In case you're just tuning in, we have spent this past week reflecting on the last 20 years of the NBA draft, highlighting the studs and duds of the first round since 1995.
We've covered the long list of first round picks that ended up being selected much lower than they should have, but quality rotation players slip through the cracks and fall to the second round on a regular basis, as well. For the fifth and final segment of this series, we take a look at who has exceeded expectations and become second round steals of the NBA draft over the last two decades.
Let's take a look.
K.J. McDaniels (32nd overall)
Ryan Kelly (48th overall)
Perhaps it is too soon to throw labels on players drafted within the last two years, but there haven't been too many second round picks to crack their respective team's regular rotation since 2013. However, rookie K.J. McDaniels was one of the only real bright spots for the Philadelphia 76ers throughout the first half of this season, before they surprisingly shipped him to Houston at February's trade deadline. McDaniels had a tough time earning regular minutes on the Rockets at the end of the season and ended up hurting his wrist in the final game of the regular season, but the high-level athlete averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds through 52 games in Philly. He also did this.
After an excellent four-year run at Duke, Ryan Kelly has taken advantage of his opportunities with the Lakers to begin his pro career. Throughout his first two years in the NBA, Kelly has contributed as a stretch-four by accumulating 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 22.9 minutes per game and his number has been called to start in 59 of 111 contests.
Draymond Green (35th overall), Khris Middleton (39th overall), Jae Crowder (34th overall), Mike Scott (43rd overall)
It's safe to say the Warriors struck gold with the 35th pick in 2012, where they committed highway robbery by landing 2014-15 All-Defensive 1st Team selection Draymond Green, who was the runner-up candidate for both Defensive Player of the Year and the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year awards this season.
Khris Middleton has been a pleasant surprise as well, serving as a starting wing in Milwaukee over the last two years, where he has put up 12.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game for the Bucks while making an impact on both ends of the floor. As we all know, Jae Crowder has made the most of his opportunities to play extended minutes here in Boston as well, as 2012's 34th overall pick rapidly became a fan favorite at the Garden in the second half of this season with his heart, energy and toughness as a two-way competitor. Mike Scott has also been terrific off the bench for Atlanta, where he has scored approximately eight points per game and transformed himself from a player who took only 44 three's throughout his five-year NCAA career, to a stretch-four who has jacked 393 triples in three years as a pro.
Even Kyle O'Quinn (49th overall) has proven to be a serviceable dirty work big off the bench for Orlando.
Chandler Parsons (38th overall), Isaiah Thomas (60th overall), Bojan Bogdanovic (31st overall), Kyle Singler (33rd overall)
It isn't very often that you see a second round draft pick go on to earn a max contract in the NBA, but Chandler Parsons was fortunate enough to make that happen as the Mavericks spent top dollar to pry him away from Houston last summer. A well-rounded offensive player, Parsons has averaged 15.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game over the last three years while shooting 38% from beyond the arc. It took Bojan Bogdanovic two years before he finally made his way over to the United States to play in the NBA, but he was worth the wait for Brooklyn as his rookie campaign of 9.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game landed him on the 2014-15 NBA All-Rookie 2nd Team.
Kyle Singler hasn't received quite as much opportunity in Oklahoma City as he did throughout his first two and a half years with Detroit, but the part-time Pistons starter accumulated 8.7 points and 3.5 rebounds through 218 contests for the red and blue.
Everyone's favorite 2011 second round steal is Isaiah Thomas, who won Celtic Nation over in the blink of an eye after he was acquired at this year's trade deadline. Standing at just 5'9," Thomas was slighted by NBA executives as he fell all the way to the last pick in the draft (60th overall), where the Kings made out like bandits. Thomas made an impact right away, earning a spot on the 2011-12 All-Rookie 2nd Team and by his third year in the league, he had developed into a 20-PPG scorer. Through 21 games with our beloved Celtics this season, the little fella lead the team with 19.0 points and 5.4 assists per game, falling just short to Louis Williams for the Sixth Man of the Year trophy.
