The NBA Draft class over the last five seasons has produced exceptional talents currently dominating in the league. Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Deandre Ayton from the 2018 NBA Draft class are standout performers worthy of special mention.
There have been outstanding second picks in NBA history, with the likes of Nikola Jokic and Manu Ginobili. But not many second-rounders get as much attention as the top picks in the NBA Draft.
The 2021 NBA Draft has ushered in sixty youngsters who are looking to make their mark in the league. Given the plethora of talent in this draft class, there is a strong chance a few second-round picks could flourish.
Following the just concluded 2021 NBA Draft, here's a look at the top five Round 2 selections in the last five seasons.
#5 Theo Maledon - 34th overall pick, 2020 NBA Draft
Theo Maledon had big shoes to fill after the Oklahoma City Thunder lost Shai-Gilgeous Alexander to injury in the 2020-21 NBA season. The rookie, who was the fourth pick in Round 2 of the 2020 NBA Draft, played against some of the league's best guards and held his own.
OKC have an abundance of young talents. However, the level Maledon is playing at as a rookie is commendable. With more game time, he is likely to develop into a top player despite being a second-round pick in the NBA Draft.
The 6' 4" guard ended the last season averaging 10.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 33.5% from the perimeter. Given how effective he was in his rookie season, it will be exciting to see how he develops in the 2021-22 NBA season.
#4 Gary Trent Jr. - 37th overall pick, 2020 NBA Draft
Gary Trent Jr. was selected by the Sacramento Kings as the 37th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Shortly thereafter, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, where he got off to a flying start, registering 16 points against the Utah Jazz in the Summer League.
Trent has shown steady improvement so far in all aspects. The 2020-21 NBA season was undoubtedly his best, as he got more minutes, which was reflected in his production. He ended the season averaging 15.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and one steal.
In a deal to acquire Norman Powell, the Trail Blazers sent Trent Jr. to the Toronto Raptors on March 25, 2021, for the remainder of the season. His presence was immediately felt in Toronto, as he helped them to a few key victories. The 22-year-old scored a career-high 44 points in April to lead the Raptors to a 135-115 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.