Taking A No. 2: The 2nd Overall NBA Draft Picks From The Past 20 Years


There's a certain notoriety that comes with being the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. The top pick each year typically goes on to become known as a superstar or a bust. On the good end of the spectrum are the Allen Iversons, Tim Duncans, Derrick Roses, LeBron James and Chris Webbers of the bunch. On the other end are the Kwame Browns, Michael Olowokandis and Greg Odens.

But what's life like for No. 2? After reading the lost conversation between Chris Webber and Shaquille O'Neal, I realized that exactly 20 years ago, my hometown Philadelphia 76ers drafted Shawn Bradley No. 2 overall, sandwiched between Webber and the man he was traded for on draft day, third overall pick Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway.

That got me thinking about who the second overall picks were from the past 20 years, and with the 2013 NBA Draft taking place tonight, what better time to take a walk down memory lane? So here's a quick rundown of the second overall NBA draft picks from the past 20 years.


1993: Shawn Bradley, Philadelphia 76ers
The 7'6" "bust" who actually played a dozen seasons in the NBA for three different franchises was drafted ahead of a list of very productive or at least more competent players, including Penny, Jamal Mashburn, Isaiah "J.R." Rider, Rodney Rogers, Allan Houston, George Lynch, Sam Cassell, Nick Van Exel and Bryon Russell.

1994: Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks
The future Hall of Fame point guard and new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets was absolutely a home run for the Mavericks, wining co-Rookie of the Year and probably making Milwaukee wish it had taken Kidd over the very productive but not Hall-worthy Glenn Robinson.

1995: Antonio McDyess, Los Angeles Clippers (traded to Denver Nuggets)
McDyess is another solid player who had a long career, suiting up for five different franchises over 15-year career, and he was more exciting than the guy drafted ahead of him, Joe Smith. But McDyess was also drafted ahead of guys like Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett and Michael Finley, so I'm sure the Clippers — and Nuggets — would like a do-over.

1996: Marcus Camby, Toronto Raptors
Hard to argue with where Camby went at the time, seeing as he was an athletic big man who just came off winning the Naismith Award at UMass, going second overall after the Sixers selected Allen Iverson. It's almost impossible to fault Toronto for drafting the defensive stalwart … but with the luxury of hindsight, we see Camby was drafted ahead of surefire Hall of Famers Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

1997: Keith Van Horn, Philadelphia 76ers (traded to New Jersey Nets)
Keith Van Horn made it clear he did not want to play for the Philadelphia 76ers. After the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan and his eventual four championships, the Sixers took Van Horn anyway, then traded him to the New Jersey Nets for Tim Thomas. Screw Keith Van Horn. Seriously. By the way, Van Horn was drafted ahead of Chauncey Billups and Tracy McGrady. Did I mention screw Keith Van Horn?


1998: Mike Bibby, Vancouver Grizzlies
The 1998 draft was awesome, with players like Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Jason Williams, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce all going in the top 10. Unfortunately for the Clippers, they chose Michael Olowokandi as the top pick, leaving the then Vancouver Grizzlies to take Mike Bibby off his tremendous performance for the National Champion Arizona Wildcats. Bibby turned into an excellent point guard for the Sacramento Kings and can't be called a bad pick by the Grizzlies, but you look at Hall of Famers like Dirk and Pierce, along with a perennial, albeit highly criticized, all-star like Vince, and you wonder if Vancouver would the do it the same way all over again.

1999: Steve Francis, Vancouver Grizzlies
The Grizzlies found themselves back with the second overall pick a year after they took Bibby, and after the Chicago Bulls took Elton Brand, they chose Steve Francis, a player who, like Van Horn and Philadelphia, made it clear he would not sign with the team north of the border. So he was flipped to Houston for a bounty of players and picks. Stevie Franchise was an exciting and all-star caliber player in his early days before flaming out. Of note, he was drafted ahead of Baron Davis, Lamar Odom, Richard Hamilton, Andre Miller, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest and Manu Ginobili, among others.

2000: Stromile Swift, Vancouver Grizzlies
Yep, the Grizzlies had the second overall pick three years in a row. Hooray, Vancouver! This time, they royally screwed it up, taking the athletic freak Stromile Swift after the Nets selected Kenyon Martin first. Swift did nothing of note besides block a few shots in his career, and he was taken ahead of Mike Miller, Jamal Crawford, Michael Redd and whole bunch of other underwhelming names. The 2000 draft wasn't so hot.

