By Fran Blinebury, for NBA.com
Posted Jun 22 2009 1:16PM
Who doesn't like a bargain?
Who doesn't love the fantasy notion of finding a Picasso hiding under the black-and-white photo of Aunt Millie's family reunion that you picked up for a couple bucks at a flea market?
So while there is still so much scrambling going on at the top of the 2009 NBA Draft as the crowd behind Blake Griffin seems to change every day like dice rolling out at a craps table, from Ricky Rubio to Hasheem Thabeet to Jrue Holiday to Jonny Flynn to James Harden, it might be wise to remember that names called out much later on draft night.
They're the second-rounders, who have much smaller salaries, but often make big impacts. Remember, the Lakers (Trevor Ariza) and Magic (Rashard Lewis) had second-round draft picks in their starting lineups in The Finals. Mario Chalmers started all 82 games for the Heat. Leon Powe and Glen "Big Baby" Davis both were key reserves in the Celtics' drive to the 2008 title.
With so many teams looking so carefully at every dollar in the payrolls, talk is that second-round choices could become valuable commodities, if a front office makes the right picks. Let's run down a list of arguably the top 10 second-round selections of the last 25 years.
10 -- Cedric Ceballos (Phoenix, 1990) -- You have to look beyond the blind-folded dunk that took top honors in the 1992 All-Star Game and remember that the 48th pick was much more than just a circus act. He led the Suns in field-goal percentage in 1992-93 when Phoenix went to The Finals and was an All-Star in '95 when he rang up the first 50-point game by a member of the Lakers in over 20 years.
9 -- Michael Redd (Milwaukee, 2000) -- The lefty out of Ohio State tip-toed quietly into the league as the 43rd pick, averaging 2.2 points as a rookie and then setting a record by increasing his scoring average six years in a row until he was pouring in 26.7 a game in '07. He joined Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas as the only players to notch a pair of 50-point games in 2006-07 and won a gold medal with Team USA at the Beijing Olympics last summer.
8 -- Jerome Kersey (Portland, 1984) -- He finally picked up a championship ring in San Antonio near the end of his 17-year career. But it was those 11 seasons with the Blazers where the 46th pick out of Division II Longwood College where Kersey was known as a voracious rebounder, great finisher on the fastbreak and tenacious defender.
7 -- Rashard Lewis -- (Seattle, 1998) -- The story was often retold during The Finals of how then-teenager Lewis sat in the green room in tears on draft night as his name slipped down the board into the second round. By the time the Sonics scooped him up with the 32nd pick, he'd been passed over three times by his hometown Houston Rockets (Michael Dickerson, Bryce Drew, Mirsad Turkcan). He's spent the past 11 seasons becoming a two-time All-Star, cashed in with a $118-million contract and hit numerous big shots in Orlando's run to The Finals.
6 -- Mark Price (Dallas, 1986) -- The Mavericks seemed to know exactly what they were doing when they made Price the first pick of the second round after his three All-American seasons at Georgia Tech. The Mavs then showed they didn't know what they had when they promptly traded him away to Cleveland, where he helped turn the Cavs into Eastern Conference contenders. He was All-NBA first team in '93 and his career mark of 90.3 percent from the free-throw line is a league record.
5 -- Carlos Boozer (Cleveland, 2002) -- The Cavs figured they had a blossoming star with the 35th pick in the draft and all was going well until the snafu with his contract that resulted in Boozer going to Utah. Though injuries have cost him large parts of seasons with the Jazz, when he's right, Boozer is a consistent low-post scorer and rebounder who mixes in that high-arcing jumper. The two-time All-Star won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.
4 -- Jeff Hornacek -- (Phoenix, 1986) -- Did anybody ever fully appreciate what they had in Hornacek when he first entered a room? He was a walk-on at Iowa State and the Suns finally made him the 46th pick of the draft. He quickly carved out a reputation as one of the game's top long-range shooters. After playing in Phoenix and Philadelphia, he became the perfect complement to Karl Malone and John Stockton on the Jazz teams that went to back-to-back NBA Finals. He won the All-Star 3-point Shootout in 1998 and 2000.
3 -- Gilbert Arenas -- (Golden State, 2001) -- Long before he became known as Agent Zero and pioneered blogging among pro athletes, Arenas jumped right into the NBA and let everyone know what he could do, which was often whatever he wanted. He was named Most Improved Player in '03 and on his way to being a three-time All-Star. After making a belated return to the court following knee surgery last March, Arenas should be ready physically to return to his place as one of the top offensive guns with the Wizards.
2 -- Dennis Rodman (Detroit, 1986) -- He couldn't shoot and didn't really want to shoot. But Rodman could do anything else that you'd ever want from the moment he stepped onto the court for the Pistons. Never mind the dyed hair and the outfits, he was one of the best to ever play on anybody's frontline. Rodman won five championships with the Pistons and Bulls, was twice named Defensive Player of the Year and seven times was an All-Defensive First Team pick. In his 13 NBA seasons, he averaged 13.1 rebounds a game.
1 -- Manu Ginobili (San Antonio, 1999) -- How shrewd were the Spurs to scoop Ginobili up with the 57th pick and left him ripen on the vine for a few more years in Spain. His impact was immediate as soon as he came into the San Antonio mix as the Spurs won the title in his rookie season with him as the attacker, the scorer, the shooter, the playmaker. He's been the jalapeno in their salsa, an Olympic and World Champion with his native Argentina, and a three-time champ with the Spurs. All you need to know about his impact is that when Ginobili is not healthy, the Spurs are not contenders.
Also receiving consideration:
Nick Van Exel (Lakers, 1993)
Trevor Ariza (New York, 2004)
Kevin Duckworth (San Antonio, 1986)
Antonio Davis (Indiana, 1990)
Eric Snow (Milwaukee, 1995)
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