Posted February 26, 2014

All-Gold Strike Team: Ten second-round picks who hit it big over the last decade

Amir Johnson, Ben Golliver, Chandler Parsons, DeAndre Jordan, Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson, Marc Gasol, Monta Ellis, Nikola Pekovic, Paul Millsap, The Point Forward All-Stars
Paul Millsap, Lance Stephenson and Goran Dragic

Paul Millsap (No. 47), Lance Stephenson (40) and Goran Dragic (45) were all second-round picks. (Getty Images)

“The Point Forward All-Stars” will have a new theme each week centered on a single shared trait that brings together the team members. This week, we take a look back at the last decade’s worth of second-round picks.

Previously: The All-Grateful Team | The East’s All-Letdown Team | The All-Atrocious Team | The All-Ignored Team | The All-Stocking Stuffer Team | The All-Recalibration Team | The All-Payday Team | The All-Gridiron Team | The All-Sanctioned Team | The All-Dunk Contest Team | The Non-Champions

Second-round picks, by definition, have always been the NBA’s bridesmaid, and never the bride. Look no further than this year’s All-Star Game, where a whopping six No. 1 overall picks (LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis) dominated the headlines and highlights, while Paul Millsap was the only second-round selection to compete in the game.

The bridesmaids were stuck watching Irving took home All-Star Game MVP honors, Griffin threaten the All-Star Game’s scoring record with 38 points, and Wall winning the Slam Dunk Contest, but they would have their moment to shine just a few days later. Last week’s trade deadline saw a total of zero first-round picks exchange hands, even though a slew of deals were consummated and a good chunk of the league’s teams have been effectively eliminated from playoff contention. That left any asset-seeking architect of a rebuilding program to scrounge up the next best thing: second-round picks.

Nobody rolled up his khakis and dug into the muck quite like Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, who managed to acquire six second-round picks by participating in deals with the Clippers, Pacers, Cavaliers, and a three-team deal with the Nuggets and Wizards. Of course, those picks were simply added to a stockpile of draft considerations that Hinkie began compiling as soon as he took over in Philadelphia last summer.

We all know the example of Manu Ginobili — three-time champion, two-time All-Star, future Hall of Famer — who was miraculously plucked by the Spurs with the No. 57 pick in the 1999 draft, but we also know that he is clearly the exception and not the rule when it comes to second-round pick performance. What exactly are the odds facing Hinkie and his colleagues when it comes to finding contributors in the second round? And who exactly, besides Ginobili, has emerged as second-round gold strikes in recent years? Let’s take a look.

(All statistics are through Feb. 25.)

Surveying Second-Round Picks

The Point Forward analyzed the 300 second-round picks made between 2004 and 2013, charting players by asking the following questions:

  • Did they succeed in making the NBA?
  • How many minutes did they log and how many years of experience did they accrue?
  • What were their average Efficiency Rating (PER) during their NBA career and how many total Win Shares did they accumulate along the way?

The survey confirmed many of the widely-held notions of how difficult it is to hit pay dirt in the second round, while also quantifying how difficult it is to find talent there. The following are five takeaways from this examination:

1. The washout rate is very high. Many second-round picks never actually realize their dreams of competing in an NBA game. In fact, nearly one-third of the second-round picks made in the last 10 years (98 out of 300) have not played in the NBA.

Even making it to Year Two can prove difficult. Of the 270 second-round picks taken from 2004 to 2012 — in other words, the guys in our 300-player sample who could have played for at least two years — only 141 have two or more years of experience. Roughly speaking, that means a player selected in the 2014 second round can be expected to have just slightly better than a 50/50 shot of playing two NBA seasons, whether they happen immediately upon selection or at some point down the line.

Of those who do find a way to stick, many move on before they can get truly comfortable (or cash in with a new contract). The average career length of all second-round pick taken from 2004 to 2008 — including those who never made the league — was 2.7 years. That number rose to 3.8 years among second-round picks who appeared in at least one NBA game, a figure that’s still below the NBA’s overall average career length of 4.8 years.

Consider this for context: an NBA player who averages 25 minutes a night and appears in 70 games will log roughly 1,750 minutes over the course of a season. Of the 180 second-round picks taken between 2004 and 2009, only 55 have played at least 1,750 minutes over their entire careers. In other words, less than one-in-three second-round picks over a six-year period have managed to hang on for what we would consider a single season’s worth of decent playing time.

20 comments
xiantist
xiantist

was surprised no mention of the Korver Kounter, and then I read the headline.. "Last Decade" (2004-2013), so no Manu, Toni, NVE, Kerr, Gil, Mo Cheeks, Worm, Boozer. Hibbert is  the 17th pick in the D-Rose draft.

jai3
jai3

manu ginobili should be number one on that list 

CheeneedeJesus
CheeneedeJesus

Toni Kukoc?

Manu Ginobili?

Nick Van Exel?

Steve Kerr?

Gilbert Arenas?

Maurice Cheeks?

Dennis Rodman?

RushiDesai
RushiDesai

your missing carlos boozer, who has multiple all-star appearances and good career numbers. 

sportsGuy12
sportsGuy12

I know he's a first round pick, but whatever happened to Shabazz Muhammed? is he out of the league yet?

David S
David S

Excellent article and thoughtful analyses. There are no sure things in the draft, either first of second round. We've seen so many high first round picks fall by the wayside. 


Q. What do Trey Thompkins, Jordan Williams, Tyler Honeycutt, Shelvin Mack, Kyle Singler, Justin Harper, Brojan Bogdanovic, Cory Joseph, Noris Cole, JaJuan Johnson, Reggie Jackson, MarShon Brooks, Nolan Smith, Chris Singleton, and Jimmer Fredette all have in common?  


