When the top pick goes off the board, most teams that hold the No. 2 overall pick can relax a bit. In most mock drafts, there are studs in at least the top two picks, so that means that most teams can implement their backup plan if necessary.
However, despite swinging for the stars, some of those college All-Stars turned into major busts in the NBA. With that said, over the last 20 drafts, most teams have received a return on their investment. Six of the No. 2 overall picks have recorded All-Star appearances, two have the potential to be an All-Star, while six other players played at least 10 seasons.
We have already ranked the last 20 No. 1 overall picks. In this series, we will rank the best No. 2 overall picks from the last 20 NBA drafts.
20. Hasheem Thabeet - 2009
2.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.1 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Thabeet is the biggest draft bust at No. 2 overall in league history. As a junior at UConn, Thabeet averaged 13.6 points and 10.8 rebounds. In 2009, he recorded a triple-double against Providence with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocks. For the season, he finished 152 blocks and was the National Defensive Player of the Year. As a team, UConn made their first Final Four since 2004.
His success never translated to the NBA. Thabeet played in 68 games his rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies and averaged a career-high in 3.2 points. Thabeet hung around with the team for two seasons, played two years with the Rockets, one season with the Rockets, and then bowed out of the league in 2014 after two seasons with the Thunder.
19. Jay Williams - 2002
9.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Williams recorded a triple-double in his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls, but tragedy struck Williams at the end of his first season. In June 2003, Williams crashed his Yamaha YZF-R6 motorcycle into a streetlight. He was not wearing a helmet and was not licensed to ride a motorcycle in Illinois.
Among his injuries, he severed a main nerve in his leg, fractured his pelvis, and tore three ligaments in his left knee, including his ACL. Because of his injuries, he was waived. After three years, Williams tried to make a comeback with the Nets but ended up retiring from basketball activities.
18. Derrick Williams - 2011
8.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG
After a stellar sophomore season at Arizona, there was a lot of surrounding hype around Williams. He finished the season with 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 56.8% from the field. Instead of producing at a similar level, he fizzled out in Minnesota in three seasons.
Williams was traded to the Kings for Luc Mbah a Moute. After two seasons with the Kings, Williams had stints with the Knicks, Heat, and Cavaliers. After leaving the NBA in 2017, he won a German League title in 2019 and then a Turkish League title in 2020.
17. Darko Milicic - 2003
6.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.3 BPG
The Pistons weren't a bad team when they chose No. 2 overall in this draft. They had made the Eastern Conference Finals the season before but recovered the No. 2 overall pick thanks to a 1997 trade that involved Otis Thrope and the Vancouver Grizzlies. Unfortunately, the team missed out on taking Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, or Chris Bosh by taking Milicic.
While Milicic did become the youngest player ever to play in the NBA Finals (18 years and 356 days), he never lived up to the hype of a superstar. His NBA championship ring in 2004 is a great individual achievement, but the Pistons had a star-studded roster. Had the team taken any of the other three players, this roster might have won or competed for a few more titles.
16. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - 2012
8.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG
After Kentucky won the NCAA Division I championship with an undefeated record, it was no secret that Anthony Davis was going to be taken at No. 1 overall. Right after Davis went his teammate in Kidd-Gilchrist. In his rookie season, he finished with All-Rookie Second-Team honors. The following year he played in only 11 games, but in his final season on his rookie contract, he averaged a career-best 10.9 points and 7.6 rebounds.
In 2015, Kidd-Gilchrist signed a four-year, $52 million extension that now looks like dead money for the Charlotte Hornets. His best effort came in 2017 with a 23-point, 14-rebound performance. Outside of that, he never fit in as a difference-maker and was waived in 2020.
15. Jabari Parker - 2014
14.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Since Parker averaged 20.1 points per game in 2016, he has fallen off the map. The following season Parker saw his playing time diminish by 10 minutes per game. Then, Parker spent time with the Bulls and Wizards where he averaged close to 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. In 2019, Parker averaged 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds before being traded to the Kings.
