Sometimes the science of scouting isn't always exact. Often there are as many misses in the first round as there are hits and when it comes to the second round, there are a fair number of teams that appear to just throw a dart and hope for the best. Who knew that Dennis Rodman or Manu Ginobli would turn out to be key contributors to multi-time NBA Championship teams and Hall Of Fame talent? Or for the old schoolers reading this piece, Nate "Tin" Archibald, Hal Greer and Alex English are but a few of the names that should have been called across the stage during the first round.
When it comes to the second round of the NBA Draft, most of the time the live audience has packed up and headed for the parking lot and those at home have started to channel surf. With no guaranteed contract, the second set of thirty names called across the stage know that they're in for a fight just to get past the NBA summer league. While there have been second rounders that do advance to the regular season, some only stick around for a cup of coffee before they're put on the waiver wire, sent to the D-League or end up overseas. For the rare few (those who have made this list), their contributions are like finding a diamond in the rough, surpassing all expectations and overachieving by a mile.
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17 Michael Redd - 2000
As the 43rd overall pick in the forgetful 2000 NBA Draft, there were about 40 teams that were left kicking themselves for at least a decade of Redd's career. After a less than memorable rookie year, Redd would take full advantage of the increase in games and minutes that George Karl allotted. As part of an underachieving Milwaukee squad, one that featured Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson and Redd for his first two seasons with the team, the Bucks would fail to make the playoffs until Redd's third season (minus Allen and Robinson).
Redd would make two more playoff appearances, neither lasting more than the first round, but from an individual standpoint, Redd was one of the league's most prolific scorers from 2003-2009. Sadly, he only made one All-Star team during his career, snubbed due to the Bucks horrible record. Unfortunately, Redd's career was cut short due to a torn ACL/MCL in the middle of the 2008-09 season, one that would leave the former Ohio State Buckeye a shell of his former self and into an early retirement after the 2012 season.
16 Gilbert Arenas - 2001
Whether you called him Agent Zero or The Hibachi, the one thing that fans called Gilbert Arenas was a steal of a draft pick. As the 30th overall pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 2001 NBA Draft, the former Arizona Wildcat guard went from a rags to riches to rags career.
After seeing his star start to shine in the Bay Area, Arenas would sign a huge (at the time) six year, $60 million dollar deal for a player entering his third season. For the following six seasons, Arenas was well worth the money and more as his on and off court contributions to the team were star level. With nightly appearances on SportsCenter, Arenas revitalized the Wizards franchise. However, the summer of 2008 brought Mo' Money, Mo' Problems, as Arenas would sign a six year, $111 million deal that would include his decent from the mountain top.
Nagging injuries, a weapons violation suspension and eventually a trade would lead to Arenas trying to restart his career with the Orlando Magic. Unfortunately, Arenas' NBA career would come to an end two seasons later as he became a shell of his former self and as of this past October would finally receive his final NBA pay from his contract with the Wizards.
15 Carlos Boozer - 2002
Rarely will we admit that anyone from Duke is the best at anything, but the only other choices here were Matt Barnes, Luis Scola and Ronald Murray (who only made the cut because his nickname is "Flip").
As the 34th pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers thought they had a diamond in the rough and their power forward for many years to come, however Boozer would mess over the team that drafted him and would head to Utah (who offered him twice as much for the same number of years, but what ever happened to the value of a man's word?). Boozer would post his best individual stats years with the Jazz, including two All-Star seasons and a trip to the Olympics before heading to Chicago. Following a couple of see-saw seasons with the Bulls, Boozer would finish out his thirteen year career with the LA Lakers, flexing and scowling for no apparent reason.
14 Kyle Korver - 2003
As a senior out of Creighton University, Kyle Korver had to know that the deck was already stacked against him entering the NBA Draft. While his college numbers were impressive, especially his shooting percentages, his draft stock fell to the 51st pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. Although not very athletic, the one thing that Korver could do is shoot, something that has kept him in the league for over 15 years and still providing a valuable asset to his team.
Despite being honored as a NBA All-Star only once, Korver has been valued as a long range sniper by the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and, as of this week, the Cleveland Cavaliers; all teams that know the value of the three ball. With a career three point shooting percentage of 42.8%, Kyle will provide the defending champs with a suitable replacement for the injured J.R. Smith and a long range gunner to combat the presumed rubber match between the Cavs and Golden State Warriors in this season's NBA Finals.
13 Trevor Ariza - 2004
As one of only two second round draft picks from the 2004 NBA Draft still active today (Anderson Varejao is the other), Trevor Ariza has made the most of his career in each of his six stops. Drafted by the NY Knicks, he found himself playing a shade over 17 minutes a night in 80 games, which is impressive not only for a late second round pick, but more so for a team coached by legendary Larry Brown, a coach not so fond of playing rookies.
