Landing a superstar in the Draft is easier said than done. Even if the projections, scouting reports, and years of study and footage may tell you something, more often than not, those who end up being the first overall pick don’t live up to the hype.
However, those players who slid to the second spot of the Draft often play with a chip on their shoulder. They feel disrespected and overlooked, and that motivation pushes them forward right out of the gate. In fact, some even end up being better than the first overall pick.
Gary Payton, Bill Russell, Alonzo Mourning are great examples of historically great 2nd-overall picks. But, how would a lineup consisting of just 2nd-overall pick players fare in today’s league if we took the best active players taken 2nd overall?
PG – Ja Morant
(2019 NBA Draft)
It didn’t take long before people noticed that Ja Morant is a stud. He was often overlooked and lived behind Zion Williamson’s shadow, yet he proved that he’s a star of his own, almost leading the Memphis Grizzlies to a playoff berth in his rookie season.
Morant flashes with incredible athleticism and explosiveness. Moreover, his winning attitude and determination to make everybody around him better and get his teammates involved also makes him great. He’s got all the intangibles you’d want on a franchise player.
SG – D’Angelo Russell
(2015 NBA Draft)
D’Angelo Russell has been a bit of a late bloomer. He didn’t live up to the hype coming out of Ohio State, partly due to poor management, partly due to himself. But once he got out of the Los Angeles Lakers and the spotlight, he proved that he could be a perennial All-Star in the league.
Russell is a scoring machine who can play on and off the ball. He can score from all three levels and pile up assists at a high clip as well. He may never become a good defender but makes up for it with his great ability to pick up apart opposing defenses with his offense.
SF – Brandon Ingram
(2016 NBA Draft)
Like D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram struggled early on when he was called upon to be the savior of the Lakers. He showed flashes of his great skills but it wasn’t until he joined the New Orleans Pelicans that he was able to unleash his full potential.
Ingram has the length and physical tools to be one of the best two-way players in the world. He’s improved on every single aspect of his game and finally looks confident and determined to prove that he’s special. He even got his first All-Star nod this season.
PF – Kevin Durant
(2007 NBA Draft)
Kevin Durant is the greatest second overall pick of all time. Yes, I said it. Yes, I know Bill Russell was also a 2nd overall pick but none of the players taken with that spot have been as talented as KD. He’s a unique talent and we may never see something like him again.
Durant has the skills, handles, and shooting stroke of a guard but the body of a seven-footer. That’s some NBA 2K kind of thing. He can shoot over every single player on earth and has learned how to make the most of his wingspan to become a standout defender as well. He’s also arguably the best pure scorer ever.
C – LaMarcus Aldridge
(2006 NBA Draft)
While he’s not the superstar you’d want out of a second overall pick, LaMarcus Aldridge has been one of the best power forwards in the game for over a decade. He’s money from the elbow and has a sweet shooting stroke that not many guys his size have.
Even though he’ll likely never step up as a franchise player anymore, Aldridge is a walking double-double and a much better defender people credit him for. He can score at a high clip, create for others, and has a great feel for dominating the offensive glass.