Finding a Second Round Gem in the Draft

Everyone knows about Manu Ginobili, Gilbert Arenas, and Paul Millsap. Go back even further and you have Mark Price, Dennis Rodman, and Jeff Hornacek. And Pacers fans should be familiar with Stephen Jackson and Lance Stephenson.

Of course, we´re talking about second-round draft picks.

Most become nothing, but a few have become key players and a few have even turned the tide of a franchise.

Can the Pacers find a useful player with the 57th overall pick tomorrow night?

The odds are against it.

In the past 10 drafts — with a total of 300 second-round picks — only 95 selections have logged even 1,000 career minutes in the NBA, per Basketball-Reference. With a nearly one-third hit rate, that might look OK. But for some perspective, that list includes Orlando Johnson.

When you throw him in with Stephenson, A.J. Price, and Jeff Ayers — three other recent Pacer second rounders — that actually bodes a bit well for Indiana´s ability to find guys late. Then again, the name Orlando Johnson being a ¨success story¨ also shows how hard it is to find a player of value after pick 30.

And Indiana isn´t even selecting in the 30s or 40s. They have number 57.

In the past 10 drafts, of the 110 players taken with pick 50 or later, only 16 have logged 1,000 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference. Amir Johnson has easily been the best of the bunch, with Isaiah Thomas and Marcin Gortat being the other marquee finds.

Among the other 12, only Ramon Sessions, Ryan Gomes, and Patty Mills stand out as players who teams would be thrilled to have employed.

Here´s a full list of the others, in descending order of games played: Ryan Hollins, A.J. Price, E´Twaun Moore, Lavoy Allen, Jeremy Evans, Darnell Jackson, Orien Greene, Nando De Colo, Robert Sacre, and Lawrence Roberts.

So, yeah, don´t get too excited for tomorrow night, Pacers fans.

Then again, it shouldn´t be too hard for Larry Bird to move up for an earlier second round pick if he really likes somebody.

As noted above, Indiana has seemingly done a better-than-average job in the second round, with Lance being in the discussion for best second-round pick of the past decade.

So if Larry makes a small deal to trade up or buy an earlier second-round pick, that could be a good sign. Hopefully, he has his eyes on at least one or two guys who he believes can crack the rotation.

As the names of guys above attests, that is a rare proposition. But Bird has pulled it off before, and him doing so again could be critical to Indiana navigating its way through the next two years of salary cap iceburgs waiting in the waters.

Bird doesn´t need another Stephenson, but he can´t select another James White either.

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Tags: Indiana Pacers Lance Stephenson Larry Bird

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