By Jeff Fox

Many SLAM readers probably turn off their tv’s and go to bed every draft night once the first round is over and David Stern stops shaking draft picks hands.  These foolish few end up, literally and figuratively, sleeping on several future solid NBA pros.  In fact, every year at least one player snatched up in the second round ends up outperforming a lottery pick from the same draft class.  Still not a believer?  Well, ask yourself who you’d rather have playing for your team:

2006 – Patrick O’Bryant (#9) or Paul Millsap (#47)?

2005 – Fran Vasquez (#11) or Monta Ellis (#40)?

2004 – Luke Jackson (#10) or Chris Duhon (#38)?

The hard part for GMs is finding that diamond in the rough prospect that slips into the second round.  Here are a few prospects expected to go in the second round who could make a GM look really smart.

Gary Forbes, UMass

In a recent interview with Collegehoopsnet, the League’s Assistant Director of Scouting, Ryan Blake, sang Forbes praises and expects him to be a solid pro.  With his experience and age (23), he should be able to contribute to right away to a team looking for backcourt help.

Serge Ibaka, Spain via Congo

If your favorite team is picking in the late first round or early second round area and they grab Ibaka, rejoice.  With a massive wingspan, “Go-Go Gadget” springs in his legs and crazy upside (he’s only 18-years-old), Ibaka is an exciting prospect.  Like a fine wine, he just needs a couple of more years in Europe to age.

George Hill, IUPUI

Another one of Ryan Blake’s favorites, Hill is looking to be this year’s Rodney Stuckey – a small conference stud who makes an impact on the game’s largest stage.  The most important factor for Hill is to continue to prove, like he has in the pre-draft camp and workouts, that he is able to run the point, a position he didn’t play a lot of in college.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA

Mbah a Moute has all the makings of a first round pick – championship-level NCAA experience (three trips to the Final Four), huge wingspan (over 7’), great vertical (38.5”) and good strength.  However, his game didn’t really improve much since he burst onto the scene as a freshman.  However, with his physical tools and three years experience playing in Ben Howland’s system, LRMaM should be a very capable defender at the next level.

Jeff Fox writes more extensively about the NBA draft and college basketball at www.collegehoopsnet.com.  All hate mail can be directed to him at foxyjj@sympatico.ca.