Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sometimes, the Second Round Does Count

It's not too often that an impact player is chosen outside the first round in the NBA. When it does happen, however, it is a rare occurrence that is always interesting to look back on.

Since the NBA shrunk down it's draft to two rounds in 1989, there have been 26 second round picks worthy of being called good one's. The criteria for a good second round draft pick is different than its first round counterparts. A good second round pick is a guy who is serviceable over a long period of time, or a guy who shows the ability to be an impact player by doing "the little things" to help his team win. Although huge statistics in the scoring and rebounding categories would be nice, only a few of the guys on this list have put up numbers like that.

The list starts in 1989 and moves up to the present day:

Sherman Douglas - Drafted - second round, 1st pick (28th overall) by the Miami Heat
Seasons: 16
PPG: 11.0
APG: 5.9
SPG: 1
Douglas was a more than serviceable starting point guard for 16 seasons in the NBA. His numbers aren't spectacular, but he did play in 765 games in his career, logging over 21,000 minutes. His best season came in the 1990-1991 season when he averaged 18 ppg and 8.5 apg, shortly after that he was traded to the Boston Celtics for Brian Shaw. Douglas went on to guide the Celtics to multiple playoff births, and earned the nickname "The General" for his superior leadership abilities.

Cliff Robinson - Drafted - second round, 9th pick (36th overall) by the Portland Trail Blazers
Seasons: 20
PPG: 14.2
RPG: 4.6
APG: 2.2
Any guy who averages 14 ppg for twenty seasons in the NBA is a good pick no matter where they were chosen, but getting a player like that in the second round, it's a great pick. Robinson was a guy who showed up every night ready to play, and he always knew when to make a key play. He played in 1380 games, playing over 42,000 minutes. His best season came in the 1993-1994 season when he averaged 20 ppg and 6.7 rpg. In his 20 NBA seasons, his teams were in the playoffs 17 times.


Toni Kukoc - Drafted - second round, 2nd pick (29th overall) by the Chicago Bulls
Seasons: 17
PPG: 11.6
RPG: 4.2
APG: 3.7
Kukoc was a guy who helped pave the way for European basketball players to make their way to the NBA. Kukoc was deceptively effective on the basketball court, he did a little of everything. He had a soft shooting touch out to 19 feet, he could handle the ball and pass like a point guard, and he was big enough to grab a good amount of rebounds each game. At the end of his career, Kukoc ended up with three NBA titles under his belt, all of which he made key contributions to. His best season was in the 1998-1999 season when he averaged 18.8 ppg, 7 rpg and 5.3 apg. A lot of people forget how big of an impact Toni Kukoc had in those three Bulls championship run, but the numbers don't lie.


P.J. Brown - Drafted - second round, 2nd pick (29th overall) by the New Jersey Nets
Seasons: 15
PPG: 9.8
RPG: 7.7
BPG: 1.0
Brown wasn't a guy who was going to put up huge offensive numbers, but everyone who played against or with him knew he was going to give 110% every night. Brown was a guy known for his great defense and intense focus, he only missed 45 games throughout his career. Like I said before, a good draft pick is not just someone who puts up great stats, and P.J. Brown is the perfect example.


Bryon Russell - Drafted - second round, 18th pick (45th overall) by the Utah Jazz
PPG: 7.9
RPG: 3.5
SPG: 1.0
Russell will be forever known as the guy that couldn't stop Jordan from hitting the game winning step back jumper in game six of the 1998 NBA Finals; but if you watch closely, Jordan pushed off. Anyway, Russell wasn't a guy who was going to beat you with his numbers, but he would beat you with his hustle and his heart. His 12 seasons in the NBA could only be described as "gritty". Russell's best season was in 1999-2000 when he averaged 14.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2 apg and 2 steals per game.

Nick Van Exel - Drafted - second round, 10th pick (37th overall) by the LA Lakers
Seasons: 14
PPG: 14.4
APG: 6.6
SPG: 1.0
Van Exel had an interesting start to his college career. He wasn't heavily recruited coming out of high school, so his first two collegiate seasons were in Junior College. After those two dominating seasons, he caught the eye of Bob Huggins, the head coach at the Universtity of Cincinnati. Van Exel went on to have two productive seasons for the Bearcats, and it earned him a shot to play for the Lakers. There was no question in anyone's mind that Van Exel could play the game at he highest level, the only question mark was his character. He was quick and crafty with the basketball, and he had a very quick release on his shot, with distance far beyond the three point line. Van Exel's best season was in 1994-1995 when he averaged 16.9 ppg, 8.3 apg and 1.2 steals per game.


