Any true NBA fan would agree that tuning in to watch the draft in June is quite an exciting time, especially if your team is in dire need of drafting a big time player early in the first round who could potentially turn a franchise around. For the aforementioned reason, millions of fans tune in to see all of the big names come off the board and land in typically desperate situations and cross their fingers and toes in hopes that their squad will eventually be good enough to not partake in the lottery every single year (cough, Sam Hinkie, cough). And yes, it is without a doubt essential to have a superstar or even multiple on a roster in order to win a championship in this league, but don't be fooled my friend, your team doesn't necessarily need to have a top 5 draft pick in order to find a building block for the future.
As a result of all of the hype surrounding the big name players such as Jahlil Okafor, DeAngelo Russell, Karl Anthony Towns, and Kristaps Porzingis from last summer's NBA Draft, many fans tend to shy away from digging deep into the rough in search of some diamonds which is a terrible shame because nowadays there are more and more talented basketball players playing overseas and even collegiately in the United States. Don't feel bad fellow NBA fan. Even general managers and professional scouts with the keenest of eyes for talent and potential have missed out on a few huge names. Let's recall a few of them.
15 15. Goran Dragic
This Slovenian stud has become a household name for NBA fans mainly due to his sharpshooting and his ability to get to the rack and score. Over Goran's eight year career in the league, he's shot 35 percent from three point range while averaging 12.3 points and 4.6 assists to go along with 1 steal per game. His best season thus far occurred in 2013-14 with Phoenix where he averaged over 20 points per game to go along with 6 assists while shooting 40 percent from three as well as 50 percent from the field.
14 14. Kyle Korver
Formerly some skinny kid from Creighton University, Kyle Korver has evolved into one of the league's premier three point shooters and will go down in the books as one of the top ten three point shooters of all time, as he currently trails only seven guys in three pointers made. Throughout his 13 year career, he's averaged 10 points per game to go along with a stunning three point percentage of 42 percent.
13 13. Mo Williams
As a 6'1 point guard from the University of Alabama, Mo Williams has exceeded many expectations of scouts and GMs who let him fall all the way to the 47th overall draft pick in 2003. Over the course of his career, Mo has averaged 13.2 points per game and 4.9 assists while playing for seven different teams among whom are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Utah Jazz. The 33-year-old seems like he has been around forever, but the old man still has some fire in his belly. For example, he dropped 52 points last year while playing for the Timberwolves in January of 2015, which made him the first player of the 2014-15 season to score 50 or more points in a game.
12 12. Marcin Gortat
The Polish Hammer may be getting old, but he sure isn't rusty and he sure as hell is still banging down low. With an average of 10 rebounds per game this year, Marcin ranks 12th in the league and his having his best year of his career as far as hitting the boards. Along with his sheer ferocity on the glass, he's averaging 13.7 points and 1.4 blocks per game. Over the course of his career, The Polish Hammer has averaged 10.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Not bad for a guy who was taken 57th overall in the 2005 draft.
11 11. Chandler Parsons
Although he hasn't been in the league as long as all of the aforementioned guys and hasn't put up the stats that some of them have, Parsons is still somewhat young at age 27 and is about to enter the prime of his career. The former Florida Gator is having a bit of a down year, as he's only averaging 12.7 points per game which is exactly 3 less than his average last season with Dallas and about 1 and a half points less than he averaged with Houston.
10 10. Draymond Green
The man does it all. He's a vicious rebounder, capable scorer, terrific defender, pinpoint passer, and a culprit of yelling "and one!" after every single shot attempt The big guy came into the league in the 2012-13 season with Golden State and did what most scouts would assume a second round pick to do: very little. After being drafted 35th overall in the 2012 draft, Draymond finished his rookie year with 2.9 points and 3.3 boards on 13.4 minutes under head coach Marc Jackson.
9 9. Paul Millsap
As another undersized big, Paul Millsap has had to fine tune his game and be fundamentally sound in order to have success in a league full of bigger bigs. Along with being a terrific defender and rebounder, Millsap finds his ways to get to the bucket and score. He's terrific at moving without the ball and slipping to the basket for an easy bucket, and he also possesses a nice touch from mid range. The little big with the big heart began his career in Utah after getting drafted in 2006 with the 47th overall pick. Paul made the most of his 19.4 minutes per game over his first two seasons in Utah, as he averaged 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds.
8 8. Monta Ellis
7 7. Michael Redd
This lefty with a sweet stroke may be one of the most forgettable but very good players in recent memory. Redd hot had a span of six years from 2003-09 where he dropped 23.5 points per game but sadly only made one All Star appearance in the 2003-04 season. Redd played 11 out of his 12 NBA seasons in Milwaukee and never won a playoff series, unless you include his rookie season when the Bucks made it to the Eastern Conference finals wherein Redd played zero minutes in the postseason and Ray Allen led the way while averaging 25 points and 6 assists.
6 6. Carlos Boozer
Ah, the ol' Boozman. There's nothing like a big man with a nice stroke and that's exactly what Carlos Boozer was. Carlos was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 36th overall pick the the 2002 draft and was effective immediately. In his rookie year he averaged 10 points and 7.5 rebounds. He took a leap the next season with Cleveland when he averaged 15.5 points and 11.4 boards over 34.5 minutes per game. The following summer, Boozer became a free agent and signed with the Utah Jazz where he then played for six seasons and during that time averaged 19.3 points and 10.5 rebounds. He was selected to the All Star game twice.
5 5. Tony Parker
4 4. Gilbert Arenas
3 3. Marc Gasol
Entering the 2007 NBA Draft, many fans probably assumed that Marc Gasol was just a chubbier, slower and less athletic version of his big brother Pau and it took Marc a while to step outside the large shadow that was cast upon him by Pau. How could one not compare the two when they were actually traded for one another? Once Marc arrived in Memphis with the expectations of living up to his brother's legacy, one would only guess that anxiety would become threefold or even more after arriving in a new place. Surely enough, Marc didn't let Memphis fans down as he averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds during his rookie year.
2 2. Isaiah Thomas
1 1. Jimmy Butler
The former Marquette Golden Eagle is soaring to elite status in the NBA. Butler, who was drafted 30th overall by Chicago in the 2011 NBA Draft, has gradually developed and has now put himself among the elites in the league. During his rookie season with the Bulls, Butler averaged only 8.5 minutes per game. The next season he saw a substantial increase in minutes and averaged 8.6 points and 4 boards over 26 minutes per game. In 2013-14 his numbers went up from 8.6 points to 13.1 points but his shooting percentage dropped from 46 to 39 percent.
He must have put in some serious work over the summer of 2014 because during the 2014-15 season he dropped 20 points per game and was back up to 46 percent from the field. His three point percentage increased drastically, as he went from 28 to 37 percent from deep. He has been selected to attend both last year's and this year's All Star Game, and is so far having the best season of his career, averaging 22.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
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