When NBA commissioner Adam Silver announces that the Brooklyn Nets are on the clock with pick #29 in the NBA draft he will be subliminally announcing the shortcomings of the franchise. He will scream that while the Nets stole the Atlanta Hawks’ best player, Joe Johnson, via trade, the Hawks now owned the association’s second best record and the Nets are now plagued by his contract. Instead of competing for a championship or near the top record in the league the Nets enjoyed a mere six games in the playoffs against none other than the Hawks.
Teams selecting late in the draft usually don’t need a rookie to produce, but most teams don’t trade away multiple first round picks for three ageing superstars, all of whom no longer remain on the roster. These three of course being Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. Without bonafide talent late in the draft franchises usually focus on players with a specific skill set or draft players with potential, requiring time to develop. In the case of the former those players are most often bench players who provide teams with one or two above average to great skills such as rebounding or perimeter shooting ability.
Despite the fact that all rookies demand time to develop, at this point in the draft, the prospective rookies command more care and patience. This category contains a large amount of international players. Although these are some typical expectations for this region of the draft there is always the surprise player(s) who grow into All-Star level professionals.
With this in mind, the rest of the article displays notable successes of players drafted in the late first and early second round (from pick 29-33) since the 2010 draft. Note: Notable failures of this group were too many to describe. Though there are few “busts” of the pool – mostly due to their limited expectations – many players no longer play in the league.
Pick #33: Hassan Whiteside, C – Sacramento Kings
Career averages: 8.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.1 BPG
Last season averages: 11.8 PPG, 10 RPG, 2.6 BPG
During Whiteside’s first two seasons with the Kings he played 19 of 164 games. His rookie season ended after one game due to a knee injury. Whether in the D-League for Sacramento’s affiliate the Reno Bighorns, other developmental teams or overseas in China and Lebanon Whiteside continued playing. Before the season he signed with the Memphis Grizzlies, but only played in the D-League.
On November 24 he signed with the Miami Heat, proving himself as a low post scorer and swat artist. With the Heat he had 22 double-doubles, including a triple double of 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocks, a franchise record. While he dictated games with his play, his temper remains concerning, as displayed by this push against Kelly Olynyk.
At age 25, his talent coupled with Chris Bosh promises an offensively potent frontcourt next season.
Pick #29: Cory Joseph, PG – San Antonio Spurs
Career averages: 5.2 PPG, 1.9 APG, 1.8 RPG
Last season averages: 6.8 PPG, 2.4 APG, 2.4 RPG
After drafted, Joseph played multiple times in the D-League for Spurs’ affiliate, the Austin Toros. In 2013 the D-League awarded him an appearance on the All-Star roster. Later that year he played in the Finals against the Heat, in which he and the Spurs lost in seven games. Joseph was a member of the Spurs for their 2014 championship.
Over the past two seasons he played in nearly 90% of the games, predominantly as the backup point guard, but he started games when reliving Tony Parker for rest or other injuries.
Pick #30: Jimmy Butler, SG – Chicago Bulls
Career averages: 11.7 PPG, 2 APG, 4.3 RPG
Last season averages: 20 PPG, 3.3 APG, 5.8 RPG
Throughout his time with the Bulls recently departed and defensive-minded coach Tom Thibodeau trusted Butler as a perimeter defender. Thibodeau trusted Butler with guarding the opposition’s best player in specific situations and increasingly gave him more playing time.
Based on his defensive capabilities he was inserted as a consistent starter in 2013, but was an offensive liability. Last season he blossomed offensively, becoming the Bulls most consistent primary option and earned an All-Star appearance. His enhanced offense gained him the Most Improved Player award and his impressive defense remained, as he was named to the All-Defensive Second Team.
Pick #31: Bogan Bogdanovic, SG/SF – Miami Heat
Career averages: 9 PPG, 0.9 APG, 2.7 RPG
Last season averages: 9 PPG, 0.9 APG, 2.7 RPG
Bogdanovic personifies the type of player the Nets could acquire in this year’s first round. He spent three years in Turkey evolving his game into one of NBA caliber. As a rookie this season Bogdanovic played in 78 games and started 28.
Mechanically, he’s a prototypical long range shooter. His shooting ability generates his points efficiently. Lacking athleticism, getting to the paint challenges him, but he’s an ideal floor spacer that can manufacture nightmares for the opposition if his teammates penetrate and provide catch and shoot opportunities.
Pick #33: Kyle Singler, SF – Detroit Pistons
Career averages: 8.1 PPG, 1 APG, 3.4 RPG
Last season averages: 6 PPG, 1.1 APG, 2.4 RPG
Singler started the majority of his rookie season in Detroit and looked outmatched. He has little ability to drive based on his handles and athleticism. From behind the arc he nears 40% accuracy despite a prolonged release.
An intelligent player, he compensates for his offensive shortcomings through his defense. Starting in Detroit or another team for that matter has past him, but Oklahoma traded for him to build their reserve squad. Currently, he is a restricted free agent.
Pick #30: Festus Ezeli, C – Golden State Warriors
Career averages: 4.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.9 BPG
Last season averages: 3.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.9 BPG
Nearly 7 feet and nimble Ezeli is able to rebound and defend the pain. With the deepest bench in the league he receives little playing time. Though he is far from a sixth man, most other teams would value him as a backup rim protector and rebounder and would extend his minutes. He accepts his role and could win a championship as a result.
Pick #29: Archie Goodwin, SG – Phoenix Suns
Career averages: 4.6 PPG, 0.7 APG, 1.7 RPG
Last season averages: 5.6 PPG, 1.1 APG,1.8 RPG
An esteemed recruit leaving high school, Goodwin lead the Kentucky Wildcats in scoring as a freshman and declared for the draft. Yet to impact the professional ranks despite 93 games played, Goodwin featured for the Suns D-League affiliate the Bakersfield Jam who won the D-League Showcase Tournament. Goodwin won MVP of the Showcase Tournament.
Pick #31: Allen Crabbe, SF – Portland Trail Blazers
Career averages: 3 PPG, 0.7 APG, 1.2 RPG
Last season averages: 3.3 PPG, 0.8 APG, 1.4 RPG
Multiple college honors, namely Third-team All-American and Pacific-12 player of the Year failed to translate into NBA success during Crabbe’s first two seasons.
In Portland, Crabbe has played 66 games, starting nine. All of his starts were last season. Since his time as a California Golden Bear he played for Portland’s D-League affiliate the Idaho Stampede.
Pick #32: K.J. McDaniels, SF – Philadelphia 76ers
Career averages: 7.9 PPG, 1.2 APG, 3.2 RPG
Last season averages: 7.9 PPG, 1.2 APG, 3.2 RPG
Flashing his athleticism on both ends of the court along with his shooting failed to persuade the tanking 76er’s that McDaniels would feature in their winning aspirations, when, if, that occurs and they traded him to the Houston Rockets. His 37″ vertical lead to numerous phenomenal dunks and blocks.
For a brief period in Philadelphia McDaniels’ play suggested he could be a valuable 3&D player, but struggled with his stroke since, only connecting on 28.7% from beyond the arc. Regardless of shooting struggles McDaniels is a promising player who demonstrated his skills on the NBA level, albeit for the 76er’s, a perennial cellar dweller.