Lillard, Roy Top Gems Among Recent No. 6 Picks
Over the past dozen NBA drafts, the sixth overall pick has yielded a veritable grab bag of players. There are a couple Rookies of the Year in the mix, a pair of All-Stars, several solid role players, along with an unfortunate few who did not last very long in the league, either due to injury or poor performance.
Perhaps the only common theme among the No. 6’s is that if they were chosen by the Portland Trail Blazers, things turned out extremely well. The last two times Portland selected sixth overall, it wound up with the ensuing season’s Rookie of the Year, choosing Brandon Roy in 2006 and Damian Lillard in 2012.
Regardless of which player is this June’s “Pick 6,” it will be a tall order to reach the bar set during the ’12-13 season by Lillard, who immediately became Portland’s second-leading scorer (19.0 points per game) and captured Rookie of the Year honors. Meanwhile, injuries reduced Roy’s tenure in Portland to just five seasons, but in that relatively short period of time, he became one of the greatest players in franchise history (one website lists him No. 7 all time).
Here’s a look at each No. 6 overall draft pick since 2000 (with team they made official debut with in NBA):
2012: Damian Lillard, Portland
In the span of a few months, went from a virtually unknown standout at tiny Weber State to a unanimous pick as NBA Rookie of the Year.
2011: Jan Vesely, Washington
Athletic but raw power forward appeared to regress in his second NBA season, averaging just 11.8 minutes and falling out of Wizards rotation.
2010: Ekpe Udoh, Golden State (now with Milwaukee)
Serviceable frontcourt role player was traded by Warriors after just 1 ½ seasons to Bucks, where he’s started 14 times over 99 appearances.
2009: Jonny Flynn, Minnesota (out of NBA)
Part of Timberwolves’ memorable first-round draft run on point guards, he struggled big-time and sustained hip injury. Played in Australia last season.
2008: Danilo Gallinari, New York (now with Denver)
Small forward showed some promise with Knicks, but career took off after Carmelo Anthony trade sent him to Nuggets. A potential All-Star if he continues to improve.
2007: Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee (out of NBA)
A disappointment in various stops with Bucks, Nets, Wizards and Mavericks. Also had a stint in the D-League. Now plays for Guangdong in Chinese Basketball Association.
2006: Brandon Roy, Portland (now with Minnesota)
A three-time All-Star from 2008-10, he was supposed to team with Greg Oden in leading the Trail Blazers to prominence, but injuries derailed those plans.
2005: Martell Webster, Portland (now with Washington)
Role-playing small forward known mainly for three-point shooting range. Has played for three teams in last four seasons, but averaged career-high 11.4 points in 2012-13.
2004: Josh Childress, Atlanta (out of NBA)
A rotation player for Hawks from 2004-08, the small forward was key member of playoff team in ’08, but has seen his role steadily decrease in recent years. Was waived by Brooklyn in December.
2003: Chris Kaman, L.A. Clippers (now with Dallas)
An above average starting center for much of his pro career, he was named to the West All-Star team in 2010. Was New Orleans’ third-leading scorer in 2011-12.
2002: Dajuan Wagner, Cleveland (out of NBA)
Entered NBA with reputation as an explosive offensive player, but shot poorly and lasted only 103 games. Finished NBA career at 36.6 percent from field.
2001: Shane Battier, Memphis (now with Miami)
The quintessential defender and spot-up three-point shooter, has been in the playoffs nine times, including winning a 2012 championship with Heat.
2000: DerMarr Johnson, Atlanta (out of NBA)
A disappointment early in pro career, made inspirational comeback after breaking his neck in 2002 car accident. Small forward played seven NBA seasons.