Saturday, July 3, 2021

Second Round All-Stars

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is the 2021 NBA MVP, the first player in franchise history to win the award. The 41st overall pick in 2014, Jokic is the lowest-drafted Most Valuable Player ever - by a lot. In fact the previously lowest-drafted players to win regular season MVP honors were two players I like and collect: Steve Nash and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who were both chosen 15th overall.

Not only is the "Joker" the first second-round pick to earn MVP honors, there hasn't even been an MVP selected in the second half of the first round. Nash was drafted in the exact middle of the 1st round in 1996.

I thought it would be fun to build a 12-man roster of only second round picks from the 21st century. Obviously Jokic is our starting center.. but what other stars were selected with second-round draft choices?

Let's meet your Second Round All-Stars!

Center: Nikola Jokic

41st overall pick in 2014 (Denver Nuggets)

Most Win Shares of any 2014 draftee by far

Career-high 26.4 Points Per Game and 8.3 Assists Per Game in '20-21

2020-21 NBA MVP

Jokic is already one of the top five players in Denver Nuggets history. Possibly even top three.

Power Forward: Draymond Green 

35th overall pick in 2012 (Golden State Warriors)

Three-time All-Star and Six-time All-Defensive selection

Fourth among 2012 draftees in Win Shares and Rebounds Per Game

2016-17 NBA Defensive Player of the Year



I initially had Paul Millsap here but an all-time great defender like Dray would go to waste on the bench.

Small Forward: Khris Middleton

39th overall pick in 2012 (Detroit Pistons)

Traded to Bucks with two other players for Brandon Jennings in 2013

Two-time All-Star is the fist G league alum to play in an ASG

Averaged 20+ Points Per Game and 6+ Rebounds Per Game in three of past four seasons

Middleton is another player on my NBA PC list hint hint. I like his all-around game more than Giannis's, and he shares my birthday (and my first name). However I'm not quite ready to spend $40 on one of his cards ... yet.


Shooting Guard: Gilbert Arenas

31st overall pick in 2001 (Golden State Warriors)

Three-time All-star is third among Wizards in Win Shares

NBA's third-leading scorer in 2006-07, behind only Kobe and LeBron

Owns two of the top five single-season scoring totals in Wizards/Bullets history

Before blowing out his knee (and bringing his collection of firearms to work) "Agent Zero" was an unstoppable offensive force. His presence in this lineup makes it easier to start a low-scoring defensive specialist like Green.


Point Guard: Isaiah Thomas

60th - and last - overall pick in 2011 (Sacramento Kings)

Fifth among 2011 draftees in career Points Per Game (18.1)

Two-time All-Star and All-NBA Second Team selection in 2017

Assigned to the G-League six months after averaging 29 PPG and 6 APG for the '16-17 Celtics

By the way, all of the cards in this post are from my personal collection - which is why there's a Panini Complete single here instead of something more interesting.

The Second Round All-Stars have a lot of talented big men coming off the bench....

Center: Marc Gasol

48th overall pick in 2007 (Los Angeles Lakers)

Traded to Memphis for his brother Pau before beginning his NBA career

Three-time NBA All-Star was All-NBA First Team selection in 2015

2012-13 NBA Defensive Player of the Year


Center: DeAndre Jordan

 35th overall pick in 2008 (Los Angeles Clippers)

 Leading rebounder among all 2008 draftees, second in Win Shares and RPG

2016 All-NBA First team selection and 2017 NBA All-Star

 Led the league in field goal % five consecutive seasons from 2013 to 2017



Good luck finding enough minutes for Jokic, Gasol, and Jordan in the frontcourt.


Forward: Paul Millsap

47th overall pick in 2006 (Utah Jazz)

Top three among '06 draftees in points, rebounds, assists, and win shares

15-year veteran is the only four-time All-Star on this roster

Has played in more playoff games than Chris Paul,  but none in the NBA Finals



Hockey has the "OGWAC" or Old Guy Without a Cup. If the NBA has an "OGWAR" I'm nominating Millsap to be next in line.

Forward: Carlos Boozer

35th overall pick in 2002 (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Second-highest career Win Shares of any 2002 draftee

Two-time All-Star averaged 21 Points Per Game from 2006-08

All-NBA 3rd Team selection in 2008


Forward: Bojan Bogdanovic

31st overall pick in 2011 (Miami Heat)

Signed with the Nets after playing three seasons in Turkey

Top five among 2011 draftees in career 3-point % and free throw %

Averaged career-high 20.2 Points Per Game for Utah in 2019-20

There aren't a lot of small forward finds among second rounders and I prefer Bojan's shooting ability and career arc over lower-ceiling players like Jae Crowder and Trevor Ariza. Check back in two years, I might have Jerami Grant in this spot.

Guard: Goran Dragic

45th overall pick in 2008 (San Antonio Spurs)

Second among all 2008 draftees in total assists, third in APG

2018 All-Star averaged 20.3 PPG and 5.8 APG in 2013-14 and 2016-17

All-NBA Third Team selection and NBA's Most Improved Player in 2014

Guard: Malcolm Brogdon

36th overall pick in 2016 (Milwaukee Bucks)

2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year

Fifth among 2016 draftees in Win Shares and PPG, second in assists and APG

Posted a career-high 21.2 PPG for the Pacers in 2020-21, leading the team



I would have liked to add a three-point specialist like Kyle Korver to this roster, but there were too many quality players ahead of him.

Honorable mentions
: Korver, Jerami Grant, Trevor Ariza, Luis Scola, Lou Williams, Josh Richardson

Hat tips to and The Ringer's NBA redraft podcast series. 




NBA Week will be off tomorrow for Independence Day (woo-hoo! we're still a democracy!) but we'll be back on Monday with a look at another second round pick - from the 1993 Draft.


Thanks for reading, and Go Bucks!



  1. Dang. Can't believe it took this long for a 2nd round pick to win an MVP Award. Kudos to the Nuggets for finding this shining nugget in the 2nd round.

  2. I couldn't believe how many names were left off, but then I went back and saw that you were just covering the 21st century. I'm glad I saw that before I started rattling off 20th century names :)

  3. I was unaware Jokic was a second rounder. Fun post!