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

Carlos Boozer; Nikola Pekovic

Stars like Carlos Boozer and Nikola Pekovic are rare in the second round. (David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

2. Don’t expect a star. While GMs make memorable mistakes all the time (Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry, etc.), the collective group of 30 executives and their scouting staffs don’t often completely miss on a budding A-list talent. The last 10 drafts have produced exactly two second-round picks who went on to earn All-Star selections —  Marc Gasol and Millsap — and zero players who have earned multiple All-Star selections.

Indeed, of the 76 players who have made an All-Star team between 2005 and 2014, only eight were second-round picks (Ginobili, Millsap, Gasol, Carlos Boozer, Mo Williams, Rashard Lewis, Gilbert Arenas and Mehmet Okur). One other All-Star (Ben Wallace) went undrafted. Who made up the rest of the All-Stars? A jaw-dropping 53 lottery picks and 14 non-lottery first-round selections. To underline this point, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has more All-Star Game selections over the last decade (10) than all currently-active second-round picks combined (Ginobili, Millsap, Gasol, Boozer, Williams and Lewis combine for 9).

One might argue that an All-Star selection can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as players with greater name recognition — a quality boosted by a spot in the lottery or high-level performance in high school and college — have a built-in advantage over second-round talents. One recent example: Goran Dragic, a second-round pick, was passed over for an All-Star spot this season by lottery picks like Davis and Damian Lillard.

It’s a fair point, but any such snubbing seems to be happening on the margins. The second-round picks who have maintained the highest average PER for multiple seasons include Nikola Pekovic (19.2), Millsap (18.9), Isaiah Thomas (18.8), Gasol (18) and Lou Williams (17.1); all are quality players but none can really claim to have been habitually overlooked in favor of less-deserving, higher-profile players. Further, Gasol is the only active second-round pick who can really be regarded as a superstar caliber player right now.

3. Finding immediate-impact contributors isn’t easy. Hoping that your tanking team will be able to plug-and-play second-round picks into the rotation for a quick turnaround next season? It’s probably smart to pump the brakes on that idea. Entering Tuesday’s action, the 30 second-round picks from the 2013 draft had averaged just 93.7 minutes played for their entire rookie seasons.

That number, which breaks down to less than two minutes per game to date, actually overstates the impact of this year’s second-round class. Sixteen 2013 second-round picks have yet to take the court this season and only seven players from this group have managed to log at least 100 minutes. Some of that can be explained by teams drafting international players and stashing them overseas, but talent and readiness are major factors, too.

This year’s top minutes-earners — Nate Wolters, Ryan Kelly, and Lorenzo Brown — are all plying their trades for truly bad teams, and it’s fair to say that there are zero 2013 second-round picks who have made a real impact for playoff-bound squads this season. Year Two is, as you would expect, more promising: Seven 2012 second-round picks — Jeff Taylor, Jae Crowder, Draymond Green, Khris Middleton, Will Barton, Mike Scott and Kyle O’Quinn — have all already logged at least 1,000 career minutes and have shown varied degrees of potential in doing so.

There are only so many ways you can write “keep your expectations in check” without getting redundant. Here’s one final note for the road: Of the 150 second-round picks from 2009 through 2013, just four have so far proven to be strong, dependable starters and/or standout postseason performers: Chandler Parsons, Thomas, Lance Stephenson, and Danny Green. There are a host of other capable rotation players — Scott, Green, Patrick Beverley, DeJuan Blair, Marcus Thornton, Kyle Singler, Dante Cunningham, and Chase Budinger, among others — but the last five years worth of drafts have produced about one solid gold strike per year, if that.

Washington Wizards

Not only did Vladimir Veremeenko never play in the NBA, but he never got a real jersey. (Jennifer Pottheiser/Getty Images)

4. The pickings get even slimmer after pick 45. The bottom half of the second round is a who’s who of hard-to-pronounce names who have left little impact on the NBA. Remember that time Vladimir Veremeenko (No. 48 in 2006) exploded for 35 against the Lakers? Or, when Izzet Turkyilmaz (No. 50 in 2012) messed around and got a triple-double? Or, when Chukwudiebere Maduabum (No. 56 in 2011) and Tanguy Ngombo (taken one spot after Maduabum) traded buckets down the stretch at Madison Square Garden? Of course not. None of those things happened because none of those guys has ever sniffed the league.

All told, 71 of the 150 players selected from spots 46 to 60 over the last 10 years have never played in a single NBA game. Only 10 players taken in this range — Millsap, Gasol, Amir Johnson, Marcin Gortat, Ramon Sessions, Ryan Gomes, Andray Blatche, Thomas and Green — have compiled at least 10 career Win Shares. That’s a marked difference from the top half of the second round, where only 27 of the 150 players selected from 31 to 45 have failed to appear in the NBA, and where 30 players (including the likes of Anderson Varejao, Monta Ellis, Williams, Dragic, and Parsons) have compiled at least 10 career Win Shares.

The takeaway: hitting pay dirt with the likes of Millsap (No. 47 in 2006), Gasol (No. 48 in 2007) and Thomas (No. 60 in 2011) can happen even as draft night drags into its closing stages, but the bust rate increases considerably along the way.

5. Don’t draft any one named “Ricky” in the second round. Just don’t do it! The four players named Ricky (the Rickies?) drafted in the second round over the last decade — Ledo (2013), Minard (2004), Paulding (2004) and Sanchez (2005) — have combined to play just 33 minutes total. Although no name has been truly foolproof, “Ryan” has been solid: Gomes (2005), Hollins (2006), Kelly (2013), Reid (2010) and Richards (2010) have combined to play more than 19,000 minutes over 18 seasons.

Staying away from “Sergei” and the alternate spelling of “Sergiy” is smart, too, as Karaulov (2004), Lishouk (2004) and Gladyr (2009) all failed to make it to the league.

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.