Lance Stephenson (40th overall), Hassan Whiteside (33rd overall), Landry Fields (39th overall)
Enigmatic talent Lance Stephenson's move to Charlotte did not go nearly as smoothly as everyone had hoped this season, but his talent remains unquestioned and when his mind is right, he is still able to impact the game on both ends of the floor. His 2013-14 campaign in Indiana was very fun to watch, as many felt he was the biggest Eastern Conference All-Star snub while he put up 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game on the team with the best record in the East.
Landry Fields has been quiet since 2012, but the 2010-11 All-Rookie 1st Team selection played 30 minutes per game for the Knicks from 2010-2012, averaging 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds while bringing a high level of energy on the court. Hassan Whiteside's NBA career looked all but over for a while as he appeared in only 19 games throughout his first two years with the Kings and subsequently had trouble finding a job in the NBA in the two years following, but Miami's glaring hole at the five-spot resurrected the seven-footer this year. Out of nowhere, Whiteside earned the starting center position and violently exceeded expectations by averaging a double-double of 11.8 points and 10.0 rebounds to go along with 2.6 blocks through 48 games.
Danny Green (46th overall), Patrick Beverley (42nd overall), Jodie Meeks (41st overall), DeJuan Blair (37th overall), Patty Mills (55th overall), Marcus Thornton (43rd overall), Chase Budinger (44th overall), Jonas Jerebko (39th overall)
Danny Green has the best resume of any 2009 second round surprise, as the reliable swingman has spent the last three and a half years as a starter in San Antonio, highlighted by a 2014 title, back-to-back NBA Finals appearances and breaking the NBA Finals three-point record in 2013 by burying 27 long-balls throughout the seven-game series. San Antonio hit the jackpot in the 2009 second round, also making out well with DeJuan Blair and Patty Mills as serviceable role players. Mills was a key part of the 2014 championship squad and even without ACL's in either of his knees, Blair earned a spot on the 2009-10 All-Rookie 2nd Team and went on to start for the Spurs for two consecutive seasons from 2010-2012.
Patrick Beverley didn't make his way to the NBA until 2012, but he has since earned the starting point guard spot in Houston and established himself as one of the most tenacious perimeter defenders in the NBA, certified by his 2013-14 NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team selection. Sharpshooter Jodie Meeks has also had a successful first six years in the league, scoring an accumulative 9.9 points per game and serving as a starting two-guard for the 76ers, Lakers and Pistons. Chase Budinger and recent Celtic acquisitions Jonas Jerebko and Marcus Thornton have each played key roles in the league, as well.
DeAndre Jordan (35th overall), Goran Dragic (45th overall), Nikola Pekovic (31st overall), Omer Asik (36th overall), Mario Chalmers (34th overall), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (37th overall)
For whatever reason, 2008 was an absolute goldmine for impact players in the second round, especially in terms of big men. DeAndre Jordan jumps out immediately, as his underwhelming freshman season at Texas A&M perceived him as a giant project most teams didn't want to wait for. The Clippers had all the time in the world, however, and Doc Rivers has helped turn him into one of the best defensive players and rebounders in the NBA. Jordan has lead the league in rebounding for two straight years, at 13.6 and a whopping 15.0 RPG respectively, and he has the credentials to show for it as he earned a spot on the All-NBA 3rd Team and All-Defensive 1st Team this season. Meanwhile, Nikola Pekovic has put up over 15 points and eight rebounds per game for the Timberwolves from 2011-2015 while Omer Asik is both a quality rim protector and starting center at the NBA level.
Goran Dragic was just a hair away from earning a spot on the 2014 Western Conference All-Star roster, averaging 20.3 points per contest on a Phoenix Suns team that enormously exceeded expectations and fell just one victory short of a playoff berth. Over the last three years, the heady pick n' roll maestro has accumulated 17.1 points and 5.9 assists per game for Phoenix and Miami.