2001: Tyson Chandler, Los Angeles Clippers (traded to Chicago Bulls)
Coming straight out of high school, the Clippers took Tyson Chandler for the Chicago Bulls, and as we all know, after starting his career as injury-plagued, Chandler came into his own with Chris Paul on the Hornets, then turned into a champion in Dallas and Defensive Player of the Year in New York. That's a solid No. 2 pick right there. Notable players he was drafted ahead of include Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, Gerald Wallace and Gilbert Arenas.

2002: Jay Williams, Chicago Bulls
After the Houston Rockets took the coveted Yao Ming first, the Bulls took the Naismith Award winner Jay Williams, and it's hard to argue. While Williams' career was cut short, he had a good start and showed all the signs of a good NBA player. Notables taken after him include Amar'e Stoudemire, Tayshaun Prince and Luis Scola.


2003: Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons
Here is where we get into full-on infamous territory, with Darko Milicic probably the most widely known No. 2 overall bust — not only because he was not very good, but also because he was taken ahead of a bevy of stars. After the Cavaliers took LeBron first, Joe Dumars selected Darko ahead of Carmelo Anthony and fellow Miami Big 3 stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, not to mention David West, Boris Diaw and any number of players currently still in the NBA and contributing. But hey, he did inspire FreeDarko. Long live, FreeDarko!

2004: Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats
Okafor was the safe and logical pick for Charlotte after Orlando took Dwight Howard No. 1 overall, and Okafor has been a solid — if unspectacular and oft-injured — player. He was, however, selected ahead of other solid, borderline all-star players like Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith and J.R. Smith.

2005: Marvin Williams, Atlanta Hawks
After the Bucks took 7-footer Andrew Bogut, the Hawks, in desperate need of a point guard, naturally selected Marvin Williams, fresh off his freshman championship season at UNC — ahead of all-star point guards Deron Williams and Chris Paul, not mention ahead of his point guard teammate at UNC Raymond Felton, as well as Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger, Nate Robinson, David Lee, Monta Ellis and Lou Williams, among others.

2006: LeMarcus Aldridge, Chicago Bulls (traded to Portland Trail Blazers)
It's hard to argue with Aldridge going second overall … unless you want to say the Raptors should have taken him at one instead of Andrea Bargnani, which they should have. Aldridge, who was traded immediately to Portland for Tyrus Thomas and some other guy (bet the Bulls wish they could have that back), has turned into the second best player in this entire draft, trailing only Rajon Rondo, who went 21 overall.

2007: Kevin Durant, Seattle Supersonics
This was the year of the Oden-Durant debate. The Blazers brought back the ghost of Sam Bowie and selected Oden first overall, while the Sonics took the Rookie of the Year and now league superstar Kevin Durant, one of the faces of the league and the best scorer in the NBA. There's no point even going over the rest of the draft, because Durant is easily the best player from 2007 and already one of the two or three best players on the planet.


2008: Michael Beasley, Miami Heat
Derrick Rose was the clear-cut No. 1, going first to his hometown Bulls. Beasley was actually probably the clear-cut No. 2 at the time as well, since he was a beast at Kansas State and had all the skills. But as we know, Beasley has turned into a nomad bust, while a slew of all-stars or near all-stars were taken after him: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Ryan Anderson, Serge Ibaka …

2009: Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies
Thabeet is quickly approaching Darko territory, going second overall behind Blake Griffin … and ahead of the following in the "point guard draft": James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Darren Collison, Taj Gibson, Danny Green. Shit, just about everyone in this draft has been better in the NBA than Thabeet, who has essentially done absolutely nothing.

2010: Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
Evan Turner was the Naismith Award winner, and he was the safe if unspectacular choice to go second overall after Kentucky's John Wall went first to the Wizards following his freshman year. Turner has not been so great, while talents and contributors like Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Larry Sanders, Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, Greivis Vasquez and Lance Stephenson all went after him. I'd rather have any of those guys over Turner on the Sixers right now.

2011: Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
It's way to early to cast judgment on Williams and most of the players in the this draft, but after star-in-the-making Kyrie Irving went first, the T-Wolves took the versatile wing/power forward from Arizona, who has not had consistent play in his two seasons. He was taken ahead of notables such as Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic, Iman Shumpert, Kenneth Faried and Chandler Parsons.

2012: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
Like Williams, it's too early to tell what the Bobcats got in Kidd-Gilchrist, who went second overall after his Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis. No one in the rookie class of the 2012-13 season really stood out, but MKG was taken ahead of Rookie of the Year Damian Willard, along with Dion Waiters and Harrison Barnes, but again, way too early to tell anything here.

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