5 lesser known second round picks who made it big in the NBA 

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics
Isaiah Thomas was the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

We all know how Isaiah Thomas shocked the league last season by entering MVP talks as the last pick in the draft. We know about players like Manu Ginobili (57th pick) and Draymond Green (35th pick) who despite getting overlooked early on in their career, established themselves as top players in the league and eventually became NBA champions. But who all are the other established players in the league who almost didn't make it to the NBA?

There are a ton of other such players and here we give you the top 5 of those NBA stars who you didn't know were late second-round draft picks.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Monta Ellis (40th pick, 2005) - NBA Most Improved Player 2007
  2. Lou Williams (45th pick, 2005) - NBA Sixth Man of the Year 2015
  3. Patrick Beverley (42nd pick, 2009) - NBA All-Defensive First Team 2017

#5 Kyle Korver (51st pick, 2003)

San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers
Korver was traded to Cleveland Cavaliers last season.

If there's one thing Kyle Korver has been doing all his life, it's shooting the long ball with ridiculous reliability. Korver was picked 51st overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets. He shot at a rate of 39.1% from deep in his rookie year, before improving even more and dropping a league-high 226 3s in just his second year in the league, cementing himself as one of the best three-point shooters of all time.

Korver finished the 2009-10 season hitting 53.6 percent of his three-point shots to secure the NBA's single-season accuracy record. He earned an All-Star spot in 2015 when he was a member of the Atlanta Hawks. He averaged 12 points a game while leading the league in three-point percentage at 49.2% that year, a feat he has achieved 3 more times in his career so far.

Korver's ability to stretch the floor is deadly, to say the least, and at 36, he's still doing it like a boss.

#4 Nikola Jokic (41st pick, 2014)

Brooklyn Nets v Denver Nuggets
Jokic helped the Serbian national team win the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Nikola Jokic has been in the NBA for all of 2 years and he's already one of the most creative players in the league. In a loaded draft class featuring the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, Jokic was a 2nd round robbery for the Denver Nuggets. Right from his rookie year, Jokic stood out as one of the most versatile big men and was named to the All-Rookie first team.

In his second season, he improved drastically, tallying 16 points and 10 rebounds while dropping 5 dimes while playing just 28 minutes a game. He also recorded 6 triple-doubles and finished second in Most Improved Player voting. He is playing increased minutes this season with improved conditioning and stamina. Jokic is a true demigod and today's game will reward him the most.

#3 Goran Dragic (45th pick, 2008)

Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat
Goran Dragic helped Slovenia win FIBA EuroBasket 2017 and was named MVP.

Goran Dragic is easily one of the most underrated players in the league. So it makes sense that a team like San Antonio Spurs selected him with the 45th overall pick in 2008. Dragic was named to the All-NBA third team in 2014 while playing for the Phoenix Suns. He averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists on 50.5% FG shooting and 40.8% from deep. He was also named the Most Improved Player in 2014.

Dragic's unique court vision, speed, and play-making ability establish him as one of the top point guards in the league. He has regularly stayed at the top of the league in fast-break points.

2017 was the best year of his career. In the NBA, he averaged around 20p-4r-6a starting for the Miami Heat and internationally, he helped Slovenia pull the biggest upset in recent years, winning the EuroBasket which earned him MVP honors.

Don't count him out just yet, the best is yet to come.

#2 Paul Millsap (47th pick, 2006)

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Paul Millsap signed with the Denver Nuggets in free agency this off-season.

Paul Millsap has been playing at his best these last few seasons. He's been named to the All-Star team 4 times, all selections coming in the last 4 seasons. He's the kind of player who's really hard to judge. His stats aren't that great. He doesn't play on the ball a lot but he helps his team win. With the western conference stacked, he might not make it to the All-Star team this season. However, that does not mean it's bad news for him.

The Denver Nuggets are finally looking strong out west for the first time since the Carmelo Anthony era. Millsap is one of the reasons why. By teaming up with plenty of talented and young guys in Denver, he has given his career another shot after slogging in the playoffs for years with the Atlanta Hawks.

#1 Marc Gasol (48th pick, 2007)

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons
Gasol has played for the Grizzlies all his career.

There isn't a player quite like Marc Gasol in the NBA. Gasol has been a top 3 center in the league for almost the past decade. He is a 3x all-star and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has also made the All-NBA first team once. However, his biggest accomplishments came outside the NBA. Gasol has won more than half a dozen medals playing for Spain internationally.

Gasol is 32 years old and coming off his best season so far. He averaged career-highs in points and assists last season. This season, he is the only major big man left on the Grizzlies roster due to Zach Randolph leaving in free agency.

It's really surprising that no team picked Gasol at a time when players with the combination of his skill set and size were in scarcity.

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Edited by Yash Matange
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