Two second round picks in a draft projected to be the weakest draft since 2000 make Draft Day unusually insignificant for the Clippers. Most years, the Clippers have a high pick, with hopes that whomever they select will provide an answer for the team’s future. Although, considering the Clippers draft history, maybe it’s better that we’re not hoping for a savior to rush out of the Green Room, shake David Stern’s hand and put on a Clipper hat.
Thankfully, this Clipper team actually has two already great players that they can build around in Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, and now, the Clippers just need very good complementary players to fill in and take that role. While that’s a high order to ask from a second round pick, there have been some second rounders that have turned into solid players, sometimes spectacular.
Obviously, there are no guarantees in the second round, but there’s still potential. Here’s a look in at the second round successes since 2005.
Landry Fields (39th, Knicks): 4 year college player at Stanford, he became a fan favorite with the Knicks in his first season. He was a fantastic rebounder for his position, pulling in 6.4 rebounds per game at the shooting guard position and he also provided almost ten points per game and a good three point shooting touch to balance out the doubles on Amar’e.
(I’m still holding out hope for Willie Warren.)
Sam Young (36th, Grizzlies): Maybe you haven’t heard of him, but he was a key contributor on this year’s shockingly good Grizzlies team (as well as the winner of John Hollinger’s MIP award).
DaJuan Blair (37th, Spurs): Sure his knees were without his ‘CLs, but the guy was a flat out beast on the glass for Pittsburgh. Completely shocking that he didn’t get selected in the second round until 37.
Jonas Jerebko (39th, Pistons): He was out this year, but in his first year with the Pistons, the Swedish forward posted 9.3 points and 6.0 rebounds.
Jodie Meeks (41st, Bucks): Traded to the Sixers, Meeks found his niche as the sharp shooting small forward. He averaged 10 points on almost 40 percent shooting this season.
Marcus Thornton (43rd, Heat): Thornton arrived in New Orleans and tore it up right from the start as their instant offense off the bench. He averaged 14.5 points per game in his first season, but he found his home in Sacramento, where he averaged 21.3 points per game.
Chase Budinger (44th, Rockets): Once considered a first rounder, Budinger slipped down to the second round, where the Rockets snatched him up. He has averaged 9.4 points off the bench for his career, but his per 36 minute averages suggest that he could become a more integral player for their team (15.9 points).
Mario Chalmers (34th, Heat): He almost helped the Heat win a ring this year. Plays solid defense, even if his offense can induce head scratching at times. Still, he has averaged 8 points for his career on 35 percent shooting from three.
DeAndre Jordan (35th, Clippers): Okay, so everyone has their opinion on DeAndre. At the time he was thought to be a lottery talent, but he slipped to the Clippers due to his unformed game. Still has a long way to go, but he’s made significant progress this year and a steal in the second round.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (37th, Bucks): Not the best offensive player (that’s putting it lightly), but he’s a rangey defender capable of guarding 3-4 positions. Not a bad guy to have on your team.
Goran Dragic (45th, Suns): Initially thought to be the heir apparent to Steve Nash, Dragic was traded to the Rockets where he averaged 7.7 points and 2.5 assists from the bench.
Carl Landry (31st, Rockets): 12 points and 5 rebounds off the bench, with even higher averages at times. Landry fit in better coming off the bench with Houston and New Orleans than he did starting for the Kings. Still. Great production that late.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis (35th, Sonics to Boston): “Big Baby” erased his weight questions by dieting and working hard. Sure there was a crying on the bench incident, but his name is Big Baby and he has KG for a teammate, shouldn’t we have expected this? In his last year, Davis averaged 11.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in 29.5 minutes for the Celtics.
Marc Gasol (48th, Lakers): He never played a game for the Lakers, but he surprised everyone in the 2008 Olympics by being in shape and a bruising complement to his brother, Pau. He was a focal point of the Grizzlies playoff run, and he’s averaged 12.6 points and 7.8 rebounds for his Griz career.
Craig Smith (36th, Minnesota): Oh, Rhino. Selected late due to his physique, the Rhino overcame his weight and his short stature to become a valuable bench player for the Wolves and the Clippers. And he has had long stretches where he wore one of the top-3 best Mohawks in the NBA (others in contention: Von Wafer, pre-Clippers Ryan Gomes, Nick Young).
Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (42nd, Cavs): He fit in perfectly with LeBron as a spot up shooter. Okay, so it’s easy to fit with LeBron, but Boobie still has a career 41.8 percentage from behind the arc.
Paul Millsap (47th, Jazz): Millsap has stolen Carlos Boozer’s role as the power forward for the Jazz, averaging 17.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in his first full season starting.
Brandon Bass (33rd, Hornets): Finally found his place with the Magic, and he came through with solid, if unspectacular averages of 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds.
Ersan Ilyasova (36th, Bucks): The Turkish combo forward has averaged 8.8 points and 5.2 rebounds for his career in Milwaukee, and while he’s not terribly well known, he’s a solid rotation player for the Bucks.
Monta Ellis (40th, Warriors): Okay, so he can’t play a lick of defense, but this is one of the elite scorers in the NBA. This would be a great pick in the top-10, let alone the top-40.
Lou Williams (45th, Sixers): After a couple tough years, Williams became a potent threat off the bench for the Sixers, averaging 11.5, 12.8, 14.0, and 13.7 points per game in the last 4 years. He’s either a rich man’s Jannero Pargo, or the crack addled homeless man’s Monta Ellis.
Amir Johnson (56th, Pistons): An athletic talent, Johnson was a shockingly PER friendly enigma with the Pistons before branching out with the Raptors, averaging 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds.
Marcin Gortat (57th, Orlando): He served as a great back up center to Dwight Howard until he found himself on the Suns, where he put up 13.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Not bad for almost not even being drafted.
Clearly, there is hope for the Clippers, even if they only have second round picks in a weak draft. But even 2000, the allegedly weakest draft in memory, still produced Michael Redd and Eddie House.