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The 10 Best NBA Second-Rounders Of All Time
Better late than never for these once-unheralded ballers turned superstars
by Raul Maningat | Feb 18, 2017
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A number of NBA greats had their names called in the first round of the draft. However, history has shown that second-rounders are capable of becoming every bit of the hoop hero their much more highly touted batchmates are supposed to turn into.

In this season alone, 2011’s 60th pick, Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, and the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, who got picked 41st in 2014, are putting up ridiculous numbers, proving yet again that non-first rounders are not to be slept on.

As a nod to those two and their talented predecessors, we compiled the top players to come out of the second round of the NBA Draft.


10) Michael Redd (43rd overall in 2000)

 Career highlights:

-2004 NBA All-Star
-2004 All-NBA Third Team
-2008 US Olympic Team Member

From 2003-2008, Redd was in the conversation of the best 2-guard in the league, with Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen. Let that sink in for a couple of seconds. In that span, Redd’s lowest scoring average was 21 PPG, while his best season came in 2006-07, notching 26 markers per contest. Unfortunately, injuries derailed this second-round gem’s fast-rising career.


9) Toni Kukoc (29th overall in 1990)

Career highlights:

-3-time NBA Champion
-1994 All-Rookie Second Team
-1996 Sixth Man of the Year

The Croatian sensation was a deadly shooter and a deft passer. With guard skills at 6’11”, you’ll probably tag him as a unicorn if he was playing in the NBA today. He was definitely a first-round talent. Luckily for the Bulls, the other 28 teams didn’t think he was that good.


8) Rashard Lewis (32nd overall in 1998)

Career highlights:

-2-time NBA All-Star
-2013 NBA Champion

A frail rookie out of high school, Lewis turned into an elite stretch forward averaging 22 PPG for the Seattle Supersonics. He blossomed into an offensive threat versatile enough to land him an eye-popping $118-million contrac with the Orlando Magic. He helped the Magic reach the Finals in 2009–the team’s second championship appearance in team history.

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7) Carlos Boozer (35th overall in 2002)

Career highlights:

-2-time NBA All-Star
-2008 All-NBA Third Team
-NBA All-Rookie Second Team

Before his disappearing—and reappearing—hairline became the butt of every joke, he was a seriously good power forward. Who would’ve thought that a 35th pick could be a 20 and 10 guy? Signing the Duke product to a $70-million, six-year deal, the Utah Jazz witnessed Boozer's best years and career-high averages (21.1 PPG and 11.7 RPG).


6) Isaiah Thomas, (60th overall in 2011)

Career highlights:

-2-time NBA All-Star
-NBA All-Rookie Second Team

Everyone, including his first team the Sacramento Kings, who turned a blind eye must be drowning in regret, now that Thomas is having an MVP season with the Celtics. Currently the second-best scorer in the NBA (29.9 PPG), he also has a few 40-point outbursts and a career night (52 points). More impressive than his scoring spree, however, is his clutch play. Nobody has been better during crunch time this season than Thomas, righfully earning him the nickname 'Mr. Fourth Quarter.'

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5) Gilbert Arenas (31st overall in 2001)

Career highlights: 

-3-time NBA All-Star
-2007 All-NBA Second Team
-2-time All-NBA Third Team
-2004 Most Improved Player

Arenas should’ve definitely been a lottery pick. One of his legendary performances was against the Los Angeles Lakers, going off for a career-high 60 points. He wasn’t bad at dishing the rock, too, averaging 5 helpings for his career. More proof of this second-round pick’s greatness is his shoe deal with Adidas. You’ve made it in the NBA when sneakers get modeled after you. If not for his off-court shenanigans, Arenas could’ve gone down as one of the game’s true greats.


4) Paul Millsap (47th overall in 2006)

Career highlights:

-4-time NBA All-Star
-2016 NBA All-Defensive Second Team
-NBA All-Rookie Second Team

The Jazz must’ve had an oracle working in the front office to see this one coming. Utah basically got a player who turned out to be a hundred times better than that year's top pick, Andrea Bargnani. The 6’8” workhorse wound up as one the league’s most dependable forwards on both ends of the floor. Currently enjoying Millsap’s All-Star services are the Atlanta Hawks.

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3) Marc Gasol, (48th overall in 2007)

Career highights:

-3-time NBA All-Star
-2013 Defensive Player of the Year
-2015 All-NBA First Team
-2013 All-NBA Second Team
-2013 All-Defensive Team
-NBA All-Rookie Second Team 

The Lakers were in a win-now situation when they traded their 48th pick for his brother Pau, who was already an established star, and eventually helped them win back-to-back titles. But we bet the Purple and Gold didn’t know that Marc would develop into the player he is today. Right now, Marc is an All-Star caliber player for the Memphis Grizzlies. Armed with uncanny passing, slick post moves, and a newly discovered three-point shot, the big man is arguably the best two-way center in the NBA today.


2) Draymond Green (35th overall in 2012)

Career highlights:

-2015 NBA Champion
-2-time NBA All-Star
-2016 All-NBA Second Team
-2-time All Defensive First Team

A case of teams shying away from picking a player who’s considered to be undersized for his position. What these geniuses failed to see in Green are his sharp basketball instincts. His hoops acumen has allowed him to become a vicious disruptor on defense and one of this era’s triple-double machines. Pairing high basketball IQ with underrated athleticism, the Golden State Warriors’ emotional forward has become an unsolved problem for the rest of the league.


1) Manu Ginobili (57th overall in 1999)

Career highlights:

-4-time NBA Champion
-2-time NBA All-Star
-2-time All-NBA Third Team
-2008 Sixth Man of the year
-All-Rookie Second Team

Nobody moved on the court like Ginobili. That’s why he was a conundrum for other teams, attacking the rim with reckless abandon in his heyday. Ginobili passed the ball like Larry and Magic, with flair and accuracy. Playing with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, it wasn’t a bad option to have Manu take over in clutch situations. Truly one of the most creative playmakers the league has ever seen, Manu is undeniably the biggest steal in NBA Draft history. Kudos to Pop and the Spurs.

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