Mario "Don't Forget About Me" Chalmers was the starting point guard for all four Miami Heat teams that appeared in the Finals from 2011-2014, of course winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will never blow you away or fill the stat sheet, but the 6'8" defensive presence has played 24.3 minutes per game over his seven-year career and has even been a consistent starter for Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
Marc Gasol(48th overall), Carl Landry(31st overall), Ramon Sessions(56th overall), Glen Davis (35th overall), Josh McRoberts (37th overall)
Remember when Marc Gasol was just a "throw-in" when the Lakers included his rights in the deal that shipped his brother Pau from Memphis to Los Angeles? Nowadays, they are facing off against one another at jump ball of the NBA All-Star game. The little, yet bigger, brother has transformed his body and developed into one of the best bigs in the league, earning two All-Star appearances (and counting?) along with the 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year trophy. Not to mention, two All-NBA selections and a spot on the 2008-09 All-Rookie 2nd Team.
Carl Landry, Ramon Sessions, Josh McRoberts have all solidified themselves as quality role players in the pros, while old friend and 2008 champion Glen "Big Baby" Davis has had his moments to shine along the way as well.
Paul Millsap (47th overall), Steve Novak (32nd overall), P.J. Tucker (35th overall), Daniel Gibson (42nd overall), Craig Smith (36th overall), Leon Powe (49th overall)
Paul Millsap is the only high impact player to slip into the second round in 2006, but man, 29 teams are kicking themselves for that one. Millsap has become one of the most versatile forwards in the NBA, using his wide frame to his advantage while still being able to stick a jumper and put the ball on the floor to get to the rim. Millsap has put up an accumulative 15.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game for the Jazz and Hawks from 2008-2015, highlighted by back-to-back Eastern Conference All-Star selections over the last two years. There's no way the Hawks earn the best record in the conference this season without him, either.
Daniel "Boobie" Gibson absolutely went off from beyond the arc in key moments throughout Cleveland's 2007 run to the NBA Finals, Steve Novak was terrific off the bench for the Knicks from 2011-2013, P.J. Tucker has started in 189 games for Phoenix over the last three years and former Boston College star Craig Smith hovered around 20 minutes per game for the Timberwolves and Clippers from 2006-2010.
Then, of course, there's our beloved warrior Leon Powe. I'll never forget watching him howl at the top of his lungs as he obliterated the Lakers in Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals, where he scored a career playoff high 21 points to help the Celtics secure a 2-0 lead on their way to banner 17. What a guy, what a fighter. It's a shame he had to experience so many knee injuries, dating back to high school, because "The Show" was easy for anybody to root for.
Monta Ellis (40th overall), Marcin Gortat (57th overall), Lou Williams (45th overall), Brandon Bass (33rd overall), C.J. Miles (34th overall), Ersan Ilyasova (36th overall), Andray Blatche (49th overall), Ryan Gomes (50th overall)
The 2005 NBA Draft is well-known for producing stars like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, David Lee, Danny Granger and, for a short time period, Andrew Bynum, but the second round was pretty stacked as well. Monta Ellis is the biggest name of the bunch, joining 2004 Celtic draftee Al Jefferson on the list of quality pros to come out of high school from Mississippi. Ellis has scored just under 20 points per game for his career, with marks as high as 25.5 and 24.1 points per game for Golden State from 2009-2011. Marcin Gortat has done quite well for himself as well, averaging 13.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over the last four years as a starting center for both the Suns and Wizards.
Most of us at CelticsBlog believe Isaiah Thomas should have won this year's Sixth Man of the Year award, but we have to give it up to Lou Williams for actually winning it because he deserved it too. Williams has been one of the real feel-good stories in the NBA as of late, rebounding beautifully from the torn ACL he was diagnosed with in 2013 by putting together the best year of his career in Toronto this season, scoring 15.5 points per game.
Andray Blatche, Ersan Ilyasova and C.J. Miles have all been starters and productive bench performers in the league while the Celtics have found success with a couple of 2005 second rounders, as well. Danny Ainge handpicked Ryan Gomes at 50th overall, a shocking draft position for the Big East Player of the Year. Gomes accumulated 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a full-time starter for the Celtics, Timberwolves and Clippers from 2006-2011, while current Celtic Brandon Bass has served as Boston's starting power forward for the better part of the last four years.