Eric Snow - Drafted - second round, 14th pick (43rd overall) by the Milwaukee Bucks
Seasons: 13
PPG: 6.8
APG: 5.0
SPG: 1.2
In his first few seasons in the NBA, Snow didn't have many chances to contribute, mostly due to the fact that he was backing up Gary Payton in Seattle. Snow remained optimistic, however, and was rewarded for his patience. In 1998, Snow was traded to the 76ers and finally got his chance to contribute as a starting point guard. Snow had his best seasons in Philadelphia, helping the team reach the playoffs five of the seven seasons he was there, including a memorable run to the NBA Finals in 2000-2001. Snow's best statistical season came in the 2002-2003 season when he averaged 12.9 ppg, 6.6 apg, and 1.6 steals per game.


Malik Rose - Drafted - second round, 15th pick (44th overall) by the Charlotte Hornets
Seasons: 14
PPG: 6.2
RPG: 4.1
Malik Rose was another gritty player who gave 110% every night he stepped on the court. He didn't ever put up spectacular numbers, but he did all the dirty work to help his teams win. Rose was a key contributor to two Spurs championship teams in 1999 and 2003. His best season was in 2002-2003 when he averaged 10.4 ppg and 6.4 rebounds per game.


Stephen Jackson - Drafted - second round, 14th pick (42nd overall) by the Phoenix Suns
Seasons: 10 (still active)
PPG: 16.1
RPG: 4.0
APG 3.2
Jackson was drafted directly out of high school into the NBA, that, combined with character issues, made it hard for him to get a legit chance with an NBA squad. Once Jackson got a chance, there was no denying his talent. San Antonio gave Jackson his first big shot to contribute, and he didn't disappoint, in only 26 minutes per game, Jackson poured in an efficient 11.2 points per game. Still, Jackson's character issues have caused for him to bounce around the league, playing for six different teams in his 10 seasons in the league. Jackson's best season came in the 2008-2009 season when he averaged 20.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 6.5 assists per game.


Rashard Lewis - Drafted - second round, 3rd pick (32nd overall) by the Seattle Supersonics.
Seasons: 12 (still active)
PPG: 16.7
RPG: 5.7
3P%: .392
A lot of teams overlooked Lewis in the 1998 draft because he was a kid coming out of high school, and they thought his game was a little one dimensional. In his first couple of seasons, Lewis didn't get off the bench too often; but he had a breakout season in his third campaign. In that third season, Lewis became a full-time starter and did so in all 78 games he suited up for. Given those huge minutes, Lewis but up nice stats, 14.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg and a very strong 43% from behind the arc. Lewis' production only got better from there, he became a consistent 22 point threat while grabbing six rebounds and shooting 40% from three-point-land. In 2007, Lewis was traded to Orlando and picked up where he left off in Seattle. Lewis led the league in three point field goals made (220) and attempted (554) in 2008-2009. He helped lead the Magic to an NBA Finals appearance in that same season. Lewis' best season came in 2006-2007 when he averaged 22.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 2.4 assists per game.

Cuttino Mobley - Drafted - second round, 12th pick (41st overall) by the Houston Rockets
Seasons: 11
PPG: 16.0
RPG: 3.9
SPG: 1.2
There was no doubt in anybody's mind that Mobley could score coming out of college, but the question was his dedication to the defensive end and the dedication to playing team basketball. Mobley didn't waste any time in showing that he could score on the NBA level, averaging 9.9 ppg in a very limited rookie season. In his second season, Mobley was the Rockets very deadly sixth man, putting up 15.9 ppg while playing only 30 minutes per game. After a very productive stint with Houston, the Rockets used him in a trade to land the much coveted Tracy McGrady. Mobley finished his career with stops in Orlando, Sacramento, LA Clippers and the NY Knicks. His best season came in 2001-2002 when he averaged 21.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 1.5 steals per game.


Manu Ginobili - Drafted - second round, 28th pick (57th overall) by the San Antonio Spurs
Seasons: 8 (still active)
PPG: 15.0
RPG: 4.0
APG: 3.8
SPG: 1.5
The Spurs always seem to have great late first round or second round picks, and Ginobili was one of their best. They drafted him in 1999, but he didn't play his first NBA season until 2002-2003. The extra time overseas gave Ginobili the chance to develop his game to better fit in the NBA. Ginobili is your prototypical South American player, he plays tough defense, can score in multiple ways (sometimes very unorthodox), and he always leaves it all on the court. Manu was a key player on three Spurs championship teams, and he won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2007-2008. His best season came in 2007-2008 when he averaged 19.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.5 apg and 1.5 steals per game.


