FanPost

Assessing the True Value of 2nd Round Picks

Bulls 2nd Rounders

The 2nd Round of the NBA Draft has always gotten a bad rep for having a noticeably lower talent pool than its 1st Round counterpart, but perhaps it should actually be viewed in an even more negative light than it already is.

Some great players in the history of the NBA have gone in the second round, with notable active examples including Draymond Green, Marc Gasol, Isaiah Thomas, and Manu Ginobili. Second round picks are often used as trade fodder to round out the balance of exchanges between teams, or sometimes even swapped for players already on NBA rosters. One notable deal that already transpired this week involved the Memphis Grizzlies sending Courtney Lee to the Hornets in a three-team deal that yielded four second round picks for Memphis (as well as P.J. Hairston and Chris Andersen).

Yet, teams flipped good young players like Shabazz Napier, Maurice Harkless, Zaza Pachulia (maybe not young), and many others for individual, often protected 2nd Round picks this past offseason alone. With conflicting testimony from various schools of thought on how valuable a second round pick actually is in today's NBA climate, it is difficult for anyone to get an accurate judgement.

But what does history itself have to say on the matter?

I examined a stretch of twenty 2nd rounds of the NBA Draft from 1992 to 2011 to get a gauge on what the true value of a second round pick is. I have always suspected that they don't merit giving up players that have already proven themselves to be of NBA quality, and I believed that this examination would confirm my belief. The results were fascinating, and pretty overall damning of the value of 2nd round picks in general.

I focused my search on five areas:

1. The total number of players that could be considered "busts" in a second round of a draft.

2. The names and total number of 2nd round-drafted players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers. I estimated 1,000 career points is a safe threshold for players that made some sort of productive impact on at least one of their NBA teams.

3. The total number of these same players that were also big men (PFs or Cs).

4. The total number of 2nd round-drafted players that never played in a single NBA game.

5. Just for fun, the (objectively) best name from each 2nd Round of each NBA Draft.

If you want a summary of the results, skip to the bottom of the second dotted line. The raw results from each draft are listed below this first dotted line.
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1992 NBA Draft: 21 out of 27 Players Busted

Of the 27 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: P.J. Brown, Sean Rooks, Brent Price, Chris Smith, Popeye Jones, and Matt Geiger. Rooks, Jones, and Geiger were the only big men. Six of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Popeye Jones, because the only thing more ridiculous than being named Litterial Green is being named after a cartoon about a spinach junkie.

1993 NBA Draft: 22 out of 27 Players Busted

Of the 27 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Lucious Harris, Gheorghe Muresan, Nick Van Exel, Bryon Russell, and Chris Whitney. Muresan was the only big man. Eleven of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Spencer Dunkley, because I don't think any other player in high-level basketball has ever had the word "dunk" in their last name. Too bad he never played in an NBA game.

1994 NBA Draft: 19 out of 27 Players Busted

Of the 27 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Howard Eisley, Jim McIlvaine, Michael Smith, Darrin Hancock, Voshon Lenard, Lawrence Funderburke, Anthony Goldwire, and Zeljko Rebraca. McIlvaine, Smith, Funderburke, and Rebraca were the only big men. Nine of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Shawnelle Scott, because his parents couldn't have just named him "Shawn."

1995 NBA Draft: 22 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Andrew DeClercq, Eric Snow, Tyus Edney, Mark Davis, Fred Hoiberg, Chris Carr, and Don Reid. DeClerq and Reid were the only two big men. Eight of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Andrew DeClercq, because how can you pick against a "q" without a "u" immediately afterwards?

1996 NBA Draft: 24 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Othella Harrington, Moochie Norris, Jeff McInnis, Malik Rose, and Shandon Anderson. None of the aforementioned players were big men. Eleven of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the Second Round: Moochie Norris. He also wins best hair.

1997 NBA Draft: 21 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Marc Jackson, Anthony Johnson, Stephen Jackson, Cedric Henderson, Alvin Williams, Predrag Drobnjak, Chris Crawford, and Mark Blount. Drobnjak was the only big man. Ten of these players never played in an NBA game, including the 29th and 30th picks!

