The 2008 NBA draft should see a host of freshman get chosen in the first round, so who will it be, Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley as the first pick?
But most importantly who will be that late first or second round pick that proves to be the gem of the draft? Over the years there have been many great late picks taken that had NBA executives shaking their heads.
So in the spirit of Thursday night's NBA draft here's my all-time best late picks. Just to clarify, a late pick in my opinion should be someone taken 28th or later.
Monta Ellis - He was drafted in 2005 out of High School by Golden State with the 40th overall pick. This season Ellis averaged 20.2 points per game for the Warriors.
Carlos Boozer - He was in 2002 out of Duke by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 35th overall pick. This season Boozer averaged 21.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game for the Utah Jazz.
Gilbert Arenas - He was drafted in 2001 out of Arizona by the Golden State Warriors with the 31st overall pick. He wears the number 0 because a high school coach once told him he would play 0 minutes in college at Arizona. This season he averaged 19.3 points per game but was limited to just 13 games. He'll be back and ready to score.
Mehmet Okur - He was drafted in 2001 out of Turkey by the Detroit Pistons with the 38th overall pick. Now with the Utah Jazz, Okur is a mainstay in the lineup and this season he averaged 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Michael Redd - He was draft in 2000 out of Ohio St. by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 43rd overall pick. This season he averaged 22.6 points per game and is expected to be named to the Dream Team for this year's summer Olympics.
Rashard Lewis - He was drafted in 1998 out of high school by the Seattle Super Sonics with the 32nd overall pick. In 2007 Lewis signed a six year deal with the Orlando Magic worth $118 million. This season he averaged 18.2 points per game.
Cuttino Mobley - He was drafted in 1998 out of Rhode Island by the Houston Rockets with the 41st overall pick. Now with the Los Angeles Clippers he averaged 12.8 points per game.
Stephen Jackson - He was drafted in 1997 out of Community College by the Phoenix Suns with the 43rd overall pick. Jackson bounced around from team-to-team as he played for four teams in his first five seasons. Now a scorer he averaged 20.1 points per game for the Golden State Warriors.
Voshon Lenard - He was drafted in 1994 out of Minnesota by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 46th overall pick. He played in the CBA and signed a free agent contract with the Miami Heat in 1995. He ended is career with an average of 11.9 points per game.
Nick Van Exel - He was drafted in 1993 out of Cincinnati by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 37th overall pick. He would spend five seasons in L.A. and moved around to five other teams in his career. Nick the Quick averaged 14.4 points per game in his career.
Cedric Ceballos - He was drafted in 1990 out of Cal St. Fullerton by the Phoenix Suns with the 48th overall pick. He had a career average of 14.3 points per game that was highlighted by two seasons with the LA Lakers in which he averaged 21.7 and 21.2 points per game respectively.
Tony Kukoc- He was drafted in 1990 out of Yugoslavia by the Chicago Bulls with the 29th overall pick. Kukoc didn't actually report to the Bulls until 1993 and while there he showed his versatility by playing all five positions. He has a career average of 11.6 points per game but averaged a career high of 18.8 in the 1998-1999 season.
Dino Radja - He was drafted in 1989 out of Yugoslavia by the Boston Celtics with the 40th overall pick. He joined the Celtics in 1993 and in his first season averaged 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds, earning All-NBA Rookie Second Team honors. He would only play four seasons in Boston and averaged 16.7 points per game.
Anthony Mason- He was drafted in 1988 out of Tennessee St. by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 53rd overall pick but was later cut. He would play in the CBA and USBL before signing with the New York Knicks in 1991. His career would turn around with Pat Riley as head coach and he would go on to play 13 seasons and average 10.9 points and 8.3 rebounds.
Sarunas Marciulionis - He was drafted in 1987 out of the Soviet Union by the Golden St. Warriors with the 127th pick in the 6th round. He started playing for the Warriors in 1989 and would play seven seasons in the NBA. His first four in Golden St. saw him average nearly 15 points per game. He would end his career in Denver and had a career average of 12.8 points per game.
My honorable mention team would be:
Daniel Gibson - He was drafted in 2006 out of the University of Texas by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 42nd pick. This season he averaged 10.4 points per game.
Leon Powe - He was drafted in 2006 out of Cal by the Denver Nuggets with the 49th pick. Scored 21 points in 15 minutes during game three of the NBA finals and was called Leon Powell by Phil Jackson.
Ronny Turiaf - He was drafted in 2005 out of Gonzaga by the LA Lakers with the 37th pick. He started 21 games this season and averaged 6.6 points in 18.7 minutes.
Luke Walton - He was drafted in 2003 out of Arizona by the LA Lakers with the 32nd pick. He averaged 11.4 points per game two seasons ago but this season saw his minutes drop. Key contributor averaged 7.2 points per game.
Kyle Korver - He was drafted in 2003 out of Creighton by the New Jersey Nets with the 51st pick and traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Has a career average of 10.4 points per game.
Eric Snow - He was drafted in 1995 out of Michigan St. by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 43rd pick. Now a 13 year veteran he has a career average of 6.8 points per game.
Gheorghe Muresan - He was drafted in 1993 out of Romania by the Washington Wizards (Bullets) with the 30th pick. Standing 7'7'', he averaged 9.8 points per game for his career.
PJ Brown - He was drafted in 1992 out of Louisiana Tech by the New Jersey Nets with the 29th pick. This 15 year vet came out of retirement to help the Celtics win the NBA title. He was a career average of 9.1 points per game.
Cliff Robinson - He was drafted in 1989 out of UCONN by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 36th pick. This 16 year veteran averaged 10.3 points per game for his career.
Sherman Douglas - He was drafted in 1989 out of Syracuse by the Miami Heat with the 28th pick. This 12 year veteran averaged 11 points and 5.9 assists per game for his career.
Steve Kerr - He was drafted in 1988 out of Arizona by the Phoenix Suns with the 50th pick. He played 15 seasons in the NBA and averaged 6 points per game. Of course he's famous for his last second game-clinching three point shot in the 1997 Finals against the Utah Jazz. He won three titles with the Bulls from 1996-1998 and then won a fourth straight ring with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999.
I'll be watching Thursday night to see when my favorite players are chosen.
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