Milwaukee Bucks rookie Jabari Parker is well aware of the history of the second overall pick in the NBA draft, telling Pro Basketball Talk that he wants to work hard to avoid joining the list of busts taken at that spot.
“There’s been a lot of second pick busts,” Parker said. “I’m just trying not to be that bust. Every day that I step on the court, I just remind myself that I have a long ways to go.
“If I want to be one of those guys in the first tier of the NBA, like a LeBron [James], like a Kobe [Bryant], like a [Blake Griffin], then I have to have that mentality starting off from the ground and work my way up.”
Parker was taken second in the June draft by the Bucks, right after the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins.
One No. 2 overall pick, Len Bias (taken second overall by the Boston Celtics in 1986) never played in the NBA, dying of a cocaine overdose two days after the draft. Jay Williams, taken No. 2 overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2002, played just one season before severely injuring his leg in a motorcycle crash. He never played in the NBA again.
In the last decade, disappointments such as Marvin Williams (taken by the Atlanta Hawks in 2005), Beasley (selected by the Miami Heat in 2008) and Hasheem Thabeet (No. 2 overall pick of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009) have marked that spot.
There have been success stories in the lottery era, however. There is Durant, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, who went No. 2 overall to the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007. A pair of Hall of Famers—Gary Payton (taken by Seattle in 1990) and Alonzo Mourning (selected by the Charlotte Hornets in 1992)—went second overall.
So, too, did his own coach, Jason Kidd, who was the No. 2 overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks in 1994 and is four years away from giving his own speech in Springfield, Mass.