A Look Back: Top Non-Lottery Picks of the 2000’s
CLICK 'N ROLL:
Let's play a game called one of these things is not like the other. Below we have three NBA players listed and you have to figure out which one was NOT a Lottery Pick (drafted between No. 15-30) for the corresponding draft.
Ready? Set. Go...
2009 NBA Draft - Tyler Hansbrough OR Gerald Henderson OR Jrue Holiday
2008 NBA Draft - Roy Hibbert OR Anthony Randolph OR Eric Gordon
2007 NBA Draft - Brendan Wright OR Aaron Brooks OR Acie Law
2006 NBA Draft - Shelden Williams OR Rajon Rondo OR Randy Foye
2005 NBA Draft - Danny Granger OR Andrew Bynum OR Yaroslav Korolev
2004 NBA Draft - Jameer Nelson OR Luke Jackson OR Luol Deng
2003 NBA Draft - Chris Kaman OR Luke Ridnour OR Kendrick Perkins
2002 NBA Draft - John Salmons OR Chris Wilcox OR Amar'e Stoudemire
2001 NBA Draft - Joe Johnson OR Troy Murphy OR Zach Randolph
2000 NBA Draft - Jerome Moiso OR Mateen Cleaves OR Hedo Turkoglu
As you can see, you don't need to win the Lottery to secure a solid player in the NBA Draft. The Bucks own Carlos Delfino (2003 Draft, No. 25, Detroit) and John Salmons (2002 Draft, No. 25, San Antonio) were both picked in the latter half of the draft and were two key components in helping Milwaukee reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
We'll leave it up to you to decide who is the best non-Lottery pick of the 2000's but here are some write-ups on a few that deserve recognition.
Aaron Brooks (Oregon) - 2007 NBA Draft - No. 26, Houston
It may be too soon to tell where Brooks will end up on this list but if anything, he has made strides each year, which helped him win the NBA's Most Improved Player award for the 2009-10 season. Brooks came into the league averaging just 5.2 points per game in 2007-08, jumped to an 11.2 points per game average and scored 19.6 points per game in his third season. Brooks also played and started all 82 games for the Rockets while contributing 5.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game, all of which were career-highs.
Rajon Rondo (Kentucky) - 2006 NBA Draft - No. 21, Phoenix
At age 23, Rondo already has a ring, is an All-Star, a two-time All-Defensive Team honoree and has emerged as one of the stars of the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Rondo and the Celtics are one game away from clinching another trip to the NBA Finals and throughout the playoffs, the 6-1 point guard is averaging 16.7 points, 10.5 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game (as of May 25). Traded by Phoenix to Boston on draft day along with Brian Grant for a 2007 first round pick (Rudy Fernandez), Rondo has career averages of 10.7 points, 6.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Danny Granger (New Mexico) - 2005 NBA Draft - No. 17, Indiana
Granger is a five-year NBA veteran who has come on strong the last three years, averaging over 19.0 points per game each season. As a rookie, Granger played 78 games, averaging just 7.5 points. In his second season, he played all 82 games and improved his scoring average to 13.9 points per game and then leapt to 19.6 points per game during the 2007-08 season. In the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, he has averaged 25.8 points (ranked fifth in the league) and 24.1 points (eighth in the NBA), respectively. He won the NBA's Most Improved Player for the 2008-09 season and was named to the All-Star team in the same season.
Al Jefferson (Prentiss High School) - 2004 NBA Draft - No. 15, Boston
Jefferson played three seasons with Boston before he was one of many players involved in the Kevin Garnett trade. Jefferson averaged 16.0 points per game in his final season with Boston (2006-07) but turned into a 20/10 player in his first two years with the Timberwolves. In 2007-08 Jefferson played and started all 82 games and averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. The following year he averaged 23.1 points and 11.0 rebounds, along with a career-best 1.7 blocks per game. Jefferson's numbers went down last year, but he still led Minnesota with 17.1 points per game and was second on the team with 9.3 boards per contest. Jefferson's 50.3 career field goal percentage ranks 10th amongst all active NBA players.
Josh Smith (Oak Hill Academy) - 2004 NBA Draft - No. 17, Atlanta
Regardless of how you feel about Josh Smith's thoughts on Milwaukee, it's hard to argue the value of this non-Lottery pick for the Hawks. Smith has played six seasons in Atlanta and has career averages of 14.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He has emerged as one of the league's best defenders as he finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year vote and was named to this year's All-Defensive Second Team.