In Sacramento, Parker saw his playing time diminish by 50%, and then in 2020, he played just three games. He is only 26 years old, so there is hope he can still play at a high level.
14. James Wiseman - 2020
11.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.9 BPG
Despite suffering a knee injury that cost Wiseman the rest of his season, he had a productive rookie season, but it has been an up-and-down rookie season. Per 36 minutes, his stats are 19.3 points and 9.7 rebounds; but, he missed three weeks in February, which raised questions on his durability.
The circumstances aren't ideal for any rookie with the pandemic. With a full offseason next year, and the potential return of Klay Thompson, the Warriors could be really good next season. Wiseman's sophomore season could also be special too.
13. Marvin Williams - 2005
10.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Williams was not the best, nor the worst No. 2 draft pick in recent memory. His career with the Hawks was productive, which featured his best season of 14.8 points and 5.7 rebounds. Williams enjoyed a seven-year career with the Hawks, where he averaged double-figures in six of the seven seasons.
After Atlanta, Williams spent time with the Jazz for two years and then six seasons with the Hornets. Williams was never an All-Star, but at least he was a decent role player.
12. Evan Turner - 2010
9.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Turner was thought to be a high-profile scoring swingman in the league. In 2013, he recorded his best season with the 76ers, averaging 17.4 points before he was traded to the Pacers at the trade deadline. Turner joined the Celtics for two seasons, Trail Blazers for three seasons, before retiring after one year with the Hawks.
Turner shot above 40% in all but his final season in the league, but never developed a consistent three-point shot. He didn't live up to expectations but instead served as a valued bench player for a decade.
11. Marvin Bagley - 2018
14.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG
When the Kings selected Bagley with the No. 2 overall pick, there was some expectation that he was going to be the next coming of DeMarcus Cousins. After all, it was just one season removed from the Kings trading the four-time All-Star. Now in his third season, Kings nation is still waiting for dominating performances.
Bagley has consistently put up his career numbers and has shot above 50% two out of the three times. Last year, Bagley only played 13 games and he has played in just 37 games this season, so health is a concern. When he is on the court, he is a starting-caliber power forward. At 22 years old, it feels like he has a boom season on the horizon, which allows his stock to stay high.
10. Emeka Okafor - 2004
12.o PPG, 9.7 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.6 BPG
After leading UConn to an NCAA Division I championship, the Hornets took their chance on the 6-foot-11, 252-pound center. Okafor showed glimpses of being a dominant force by winning Rookie of the Year after averaging 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds. Okafor averaged a double-double for five straight seasons
Days before the 2013-2014 season, Okafor missed the entire season due to a herniated disc in his neck. He remained unsigned through the next three seasons. Then, four years later, he made his return to basketball and played partially with Philadelphia and New Orleans. Had Okafor not gotten hurt, he would have been a strong starting center in the league.
9. Michael Beasley - 2008
12.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose? That was the question that surrounded the 2008 NBA Draft before the Chicago Bulls took their hometown hero at No. 1. Rose grew up to be the youngest MVP of all time before devastating injuries impacted his career. As for Beasley, it was never the injuries, but more or less himself.
Beasley had run-ins with drug-related incidents in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2019. That explains why he has played for seven different teams from 2008 to 2018, including four different teams in his last four seasons. However, when on the floor, he produced. His best season came in 2010 by averaging 19.2 points. In his career, he averaged 46.2% shooting from the field. Despite all the outside distractions, Beasley came to play when his number was called upon.
8. Lonzo Ball - 2017
11.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG
After entering the league and being considered a liability on offense, Ball has worked on his game over the last two seasons. This year, Ball is ranked among the top in three-point field goal percentage. He is considered a "great value" triple-double talent, meaning he can put near triple-double numbers.
What separates Ball from others is his defense. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. While his outlook in New Orleans looks murky, his best years are ahead as 23-year old is a free agent this season. Ball will look to fit into an offense that matches his strengths, which includes facilitating. In his four-year career, Ball has averaged over 7.0 assists twice.