A. They were all drafted ahead of Chandler Parsons in 2011

Aaron14
Aaron14

Remember all those morons that were saying the Grizzlies were idiots that were "taken" in the Gasol for Gasol deal?  Where are those morons now?  Oh yeah, making more stupid predictions they won't hold themselves accountable for.

Doug1
Doug1

I was going to ask about Michael Redd, who averaged 19 pts a game for his career with one AllStar game appearance. Then I realized he was drafted 14 years ago!

MrGameandShow
MrGameandShow

@sportsGuy12  Give that another year or two before we hear Minnesota trading him for a second rounder and receiving a buyout from a last place team.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Aaron14 How many years ago was that?  And you are stilled pissed off?

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

@Aaron14  the fact that he developed is NOT evidence that the Grizzlies were not fleece at the time of the trade. Thankfully for them, it worked out and Gasol turned into a helluva player, but A) don't pretend he wasn't an overweight teenager with limited skill at the time of the trade. He was an average at best prospect. At the time of the trade, their was little to no indication that he would even play in the NBA, much less be an All-Star.  B) The Lakers didn't win two championships was this deal being the direct catalyst, so you could never argue they "lost" the trade C) that this was a good trade for the Grizzlies at the time. Pau was a multiple All-Star, and they got back a limited haul, garbage time players and prospects. Just because one happened to work out does not mean that it was a good trade at the time it was made. They traded Pau at waaayyyy undervalue, and they lucked out when one of the guys worked his a$$ off to be a good-great NBA player. They made a bad trade, but as the saying goes, the sun shines on a dog's a$$ every once in awhile, and this was one of those occasions. 

Aaron14
Aaron14

@JoeCabot @Aaron14  No, not pissed at all.  Couldn't disagree with Custard's last stand more.  The Grizzlies cleared a MASSIVE amount of money and there was a lot of talk that the younger Gasol was showing he would become a legitimate five man in the NBA.  The reason OTHER people were pissed off about it at the time was because it helped put the Lakers back on the map and were WAY too harsh on Memphis.     You want to see a crappy deal look at what Minnesota got for Garnett going to Boston.   

CyrusL
CyrusL

@BryanCustard @Aaron14  

Actually, Aaron is right on this. I watched Marc play in international competition for several years before he became an established NBA presence. I sat courtside for several games when Marc played for the Spanish national team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and he was one of their better players. To say Marc was "an average at best prospect with limited skill" is straight up wrong. Watching him back then, he had great post moves and footwork, good post defense, and great passing ability for a big man. He was bodying his counterpart big men in int'l play, and it was clear dude had skill.


About the only legitimate knock on him was that he was chubby. But please ditch the lazy narratives, Bryan -- just because you didn't watch Marc play back then doesn't mean he was a wack scrub.


For reference, here's a 2007 scouting report on Marc. Turns out that after shedding his chub, he had enough -- good body, great skill, great basketball IQ -- to overcome his questionable quickness.

"

Strengths: Great NBA size.  Used to a high level of competition, playing in one of the world’s best leagues in Spain and playing internationally with the Spanish National Team.  Strong low post defender – uses body well – takes charges.  Good hands.  Good low post scorer.  Good passer for a big man – not uncommon to have 3 or 4 assists in a game.  Used to the North American style of play having played high school ball in Memphis.  Shoots for a very high percentage.  Considered to be a smart, good team player.

Weaknesses: Not much of a shot blocker.  Not considered to have NBA quickness or leaping ability.  Thought of to be a few years away from being ready for the NBA.  Has been criticized in the past for poor conditioning.  

Projected 2007 Draft Range: Mid first round – early second round pick.

Consensus:  Marc shouldn’t be confused with big brother Pau – he is not as dynamic of a NBA prospect.  However, he is a smart, big, strong low post player that with a few more years of experience under his belt could be helpful to a NBA team."

http://www.collegehoopsnet.com/story/marc_gasol_nba_draft_profile40739

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@CyrusL @BryanCustard @Aaron14  He was taken 48th.  That's not a guy who was considered a good prospect, that's a guy who was considered very large and tall and could still walk and chew gum.  This isn't the NFL where a 2nd round pick is expected to have a long and productive career, it's the NBA where 2nd round picks are expected to be cheap backups who might develop into role players some day.


Obviously he turned out well, and if the draft were held again he'd be a top 10 pick, but at the time of the trade the Grizzlies were definitely getting back 25 cents on the dollar for his brother.


David102
David102

@CyrusL @BryanCustard @Aaron14  Yeah, I remember when Gasol was absolutely carrying Spain in the world championships. While people were prattling about run & jump stiffs with "upside," here was a guy who had: A) huge size, B) skill and C) a will to win. Plus he actually wanted to be a center. It seemed obvious he could be a productive NBA player.

CyrusL
CyrusL

Lastly: it's obvious the trade worked out for the Lakers and that they wouldn't have won two championships without Pau. But Memphis was gonna lose Pau anyway, and for forced to trade 50 cents on the dollar, the trade worked out really well for them. That isn't all luck, and Memphis deserves credit despite their numerous other missteps in that era.

CyrusL
CyrusL

One more point I'd like to make: it's true that it was hard to predict that Marc would become as good/better than Pau and an All-Star in his own right. But good scouting (and Pau's pedigree) would've indicated that Marc had a solid shot of becoming a good, cheap NBA player.