Anderson Varejao (30th overall), Trevor Ariza (43rd overall), Chris Duhon (38th overall)
Trevor Ariza is currently playing excellent basketball in a key role for the Rockets in the 2015 Western Conference Finals, and is one of the better two-way rotation wings in the league. Ariza helped the Lakers win the 2009 NBA title against his former Orlando Magic teammates, and has since broken out individually by averaging 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals as a starter for Houston, New Orleans and Washington from 2009-2015.
Anderson Varejao sits comfortably atop the list of guys you probably hate if they aren't on your team, and he has been an integral part of Cleveland's rotation for 11 years, including a key role on the 2007 Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers squad. Staying healthy is a consistent issue for the ultra-aggressive 6'10" Brazilian, but he has been very effective when he is able to suit up, especially from 2010-2014 where the double-double machine accumulated 9.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest.
The best thing Chris Duhon may have ever contributed to the game was the travel dance, but he has played key roles for Chicago, New York and Orlando throughout his career. He peaked in 2008-09 when he averaged 11.1 points and 7.2 assists per game as the Knicks handed him the keys to the car, and he played just under 26 minutes per game for the Bulls from 2004-2008, where he served as a part-time starter.
Mo Williams (47th overall), Kyle Korver (51st overall), Steve Blake (38th overall), Willie Green (41st overall), Zaza Pachulia (42nd overall), Keith Bogans (43rd overall), Jason Kapono (31st overall), Matt Bonner (45th)
There's plenty to like about the 2003 draft, commonly referred to as one of the top three draft classes in NBA history, and the second round is a part of the reason why. Mo Williams, a long-time starter that has played key roles for several clubs, joins Kyle Korver on the two-man list of 2003 second rounders that went on to be named as Eastern Conference All-Stars. Williams has averaged 15.3 points and 5.8 assists as a starter in 511 games throughout his career for the Bucks, Cavaliers, Clippers, Jazz, Timberwolves and Hornets while Korver just keeps getting better as time goes on and was a big part of Atlanta's success in earning the top record in the conference this season.
Steve Blake, Keith Bogans, Matt Bonner, Willie Green, Jason Kapono and Zaza Pachulia have all enjoyed careers as key rotation contributors and fringe starters.
Carlos Boozer (34th overall, Luis Scola (55th overall), Juan Carlos Navarro (39th overall), Matt Barnes (45th overall), Flip Murray (41st overall)
Carlos Boozer will be forever hated in Cleveland after he blindsided his verbal contract extension agreement with the club in the summer of 2004, electing to jump ship to Utah instead, but he was a terrific pick at 34th overall, nonetheless. Boozer went on to average 19.3 points and 10.5 rebounds as a two-time NBA All-Star with the Jazz from 2004-2010, where he also helped the Deron Williams-lead squad to the 2009 Western Conference Finals.
Luis Scola absolutely destroys people in international competition, and he put together an excellent career in the NBA on top of his prolific FIBA resume. Scola served as a starter for Houston and Phoenix from 2008-2013, putting up 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, peaking in the 2010-11 season at 18.3 points and 8.2 rebounds.
Juan Carlos Navarro is another international stud that made his way over to the NBA as a 2002 second round pick, albeit five years later and only for a short time. Navarro played just one season in the NBA in 2007-08, where he scored 10.9 points per game for the Grizzlies after they dealt a first round pick to Washington in order to obtain his rights. It's a shame the crafty 6'3" combo guard couldn't stick around longer, because he was fun to watch.
Matt Barnes has played for eight teams throughout his 12-year NBA career, but his presence is felt everywhere he goes as a high-energy hustle player that defends, knocks down open threes and adds toughness to any roster. It seems as though he has finally found a home in Los Angeles, playing for both the Lakers and Clippers over the last five years. Flip Murray was as up-and-down as any high-minute performer you've ever seen, but the erratic combo-guard was still solid value at 41st overall as he had some good moments for Seattle, Cleveland and Atlanta.