While he didn't produce double digit points until later in his career, Ariza has been a contributor on both sides of the court as an athletic run and gun style player who can also guard multiple positions on the defensive end. A key asset to the LA Lakers 2009 Championship, Ariza would find himself moving to Houston as a free agent, missing out on a second title opportunity in 2010. Although the Rockets traded Ariza to New Orleans at the end of 2010, they realized how much of a value the former UCLA Bruin is to the lineup, reacquiring him again in 2014.
12 Monta Ellis - 2005
Originally destined for Mississippi State University, Monta Ellis found himself bypassing college life and joining the prep-to-pro list of NBA draftees. Selected by the Golden State Warriors with the 40th overall pick in the 2005 Draft, Ellis quickly turned a modest rookie year into a double digit full time starter career the next season, one which earned him the NBA's Most Improved Player Award.
After seven years with the Warriors in which Ellis was a threat to post at least 20 points a night, he would find himself part of a package deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that he would quickly become the leader of. After leading the Bucks to the playoffs in his second season with the club, Ellis would sign as a free agent with the Dallas Mavericks, a team looking for one last run at a title with Dirk Nowitzki. Following two first round exits, Ellis would ink a four year, $44 million dollar contract with the Indiana Pacers in the summer of 2015 to play the role of a second or third scoring option as the team looked to climb the Eastern Conference standings.
A career 18.4 PPG, 4.7 APG, 45.1% FG and 31.3% 3 PT%, Ellis is on the downside of a career that has been often under-appreciated.
11 Paul Millsap - 2006
Considering how lame the first round of the 2006 NBA Draft was, there is a chance that on a redo Millsap could have found himself drafted within the top five selections of the first round, which ironically the fifth selection was the Atlanta Hawks taking Shelden Williams. Let's focus on The Landlord for a second...two seasons in the ATL, seven teams in six years, a career average of 4.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 15.5 MPG over the course of 361 games as the fifth pick.
Forty-two picks later, the Utah Jazz picked a player who would end up becoming the Hawks current leader and best player, one who would find himself on three All-Star teams during his time in Atlanta (possibly four this year), along with a spot on the All-Defensive Second Team (2016) and All-Rookie Second Team. And FYI, Millsap's rookie year average was 6.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 18 MPG. Gotta love it when a Duke player falls short of expectations!
10 Marc Gasol - 2007
Most of the NBA and its fans may have thought that the Memphis Grizzlies were getting the shaft when the LA Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, a pair of future first round picks and the rights to the younger Gasol for his older brother Pau and a second rounder. Okay, sure Pau would go on to become a two time NBA Champion and three-time All-Star with the Lakers, but as Memphis fans would soon find out, young Marc was no slouch himself.
Although the team has not had the same success as the Lakers, Gasol has been a focal point of the team's six year playoff run since 2010-11 making him the top second round pick of the 2007 NBA Draft.
9 DeAndre Jordan - 2008
Aside from Brook Lopez, DeAndre Jordan is the best big man to come out of the 2008 NBA Draft. Considering that Robin Lopez, Roy Hibbert, JaVale McGee, Alexis Ajinca, Kosta Koufos and Nikola Pekovic were all selected before the LA Clippers center, it may not be saying much, but still.
While offensively there isn't much to DJ's game, other than transition hoops, put-backs and of course a fabulous pick and roll lob, it's on the other end of the court that makes Jordan valuable. Just short of averaging ten rebounds and two blocks per game for his career, the 35th overall pick has worked on improving his game to become a nightly double double threat (points and boards) while also being among the league leaders in field goal percentage. Sure he couldn't hit a free throw to save his life, but Adam Silver has taken care of that with the new 'Hack-a-rule'. While many recipients are awarded on their offensive contributions, Jordan was honored as a First Team All NBA member last season and played a vital role with team USA capturing gold at the Rio Olympics.
8 Danny Green - 2009
One team's trash is another team's treasure. After being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 46th pick, Danny Green played all of twenty games with the club, claiming garbage time at the best. After a couple of trips to the D-League, Green would find himself on the wavier wire at the beginning of the 2010 season. Luckily for the former UNC Tarheel, Coach Pop was in need of a player that could extend the opposing defense as the San Antonio Spurs picked up Green just after the start of the season.
Following another stint in the D-League, Green would slowly start to make his way into San Antonio's starting unit during the 2011-12 season before he would become a permanent fixture there the following season. While he has only posted double digit scoring seasons twice in his eight year career, Green was a huge contributor to the Spurs 2013 trip to the NBA Finals along with their 2014 NBA Championship.
7 Hassan Whiteside - 2010
It may have taken him four years to actually make an impact, but as the saying goes, better late than never. Drafted 33rd overall in 2010 by the Sacramento Kings, Whiteside was all but a forgotten player for two seasons, playing only 19 of 164 games before floating around the D-League and overseas for the next two years.
