Thursday, June 26, 2008

NBA Draft

The 2008 NBA Draft will be held tonight. For the second straight year the top two picks appear to be locks, and appear to be freshmen.

This year, freshmen will be dominating the draft boards as a record 12 are projected to go in the first round. Every year there is always a few surprises that have you shaking your head. Every year a guaranteed lock doesn't work out, while a player no one expected to pan out becomes a star.

I thought I would go through the past eight drafts (2000-2007) and select a player that was picked in the second round (or a late first rounder) that has developed faster than a few of those guaranteed first rounders.

2000 - Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
Redd was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 43rd pick in the 2000 draft. He has since been an all-star and was named to the 2008 Olympic Basketball Team.

Other notable second rounders in 2000: Eddie House, Brian Cardinal, Jason Hart and Marko Jaric.

2001 - Gilbert Arenas, Golden State Warriors
Arenas was selected by the Warriors with the 31st pick in the 2001 draft. He has since been an all-star. He now plays for the Washington Wizards.

Other notable second rounders in 2001: Mehmet Okur and Earl Watson.

2002 - Carlos Boozer, Cleveland Cavaliers
Boozer was drafted 34th overall in the 2002 draft by the Cavaliers. He made a name for himself, and has since become an all-star for the Utah Jazz. He recently was named to the 2008 Olympic Basketball Team.

Other notable second rounders in 2002: Ronald 'Flip' Murray and Luis Scola.

2003 - Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers
Walton was selected 32nd by the Lakers in the 2003 draft. He has been both a starter and a notable reserve for the 2007 Western Conference champions.

Other notable second rounders in 2003: Jason Kapono, Willie Green, Steve Blake, Keith Bogans and Kyle Korver.

2004 - Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers
Varejao was picked 30th overall by the Cavaliers in the 2004 draft. He is known mostly for his outstanding hairstyle, but is also high energy off the bench - providing defense and rebounding. He was the only notable second round selection in this draft.

2005 - Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors
Ellis was selected 40th overall by the Warriors. He has developed into a full-fledged star for Golden State over the past two season's, combining with Baron Davis as a powerful duo in the backcourt.

Other notable second rounders in 2005: Ryan Gomes, Ronny Turiaf and Brandon Bass.

2006 - Daniel Gibson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Gibson was selected 42nd overall by the Cavaliers in 2006. Despite injuries, he has developed into a strong outside shooter for Cleveland. He captured the MVP in last season's Rookie/Sophomore Challenge during the All-Star Weekend.

Other notable second rounders in 2006: Craig Smith, Leon Powe and Paul Milsap.

2007 - Carl Landry, Houston Rockets
Landry was selected 31st overall in the 2007 draft by Houston. Landry is just getting his feet wet, but he helped a Rockets team off the bench make the playoffs after Yao Ming went down to injury.

Other notable second rounders in 2007: Glen 'Big Baby' Davis, Aaron Gray and D.J. Strawberry.

The NBA Draft begins tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN. More of a wrapup tomorrow on all of the picks.

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