With the NBA 2014 Draft here, we often set our attention to the first round, and often forget that superstars can surprisingly be built from those young guys being drafted from the second round. History has proven that anyone and everyone have the potential to be a star or a bust, and here’s a list of guys who were meant to be busts but defied critics.
Danny Green was drafted 46th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft Second Round by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He played only 20 games his rookie season and was eventually waived by the team at the beginning of the next season, NBA.com say. He signed with the Spurs in 2010, but he was waived six days later and spent time jumping through some D-League teams. His career seemed about over, but his improvement in the D-League allowed the Spurs to resign him, and from that point on, Danny Green played like his life was on the line. His hustle, pin-point shooting, and defensive mindedness has allowed him to not only remain a member of the Spurs, but become a starter for the team. Danny Green went on to break an NBA Finals Record for most three pointers in Finals History, as he nailed 25; breaking Ray Allen’s record who had 22, according to ESPN. He is now an NBA champion, now that the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat in five games in the 2014 NBA Finals, and if it wasn’t for his late run in Game 1 and massive contributions in Game 3, we don’t know if Spurs would’ve done it this year.
When you’re the 60th pick in the NBA Draft (2011), that basically means you’re supposed to be the worst coming out of the draft, but Sacramento scored big with this pick. Isaiah Thomas averaged 20.3 points this season, NBA says; which is more than twice as much as the #2 overall pick that same year he was drafted, Derrick Williams, who now plays for the Sacramento Kings as well. Isaiah has been contributing tremendously from Sacramento since his rookie year, and eventually took on the starting role for the point guard position. Who knows how good the 60th pick might grow to be this year?
Ariza was the 43rd overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, but he’s been very productive since then. Not only did he play a massive role in the rise of the Washington Wizards this season, as they made a great run in the playoffs, defeating the Chicago Bulls and almost topping off the Pacers. But he also saved the day a few times during the Los Angeles’ playoff run, and contributed greatly to their championship win that year.
Williams was the 47th pick in the NBA 2003 Draft by the Utah Jazz. After his rookie season, he was released and he then went to sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. This is where Mo Williams began to prove to the world that he was a great point guard and eventually took on the starting point guard role. He was eventually traded to Cleveland, and in the 2008-2009 NBA Season, his partnership with Lebron James help lead the Cavaliers to a dominating 66-16 record, according to ESPN. Mo William now plays in Portland, and his veteran presence and leadership has brought Portland its first playoff series win for the first time in fourteen years.
Who would’ve thought that a guy who scored 46 points to hand the Miami Big 3 (Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh) their first home loss ever would come up from being a 47th overall pick in the NBA Draft (2006)? Pau Milsap’s rise in Utah was amazing, as he slowly made his way up to being one of the best power forwards in the NBA. Pau Milsap has become the franchise player of the Atlanta Hawks, and his leadership almost led to a playoff series upset against the stacked Indiana Pacers this year in the 2014 NBA Postseason.
Coming out of Poland, Gortat was the 57th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, and despite his height, he wasn’t able to do much for Orlando, more likely because Dwight Howard was already the starting star center of the team. But when he went to Phoenix, he proved that he was more than a bench warmer, as he averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds his first season there, according to ESPN. His defensive prominence has helped the Washington Wizards have one of its greatest runs in the franchise’s history in this year’s 2014 postseason.
Mills was the 55th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers, but had a little to no impact there. When he made his way to the Spurs in the 2011-2012 NBA Season, he began to show that he was a reliable point guard, but it took a few years until the Spurs were able to really put a good portion of the team’s weight on his back. He scored 17 points in Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals to help the Spurs defeat the Miami Heat to capture their fifth championship. The Spurs have scored big with a great point guard for the future, and can possibly even live up to be as great as Tony Parker. He’s already holds the record for the Australian to score the most points in a single NBA game, according to ESPN.
Johnson was the 56th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, but he eventually dropped to Detroit’s Developmental League, where he performed at a high level. The Toronto Raptors saw something in Johnson, so they signed him for a 5 year/35 million dollar contract and it’s been a big for him ever since. According to NBA.com, he averaged a career high in points, rebounds, minutes, assists, and steals in the 201-2013 NBA Season, and help pushed the Raptors to becoming the three seed in the Eastern Conference, with a franchise high regular season record, 48-34.
When Marc Gasol entered the NBA as the 47th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, many people just viewed him as the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol, but now he’s definitely made a name for himself in the industry. Not only did he make the All-Star Game in 2009, but he also won Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, and pushed the Memphis Grizzlies all the way to the Western Conference Finals that same year. Now, many people believe he’s an even greater player than his brother despite him not having any championship rings.
Goran Dragic was the 45th pick in the 2008 Draft, and this season, he stepped off his offensive game tremendously. According to ESPN, Goran Dragic averaged 20.3 points with a field goal percentage of .505, which are both career highs for him. Dragic won the 2014 Most Improved Player Award and with his high level of play, he may win much more awards in the future.