2008 Draft: Second Round Gems
They don't get to shake David Stern's hand. They don't get to show off new suits, try on their team hats, or get interviewed by Stephen A. Smith. Occasionally, the television audience has to wait until the commercial break ends to see who was selected. They only get to listen to the analysts talk about them for about two minutes before they move onto the next pick. Yes...the life of a second-rounder isn't easy.
But every year, it seems there's a few picks who not only stick in the league, but make a name for themselves. Stars like Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer, Manu Ginobili, Monta Ellis and Michael Redd all had to wait until the second round to hear their names called. Last year, second-rounders Carl Landry, Glen Davis and Ramon Sessions all showed some promise, and should be around for a while.
So who are this year's diamonds in the rough. Here's some second-rounders who you might be hearing about this coming season.
Mario Chalmers (34 - Minnesota, traded to Miami): The hero of the national championship game, Chalmers was thought to be on the first-round bubble, meaning the Heat got great value by acquiring him in the second round. Chalmers isn't a pure point guard, but he has some play-making skills, a high basketball IQ, is a willing defender and can knock down shots. He brings a winning attitude, and is mature enough to come and compete for playing time right away. Chalmers reminds me a little of Chris Duhon in that he plays well within his own abilities, although I think Chalmers will be a better player. Look for him to earn plenty of minutes this season alongside Dwyane Wade in the backcourt.
DeAndre Jordan (35 - LA Clippers): Now I've spent plenty of time ripping Jordan for coming out when he clearly wasn't ready, but at the 35th pick, he could prove to be a great value. Jordan has great size and is incredibly athletic, and if he ever puts it together, he could be a very good player. In the lottery, where teams are looking for immediate help, he would have been a reach. But picking him here, the Clippers take very little risk, and they can sit him on the bench for a couple years to let him develop. Check back in about two years on him.
Kyle Weaver (38 - Charlotte): Weaver should be a great fit in Larry Brown's system. Weaver has the size to play off the ball, but also possesses enough playmaking ability to run the point on occasion. He's a great defender, and is willing to do the little things to help the team. He isn't a great shooter, and isn't always aggressive on the offensive end, but his defensive prowess and toughness could earn him a place in the Bobcats rotation by season's end.
Chris Douglas-Roberts (40 - New Jersey): CDR may prove to be the steal of the draft in the second-round. How does a first-team All-American who helped lead his team to the national title game fall this far? Questions about his outside shot, athleticism and unorthodox style may have hurt him, but I think the Nets will love him. He's similar to Rip Hamilton in build, wiry strong with long arms that help him on defense. He has a great mid-range game, and while it's not always pretty, it is effective. He brings a winning mentality, and he's not afraid to take big shots. Only time will tell, but I think CDR could make a lot of teams regret passing on him.
Bill Walker (47 - Washington, traded to Boston): Walker has first-round talent, but his injury history held him back. If healthy, he will be as explosive as anyone in the league, capable of rising up at any time for a vicious dunk. He has an improving shot, and is a solid defender when he chooses to put forth the effort. He's a bit of a hot-head, but going to a veteran locker room like the Celtics should help him mature. He may not see much time early in his career, but there's no question he has the talent to stick around for quite a while.
Richard Hendrix (49 - Golden State): Hendrix is a little undersized for power forward, but he's a productive player who crashes the glass hard. The Warriors are always looking for big guys who can help them down low, and getting Hendrix here is a great pick. He brings a lot of physical toughness, something the Warriors need in the paint. Coach Don Nelson is notoriously tough on rookies, so he may not see a lot of time this season, but he should be a solid role player for many years.
James Gist (57 - San Antonio): This one may surprise people, but I was pretty high on Gist coming into the draft. He's still more of an athlete than a basketball player, but give me a 6'9" guy with a 35+ inch vertical any day. If he makes the team, he'll be able to learn from one of the best coaches in the league, not to mention arguably the best power forward of all time in Tim Duncan. Gist likely will never be more than a role player, but he has the potential to bring some energy, defense and rebounding off the bench. I wouldn't be surprised to see him stick in the league for awhile, even if it's not with the Spurs.