To answer the title question, Sr. Prolopo is a Second Round Productive Low Post player. Señor Prolopo has been abundant in recent drafts and has given each team lucky enough to find him an immediate inside presence. They may not be franchise changing players, but in a league where low-post talent is harder and harder to find, their contributions are especially valuable.
Last year's Sr. Prolopos were All-Rookie Second teamer Carl Landry and NBA Finals champ Glen Davis. Last year, Paul Millsap and Leon Powe fit the billing. In 2005, Brandon Bass and Ronny Turiaf (once he recovered from heart surgery) showed that they were more productive than their draft position would suggest. Digging back even further, you can find even more examples of players picked in the second round that have given their teams a needed jolt off the bench with their rebounding and inside scoring like Anderson Varejao, and the player who started the Señor Prolopo movement, Carlos Boozer.
If you want to find this year's Sr. Prolopo (or Prolopos), you have to find the traits that they all share. On your hunt, here's what you need to look for:
Not a lot of height, but lots of muscle to go around: Of the 8 players I listed, 6 are listed at 6-9 or shorter and the two that are listed at 6-10 (Varejao and Turiaf) spend time at center, so they all have moments where they're undersized. What they lack in height they more than make up for with brute strength. It doesn't take much more than a passing glance at any of those players to see that they've got plenty of muscle to spare. Sure, having muscle and lacking height has its drawbacks, but so does having height and lacking muscle. If recent history has shown us anything, I'd rather take the short, beefy guy.
Why go outside when it's so nice in here?: Sr. Prolopo might not have the 3 point shot that more and more teams desire in their big guys, but they all know how to put the ball in the hoop from the paint area. You'll see a lot of people discredit their inside scoring in the days coming up to the draft because they think that they won't be able to get that shot off against taller NBA players, but once they get to big stage, they keep producing. In other words, you're looking for someone that's already shown that they can get it done. Sr. Prolopo is not a project player.
No Punks: You won't find Sr. Prolopo masquerading as one-and-done freshman that's just paying his dues before making the jump. Brandon Bass is the only player from the group that left before his junior year.
Windex: More than any other skill, rebounding translates the best from the college ranks to the pros. After all, rebounding is all about desire, so if you've got the desire to clean the glass for free at college, you can be sure that they'll keep grabbing boards when they're getting the big money.
This year, I think there's three players that could turn out to be Sr. Prolopo players. When I first started to look into this, Richard Hendrix (note his best case scenario) was the first player that came to mind. He put up double-double numbers, had a ridiculously high FG%, and his 6-8, 250 lb. frame is ideal for the Prolopo role. He does shoot the occasional three, unlike other Prolopos, but the deeper 3-point line together with him developing into a role player on the NBA level should deter further long-distance shooting endeavors.
Another player that could fill the role is DJ White (again, note the best case scenario) of Indiana. Again, note the double-double stats, his frame, the high FG%. The skipping practice fiasco near the end of the season might have scared some people off, but I wouldn't hold his actions during that bizarre saga with Kelvin Sampson against him. Especially when he produces with the numbers that he's put up.
Two other guys that could be Sr. Prolopos are J.J. Hickson and Joey Dorsey, but Hickson's age and Dorsey's lack of offensive output lead me to believe that it's more likely that they won't be players that fit the role. That isn't to say that those two, or any other bigs that could go in the second round, won't have long, productive careers. But if Ernie is looking for someone in the second round that can contribute right away, I hope he looks for someone in the Sr. Prolopo mold.