Who are the best second round picks in this year’s draft?

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The NBA draft came and went last night, and our friends over at Pro Basketball Talk have just about all the content you can handle, evaluating every single pick that was made during the draft. Our own Travis Hines gave you a list of the winners and losers from draft night as well. 

Here, I’m going to take a look at the players that were taken late in the draft that will have a chance to become the “How did 30 teams miss on this guy?” star from the second round, as well as a couple names that could go from undrafted to the Next Fred VanVleet.


NIC CLAXTON, Georgia (Brooklyn, 31st)

Claxton was the first pick of the second round, and while it was mildly surprising that he dropped to the second round — he was one of the 22 Green Room invites — Claxton’s rise from relative unknown to NBA player is impressive. What makes him so intriguing is his perimeter ability as a 7-footer. He’s a fluid athlete that is versatile enough to project as a multi-positional defender with the ability to protect the rim while also having enough skill as a ball-handler and a shooter that he can play away from the basket. He’s very much still a longterm project — Claxton has wide shoulders and was a late-bloomer, but he weighs just 217 pounds — but this is a pick that Brooklyn made with minimal downside and the hope that the next Pascal Siakam just fell into their lap.

ERIC PASCHALL, Villanova (Golden State, 41st)

The Warriors have proven themselves quite adept at finding talent that can contribute in the second round in recent years. Quinn Cook, Jordan Bell and Patrick McCaw were all second round picks, while Kevon Looney and Damian Jones were the last pick in the first round. I think Paschall is another guy that fits that mold. He’s an explosive athlete that, at 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, can guard a number of different positions at the NBA level. He’s not a great three-point shooter, but he has proven the ability to get hot and managed to make 35% of his threes as a senior. More importantly, he spent the last three years thriving in a Villanova system that prioritizes many of the things that Golden State’s offense does and churns out plenty of NBA role players. He should be able to immediately step into their rotation and help, which is basically all you can ask for in this range.

TALEN HORTON-TUCKER, Iowa State (Lakers, 46th)

I have no idea how this pick ended up belonging to the Lakers, but it did, and they landed the youngest prospect in this draft in Horton-Tucker. In an era of positionless basketball, Horton-Tucker is exactly that — at 6-foot-2.5 without shoes with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, Horton-Tucker is strong enough to be able to guard fours (he weighs 240 pounds) and skilled enough to be able to act as an initiator offensively. He is a capable shooter that can stand to improve in that area, but the combination of his age and his entirely unique physical profile and skillset makes him more than worth the risk in the middle of the second round.

TERANCE MANN, Florida State (Clippers, 48th)

The Clippers added a pair of Seminoles that will help them. Getting Mfiondu Kabengele at 27th is terrific value, as is scooping up Mann at 48th. Mann doesn’t do one thing at an elite level unless you consider “does everything well” a skill. He’ll be able to guard multiple positions at the NBA level, he’s tough and he’s going to be a worker. If his offensive game can come around to the point that he has to be guarded at the three-point line, he has some real 3-and-D potential. But there is a lot to like about his physical tools and his approach to the game.

JORDAN BONE, Tennessee (Detroit, 57th)

Bone is the best athlete in this draft not named Zion Williamson. He make not have thrown down the dunks that Ja Morant threw down this year, but when it comes to all-around athleticism — all of those drills that players get tested on during the combine — Bone is second-to-none at the lead guard spot. He can shoot it, he can handle the ball, he has a high basketball IQ, he can pass and he has good positional size at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds. He’s also tough as nails, a winner and one of the guys that willed Tennessee into being the best program in the SEC the last two seasons. There is a place for him in the NBA.


Our friend Kurt Helin over at Pro Basketball Talk put together a list of the top ten players that were not drafted on Thursday night, and it’s tough to disagree with any of his choices. I think it’s also important to note that some of these decisions were likely the result of players ‘betting on themselves,’ asking teams not to draft them in order to sign with what they believed to be the best place for them to land.

I do, however, want to make two additions to this list.

PHIL BOOTH, Villanova

Anyone reading this space knows how much I love Booth specifically and the players that come out of the Villanova program in general. I think that he has a real chance to latch on as a rotation player somewhere in the NBA. He has NBA range, he can play on or off the ball and he should, at the least, be a capable defender in the league. I do think there’s a job for him at the next level.


Before he tore his ACL, Matthews was having a terrific pre-draft. He was in the midst of proving himself as one of, if not the best wing defender in this draft class. I don’t expect that to change because of the ACL, and when he gets healthy again, I think that he’ll be able to find a way to get onto a roster.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

kansas mccullar
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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”

Clemson leading scorer Hall withdraws from NBA draft, returns to Tigers

clemson pj hall
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson leading scorer PJ Hall is returning to college after withdrawing from the NBA draft on Thursday.

The 6-foot-10 forward took part in the NBA combine and posted his decision to put off the pros on social media.

Hall led the Tigers with 15.3 points per game this past season. He also led the Tigers with 37 blocks, along with 5.7 rebounds. Hall helped Clemson finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference while posting a program-record 14 league wins.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Hall gained experience from going through the NBA’s combine that will help the team next season. “I’m counting on him and others to help lead a very talented group,” he said.

Hall was named to the all-ACC third team last season as the Tigers went 23-10.

George Washington adopts new name ‘Revolutionaries’ to replace ‘Colonials’

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WASHINGTON — George Washington University’s sports teams will now be known as the Revolutionaries, the school announced.

Revolutionaries replaces Colonials, which had been GW’s name since 1926. Officials made the decision last year to drop the old name after determining it no longer unified the community.

GW said 8,000 different names were suggested and 47,000 points of feedback made during the 12-month process. Revolutionaries won out over the other final choices of Ambassadors, Blue Fog and Sentinels.

“I am very grateful for the active engagement of our community throughout the development of the new moniker,” president Mark S. Wrighton said. “This process was truly driven by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and the result is a moniker that broadly reflects our community – and our distinguished and distinguishable GW spirit.”

George the mascot will stay and a new logo developed soon for the Revolutionaries name that takes effect for the 2023-24 school year. The university is part of the Atlantic 10 Conference.