rounder in the package that allowed them to move up and snag Kevin Porter Jr. at No. 30 overall in last year’s Draft. And after Porter’s promising rookie campaign, the upside to that move could pay huge dividends down the road.

But just because the Cavaliers don't have a second rounder going into the Draft doesn’t mean they won’t jump back in at some point. If they did, here’s a handful of prospects that might slip out of the first round but make a splash one day down the road ...

Left to Right: Cassius Winston, Mamadi Diakite, Lamar Stevens, Vernon Carey Jr., Aleksej Pokusevski
Photo by Andy Lyons via NBAE/Getty Images

VERNON CAREY JR.6-10, 270 – Born: February 25, 2001 – (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – College: Duke – Duke’s bruising big man at 6-10, 270 with an NBA-ready game; good offensive skillset and agility plus the frame to simply muscle defenders; not an explosive leaper; soft hands; punishes opponents switching smaller players on him; outstanding rebounder and someone not afraid to do the dirty work; very good shot-blocker – averaged 1.6bpg in single season at Duke – and uses strength to protect the paint; decent ballhandling abilities; tends to coast for stretches on the defensive end; not a long wingspan; one of the younger players in the Draft; projects as a traditional center in the pros – doesn’t attempt many threes and isn’t proficient from the stripe; struggles to defend in space; First Team All-ACC and ACC’s Freshman of the Year; Carey’s father played offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins for seven seasons.

MAMADI DIAKITE6-9, 230 – Born: January 21, 1997 – (Conakry, Guinea) – College: Virginia – dependable, accomplished, defensive-minded four-year forward with Virginia, improved each season; named to the All-ACC second team along with All-ACC Defensive team and was a semifinalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award as a senior; has an NBA-ready game, especially on the defensive end; tons of high level, big game experience – including winning 2019 NCAA title with Virginia; blue-collar player who does the dirty work; born in Conakry, Guinea, he grew up playing soccer; excellent physical strength for his size; seen as a “glue guy”; not a very good ballhandler; led the Cavaliers in scoring (13.7ppg), rebounding (6.8rpg) and blocks (1.27bpg) while notching double-figures in 26 of his 30 outings; high energy player who protects the rim and guards on the perimeter; effective without having plays called for him.

ALEKSEJ POKUSEVSKI7-0, 190 – Born: December 26, 2001 – (Belgrade, Serbia) – Team: Olympiacos – skilled big man is the youngest player in the draft; a 7-footer with a 7-3 wingspan; high IQ player with excellent handle and passing ability for his size; had huge growth spurt but retained skillset; can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor and run the break; obviously has excellent length, but will need plenty of work in the weight room before reaching the NBA; has been labeled a “7-foot guard”; not an elite athlete, but extremely fluid for his size with a good change of direction; good instincts and anticipation will allow him to be a good team defender at the next level; could be a tough matchup at the pro level – can shoot over smaller opponents and can attack bigs with his ball-skills; can score with his back to the basket, but also has a versatile mid-range game; a low-risk, high-reward, draft-and-stash player.

LAMAR STEVENS6-7, 230 – Born: July 9, 1997 – (Jenintown, PA) – College: Penn State – solidly-built 6-7, 230-pound forward with a 6-7 wingspan; finished career fifth on Penn State’s all-time scoring list; started all 104 games in his career, longest starting streak in the nation; one of the oldest players in the draft, will turn 24 in July; two-time All-Big Ten First Teamer; was the MVP of the NIT Tourney in 2018; averaged double-figure scoring and at least 5.5 boards in each of his four seasons; excels in attacking the basket; sturdy build – good NBA frame; not a great ballhandler and can be turnover-prone; viewed as a tweener; will need to improve his jumper at the next level; unselfish, intelligent player; good shot-blocker for his size; led Penn State in scoring and rebounding as a junior; accomplished off the court – wrote a children’s book involving kids with special needs in the creative process.

CASSIUS WINSTON6-1, 200 – Born: February 28, 1997 – (Detroit, MI) – College: Michigan State – accomplished point guard was two-time All-Big 10 First Team, and the Big Ten’s Player of the Year in 2019; eclipsed former Spartan Mateen Cleaves as the Spartans all-time assist leader; great decision-maker; a fierce competitor and proven winner; will turn 23 in February; good speed but not an explosive leaper; pure lead guard who knows how to run a pro-style offense; not physically gifted – 6-1, 200, with a 6-5 wingspan, but makes up for it with creative offensive game; has all the point intangibles – intelligent, great feel for the game, trustworthy with the ball at the end of games; very good in the open court; a heady defender who gives up some quickness, Winston doesn’t project as a plus defender at the next level; can create for himself and others, using his exceptional vision and change of speed; ranked third in the Big Ten in scoring (18.6 ppg) and fourth in assists (5.9 apg); graduated in three years with bachelor’s degree in advertising management.


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