The San Antonio Spurs’ success is proof that second-round picks can provide useful contributors. Occasionally, in the cases of players such as Manu Ginobili, Paul Millsap or Marc Gasol, they can yield foundational pieces.
It just does not happen very often. NBA teams are not very good with second-round picks. Of the 327 second-round picks that were selected between 2001-11, only 14 either became long-term starters for the teams that selected them or made all-star or all-NBA teams in later stops. Sixty-two more managed to stick around the league, players ranging from productive starters such as Amir Johnson and Marcin Gortat — picked back-to-back, with the 56th and 57th selections in the 2005 draft — to bit-part journeymen such as Steve Novak (32nd in 2006) and Ramon Sessions (56th in 2007).
That leaves a staggering 251 players, or 76.7%, who either had minor NBA careers or never played in the league at all.
Players wrapped themselves in flags from around world, a reminder that the San Antonio Spurs look far beyond the border to build champions, as confetti fell from above.
Painfully denied 12 months ago by the Miami Heat, this victory party was worth the wait.
“It makes last year OK,” Duncan said.
The Spurs finished off a dominant run to their fifth NBA championship Sunday night, ending the Heat’s two-year title reign with a 104-87 victory that wrapped up the series in five games. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
But the Toronto Raptors’ second-year swingman also wore a bit of a smile. While Wednesday night’s game was far from Ross’s best, it was a definite improvement over the four games that preceded it. He finished with eight points — including two huge three-pointers — and chipped in some excellent defence on Nets point guard Deron Williams.
“Felt good,” Ross said. “Just trying to get a little bit of rhythm back. Every little bit helps.” (Photo: Warren Toda/EPA)
Clippers fans wear T-shirts calling for Donald Sterling to sell the team during halftime of a playoff game between the Clippers and Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of banning Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life in response to racist comments and urging NBA owners to force the sale of a major professional sports team in the second-biggest U.S. media market.
Members of the Los Angeles Clippers made a silent protest on Sunday, wearing their red shirts inside out to hide the team’s logo. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Bigger than basketball: Donald Sterling’s racist remarks overshadowing NBA playoffs: Of all the many responses to the terribly racist remarks purported to be from Donald Sterling and caught on tape and released by TMZ and Deadspin, only Mark Cuban’s was truly disappointing. Players such as LeBron James and Paul Pierce and owners like San Antonio’s Peter Holt and Miami’s Micky Arison offered stern rebukes of the Clippers owner.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly tells girlfriend: Don’t bring black people to my games; NBA investigating
Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks’ high-profile owner, stopped well short of that.
“It’s playoff time, no reason to talk about anything in the NBA that does not relate to our Mavs,” Cuban said on his Twitter account. In a later tweet, he implied that there would be a proper time deal with this — you know, some time later. Now was the time to focus on basketball.
There was a deep irony, then, when one of Cuban’s players provided the marquee moment of these already-wild playoffs.
Raptors need youth, Jonas Valanciunas to beat Kevin Garnett and the experienced Nets
Oklahoma City needed a four-point play that was magnificent — and clutch — even by Durant’s lofty standards just to get to overtime.
With Memphis leading 98-93, Durant, standing behind the arc, received a pass from Russell Westbrook and made a desperation shot as the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol pushed him out of bounds. Durant was off-balance and falling out of bounds but the shot somehow went in with just 13.3 seconds left.
The five-time NBA all-star converted the free throw to make it a one-point game. (Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
There is a strong suspicion that it was a member of the ESPN crew that made the mistake, which resulted in the Raptors and Brooklyn Nets playing the final 18 minutes of the game with public address announcer Herbie Kuhn counting down the shot clock.
The Raptors said that someone from outside of the organization trying to fix an electrical problem caused the game clocks and shot clocks to go out during Game 1.
“That shot clock did throw me off,” Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said.
The best and the worst of the Raptors’ season: The Toronto Raptors wrap up the regular season on Wednesday with a game against New York at Madison Square Garden. Before they play that one, and determine their first-round opponent in the process, here is a look back at the previous 81 games, starting with the play of the year: Terrence Ross posterized Kenneth Faried on Jan. 31 with what might have been the best dunk of the year in the NBA. (Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors throws out the first pitch before the start of the Toronto Blue Jays’ game against the New York Yankees on April 6, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays lost 6-4. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez uses shoes to show support for the peace to his home country of Venezuela before their game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Monday, March 31, 2014. (Photo: David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/The Associated Press)