So, who exactly was the last 2nd overall pick to be selected an NBA All-Star? That player is none other than Golden State Warriors small forward, Kevin Durant who was drafted back in 2007 by the Seattle Supersonics (Now the OKC Thunder). Despite his controversial decision to take his talents to Oakland and assemble, arguably, the greatest team ever and change the NBA landscape as we know it (I’m gonna stop before I go off on a tangent…), KD is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. I don’t know if we’ll ever see another 7-footer who has the skills and coordination of an elite guard and is deadly from all three levels on the floor. And, I guess I have to mention that he now is the 2nd youngest player (behind LeBron James of course) to reach the 20K-scoring benchmark. The following players who I will mention in this list, have been the no. 2 overall picks that have proceeded KD. Some have great potential and have the opportunity to make a name for themselves, while others are an afterthought.
- Michael Beasley
Michael Beasley is quite the journeyman after playing for 6 different teams throughout his career. You’d think as a promising lottery pick, who was able to make the All-Rookie 1st Team during his campaign with the Heat, that he would blossom into the great player we all thought he could be. But, let’s just say that Beasley was “riding on Cloud Nine” and watched his superstar-potential go down the toilet. However, Beasley seems as though he has found a home in New York where he has become a key rotational player for the Knicks. Beasley is averaging 12 points per game (while shooting 52% from the field) and 5 rebounds per game; which nearly mirrors his career average. Although Beasley has no chance of being an All-Star, he and the Knicks have the opportunity to compete, in the playoffs, as an 8th-seed in the eastern conference.
- Hasheem Thabeet
To put Hasheem Thabeet’s NBA career into perspective: “The shoes he had to fill were too big” (pun fully intended). After developing the reputation of an interior defender back at Louisville, we all assumed that he would do that sufficiently in the league. However, Thabeet only ended up playing 224 games in his brief NBA career and now is playing overseas in a Tanzanian basketball league… enough said!
- Evan Turner
If anyone would like to prove to me that Evan Turner is a decent guard in this league and deserves every penny, then I’m all ears. However, if you told me that an NBA shooting guard, who shoots 43% from the field for his career, was getting paid $70 million then I would like to think that you were crazy. Turner is an average NBA guard with an inconsistent jump shot. And, unless his shooting woes are miraculously resolved by a jump-shooting guru, he will eventually become expendable after his contract with the Trailblazers expires; however, his trade value probably won’t be as high as the Trailblazers would like it to be.
- Derrick Williams
To be honest, I thought Derrick Williams would be a pretty good NBA player coming out of Arizona. If I had to compare him to anybody coming out of college, I would have thought Williams reminded me of Larry Johnson. They both are undersized power forwards with exceptional athleticism and pose somewhat of a threat, stretching the defense with their outside shooting. However, Williams has had an underwhelming NBA career to say the least. In his 6 years in the league, Williams has managed to only average double-figures in one NBA season which was back in 2013 where he averaged 12 points per game with the Minnesota Timberwolves… *sigh*
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
In my eyes, MKG is a late-first rounder at best (not a no. 2 overall pick). He has the capability and intangibles to be a great perimeter defender in the league for many years to come. However, his awkward shooting limits his perimeter game significantly which makes it harder for him to do what he is very capable of offensively which is… attacking the rim. MKG has a lot of potential and time (most importantly). So, will and can he become an All-Star? Probably not, however I think MKG can have an extended, mediocre NBA career (like Tony Allen) if he continues to have prove himself as an elite defender.
- Victor Oladipo
Departing from Russell Westbrook, according to numerous sources via friends, family and media, may have been the best thing for Victor Oladipo. However, I also think that his short stint with Westbrook was crucial due to the fact that Oladipo inherited the “killer instinct” that defines Westbrook’s game as well as other NBA greats. Since establishing his alpha-role in Indiana (where he also played college ball), Oladipo has proven that he has star and maybe even superstar potential. He’s averaging 24.6 points per game (which is 11th amongst all active NBA players), 5 rebounds per game, and 4 assists per game; he’s also shooting 49% from the field and 41% from three-point range. If Oladipo isn’t an All-Star this year than he will definitely be one very, VERY soon. He’s also a dark horse in the MVP race this year.
- Jabari Parker
I, personally, am a big fan of Jabari Parker. He just amazes with what he can do out on the floor. With Parker’s body frame, at first glance, it looks as though he shouldn’t be able to do athletic moves at all. But, then you see him get a rebound, start the break, beat everyone down the court and then posterize and humiliate interior defenders with ease! But he not only can finish strong at the rim, he also has great touch near and around the basket 20 feet and in. He’s literally a walking mismatch! But (there’s always a but), Parker, like I stated before, has a body frame that is not compatible to his play style. The man weighs 250 pounds, so that constant stop-n-go, dunking fiasco causes unnecessary and uncomfortable pressure on his knees which is the main reason as to why he has had numerous ACL surgeries (which has sidelined him this season as well). In all 4 seasons Parker has played in the league here are the number of games he has played (out of 82 games): 25, 76, 51, 0. Injuries have haunted Parker, but I still believe he can have a significant impact in this league especially on the Bucks who have the potential to be title contenders in the near future. If you don’t believe me the proof is in the pudding, here’s Parker’s point average from 2014-2017: 12.3, 14.1, 20.1.
- D’Angelo Russell
Now, barring the fact that D’Angelo Russell sabotaged his career as a Laker after snitching on former Laker shooting guard Nick Young, he came into his own for a little bit after he was shipped to Brooklyn to play for the Nets. Before he suffered his season-ending-left-knee injury, through 12 games, Russell was averaging 21 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, and 5.7 assists per game. Could he have kept this up if he had not gotten injured? To be honest, I believe Russell could. He is a very ball dominant guard and, unlike his first 2 seasons with the Lakers, he was able to be the focal point of the offense which he is accustomed to doing. Another element that hindered Russell’s game was the fact that the Lakers were forcing him to be a playmaker, knowing very well that he is a score-first guard. I think Brooklyn is a perfect place for Russell to showcase his offensive talents, develop as a legit NBA guard, and make a name for himself.
- Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram isn’t an All-Star just yet however he has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Laker organization. After his first season, which was disappointing, he quickly has shown the league he can produce and be effective after going from a point average of 9.4 points to 16 points. Now, Ingram has been getting comparisons to KD. Is it a bit of a stretch? Yes, very much! Ingram has intangibles and physical traits that makes his play style complementary to that of KD but Ingram is a long, long ways from even being eligible to this comparison. In KD’s first 2 seasons in the league, he was a far better shooter, a more versatile scorer, and a lot more efficient. Now, can Ingram drastically improve his game and devastate the league? Of course. He probably has the highest ceiling out of all the players on this list. Its up to Ingram to continue to be diligent and work to perfect his craft.
- Lonzo Ball
As the most scrutinized rookie to step foot in the NBA since LeBron James (thanks to his outspoken father), Lonzo Ball has been closely observed and criticized on a consistent basis. Personally, I see Ball being a decent starting point guard for an extended amount time. And, his role would be to push the pace, control the tempo and help put other guys in a position to score. Do I see him as a Hall of Famer and having his jersey retired (as Magic Johnson so eloquently put it)? No, not at all. Ball struggles with shooting the ball consistently (which is a necessity in today’s NBA game). He also struggles sustaining his confidence when his game takes a turn for the worse; and, on numerous occasions, we’ve seen Ball take a front row seat at Staples Center while watching Jordan Clarkson do his job. To be brutally honest, Ball just keeps things simple. And, his simplicity can be a gift and a curse. Nonetheless, he has plenty of time and the Lakers aren’t fully invested in him for nothing.