Going in the first round of the NBA Draft doesn’t assure you a successful career, although it guarantees you a bit more cash and better contracts that other players get, but that doesn’t exactly translate to the Hall of Fame.
As a matter of fact, there have been plenty of second rounders and even undrafted players that have actually left their fingerprint in NBA history, shutting his doubters up and working twice or three times as hard as 1st rounders and lottery picks.
And, the highest individual achievement (besides the Hall of Fame) a player can get over his NBA career is definitely the Most Valuable Player award, that always goes to the best player in the season, and obviously, that’s usually a 1st rounder or a top 10 pick.
Nonetheless, over the course of the years, there have been plenty of 2nd round picks that even though didn’t win the MVP award, actually got votes to win the award due to their strong seasons, and today, we’ll let you know about all of them and their season averages.
16. Isaiah Thomas (60th Overall Pick): 5th place - 2017
We’ve just witnessed Isaiah Thomas make history and get traded as the Boston Celtics’ leader in ppg average, as well as becoming the clutchest player in the Association by dominating 4th quarters. So, the tiny guard and LeBron’s newest teammate averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game, earning the 5th place in this years’ MVP vote.
15. Draymond Green (35th Overall Pick): 7th place - 2016
Draymond Green’s impact on the court goes far beyond numbers, as he’s the main reason why the Warriors are so special with his versatile defense and incredible basketball IQ, and that’s exactly why he was 7th in the MVP vote on 2016 after averaging 14 points, 9.5 boards, 7.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game.
14. Marc Gasol (48th Overall Pick): 5th place in 2015 and 12th place 2013
Marc Gasol really surged as one of the league’s best centers with his ability to stretch the floor, handle the ball and even lock down the paint, and after earning the 12th place in the MVP race with averages of 14.1 points and 7.8 boards, the former Defensive Player of the Year just climbed the ladder with averages of 17.4 points and 7.8 boards with 3.8 dimes per game to go 5th on that year’s vote.
13. Goran Dragic (45th Overall Pick): 6th place in 2014
The 2013-14 campaign was a breakout year for the European combo guard that was still a member of the Phoenix Suns, making 76 appearances and averaging 20.3 points, 5.9 dimes and 1.4 steals per game in over 50% from the floor, earning the right to be 6th in that year’s MVP vote and having what could be considered his best season so far.
12. Manu Ginobili (57th Overall Pick): 8th place in 2011, 11th place in 2010 and 10th place in 2008
What can we say about the restless Manu Ginobili that hasn’t been said before? The leader of the Spurs’ second unit and one of the most influential players of our generation couldn’t be left out of this list, with averages of 19.5 points, 4.8 boards and 4.5 dimes per game, Manu won the 6th Man of the Year and was 10th in the MVP race in 2008, just to do it again with averages of 16.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 2010 and finally being 8th the very next year due to his averages of 17.4 points and 4.4 assists, making it to his 2nd All-Star as well.
11. Stephen Jackson (42nd Overall Pick): 12th place in 2010
Also in 2010, Stephen Jackson’s career was pretty much on the decline or at least that’s what everybody expected out of the veteran thug. Back then when he was playing in Charlotte, Jackson was just unstoppable on a very bad team, averaging 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game, playing as much as 3 different positions and earning the right to be 12th in that year’s MVP race.
10. Carlos Boozer (35th Overall Pick): 14th place in 2008 and 9th place in 2007
Carlos Boozer’s career got to an end after he really diminished his game, and some people tend to forget how much of an offensive and dominant force he actually was during his years with the Utah Jazz. So, Boozers was actually 9th in the MVP race in 2007 and 14th in 2008, averaging 20.9 points and 11.7 rebounds and 21.1 points and 10.4 boards respectively, also making the All-Star team both seasons.
9. Gilbert Arenas (31st Overall Pick): 8th place in 2007 and 12th place in 2005
We all remember Gilbert Arenas as two things: A great baller and a colossal douchebag. So, sticking with the first of both features, we’ve got to remember the amazing runs he had in both 2005 and 2007, both as the leading point guard of the Washington Wizards, averaging 25.5 points and 5.1 assists to go 12th that year and then just shooting lights out on 2007, where he went 8th thanks to those 28.4 points and 6 dimes per contest.
