NBA Draft: Second rounders you hope your team gets

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Every year somebody gets drafted in the second round and by December we’re already asking how so many teams missed on him. Call it the Landry Fields effect.

It’s impossible to predict who that will be out of the 2011 NBA Draft, but we can take a few guesses.

Here are some second rounders to watch — and to be happy when your team drafts him.

Jimmy Butler, 6’8” small forward, Marquette: Everybody wants this guy to make it. He has one of the best stories in the draft — kicked out of his home by his mother at 13 and made homeless, living on friends couches (playing hoops at the local high school) until a family took him in, ala the “Blind Side.” Thing is, the guy can play and impressed teams at his workouts. He actually has a little Landry Fields in him — one of those guys who can do a little bit of everything well. The key is he can defend so that should get him minutes.

Malcolm Lee, 6’5” shooting guard, UCLA: Speaking of guys who can defend — other teams have been bringing him in to work with the elite guys in this draft, because they know Lee will make them work or it. He’s long and athletic and guys who come out of UCLA seem to blossom as a pro in a way they do not for Ben Howland. He’s got to improve his shot — he hit just 29.5 percent from three last year.

E’Twaun Moore, 6’4” shooting guard, Purdue: He is a favorite second round sleeper for a lot of teams. If you can get a shooter in the second round that’s a winner, and he has NBA range (40 percent from three last season). Another guy with a well-rounded game. He’s not an explosive athlete and a bit small for the position, but he just plays tough.

Malcolm Thomas, 6’9” power forward, San Diego State: He was overshadowed by Kawhi Leonard but Thomas is a smooth player and good athlete who can finish at the rim. He is long, can defend and is a good shot blocker. There are concerns about his size at the four, and he doesn’t have an offensive game outside the paint (his offense is pretty raw generally) but teams are intrigued with his potential.

Diante Garrett, 6’4” point guard, Iowa State: He wasn’t drawing a lot of interest during the season, but when he got into workouts (starting at Portsmouth Invitational) teams liked what they saw. He’s a tall point guard with a quick first step. His natural inclination is to be a facilitator, but he needs to improve his shot and cut down the turnovers. This is a guy that may spend a year in the D-League, but a few years from now may be a quality rotation player.

Lonzo Ball finishes one-handed alley-oop on Willie Cauley-Stein (video)

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So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.

But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.

But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.

Marc Gasol makes 3/4-court shot just after buzzer (video)

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When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.

Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.

Watch Knicks string together 28-0 run against Raptors

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Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.

Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.

Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.

New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.