Michael Redd - Drafted - second round, 14th pick (43rd overall) by the Milwaukee Bucks
Seasons: 10 (still active)
PPG: 20.3
RPG: 4.1
3P%: 38.4
In college, Redd's best season was his Freshman year, and every year thereafter his stats went down in every category. I think that, combined with a clear lack of athleticism, led to Redd's second round selection; but what a pick it was. In his first two NBA seasons, it was tough for Redd to crack the rotation, so the summer before his third season, he needed to find an identity. Redd became a dead-eye three-point shooter and a crafty all around scorer, four out of the ten seasons he has played, Redd has been in the top 10 in scoring. Unfortunately, Redd is stuck in Milwaukee where he can't win, and he doesn't get the credit he deserves. Redd's best season came in 2006-2007 when he averaged 26.7 ppg and shot 38.2% from behind the arc; surprisingly, Redd didn't make the All-Star team that season.


Gilbert Arenas - Drafted - second round, 2nd pick (30th overall) by the Golden State Warriors
Seasons: 8 (still active)
PPG: 22.7
RPG: 4.2
APG 5.6
SPG: 1.7
Arenas has a "me against the world" type attitude, and I think that was the main reason he slipped out of the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft. He wore the number 0 at the University of Arizona because all of his doubters said he would play 0 minutes at UofA. That trend continued in the NBA, and he has famously donned the cold and empty zero on the back of each of his two NBA jerseys. Even with all the problems that come with Gilly, he does bring a nice game to the table. When healthy, he is one of the top five scorers in the NBA, and you can't deny his passing skills, either. Arenas has made three All-Star teams, won a Sixth Man of the Year Award, and has been named an All-NBA performer three times. Arenas' career has been marred lately by injuries and the gun incident that kept him out for more than half the season last year. His best season came in 2005-2006 when he averaged 29.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 6.1 assists per game.

Mehmet Okur - Drafted - second round, 9th pick (37th overall) by the Detroit Pistons
Seasons: 8 (still active)
PPG: 13.9
RPG: 7.2
3P%: .378
After being drafted by the Pistons, they stashed him away overseas to develop a better back to the basket game, the type of big that can fit in the Motor City. Okur was more comfortable, however, playing his natural European style face-up game, so when the Pistons brought him over, he didn't fit in their system. When Okur's contract with Detroit expired, the Pistons let him walk, and he did so right to Utah. The Jazz catered to Okur's strengths and were rewarded by doing so, he has been a starter, and key offensive option for Utah the last six years. His ability to spread the floor with great three-point shooting allows Deron Williams to run the pick and roll much more efficiently. Okur's best season came in 2008-2009 when he averaged 17 ppg, 7.7 rpg, and shot 44% from behind the arc.


Carlos Boozer - Drafted - second round, 6th pick (35th overall) by the Cleveland Cavaliers
Seasons: 8 (still active)
PPG: 17.2
RPG: 10.2
FG%: .541
Boozer slipped because scouts thought he was a "tweener" at the NBA level. A tweener is a guy who is in between two positions, for example, at 6'8" Boozer was in between a small forward and a power forward, and NBA scouts really like guys who have defined positions. What the scouts didn't realize was Boozer didn't need a defined position, he is one of the hardest working guys in the league, and has a nice outside shot. Boozer has been in the top ten in rebounding four times, and has been in the top ten in field goal percentage six times. Boozer, a two time All-Star, is another second round selection that found his niche in Utah. His best season was in 2006-2007 when he averaged 20.9 ppg, 11.7 rpg and shot 56% from the field.


Monta Ellis - Drafted - second round, 10th pick (40th overall) by the Golden State Warriors
Seasons: 5 (still active)
PPG: 18.1
APG: 3.9
Ellis was one of the last players to be drafted straight out of high school into the NBA. It's tough for anyone to make that jump, but it's especially hard for a small guard to do it. Ellis isn't your prototypical point guard, but there is no doubt he can score the basketball. The Warriors made the perfect pick here, the skills Ellis brings to the table fit with Golden State's style of play like a glove.


Paul Millsap - Drafted - second round, 17th pick (47th overall) by the Utah Jazz
Seasons: 4 (still active)
PPG: 9.9
RPG: 6.5
FG%: .527
Millsap hasn't had the chance to showcase the skills that he possesses due to the fact that he has been backing up Boozer in Utah his whole career. Millsap has shown flashes of greatness throughout his four NBA seasons, and Utah has taken notice. They matched a huge offer last offseason that Portland presented to Millsap, and they let Boozer bolt to Chi- Town this offseason because they think so highly of him. This season will be Millsap's first as a full-time starter, and we will see if he truly belongs on this list.

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