Best Name of the 2nd Round: God Shammgod. Self-explanatory.

1998 NBA Draft: 19 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Ruben Patterson, Rashard Lewis, Jelani McCoy, Shammond Williams, Jerome James, Rafer Alston, Cuttino Mobley, Jahidi White, Greg Buckner, and Ryan Bowen. Lewis, McCoy, James, and White were the only big men. Two of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Korleone Young, because Godfather references.

1999 NBA Draft: 22 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Calvin Booth, Gordan Giricek, Francisco Elson, Lee Nailon, Todd MacCulloch, Rodney Buford, and Manu Ginobili. Booth, Elson, and MacCulloch were the only big men. Eleven of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Wang Zhizhi, because "Zhi Squared" is too good of a nickname opportunity for me to pass up floating out there.

2000 NBA Draft: 22 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Marko Jaric, Jake Voskuhl, Eddie House, Eduardo Najera, Michael Redd, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Hart. Voskuhl and Cardinal were the only big men. Eight of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Scoonie Penn, because nicknames that serve as actual names are almost always funny. That being said, Brian "The Custodian" Cardinal is by far the best nickname in this class.

2001 NBA Draft: 22 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Trenton Hassell, Gilbert Arenas, Brian Scalabrine, Mehmet Okur, Earl Watson, Bobby Simmons, and Jarron Collins. Scalabrine, Okur, and Collins were the only big men. Eight of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, but unfortunately, "Boumtje Squared" doesn't work great as a nickname.

2002 NBA Draft: 20 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Roger Mason Jr., Dan Gadzuric, Carlos Boozer, Ronald Murray, Matt Barnes, Darius Songaila, Rasual Butler, and Luis Scola. Gadzuric, Boozer, Songaila, and Scola were the only big men. Nine of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Carlos Boozer, because the name pool here was weak but also because his last name opens up the door for numerous puns i.e. The Booze News.

2003 NBA Draft: 19 out of 29 Players Busted

Of the 29 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Jason Kapono, Luke Walton, Steve Blake, Willie Green, Zaza Pachulia, Keith Bogans, Matt Bonner, Mo Williams, James Jones, and Kyle Korver. Zaza Pachulia and Matt Bonner were the only big men. Eleven of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Sofoklis Schortsanitis, because just when I thought Greek names couldn't get any more elongated or ridiculous, the Clippers picked this guy (that never played in an NBA game) 34th overall. Zaza Pachulia finishes as a close second.

2004 NBA Draft: 26 out of 30 Players Busted

Of the 30 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Anderson Varejao, Royal Ivey, Chris Duhon, and Trevor Ariza. Varejao was the only big man. Thirteen of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Royal Ivey, because it was another weak name pool.

2005 NBA Draft: 18 out of 30 Players Busted

Of the 30 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Salim Stoudamire, Brandon Bass, C.J. Miles, Ersan Ilyasova, Ronny Turiaf, Von Wafer, Monta Ellis, Lou Williams, Andray Blatche, Ryan Gomes, Amir Johnson, and Marcin Gortat. Bass, Ilyasova, Turiaf, Blatche, Johnson, and Gortat were the only big men. Only four of these players never played in an NBA game. From a depth standpoint, this may be the greatest second round of the draft since the league switched to a two-round format.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Dijon Thompson, because mustard.

2006 NBA Draft: 23 out of 30 Players Busted

Of the 30 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Steve Novak, P.J. Tucker, Craig Smith, Daniel Gibson, Paul Millsap, Leon Powe, and Ryan Hollins. All of them were big men except for Tucker and Gibson. Eight of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Nana Papa Yaw Dwene Mensah-Bonsu, because the legacy of his glorious name must live on (even if he technically went undrafted... and the name pool was weak again anyway).

2007 NBA Draft: 24 out of 30 Players Busted

Of the 30 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Carl Landry, Glen Davis, Josh McRoberts, Marc Gasol, Aaron Gray, and Ramon Sessions. All of them were big men except for Sessions. Nine of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Kyrylo Fesenko, because find another first name that has two "y's" in it.

