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NBA Draft 2020

The best second-round picks in NBA Draft history

The NBA Draft was seven rounds long leading up to 1989 when the league decided to change to the format we now see with just two rounds.

Since making that switch, there have been plenty of prospects that were overlooked and went on to exceed expectations in making a name for themselves in the league.

So who are some of the best second-round selections in the modern draft era?

In chronological order...

Cliff Robinson

Draft class: 1989

Pick: 36

Team: Portland Trail Blazers

Robinson had a successful 18-year NBA career where he earned two All-Defensive Team selections, a Sixth Man of the Year award and one All-Star appearance.

Toni Kukoc

Draft class: 1990

Pick: 29

Team: Chicago Bulls

Kukoc played three seasons overseas before becoming a vital part of the Bulls dynasty, winning three NBA titles to go with a Sixth Man of the Year honour over his 13-year NBA career.

Antonio Davis

Draft class: 1990

Pick: 25

Team: Indiana Pacers

Davis played three seasons overseas before having a 13-year NBA career, earning one All-Star selection with the Raptors.

Rashard Lewis

Draft class: 1998

Pick: 32

Team: Seattle Supersonics

Lewis played 16 seasons in the NBA, earning two All-Star nods along with two Finals appearances and one NBA title.

Manu Ginobili

Draft class: 1999

Pick: 57

Team: San Antonio Spurs

Ginobili is the poster child for second-round diamonds in the rough. Playing three seasons overseas before starting his 16-year NBA career, Ginobili would accumulate four NBA championships, two All-Star and All-NBA selections and a Sixth Man of the Year award.

Gilbert Arenas

Draft class: 2001

Pick: 31

Team: Golden State Warriors

It's stunning how a scorer of Arenas' calibre snuck into the second round, averaging over 25 points per game during a three-year stretch of his 11-year career. He earned three All-Star and All-NBA selections, as well as Most Improved Player of the Year in his second season in the league.

Carlos Boozer

Draft class: 2002

Pick: 35

Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Boozer enjoyed 13 seasons in the NBA, earning two All-Star bids and an All-NBA selection. He averaged double-figures scoring every year in the league and averaged a double-double five times.

Kyle Korver

Draft class: 2003

Pick: 51

Team: New Jersey Nets

One of the best 3-point shooters the NBA has ever seen was a second-round pick. Korver has carved out a 17-year career as a marksmen, earning one All-Star selection while racking up 2,450 3-pointers (and counting), the fourth-most in NBA history.

Trevor Ariza

Draft class: 2004

Pick: 43

Team: New York Knicks

Ariza has been one of the league's best 3-and-D role players throughout his 16-year NBA career. He earned his sole NBA title in 2009 as a member of the Lakers.

Lou Williams

Draft class: 2005

Pick: 45

Team: Philadelphia 76ers

Williams has played 15 years in the NBA, carving out a role for himself as instant offence off the bench throughout his entire career. Williams is currently tied with Jamal Crawford for most Sixth Man of the Year awards all-time with three.

Paul Millsap

Draft class: 2006

Pick: 47

Team: Utah Jazz

Millsap has tallied four All-Star appearances and an All-Defensive Team nod in his 14-year NBA career. He has the second-most win shares all-time among second rounders (trailing only Ginobili) since the draft changed formats in 1989.

PJ Tucker

Draft class: 2006

Pick: 35

Team: Toronto Raptors

Tucker's route was much different than the rest of these second-round picks. After a quiet rookie campaign with the Raptors, he went and played five seasons overseas before coming back to the NBA. He's most recently become the prototype for small-ball bigs in the league, playing physical in the paint while shooting the lights out from 3 in the corners.

Marc Gasol

Draft class: 2007

Pick: 48

Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Although his brother, Pau, was the third-overall pick in the NBA Draft in 2001, Marc slipped into the second round in 2007. That wouldn't stop him from having a decorated NBA career that's resulted in three All-Star appearances, two All-NBA selections, one All-Defensive Team selection, a Defensive Player of the Year award and an NBA title.

DeAndre Jordan

Draft class: 2008

Pick: 35

Team: LA Clippers

Jordan slipped into the second round back in 2008 and would take a few years to find his footing in the NBA. 12 years in the league later, he's earned three All-NBA selections, two All-Defensive Team selections and an All-Star appearance while leading the NBA in rebounds twice.

Goran Dragic

Draft class: 2008

Pick: 45

Team: San Antonio Spurs

Dragic most recently played a key role in leading the Heat in scoring en route to a surprise run to the NBA Finals in 2020. Over his 12-year career, he's made one All-Star appearance to go with one All-NBA selection and a Most Improved Player award.

Danny Green

Draft class: 2009

Pick: 46

Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Green is another second-rounder who had a different path before ultimately finding success in the NBA. Bouncing around in the (at the time) D-League at the beginning of his career, Green finally found a role as a 3-and-D wing in San Antonio. The rest is history as he'd go on to win three NBA titles with three different franchises while picking up an All-Defensive Team honour on the way.

Patty Mills

Draft class: 2009

Pick: 55

Team: Portland Trail Blazers

Mills is another player that found a role as a bench scorer in the NBA, leading to an 11-year career in the league. He played a key role as a bench scorer for the Spurs during their 2014 NBA title run.

Isaiah Thomas

Draft class: 2011

Pick: 60

Team: Sacramento Kings

Thomas is in a league of his own as the very last pick of the NBA Draft. No other player selected 60th overall has made even half of the impact he had during his unforgettable 2017 season when he averaged 28.9 points per game that led to one of his two All-Star selections and sole All-NBA selection.

Draymond Green

Draft class: 2012

Pick: 35

Team: Golden State Warriors

I'd classify Green with Ginobili as a poster child for second-round picks. After the Warriors struck gold with Green in 2012, every team in the league was in search of "the next Draymond Green" in the second round of each draft class. The three-time NBA champion, three-time All-Star, five-time All-Defensive Team, two-time All-NBA selection has also earned a Defensive Player of the Year award and led the league in steals once. Quite the career for a player selected 35th overall, and he's not done yet.

Khris Middleton

Draft class: 2012

Pick: 39

Team: Detroit Pistons

Middleton didn't make much of an impact his rookie season in Detroit but has since become one of the most reliable wings in the NBA on the Bucks. Making consecutive All-Star appearances over the past two seasons while shooting over 40% from 3 this season, Middleton has hopes of being a key piece to an NBA title team.

Nikola Jokic

Draft class: 2014

Pick: 41

Team: Denver Nuggets

His legacy is just beginning but Jokic has already shown that he should've been picked much higher in 2014. As one of the most skilled bigs and best passers the league has ever seen, Jokic has tallied two All-Star and two All-NBA honours in just five seasons. There is much more to come from the incredibly talented Serbian centre.

Montrezl Harrell

Draft class: 2015

Pick: 32

Team: Houston Rockets

Through his rookie season, Harrell may not have stood out as a second-round pick that should've been taken earlier, but he's improved in each of the five seasons he's been in the NBA. He's coming off of the best campaign of his career, earning Sixth Man of the Year with averages of 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

Malcolm Brogdon

Draft class: 2016

Pick: 36

Team: Milwaukee Bucks

Brogdon made teams instantly regret letting him slip into the second round. In his first year in the league, he became the first second-round pick in NBA history to win Rookie of the Year. Two seasons later, he'd prove he's among the most efficient scorers in the league, joining the elite 50-40-90 club, shooting over 50% from the field, 40% from 3 and 90% from the free throw line.

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