Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Championship caliber teams are never built overnight as the NBA Finals tips off tonight. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the luxury of a superstar in LeBron James, but it is the “role players” who must contribute in order to bring home that Championship Trophy.
Matthew Dellavedova went undrafted out of Saint Mary’s College of California , yet he plays a prominent part at guard for the Cavaliers. Dellavedova is not a household name around the league, but his contributions on defense and behind the arc make him an essential member on the squad.
Additionally, Golden States’ Draymond Green might be the difference-maker in the series as he will be the primary defender on James. People forget that Green was a second round pick in 2012 after playing four years at Michigan State for Tom Izzo who preaches defense.
Behind the “Splash Brothers” in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Green is the most important member on the squad. His leadership on the court is invaluable, while also instilling a toughness that showcases his heart and hustle.
Identifying these types of players are difficult, especially in the NBA Draft where everything is based on potential or athleticism. Countless players go through the process every year waiting to hear whether or not their name will be called.
Statistics are not on the players’ side as it reveals that only 1.3% of college athletes make the jump from the collegiate level to the pros. This can be beneficial for some players as it places a chip on their shoulder, in addition to proving everyone wrong.
In three short weeks the 2015 NBA Draft will be underway and the Philadelphia 76ers currently hold five second round picks. GM Sam Hinkie believes in the “process,” which consists of dumping anyone of high salary cap and rebuilding through the draft.
Coach Brown came from San Antonio with a skill-set in player development, but has struggled considering that Hinkie has traded away young players such as Michael Carter-Williams or K.J. McDaniels before they can develop.
Listed below are a pair of players to keep your eye on come draft night. These are possible diamonds in the ruff.
The Sixers need another big man like a hole in the head, but Hinkie covets big men. If there’s one thing I’ve learned… it is that you can’t teach size.
Mickey adds additional depth to the front-court, in case injuries were to occur to Nerlens Noel or Joel Embiid. He’s another shot-blocker around the rim who can run.
Provides a quick breather or if someone were to get into foul trouble. Could work his way into the lineup with the right work ethic. Interested to see how the chemistry between Mickey and Dario Šarić would pan out the following year.
Brown can work with the 20 year old, making him another project with high upside. He’s similar to Noel in that he has great length at 6’8″ with over a 7′ wingspan , but needs to add weight and improve his offensive game. Can be a lock-down defender, which makes him attractive to multiple teams at the end of the first round.
Last season: 15.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, & 1.3 APG
It’s not a secret that the Sixers’ struggled to put the ball in the basket and Hunter falling to No. 35 may be too good to be true.
Hunter’s draft stock has hoovered around late first round according to sources. His shooting ability is an attribute that any team in the league could use, hitting on 29.8% from downtown. His size is an added bonus by being 6’6″ with experience after this run in the NCAA tournament.
If the Sixers take Russell with the third overall pick, the backcourt would be set as both individuals would be able to spread the court with their shooting.
This would open up options all over the court, especially in pick & roll opportunities. If defenders leave to go help, then Hunter can spot up in the corner.
Don’t assume he will have the ball in his hands to create, since he’s strictly a shooter. The offense should be based on throwing it in the post and kicking it out.
He’s more of spot-up shooter who can run off screens in order to get open. Expect Noel and Embiid to have some fun if that’s the case.
Every team needs a guy who threatens the opposition with his range. Hunter would be instantly inserted into the starting lineup… Not saying much, but is a great fit.
Last season: 19.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, & 3.5 APG
Other notable second round draft picks include DeAndre Jordan (08), Kyle Korver (03), Marc Gasol (07), and Manu Ginobili (99).