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The Pac-12 Underdogs in the 2017 NBA Draft

This year’s NBA Draft will be headlined by Pac-12 stars, but what about the players who fall to the second round?

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery was a big night for some former Pac-12 basketball stars. The futures of Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and Lauri Markkanen — all surefire lottery picks, likely in the top 10 — were decided. Some of the Pac-12’s other standouts like T.J. Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, and Ivan Rabb will probably not be picked in the lottery, but it is doubtful any of them fall out of the first round.

The Pac-12 will produce a lot of talent in this year’s NBA Draft class, as shown by the probable number of first round picks, but some of the most dominant players in the conference last season won’t be picked until after Adam Silver steps off the stage for the night.

The second round of the NBA Draft is not a place guys usually want to be. Teams aren’t required to give them guaranteed contracts, the salaries are usually much smaller, and a lot of time will probably be spent either on the bench or in the D-League. There have been plenty of second round picks who have had successful careers, but those are exceptions.

The players selected in the second round will be underdogs from day one, and many of them will be battling for a roster spot for the first time in their lives. But there are plenty of second round Pac-12 players who could potentially have long and successful NBA careers.

Derrick White - SG, Colorado

Pick: 31, Atlanta Hawks

White is the classic underdog story. The senior played only one season with the Buffaloes, playing his first three with Division II Colorado-Colorado Springs. White led the Buffaloes in scoring with 18.3 points per game. Someone who has been overlooked like White would be just happy to be drafted, but his work ethic and experience could be a valuable asset for any team looking for a role player.

Jordan Bell - PF/C, Oregon

Pick: 33, Orlando Magic

Jordan Bell may very well sneak into the first round. While limited on offense, Bell’s rebounding and defense is NBA-ready. He was one of, if not the best shot blocker in the country, and his three year college career was highlighted by his 8-block performance against Kansas in the Elite Eight. Jordan Bell may have a lot of room to improve offensively, he still has the mold of a player any team would want.

Kyle Kuzma - PF, Utah

Pick: 44, New York Knicks

Kuzma has the potential to become a modern stretch four in the NBA. He has the ability to rebound, is a decent passer, and is quicker than many others at his position. But his biggest weakness in his ability to become a stretch four is also the most important aspect, shooting. Kuzma hasn’t shown enough of an ability to hit jumpers consistently. If he can improve on his shooting, his style of play could be enough to become a role player in the rapidly changing NBA.

Dillon Brooks - SF, Oregon

Pick: 46, Philadelphia 76ers

It feels weird that the reigning Pac-12 player of the year who also finished in the top 10 for the Wooden Award would be drafted this low, but that’s what we get with Dillon Brooks. While he has shown the ability to be a top tier scorer at the college level, he does present some questions on how his game will translate. Throughout a lot of last season, Brooks played the four, but at only 6’7, he won’t be able to do that at the NBA level. He also isn’t particularly fast compared to other small forwards, presenting a match-up issue if a team puts him there as well. He does have weaknesses, but his ability to score would be worth a look from a team looking to improve its bench scoring.

Tyler Dorsey - SG, Oregon

Pick: 50, Philadelphia 76ers

A player who has been mostly absent from draft boards for most of the season, Dorsey put himself on the map during the 2017 NCAA Tournament when his ability to score efficiently carried the Ducks to the Final Four. The biggest knock on Dorsey is that this performance is mostly what he’s known for. He got hot on the biggest stage, but he was inconsistent for most of his career, he also struggled much more this regular season than the last. He also doesn’t do a lot more than score well, so when his shots aren’t falling, he isn’t doing as much to help the team. Still, his ability to get hot from three could help out a team that has maybe resisted the shift to the three point line thus far.

Kobi Simmons - PG/SG, Arizona

Pick: 59, San Antonio Spurs

Simmons will probably be one of the last picks of the NBA Draft, but that doesn’t mean he won’t succeed in the pros. At 19, Simmons possesses the quickness and athleticism to keep up with the best of them. At 6’4 he also has enough size to guard anyone at his position. Simmons is still a raw prospect, as his offensive game could use some work, shooting a poor 39.7 percent in his lone season at Arizona. His build and style of play could be compared to current Spurs’ reserve point guard Dejounte Murray, who has played well in the limited minutes he’s received. Simmons could have a similar role to that, while trying to build his way up whatever depth chart he ends up on.

*DraftExpress was used to determine mock draft ranking