Kendrick Perkins (Clifton J. Ozen High School) - 2003 NBA Draft - No. 27, Memphis
Perkins may not have the flashiest numbers of the players on this list but he has a ring and is still fighting for the chance at another one this season. A 6-10 center, Perkins won a championship with the Celtics in 2008 and averaged a double-double (11.9 points, 11.6 rebounds) in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. He has career averages of 6.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks and was second in the NBA this season in field goal percentage, hitting 60.2 percent of his shots. Perkins never played in Memphis as he was traded on draft day with Marcus Banks to the Celtics for Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones.
Tayshaun Prince (Kentucky) - 2002 NBA Draft - No. 23, Detroit
Prince is another one with modest numbers, but it's his 2004 NBA Championship and four times on the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team that helps him make the list. What may be most impressive about Prince is that from 2004-2009, he played and started all 82 regular season games for the Pistons. After eight years in the league, Prince has career averages of 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the field.
Zach Randolph (Michigan State) - 2001 NBA Draft - No. 19, Portland
After six years in Portland and short stints in New York and with the Clippers, Randolph seems to have found the right fit in Memphis. This year with the Grizzlies, he became an All-Star while averaging 20.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and shooting 48.8 percent from the field. He has averaged 17.0 or more points per game in seven of his nine seasons, including a career-high 23.6 points per game with Portland in 2006-07. Randolph was the league's Most Improved Player for the 2003-04 season after averaging 20.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, an improvement from 8.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game the previous season.
Gerald Wallace (Alabama) - 2001 NBA Draft - No. 25, Sacramento
Wallace is the only player on this list that was drafted twice...yes, you read that correctly. He spent the first three years of his career as a reserve with Sacramento, before the Charlotte Bobcats picked him in the 2004 expansion draft. Since then, Wallace has averaged double-digits in scoring each season, including 18.2 points per game in 2009-10. He also grabbed a career-high 10.0 rebounds per game and helped lead the Bobcats to their first playoff berth in franchise history. Wallace was also a 2010 NBA All-Star, finished third in the Defensive Player of the Year vote and was an All-Defensive Second Team honoree. Wallace is the only player from the 2004 expansion draft still playing for the Bobcats.
Tony Parker (France) - 2001 NBA Draft - No. 28, San Antonio
As you can probably tell by now, the 2001 NBA Draft had a number of solid players picked after the lottery. Even though Tony Parker was the absolute last pick of the first round, he has had the best career thus far of anyone from the 2001 draft. Parker has not one, not two, but three championship rings, was the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, a three-time All-Star and, just to rub it in to the rest of the players picked ahead of him, he's married to a Desperate Housewife. Not really all that bad for the last pick of the first round.
Other players to consider
As if that list wasn't long enough, here are a number of other notable players picked somewhere in between No. 15-30 of the NBA Draft:
Rodney Stuckey (2007, No. 15, Detroit), Wilson Chandler (2007, No. 23, New York), Nate Robinson (2005, No. 21, Phoenix), Jarrett Jack (No. 22, Denver), David Lee (2005, No. 30, New York), Jameer Nelson (2004, No. 20, Denver), Kevin Martin (2004, No. 26, Sacramento), David West (2003, No. 18, New Orleans), Carlos Delfino (2003, No. 25, Detroit), Josh Howard (2003, No. 29, Dallas), John Salmons (2002, No. 26, San Antonio), Brendan Haywood (2001, No. 20, Cleveland), Desmond Mason (2000, No. 17, Seattle), Hedo Turkoglu (2000, No. 16, Sacramento)Too soon to tell?
It may be a little premature to completely judge the 2009 and 2008 Draft classes but here are a few players to keep an eye on over the years.
2009 Draft: Jrue Holiday (No. 17, Philadelphia), Ty Lawson (No. 18, Minnesota), Darren Collison (No. 21, New Orleans), Omri Casspi (No. 23, Sacramento), Rodrigue Beaubois (No. 25, Oklahoma City), Taj Gibson (No. 26, Chicago)
2008 Draft: Robin Lopez (No. 15, Phoenix), Roy Hibbert (No. 17, Toronto), J.J. Hickson (No. 19, Cleveland), Courtney Lee (No. 22, Orlando), Serge Ibaka (No. 24, Seattle), George Hill (No. 26, San Antonio)