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For most people the 2 nd round of the NBA draft is as useful as a bottle openers when you’ve got twist offs. In fact the popular belief is that after the lottery, there are not any game changers left. Either you pick high or make a trade to help your team on draft night. Well evidence proves otherwise. Teams that can draft well at the end of the 1 st round and in the 2 nd, set themselves up for success. Look at the Celtics, (I know everyone outside of New England is sick of it) they were able to pick well late in the draft to help their team. Leon Powe and Glen Davis were both 2 nd rounders, as was one of the key pieces in the Kevin Garnett trade, Ryan Gomes. If you can find late gems in the draft, you give your team an enormous advantage.
Every year there are lottery busts. These are the picks that set your franchise back, and often cripple your fan base. Dating back to the past 10 drafts, here are just some of the Top 10 picks that did not pan out: Michael Olowokandi, Raef LaFrentz, Robert Traylor, Jonathan Bender, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, DeMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm, Kwame Brown, Eddie Griffin, Rodney White, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Dajuan Wagner, Darko, Mike Sweetney, Rafael Araujo, Marvin Williams (ahead of Chris Paul and D. Williams), Adam Morrison, and Patrick O’Bryant. It’s too early to criticize last year’s picks. But looking at those names its obvious there are no sure things in the NBA Draft. Along with lottery failures, teams can totally redeem themselves in the 2 nd round. Contracts aren’t guaranteed, so why not take a shot.
Here’s some players who slipped through the 1 st round in the past 10 drafts, and make up my list of 2 nd round steals.
How about the All- 2 nd round team? You’ve got All-Stars and Olympians. You can play a lineup of Gilbert Arenas, Michael Redd, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur with Monta Ellis, Rashard Lewis, Jason Kapono, and Eddie House coming off the bench. Not bad for round 2 right?
Don’t sleep on the 2 nd rounders, or you’ll be the team that passed up on the next Boozer, not once, but twice. This isn’t the NFL Draft where you have 7 rounds to find that late steal. Only 60 players will be drafted on Thursday night, making the scouts’ job even tougher.
Who could be this 2008’s 2 nd round sleepers? With so many Freshmen and foreign players dominating the draft its easy for guys to be picked too high, but on the flip side guys will slip past their value. I really like Kansas State’s Bill Walker, but injuries are a concern. Late in the 1 st, it will be hard to pass up on him, but if a team is too worried about his knees he better not go past 31. D.J. White from Indiana is another guy to watch. He’s only 6’9’’ but we’ve seen so many short young bigs have success by hustling and rebounding. He would be a great fit somewhere, and will absolutely have a better career than many of the 1 st rounders. And lastly, New Mexico’s J.R. Giddens, by way of Kansas is very intriguing. Loads of talent, but it will ultimately come down to the situation he lands in. So on draft night look for Bill Walker, D.J. White, and J.R. Giddens.
(Personally I will be rooting for Colorado’s Richard Roby to be drafted, strictly because I played against him in high school. He was on the same team as the 15 th pick in the 2005 draft Antoine Wright, as well as guys who went to Arizona State and Colgate. Roby is the half-brother of Kenyon Martin, and almost went pro after his sophomore season. He had a poor shooting junior year and had to return as a senior. He put up big numbers all four years in the Big 12, but now will have to sweat it out to see if he gets picked.)
As for guaranteed 1 st round guys, I obviously like Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley like everyone else. I’m very high on O.J. Mayo, can play both guard spots and will have a solid NBA career. Eric Gordon could be a great scorer, and Brandon Rush will be a valuable piece on a championship team some day.
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