The 2016 NBA Draft will get underway June 23rd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. That setting holds some irony, since the Brooklyn Nets have traded away all their first round picks until approximately the year 2043. A deft jab, to be sure; that is, until I remember I'm a Dallas Mavericks fan.
The Mavs owe their first round pick to the same team the Nets do: the Boston Celtics. This means that Dallas won't be officially slated to go on the clock until pick #46 in the second round, though the possibility remains that Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson will trade back in somewhere earlier.
Operating under the assumption that doesn't happen, and Dallas actually selects someone with their pick, let's take a look at a few names to keep in mind on draft night, remembering that predicting the second round of the draft is next to impossible.
Kay Felder, PG
I'm starting with Felder for a reason: he's one of my favorite players in this draft. He apparently worked out for Dallas a few weeks ago, though I have not yet seen official confirmation on this:
Yogi Ferrell, Marcus Paige, AJ English, Kay Felder among the players scheduled for the Dallas Mavericks workout Thursday, per a source.— Jeff Rabjohns (@JeffRabjohns) May 25, 2016
There are several interesting guys in that bunch, but for now let's focus on Felder, who declared for the draft after a Junior season that saw him lead the nation in assists (9.3 per game) and finish tied for third in scoring (24.2 per game). So why is he considered a likely second round pick, and not a lottery name?
Well, Felder has two factors working against him. The first is that he played his college ball at Oakland, and the Horizon League is not exactly a power conference. The second, and undoubtedly the bigger obstacle for him, is his height. Felder measured 5'9 and a half at the draft combine, and the list of successful NBA players under 5'10 is extremely...well, no pun intended, but short.
Watch Felder play, however, and it's very difficult not to see similarities between Felder and one of the guys on that list, Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas. Like Thomas, Felder is a lefty with a devastating combination of supreme handles and dynamic athleticism. Felder recorded a vertical leap of 44 inches at the combine, one of the best marks in combine history, and on his tape you see him explode toward the basket and finish over players much larger defenders. His outside shot improved over time at Oakland, to the point where he's dangerous enough to keep defenses from sagging off. Felder is not only a blur in the open court, but also knows how to change speeds effectively in the half-court to find a lane to either drive or dish.
For those that would point to his competition level as a red flag, take a look at his game log: in the same week, he scored 38 points against #1 ranked Michigan State, taking them to overtime in a loss, and put up 37 in a win on the road against Washington. Kay Felder isn't just out here padding his stats against the Northern Kentucky's of the world.
Meanwhile, though Felder is well-built and long for his size, there is real concern about how he can contribute on defense at the next level. That may be what ultimately makes his ceiling that of an instant offense bench ace, similar to what Dallas has enjoyed for years from J.J. Barea. While that kind of scouting report scared me a few years ago when Dallas took Shane Larkin in the middle of the first round, at pick #46 getting a quality rotation player is a fine return on such a minimal investment.
You can check out this excellent scouting video on Felder here.
Robert Carter Jr., PF
The Maryland big man has worked out with Dallas already, among many other teams. After transferring from Georgia Tech, Carter helped the Terrapins make a run to the Sweet 16 before declaring for the draft and forgoing his final year of college eligibility. Carter's draft stock has been a little difficult to pin down, but reports from workouts have been largely positive for the 22-year-old.
Carter is a hair under 6'9, but compensates for this with a 7'3 wingspan and solid mobility. He's struggled at times with his conditioning, but word out of the combine was that he had shed some fat and looked better moving around on the floor.
Carter's best attribute is his overall skill level, demonstrating a nice feel for the game. Carter shoots his free throws and midrange jumpers well, indicating he may be able to carve out a role as a stretch-4(his three point shooting results have been mixed to this point), but he also was successful passing and posting up in college, as well. To put it simply, Carter doesn't have a lot of glaring weaknesses on offense.
Defensively, to make it at the next level, Robert Carter Jr. will have to stay on top of his weight, to start, and will also need to exhibit a little more effort and consistency(perhaps also related to the weight). He gained a bit of a reputation for taking plays off, and his rebounding numbers noticeably dipped following his transfer to Maryland. As a defender his effort may be questioned, but his length and BBIQ did show up in his statistical profile as a playmaker, as he blocked shots and generated steals at a strong clip.