2008 NBA Draft: 21 out of 30 Players Busted

Of the 30 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Nikola Pekovic, Mario Chalmers, DeAndre Jordan, Omer Asik, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Sonny Weems, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Goran Dragic, and Bill Walker. Pekovic, Jordan, Asik, and Mbah a Moute were the only big men. Nine of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Patrick Ewing Jr., because this poor soul had way too much to live up to from the moment he crawled out of the womb and deserves to win something in his lifetime other than Big East Sixth Man of the Year.

2009 NBA Draft: 19 out of 30 Players Busted

Of the 30 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Dante Cunningham, Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, Jonas Jerebko, Jodie Meeks, Patrick Beverley, Marcus Thornton, Chase Budinger, Danny Green, A.J. Price, and Patty Mills. Cunningham, Blair, and Jerebko were the only big men. Ten of these players never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Nando de Colo, because it's really fun to say his name out loud.

2010 NBA Draft: 26 out of 30 Players Busted (***Nemanja Bjelica is in his rookie NBA season)

Of the 30 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Hassan Whiteside, Landry Fields, and Lance Stephenson. Whiteside was the only big man. Nine of these players have never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Magnum Rolle, I shouldn't have to explain this one.

2011 NBA Draft: 22 out of 30 Players Busted

Of the 30 players selected in the 2nd Round, the only players that scored over 1,000 points in their NBA careers were: Bojan Bogdanovich, Kyle Singler, Shelvin Mack, Chandler Parsons, Jon Leuer, Lavoy Allen, E'Twaun Moore, and Isaiah Thomas. Leuer and Allen were the only big men selected. Seven of these players have never played in an NBA game.

Best Name of the 2nd Round: Chukwudiebere Maduabum, because it's about time someone from Nigeria won one of these.

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I'll conclude this examination here, as anything less than four full seasons' worth of a sample size makes it too tricky to judge whether or not a player is a bust yet if they aren't already out of the league. Here is a summary of the data based on what I was looking for:

1. From 1992 through 2011, five hundred and eighty-two players were selected in the second round of the NBA Draft. Four hundred and thirty-two of these players failed to register 1,000 total points in their NBA careers. This means that teams during this period had a roughly 74.2% chance of selecting a player in the 2nd round that would end up becoming a bust. To put it another way, a team will on average select a practical NBA player in nearly one of every four drafts, and will end up with a bust most of the time with respect to the other three.

2. Of the twenty drafts examined, the average number of picks per draft that scored 1,000+ points in their NBA careers was 7.5, which would indicate that a given draft has seven or eight players available in the second round that will become productive. The most players that scored 1K+ points selected in the second round of a draft was twelve in 2005, while the fewest was three in 2010.

3. Of the one hundred and fifty players selected in the 2nd round that scored 1,000+ NBA points, fifty-six of them were big men, which equates to 37.3% of the total productive players and 12.9% of the total drafted players.

4. Of the four hundred and thirty-two players that failed to register 1,000+ NBA points, one hundred and seventy-three of them never played in an NBA game. This represents 29.7% of the total players drafted. It also represents that an average draft has 8.65 players that will see no NBA action whatsoever, which subsequently indicates that a second round pick has a greater chance of yielding a player that logs zero NBA minutes than a productive one. The most players from a single draft that never played in an NBA game was thirteen in 2004, while the fewest was two in 1998.

5. There are a lot of good candidates for GOAT 2nd Round name, but Magnum Rolle is my MVP because he was literally named after Tom Selleck's Magnum P.I.

There it is. Second round picks are even less valuable than we probably realize. Teams will typically end up drafting busts in nearly three out of four drafts, there are a mere seven or eight second round players available in a given draft that will score over 1,000 points in their career, and teams are more likely to draft a player that sees no NBA action whatsoever than one that becomes productive. Second round picks are simply far too risky of an asset to be considered worth trading good players for by themselves, and should probably only be used to put the finishing touch on an otherwise slightly unbalanced trade between teams. Don't expect much from them, but look for about one in every four to leave some sort of mark on their team.

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