Gilbert Arenas (30th overall), Mehmet Okur (37th overall), Earl Watson (39th overall), Bobby Simmons (41st overall), Trenton Hassell (29th overall)
All-Star caliber players slipped through the cracks in 2001, as well. Rumor has it that the Celtics, owners of three first round picks in 2001, gave Gilbert Arenas a verbal promise to select him but backed out on their word as he slipped to the Warriors at number 30. Looking back, it would have been nice to go with Arenas instead of Joe Forte at 21 or even Kedrick Brown out of junior college at 11, but I digress. Arenas went on to average over 20 points and five assists for his career, highlighted by a sensational three-year stretch from 2004-2007 where he earned three consecutive Eastern Conference All-Star appearances and accumulated 27.7 points, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
Mehmet Okur helped Detroit win the 2004 NBA championship, solidified a spot on the 2007 Western Conference All-Star roster and averaged 15.3 points with 7.6 rebounds per game through seven years for Utah from 2004-2011. Not many 6'11" guys have ever been able to shoot the ball as well as Okur, and he was another big reason the Jazz were able to make that run to the 2009 Western Conference Finals.
Bobby Simmons was a key part of the rotation for the Clippers, Bucks and Nets from 2003-2008, highlighted by his 2004-05 campaign in Los Angeles where he scored 16.4 points per game and won the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year award. Trenton Hassell's defense-first mentality helped him quietly enjoy eight years as a starting wing in the NBA for the Bulls, Timberwolves and Nets, including the 2003-04 season where he helped Minnesota advance to the Western Conference Finals. Earl Watson was also a quality backup point guard in the league, coming off the bench to play heavy minutes for Memphis, Seattle, Oklahoma City, Indiana and Utah. In 2007-08, Watson served as the starting point guard to the last Seattle SuperSonics team to ever lace 'em up, where he averaged 10.7 points and 6.8 assists per game.
Oh, and how can we mention the second round of the 2001 NBA draft without using it as an excuse to give a shout-out to The White Mamba? The one and only Brian Scalabrine spent five years with the Celtics, helped them win a title in 2008, absolutely put on a full-court defensive slide clinic against Lamar Odom in the 2010 NBA Finals and was a part of the New Jersey Nets squad that fell short in the Finals in 2002 and 2003. As vibrant as his personality can be, Scal has never made me laugh harder than when he dunked on the Knicks at the Garden. There is only one Scal.
Michael Redd (43rd overall), Eddie House (37th overall), Mark Jaric (30th overall), Eduardo Najera (38th overall)
Michael Redd is the clear-cut steal of the 2000 NBA draft, as the awkward-release sharpshooter was one of the best wings in the league at one time and even earned an appearance in the 2004 NBA All-Star game. From 2003-2009, Redd scored 23.5 points per game as the face of the Milwaukee Bucks before injuries cut his career short.
Eddie House will always have a special place in our hearts, as his sweet stroke and electric team-first attitude helped raise banner 17 just one year before he broke Danny Ainge's all-time Celtics record for the best three-point percentage in a season (44.4%).
To a lesser degree, Marko Jaric and Eduardo Najera also carved out roles for themselves on multiple NBA teams.
Gordan Giricek (40th overall, Lee Nailon (43rd overall), Todd McCulloch (47th overall)
There wasn't a whole lot of flavor in the second round of 2009, but a few guys have enjoyed moderate success in the NBA. Gordan Giricek was probably the best individual player of the bunch, averaging 10.7 points per game for the Magic, Grizzlies and Jazz from 2003-2006. Lee Nailon wasn't always a consistently productive player, but always found success with the Hornets. As a starter for the Charlotte Hornets in 2001-02 and then again for the New Orleans Hornets in 2004-05, Nailon accumulated averages of 14.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Todd MacCulloch was a middle level role player at his best, but the big fella was the starting center on the 2002-03 Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets.
