Finding a diamond in the ruff during the second round of the NBA Draft has become more and more of a crap shoot with each passing year. Now, Twitter updates, YouTube highlights, national exposure to numerous college teams and draft combine results can make anyone an expert on the upcoming NBA draft. By the end of June, people generally have a pretty good knowledge as to who’s first round material and who’s going to be stuck in the second round come draft night. However, that has not stopped certain players from slipping down the draft board, and ultimately becoming second round steals.
Although the Lakers possess no first round picks in this month’s NBA Draft, they do have four second round picks (#41, #46, #56 and #58), which means the purple and gold have a nice shot at leaving the draft with something special. In light of the Lakers’ second round steal potential, let’s take a look at the top 10 second round picks of the last 20 years.
10. PJ Brown – Selected 29th overall by the New Jersey Nets in the second round of the 1992 NBA Draft – As Lakers fans, our most recent and unfortunately most memorable memory of PJ Brown was his performance in the 2008 NBA Finals as a member of the Boston Celtics. He hit big shots and played a pivotal role on defense for the champion Celtics that year, and although he was a ripe 38 during his lone title season, his veteran presence provided Boston with a necessary wealth of experience during their playoff run. Drafted by the Nets out of Louisiana Tech University, Brown began his 15-year career in Newark, where he spent three seasons before “taking his talents to South Beach” for four years to play alongside Alonzo Mourning. He was traded to the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets during the summer of 2000, where he played an integral role for six seasons, even receiving an MVP vote during the 2004-05 season. He was never an all-star and only finished his career with averages of 9.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG, but Brown was certainly a quality player who left a lasting impact on the league with his defense, post skills and leadership.
9. Cuttino Mobley – Selected 41st overall by the Houston Rockets in the second round of the 1998 NBA Draft – The possessor of arguably the most unique, non-foreign name in NBA history, Cuttino Mobley was a quick-as-a-cat shooting guard with a deft shooting touch. He spent the most productive years of his NBA career with the Houston Rockets, where he was paired up with the high-flying Steve Francis, forming one of the stronger backcourts in the league. After six successful seasons in Houston, five of which Mobley averaged at least 15.8 PPG, the sweet-shooting guard was traded along with Francis, his fellow backcourt partner and good friend, to the Orlando Magic in a deal that landed the Rockets Tracy McGrady. Mobley only played 23 games for the Magic, averaging 16.0 PPG before he was traded yet again, this time to the Sacramento Kings in a move that brought Doug Christie to Orlando. After finishing out the 2005 season with the Kings, Mobley changed uniforms yet again, opting to move to Los Angeles, where he signed with the Clippers, and was their starting shooting guard for two and a half seasons. After two more seasons of decline, Mobley was traded to the New York Knicks mid way through the 2008 season. However, he never suited up for the Knicks, and was waived by the franchise in April of 2010. Currently in retirement, Mobley finished his NBA career with averages of 16.0 PPG, 2.7 APG and 3.9 RPG in 37 MPG.
8. Monta Ellis – Selected 40th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft – Although he has only been in the league for six seasons, Monta Ellis has carved a successful path for himself since being drafted by the Warriors out of Lanier High School (Miss.) in 2005. While he doesn’t possess the mentality to be a point guard, or the necessary height to be a traditional shooting guard, Ellis has become one of the league’s most lethal offensive weapons. He’s coming off two stellar seasons in which he’s posted scoring averages of 25.5 PPG and 24.1 PPG, while forming one of the strongest offensive backcourt tandems in the league next to rising star Stephen Curry. Trade rumors containing his name have swirled around for the past year, but even if the young, fiery guard is dealt, he will certainly provide an offensive boost to whichever team he ends up with. At only 25 years of age, Ellis is a budding all-star, and if he can become more of a playmaker, the sky is the roof for one of the league’s last high school-to-the-pros players.
Next: Three Wings With a Knack For Offense