||05-20-2009 10:57 PM
A look into the top No. 2 picks
The No. 2 overall pick in the draft would figure to yield some of the best talent available, but the Grizz need to do their homework, because there has been a history of teams slipping up who had the pick.
Not to say that for every Sam Bowie there hasn’t been a Jason Kidd and an Isiah Thomas selected with the No. 2, but its not always as much of a no-brainer position to pick from as one would think.
That being said, franchise changing players are available at the No. 2 spot, with the following five representing the top five selected wit the pick since the 1980 season.
Kevin Durant-2007-Seattle SuperSonics
Durant has yet to make an All-Star, All-NBA or All-Defensive team, but after his 2008-09 campaign it’s undeniable that he’s set to become one of the NBA’s next surefire super-duper stars. He improved his scoring average by five points this year to 25.3 points per game and figures to see another bump in scoring next season. If Durant’s defensive game ever catches up to his myriad of offensive skills, he’s got a chance to be in MVP conversations in the future.
Jason Kidd-1994-Dallas Mavericks
For now, things have come full circle for Jason Kidd. He was reunited with the Dallas Mavericks, the team that selected him second overall pick out of California in 1994, after a trade with the Nets at the 2008 deadline. Between his two stops in Dallas, Kidd transformed himself into a perennial All-Star, All-NBA and All-Defensive team member, not to mention his two gold medals and impeccable mark in international competition for Team USA. He had a couple of near miss MVP seasons in 2001-02 and 2002-03 when he led the Nets to the Finals, but ultimately fell to Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan led teams in the championship round. Despite the fact that the tail end of his career could see him bounce around a bit as he searches for the right deal, Kidd’s place in NBA history is in tact.
Alonzo Mourning-1992-Charlotte Hornets
Although his much documented kidney condition prevented him from building upon the seven All-Star appearances, two Defensive Player of the Year awards and two appearances on the All-NBA Team that he earned early in his career, the title that he won in 2006 with the Miami Heat as a reserve was the icing on the cake for what was surely a Hall-of-Fame career. Its ironic that he backed up Shaquille O’Neal on that Heat team, considering he followed him as the second pick in the 1992 draft.
Gary Payton-1990-Seattle SuperSonics
Much like Mourning, Payton garnered the title that had eluded him for much of his career with the Miami Heat in 2006, but his career was defined far before he failed to reach double digit scoring in each of his last two seasons. One of the premier perimeter defenders of all-time, “The Glove” was the only point guard to ever win the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1996. His nine recognitions on the All-Defensive team ties him with Michael Jordan for the most all-time, and he’s also a nine time All-Star and won two Olympic gold medals for Team USA.
Isiah Thomas-1981-Detroit Pistons
While his post-playing career blunders have been abundant and well documented in the media, Thomas’s stellar days with the Pistons are hard to forget. If you never had a chance to watch Thomas, the way Chris Paul plays the game is basically Isiah Thomas Version 2.0, as both diminutive guards found a way to dominate the game by both scoring and setting their teammates up. At times a polarizing figure, nothing that he has done as an executive can muddy the waters of brilliant playing career that included two titles, a Finals MVP and 12 All-Star appearances.
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