Rashard Lewis (32nd overall), Cuttino Mobley (41st overall), Ruben Patterson (31st overall), Rafer Alston (39th overall)
Rashard Lewis was visibly upset about slipping into the second round coming out of high school in 1998, but he proved the doubters wrong. From 2000-2009, Lewis earned two All-Star appearances and accumulated 18.4 points with 6.1 rebounds per game for Seattle and Orlando as one of the most lethal combo forwards in the league.
Cuttino Mobley came in with accelerated expectations as he was appointed the starting role on the 1998-99 Houston Rockets, lead by Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen, as they had championship aspirations but fell short. After his rookie year, however, Mobley broke out and put together a terrific 10-year career for the Rockets, Magic, Kings and Clippers, averaging an accumulative 16.0 points per game as a high-level scoring option.
Rafer Alston went from And1's "Skip to My Lou" to Fresno State to the NBA, where he enjoyed an 11-year pro career with stints as a starting point guard for the Raptors, Rockets, Magic, Nets and Heat from 2004-2010, averaging over 12 points and five assists per game throughout that span. Ruben Patterson was an excellent defensive wing for his time as well, as the 6'5" once-proclaimed "Kobe Stopper" (lol) brought a lot of toughness to the table as a key contributor for Seattle, Portland and Milwaukee from 1999-2007.
Stephen Jackson (42nd overall), Alvin Williams (47th overall), Marc Jackson (37th overall), Predrag Drobnjak (48th overall)
Stephen Jackson never made an All-Star roster, but he has been close and put together an extremely productive career, especially for a second round pick. Say what you want about how he has acted at certain times, the man could play. After helping the Spurs win the title in 2003, Jackson broke out and put up 18.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game for the Hawks, Pacers, Warriors and Bobcats from 2003-2011.
Marc Jackson didn't begin his NBA career until 2000, but the Warriors got a lot out of the 6'10" center as he came in and filled a hole on the roster right away by averaging 13.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, helping him land a spot on the 2000-01 All-Rookie 1st Team. Jackson was relatively quiet throughout the majority of the remainder of his career, outside of his 2004-05 campaign in Philadelphia where he put up 12 points and five rebounds per contest off the bench, but he was certainly a serviceable five-man for a short period of time.
Alvin Williams played over seven years for Toronto, starting in 324 games and peaked during a two-year span from 2001-2003 where he put up 12.5 points and 5.5 assists for the Vince Carter-lead Raptors. Predrag Drobnjak played just four years in the NBA for Sonics, Clippers and Hawks from 2001-2005, but proved his worth at the NBA level as a 6'11" big with a nice feel for the game, averaging 7.9 points in 19.9 minutes per game throughout his career.
I'm not sure where the Celtics would be without Ben Pepper, either.
Shandon Anderson (54th overall), Othella Harrington (30th overall), Jeff McInnis (37th overall), Malik Rose (44th overall)
Ironman Shandon Anderson, who didn't miss a single game from 1997-2003, put together some productive years after falling to 54th overall in 1996. Anderson played a key role for the back-to-back Western Conference champion Utah Jazz in 1997 and 1998 before moving on to Houston, where he went on to average 10.5 points per game as a starter from 1999-2001.
Malik Rose helped the San Antonio Spurs win titles in 1999 and 2003, serving as a quality backup big and even earning a Tommy Award at the Fleet Center when Tommy Heinsohn was so unimpressed with Boston's effort, he had to give it up to a hard-working opponent. Othella Harrington enjoyed a similar career, minus the championships.
After playing college ball with Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace at North Carolina, Jeff McInnis put together a solid run as both a starter and quality backup point guard. As a starter for the Clippers, Trail Blazers and Cavaliers from 2001-2005, McInnis put up 11.7 points and 5.1 assists per game.
Eric Snow (43)
The second round of the 1995 draft didn't have many success stories, but Eric Snow stands out as the only one to play at a high level. As a starter for the 76ers from 1998-2004, Snow averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 assists while helping Philadelphia to the 2001 NBA Finals, where they would lose in five games to the powerhouse Lakers in the midst of a three-peat.