There may not be a lot here that wows you, but mutli-faceted bigs can stick around in the league for years as rotational guys, and Carter, Jr. seems like a candidate for that kind of career, perhaps in the mold of a Lavoy Allen.
Troy Williams, SF
The nephew of a highly touted AAU coach, Troy Williams has had a very busy workout schedule in June. The Indiana forward is fighting to keep his draft hopes alive, and is scheduled to visit with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Like teammate Yogi Ferrell (who Dallas may have also taken a look at), Williams had a great career at Indiana, where the Hoosier revival under Tom Crean continued, and like Ferrell, Williams is probably going to be a second round pick, at best. That being said, Williams has NBA quality traits, and in the right organization could develop into a 3-and-D role player.
First -- and most notable -- about the 6'7 swingman is his athleticism. He runs well, and plays above the rim at both ends, slamming home dunks or swatting away opposing players' shots. Though he's not the longest guy, with a wingspan at under 6'9 (on the shorter side, given his height), he has clear defensive potential thanks to his activity and quick leaping ability.
On offense, Williams is serviceable but clearly still in need of work. He made an effort to expand his shooting range beyond the college three point line during the 2015-16 season, and hit a respectable 35 percent. He proved adequate as a secondary ballhandler and cutter in the halfcourt, but did by far the most damage in transition. An open floor, up and down style would surely suit him best.
At this point, Williams shows flashes of a complete game, but it's not there yet. Despite his experience level and school pedigree, he looks like a guy who will need time to make adjustments, perhaps even in the D-League. But again, this is a pretty typical profile for the type of player usually drafted in the middle of the second round.
To see more of Troy Williams, check out the Draft Express Preseason Scouting Video on him.
Tim Quarterman, PG/SG
Quarterman is yet another point guard rumored to have worked out for Dallas, and Quarterman is an interesting guy, especially as a contrast in comparison to previously discussed Kay Felder. While Felder will have to work hard to prove doubters wrong about his height, LSU guard Tim Quarterman is the platonic ideal of the long, lanky point man, standing at 6'6 with a nearly 6'10 wingspan.
Quarterman, of course, played alongside possible #1 overall pick Ben Simmons, and while one would think all the attention paid to Simmons would have benefited Quarterman, it appears the 21-year-old Junior is being overlooked.
The 2015-16 LSU Tigers are now infamous for failing to make the NCAA tournament despite the presence of mega-hyped Simmons, and perhaps Quarterman has been hit with some of the blame for that, as well. Indeed, Quarterman did not do much to improve his game in his final season at LSU, and that may be another reason his draft stock never quite took off.
Still, his size and passing ability are impossible to ignore, and in breaking down Quarterman's games you see a very talented, unselfish kid who looks far more impressive than his team's win-loss record.
Being 6'6 is more than just aesthetics; it helps Quartman see over defenses and create passing angles few other playmakers can. It also came in hand when Quarterman crashed the offensive glass, something he did as well as any point guard in the country, despite his slight frame. At the next level, that kind of size will be ideal for teams that like to switch on defense, making him versatile enough to guard wings when he's not swallowing your average backup point guard whole.
Quarterman has rubs, of course. He's a smooth athlete, but not overwhelmingly explosive, and he's not yet a good enough shooter to play off-ball consistently. Like LSU as a whole, Quarterman could put on a show when he had the opportunity to get out and run, but getting quality looks in the halfcourt was sometimes an adventure. With their season on the line, LSU managed a pathetic 38 points against Texas A&M, and Quarterman himself went 2-14.
In the 2nd round, you sometimes just look for traits to develop. This is where Quarterman might leap out to a team like Dallas, as a long playmaking guard who can improve his shooting and decision making and offer versatility off the bench. When I think of skinny 6'6 combo guards from LSU, Garrett Temple comes to mind, and it's possible that Quarterman could follow a similar career path.
Check out Tim Quarterman's Preseason Scouting Video here, courtesy of Draft Express.