November 24th, 2014 changed Whiteside's life as the Miami Heat offered the seven foot, 265lb big man a two year contract worth $1.75 million. Seemingly out of nowhere, Whiteside improved his previous NBA averages by ten points (1.6 to 11.8), two blocks (0.8 to 2.6) and eight rebounds (2.2 to 10.0). The following season, his numbers improved even more as Whiteside became more of a prominent player for Erik Spoelstra. If you really want to know how valuable Whiteside is to the Heat, just ask Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley, as the Heat look to their big man as a pillar to build around signing him to a four year, $98 million dollar contract. Just think, three years ago, Whiteside wasn't even in the NBA.
6 Isaiah Thomas - 2011
59 picks were made before passed the former Washington Huskies point guard was selected. The selectors of 52 of those picks probably wish they could have a mulligan (Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Jonas Valanciunas, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler are all equal to or better than Thomas with consideration to what their respective teams needed).
Splitting time with Tyreke Evans during his rookie season, Thomas had a solid first year, averaging 25.5 minutes of floor time, 11.5 points and just over four assists per game, good enough for a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team. Despite the addition of two more point guards joining the Kings roster the next season, he still managed a slight increase in his contributions. For some reason, the Kings decided that Thomas wasn't right for their squad and traded him to the Phoenix Suns where the 5'9" point guard continued his solid play. The Suns then foolishly moved him to Boston, where he became an All Star and an important reason behind the Celtics resurgence.
5 Draymond Green - 2012
Instead of the 35th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, a redo would find the former Michigan State Spartan selected somewhere within the top three or four after Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and possibly Andre Drummond. Instead there were at least a dozen players selected in the first round before the overlooked forward who are currently out of the NBA, leaving their team wondering what their scouting staff was thinking.
As a two time All-Defensive First Team member, along with being named to the All-NBA Second Team and a NBA All-Star, Green played a vital role in helping the Golden State Warriors capture the 2015 NBA Championship. When you look at the Warriors lineup, one would be hard pressed to believe that names like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and now Kevin Durant are trailing Green who is leading the team in assists this season.
4 Allen Crabbe - 2013
Sure he was the first pick in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft, but that still meant that the former California Golden Bear had to prove his worth to get a contract from the Portland Trail Blazers (traded on draft night for two future second rounders).
As the Blazers look to climb the ladder in the Western Conference standings, the team will look to Crabbe to provide a scoring option off of the bench as the team's sixth man. Pegged as one of the league's premier shooters, Crabbe has been a steady 40% shooter over the last two seasons for the Blazers, averaging 10.5 PPG on just 8.3 shot attempts. Whether that may or may not impress you, the Blazers thought enough of the LA native to match the Brooklyn Nets free agent offer of four years, $75 million this past summer.
3 Jordan Clarkson - 2014
Very rarely is a second round pick looked to as a building block of the future, especially for a team with such a rich history as the LA Lakers. However, in the post Kobe Bryant era, such is the case. After being selected by the Washington Wizards with the 46th pick, Clarkson was traded to LA for a bag of cash. Upon arriving in California, Clarkson would spend a good portion of his early rookie days with the LA D-Fenders in the D-League before showing both the Wizards and the Lakers what they were missing out on.
After joining the starting five, Clarkson would finish the season with an impressive 11.9 PPG, 3.5 assists and 3.2 RPG, which led to being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team (over first rounders such as Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott to name a few). After starting 79 games last season, Clarkson has been placed by Luke Walton in the role of joining Lou Williams off the bench as the Lakers second unit leads the league in scoring. Too bad such can't be said for the starting five, but the youthful Lakers appear to finally be heading in the right direction.
2 Norman Powell - 2015
Known mostly as a defensive player during his time with the UCLA Bruins, at least when they were guided by Coach Ben Howell, the Toronto Raptors lucked out when they traded Greivis Vasquez for Powell and a 2017 first rounder.
Following an impressive showing in the NBA Summer League, where Powell showcased that he was very capable of contributing on the offensive end by the way of transition hoops and a consistent outside touch, the rookie would earn some quality playing time in the Raptors rotation. While he still comes off the bench in his second year, the minutes that Powell is receiving are meaningful for a Toronto team looking to return to and advance passed the Eastern Conference Finals. Splitting time with DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross, Powell will have to continue to contribute on both ends of the floor in order for the Raptors to upset the favored Cleveland Cavaliers and reach the NBA Finals for the first time in team history.
1 Malcolm Brogdon - 2016
It may be a matter of process by elimination as Brogdon is one of the few second rounders from last summer to suit up for his NBA team this season, but let it be known, he isn't wasting the opportunity.
Over the course of 37 games to date, the Virginia Cavaliers senior combo guard has made his presence known to all the teams that skipped over him in the first round. Sure Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray were all higher profile players during their time in the NCAA and all have a higher ceiling, but that doesn't give reason for the six teams who were looking for a point/shooting guard to overlook the 36th pick.
Averaging 24.2 minutes per night, Brogdon has earned the respect of Coach Kidd with a stat line of 9.1 PPG, 3.9 APG, 45.4% FG and 42.4% 3FG. Not bad for an overlooked senior rookie in a league looking to get younger.
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