7. Ja Morant - 2019
18.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG
The reigning Rookie of the Year is special. Not only can Morant score, but he can facilitate. He is one of the most explosive players in the league. He is known for thunderous dunks, drivers to the baskets, and is already leading a franchise to potentially back-to-back playoff appearances at the age of 21.
Morant needs to develop a three-point shot, averaging 26.9% this season. What we have seen so far is that he could be another Russell Westbrook if he gets into the weight room.
6. D'Angelo Russell - 2015
17.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG
After fizzling out with the Lakers, who drafted him, Russell turned his game around with the Nets, where he was named to the All-Star team in his final season. Russell helped lead the Nets to the postseason before a sign-and-trade landed Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, which resulted in Russell landing in Golden State.
With Klay Thompson and Steph Curry sidelined, Russell averaged 23.6 points per game in 33 games before he was traded to the Timberwolves. This season, Russell is averaging over 40% from the three-point range for the first time in his career.
5. Brandon Ingram - 2016
17.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG
The year 2020 was all Brandon Ingram. He went from trending downwards to raising his stock to max-contract status after making the All-Star team last year and winning the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year. His last two seasons have shown that he can be a game-changing player.
Last year, Ingram averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, while this season he is averaging a career-high in points (24.1), as well as 4.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Moving forward, Ingram is a potential All-Star candidate every season.
4. Victor Oladipo - 2013
17.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Before Oladipo ruptured his quad, he was one of the best two-way players in the NBA. That included making the All-Star team in 2018 and 2019, as well as an All-Defensive First-Team selection in 2018, the same season he won Most Improved Player after leading the league in steals.
Defensively, Oladipo is a standout, but there were question marks post-injury. While his defense may not be on the same playing field, for now, his offense didn't skip a beat after averaging 20.0 points with the Pacers and 21.2 points with the Rockets this season. The hope is that we get back to seeing the exploring Oladipo we once saw next year.
3. Tyson Chandler - 2001
8.2 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.2 BPG
Chandler's number offensively may not pop out but the 7-footer was more of a defensive presence than anything. After helping the Dallas Mavericks win the 2011 NBA Championship as the team's starting center, he signed a contract with the New York Knicks, where he shined even more.
In 2012, Chandler won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, as well as making All-NBA Third Team for averaging 11.3 points and 11.0 rebounds. Then, in 2013 Chandler made the All-Star team and All-Defensive First Team. The last two playoff appearances by the Knicks featured Chandler as a part of those teams. Chandler retired last season after playing from 2001-2020 and owns a championship ring, All-Star selection, and an Olympic gold medal. It doesn't get much better than that.
2. LaMarcus Aldridge - 2006
19.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Aldridge is a major story right now after announcing his retirement from the league due to irregular heartbeat conditions he has battled most of his career. When Aldridge signed with the Nets after being bought out by the Spurs, there was a buzz for good reason. Aldridge is a seven-time All-Star, a five-time All-NBA selection, the Trail Blazers all-time leader in total rebounds, and has played in the Western Conference with two different teams.
His mid-range jumper was one of the best in the game. What's, even more, is impressive is that he averaged 20.8 points per game in the playoffs in 72 career games. He will deeply be missed.
1. Kevin Durant - 2007
27.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Nobody can top Durant at this spot in the draft over the last 20 years. Durant is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, a regular-season MVP, a four-time scoring champion, and one of the best players ever to step foot on an NBA court. Assuming that Durant is healthy, the combination of Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden has Brooklyn buzzing about winning an NBA title.
Durant may catch a lot of flack for joining a 73-win Warriors team, but the guy in talks of being in the Hall of Fame before he even joined. Durant is one of three players all-time to never average less than 20 points per game in a season. He's an 11-time All-Star, a nine-time selection on the All-NBA Team. If Durant can lead Brooklyn to a title, it will quiet all the haters once and for all.