8. PJ Brown (29th Overall Pick): 14th place in 2005
PJ Brown is an often forgotten player, but back in the day, this guy was just an incredible rim protector despite not being much else. So, before retiring as a Champion with the Boston Celtics and barely seeing the hardwood, the former Hornet made the All-Defensive squad and was 14th in the MVP voting thanks to his modest averages of 10.8 points and 9 boards.
7. Michael Redd (43rd Overall Pick): 14th place in 2004
Many people forget about Michael Redd, but he was even a member of Team USA for a reason: His ability to just light it up from pretty much everywhere on the floor, something that also made him the 14th player in the MVP race back then in 2004, where he was the Bucks’ go-to-guy. Averaging 21.7 points, 5 boards and 2.3 assists per game, Redd was at the top of his game.
6. Ben Wallace (Undrafted): 7th place in 2004, 8th place in 2003 and 10th place in 2002
During the early 2000’s, there was absolutely nobody that could score against Ben Wallace, and boy did he earn that 2003-04 NBA Champion ring, playing lockdown defense and becoming 7th in the MVP vote after also doing so the prior couple of campaigns. Even though Wallace’s numbers weren’t impressive, his impact on the floor was just incredible, and that’s exactly why he’s tied as the most winning player of the Defensive Player of the Year award, taking it home 4 times.
5. Anthony Mason (53rd Overall Pick): 15th Place in 2001
Mason was one of the most versatile players you’ll find, being able to play both forward spots and even as the main guy in the paint, and his ability to emotionally lead a team off the bench will grant him a spot in basketball history. So, on his most successful season, where he started 80 games and even made it to the All-Star, Mason averaged 16.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.1 dimes per game, being 15th overall in the MVP race.
4. Darrell Armstrong (Undrafted): 13th place in 2000, 15th place in 1999
Darrell Armstrong spent most of his career coming off the bench, but always been quite a productive fella at the point. Back then in 1999, he earned the 15th place in the MVP voting thanks to his 13.8 points and 6.7 dimes per game despite only playing in 50 games with 15 starts, taking it up a notch the next campaign, where he started all 82 games and averaged 16.2 points and 6.1 dimes per game as the Magic’s leading guard.
3. Dennis Rodman (27th Overall Pick): 15th place in 1996, 12th place in 1995 and 10th place in 1992
There won’t be other Dennis Rodman, as this thug was willing to put his body on the line for every single rebound despite leading by 20, and he was perhaps the best defender in the league during his prime. Winning 5 Championships and being a huge factor in all the teams he played, he was 10th in the 1992 MVP voting as a member of the Pistons, averaging 9.8 points and 18.7 boards, then 12th in 1995 with the Spurs averaging 7.1 points and 16.1 boards and finally 15th in 1996, his first season with the Chicago Bulls, where he averaged 5.5 points and 14.9 boards en route to another Championship.
2. Cedric Ceballos (48th Overall Pick): 12th place in 1995
If you remember Cedric Ceballos, you definitely must be an older fan, but even though this small forward isn’t always mentioned as one of the all-time greats, he had a hell of a run back then in 1995, where he made the All-Star team and was even the 12th player in the 1995 MVP race, averaging 21.7 points and 8 rebounds on over 50% from the floor and almost 40% from beyond the arc, making 54 starts for the Los Angeles Lakers that season.
1. Mark Price (25th Overall Pick): 9th place in 1994
And last but not least, we get perhaps the best player in Cleveland Cavaliers history before the arrival of LeBron James: Mark Price, another guy constantly forgotten by young bloods. Back then in 1994, Mark Price was one of the best point guards in the Association, even making it to his 4th and last All-Star selection. Besides, his averages of 17.3 points, 7.8 dimes and 1.4 steals per game on 48% from the floor and 39% from deep, made him go 9th in that year’s MVP voting.