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NBA AM: Predicting The Next Second Round All-Stars

Since 2008, there have been three second round picks to reach All-Star status. Who will be the next?

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The NBA Draft is a crapshoot. Sure, there are a few league executives that constantly strike gold in the draft, but there are plenty of whiffs up and down the board—no matter the shot caller.

Every player in the annual draft pool comes equipped with their own set of risks and there have been very few surefire selections over the past 25 years. This is just evaluating first round picks. Attempting to select a second round pick that could potentially develop into a nightly rotation player is an even bigger undertaking.

Making it to the NBA requires extreme talent and nuanced skill, but this is just the beginning. To carve out a niche and survive multiples seasons in the league takes the ability to adjust to new environments, block out distractions and ultimately accepting a smaller role.

Today, we’ll take a look at second round picks since 2008 that not only survived the land of non-guaranteed deals, but managed to reach All-Star status. We’ll also take a look at a few second round picks that are on the verge of an All-Star selection. We have excluded the 2017 draft class from this report.

For starters, consider the following when evaluating second round picks selected between 2008 and 20016:

  • Since 2008, there have been only three players selected in the second round that have reached All-Star status (Isaiah Thomas, Draymond Green and DeAndre Jordan).
    • This translates into 1.1 percent of draft picks during this span (three out of 270)
  • In fact, 27.4 percent of second round picks (74 out of 270) during this span have yet to appear in a NBA regular season contest.

Considering these facts, it would appear highly unlikely for a former second pick to rise to stardom, but it isn’t impossible. There are a few players that could potentially add the “All-Star” accomplishment to their mantle as soon as this season.

Previous Second Round Pick All-Stars

Isaiah Thomas, Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers
Draft Status:
No. 60 overall, 2011
Accomplishments: All-Star (2x), All-NBA (1x)

Thomas was the last player selected in 2011 and is coming off a career season where he averaged 28.9 points per game and led the Boston Celtics to over 50 victories. Thomas was traded to Cleveland this summer and figures to be an integral part of their rotation when his injured hip fully heals.

DeAndre Jordan, Center, Los Angeles Clippers
Draft Status:
No. 35 overall, 2008
Accomplishments: All-Star (1x), All-Defensive (2x), All-NBA (3x)

Jordan has been remarkably durable throughout his career and hasn’t averaged below 13.6 rebounds in any season since 2014. Jordan has also finished the past three seasons shooting over 70 percent from the field.

Draymond Green, Forward, Golden State Warriors
Draft Status:
No. 35 overall, 2012
Accomplishments: All-Star (2x), All-Defensive (3x), All-NBA (2x), Defensive Player of the Year (1x), NBA Champion (2x)

The term “Future Hall of Famer” might be applied too loosely in Green’s case, but the former second round pick has undoubtedly outperformed all expectations since entering the league. The Warriors don’t show any signs of slowing down and Green will continue to play a pivotal role on both sides of the ball on a team that just might be the next NBA dynasty.

Potential First Time All-Stars, Former Second Round Picks

Goran Dragic, Guard, Miami HEAT
Draft Status:
No. 45 overall, 2008
Accomplishments: All-NBA (1x), Most Improved Player (2014)

Dragic, 31, still has the potential to make an All-Star run. Last season, the veteran floor general averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 73 contests. Dragic has a featured role in Miami’s offense and the green light to score the ball. With Thomas reportedly to miss the beginning of the regular season, Dragic may be in line to benefit.

Khris Middleton, Guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Draft Status:
No. 39 overall, 2012
Accomplishments: N/A

Middleton’s teammates Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker get the headlines, but the veteran wing has established himself as an efficient double-digit scorer. Middleton averaged 18.2 points per game in 2016 before injuries limited him to just 29 contests in 2017. With Parker expected to miss significant time rehabbing from knee surgery, Middleton could be in for an even larger role in the Bucks’ offense.

Hassan Whiteside, Center, Miami HEAT
Draft Status:
No. 33 overall, 2010
Accomplishments: All-Defensive (1x)

The traditional center is a dying breed, but Whiteside’s dominance on the low block cannot be underestimated. Whiteside averaged 17 points, 14 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season in 77 contests. With Miami eyeing a return to the playoffs, even more will be expected from the sixth year center.

Nikola Jokic, Center, Denver Nuggets
Draft Status:
No. 41 overall, 2014
Accomplishments: All-Rookie (2016)

The future of the Denver Nuggets franchise is bright and a lot of this optimism is driven by the presence of Jokic. The third year big man averaged 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season. Those numbers rose to 17.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game as a starter. The offseason addition of All-Star forward Paul Millsap should allow Jokic to make another leap this season.

* * * * * *

Between now and February, a lot of basketball will be played. It certainly will be interesting to see which of those mentioned above make their first All-Star appearance—be it this season or next.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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