In new CBA, 2nd round picks take on even greater importance for cost-conscious NBA

  • Article by: JON KRAWCZYNSKI , AP Basketball Writer
  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 6:25 PM

There was a time when second-round draft picks in the NBA held about as much value to some teams as the caps that were given to each player chosen on draft night.

As the new collective bargaining agreement imposes far harsher penalties for exceeding the salary cap, finding cheap, productive players after the first round closes has never been more important.

The NBA draft opens on Thursday night, with most of the interest from fans focused on the top 14 lottery selections. While many might tune out once those are over, the draft will really be just getting started. Finding players who can fit into a team's rotation — either next season or after a year or two of development — has become a priority for cost-conscious franchises that spend the bulk of their money on an All-Star or two at the top of their roster.

"Eventually, the cap is pretty hard," new Timberwolves President Flip Saunders said. "You're going to have to have people that are going to be able to fit in. Especially if you have a good team and have two or three guys who are close to max (salary) type players, then you're going to have to find some low-end type guys that fit into (your payroll). That's why the development of some low-round guys can be important."

That trend could be seen all over the NBA playoffs, where teams struck gold players drafted in the second round, or not drafted at all. The Golden State Warriors had Draymond Green and Carl Landry. The Houston Rockets had Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons. The Indiana Pacers had Lance Stephenson and Sam Young. The Memphis Grizzlies had Marc Gasol. They were all players who were drafted in the second round, either by the team they were playing for or a previous team. All players who played crucial minutes for teams making postseason runs.

It was more of the same in the NBA Finals, where Miami had second-rounder Mario Chalmers and undrafted big men Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem against the San Antonio Spurs, perhaps the NBA's gold standard for finding and developing under-the-radar talent.

Danny Green was a second-round draft pick of the Cavaliers in 2009 and was cut twice by the Spurs before developing into a reliable perimeter shooter who broke the record for 3-pointers made in a finals series. Gary Neal was undrafted and had to go over to Europe before getting a chance with the Spurs' summer league team and solidifying himself as one of the team's first players off the bench.

And Manu Ginobili, of course, has been one of the most successful second-round picks in NBA draft history, a three-time champion and one-third of a Spurs core that has stuck together for 10 years.

"Ginobili, that was a pick that a lot of people knew was going to be good," Saunders said. "It's just at the time a lot of people didn't want to wait for him. So that was a good pick for them.

"Green was cut by Cleveland. There's a lot of ways to build your team, whether it's through the draft or taking guys that you feel fit better in your system than somebody else can."

Other notable second-round picks in recent years include Isaiah Thomas, Nikola Pekovic, DeAndre Jordan and Goran Dragic.

Whomever is taken in the second round this season certainly doesn't need to make a difference right away. They often are stashed away on the bench, or in Europe for a season or two, and developed before they get a shot at significant minutes in the NBA. Because they come into the league making a relatively small salary, teams can afford to be patient with them early.

In this new fiscal world, they can't afford not to.

The penalties for exceeding the salary cap are so harsh these days that even teams in the largest markets with the biggest revenues are starting to pay it some serious attention. Often after signing two or three players to big-money contracts, there is little left over to spend on the supporting cast.

Fortunately for the savvy NBA general manager, second-round picks cost them little in the way of up-front investment.

The trend offers encouragement for some of the fringe prospects in this year's draft. They watched players who weren't picked in the lottery become featured pieces in the postseason, offering a road map to the NBA one way or another.

"There are a lot of different routes to the NBA," Wisconsin forward Jared Berggren said. "You don't have to be a lottery pick or a first-rounder to make an impact in the league. I don't know if that's what it's going to take for me. Whatever it takes, I'm going to stick with it and hopefully reach my goal of one day playing in the NBA, however I get there."

And even if they don't hear their name called Thursday night, Neal offered a little bit of advice on how to channel the disappointment into something productive.

"Just dealing with the reality that I wasn't going to get drafted, that's like a crossroad for a lot of guys coming out of college," Neal said. "You realize you're not going to get drafted and there's a great chance that you might not become an NBA player.

"You kind of have to make your mind up that you want to continue on professionally and take the European route and take it seriously. After I talked it over with my family, that's what I decided to do. I was able to mentally just get past the European thing and go over there and be professional about it."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Pittsburgh 27
Arizona 1/3/15 3:35 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 1/3/15 7:15 PM
Pittsburgh
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 106 FINAL
San Antonio 110
Oklahoma City 107 FINAL
Dallas 112
New York 79 FINAL
Portland 101
Toronto 116 FINAL
Denver 102
Phoenix 116 FINAL
LA Lakers 107
Toronto 4 FINAL
Florida 6
Vancouver 1 FINAL(OT)
Anaheim 2
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
NJIT 71 FINAL
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
UMKC 73 FINAL
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 59 FINAL
Cornell 52
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 42 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Richmond 63
Fla Gulf Coast 57 FINAL
Xavier 71
SD Christian 45 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Judson 46 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 80
Ill-Chicago 60 FINAL
Bradley 68
Loyola-Maryland 61 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Miss Valley St 53 FINAL
Houston 80
Lehigh 58 FINAL
UMBC 55
Delaware State 56 FINAL
Temple 66
Belmont 56 FINAL
Butler 67
Howard 59 FINAL
Fordham 74
NW Christian 67 FINAL
Nevada 81
UC Davis 83 FINAL
Washington St 90
Abilene Christian 81 FINAL
Grand Canyon 83
UCLA 50 FINAL
Alabama 56
Stony Brook 62 FINAL
Washington 57
Buffalo 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
CS-Bakersfield 55 FINAL
California 52
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
UCLA 67
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
SC State 60
Alcorn State 53 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 63
Dartmouth 76 FINAL
Niagara 70
Colgate 68 FINAL
Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
Fla Gulf Coast 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 64
Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 56 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 59 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 76
Temple 58 FINAL
Memphis 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close