There seems to be a certain amount of buzz surrounding what kind of season Chris Douglas-Roberts could put together this year, with analysts like ESPN’s John Hollinger speculating he could become a 6th man scoring option for the Nets. This kind of attention is especially noteworthy when you consider that CDR was a second-round draft pick for Nets. The Nets have not historically reaped a lot of quality from their second-rounders. Sure, guys like Hassan Adams had a couple of good games their rookie season, but like Adams, many of them lasted only a year or two in the league, or never even made it onto the court in their NBA careers. So NetsAreScorching decided to look back at some of the Nets best second-rounders since the lottery era. By looking at this list, it appears that CDR could climb the ranks fairly quickly if he puts together a season like Hollinger predicts.
#5 Evan Eschmeyer – 2nd Round, 34th Overall, 1999
The 6’11” Center out of Northwestern University lasted only four seasons in the NBA, two of which were with the Nets before finishing his career in Dallas. He eventually retired before the 2004 season because of persistent knee troubles. He did start 55 games for the Nets in his two seasons in New Jersey, including 51 starts in 2000-01, though that also coincided with two of the worst seasons in recent memory for the team. In his second season, he did average a career high 3.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 18 minutes of play. He had a defensive rebounding percentage of 20.5. The closest he came to a double-double in a Nets uniform was his last game on April 17, 2001, when he scored 12 points and grabbed 9 boards.
#4 Charles Shackelford – 2nd Round, 32nd Overall, 1988
A tenacious rebounder and Power Forward/Center out of North Carolina State University, Shackelford was with the Nets for his first two seasons, and put together an especially solid sophomore campaign in 1989-90 when he averaged 8.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game. He had, what was undisputedly, his best game as a pro on February 20, 1990 against the Milwaukee Bucks when he scored 23 points and grabbed 26 rebounds, both career highs.
Shackelford when on to play four more seasons in the NBA, including a comeback attempt after a four-year hiatus when he suited up for the Charlotte Hornets in 1998-99 at age 32. He played in 32 games that season, including four starts. However, he may also be better known for more nefarious reasons. In 1990, he and three other North Carolina State players were charged with shaving points. Shackelford denied ever shaving points, but did admit to accepting $65,000 from two men.
On a lighter note, Shackelford is also remembered for his entry in the “world’s dumbest quotes” by athletes when told a reporter, “I can shoot with my left hand, I can shoot with my right hand, I’m amphibious.”
#3 Kyle Korver – 2nd Round, 51st Overall, 2003
Some will probably accuse me of cheating for putting the Ashton Kutcher look-alike on this list, but he was a second round pick for the Nets, despite never suiting up for the team because he was traded on draft night to Philadelphia for cash considerations. Still, Korver has put together a nice little career for himself as a three-point specialist. He has a career True Shooting percentage of 57 percent to go along with a career three-point percentage of 40 percent. His best season was probably 2006-07 when he averaged 14.4 points a game and led the league with a free throw accuracy of 91 percent. When you consider all of the flops the Nets took in the second round, it makes you scratch your head that they let this one get away.
#2 Brian Scalabrine – 2nd Round, 35th Overall, 2001
“Veal,” gets points for his longevity in the league, and for his prominent role it what might have been one of the greatest Nets games in recent memory. In a critical game 5 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Nets and the Detroit Pistons, Scalabrine was forced into playing 23 minutes when four members of the Nets frontcourt – Kenyon Martin, Jason Collins, Rodney Rogers and Aaron Williams – had fouled out. Scalabrine responded with 17 points, including four three-pointers in the triple overtime victory against the Pistons, giving the Nets a 3-2 series lead. If the Nets had only sealed the deal in game 6 in New Jersey, Scalabrine would probably be an even bigger part of Nets folklore.
As it stands, for most of his four-year Nets career, Scalabrine was the 12th man on the bench, though he did play a more prominent role in 2004-05, when he started in 14 games and averaged 6.3 points on 4.5 rebounds. He earned a ring with the Celtics in 2007-08. Still, it will be very hard for him to ever top that game 5 performance in Detroit.
#1 P.J. Brown – 2nd Round, 29th Overall, 1992
The 6’11” Power Forward/Center out of Lousiana Tech University, has had, by far, the most accomplished NBA career of any second round pick for the Nets. After sitting out his first year in the league to play in Greece, Brown played three solid seasons with the Nets, where he became known as a great rebounder and defender with a decent mid-range jumper. He started in 198 games, overall averaging 8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.37 blocks during his tenure in New Jersey. He also played in the inaugural NBA Rookie Game during the 1999 All-Star Weekend.
After leaving the Nets, Brown’s profile was raised when he joined the Miami Heat. He made the all-defensive second team twice during in Miami and may be best known by Knicks fans for flipping Charlie Ward and igniting a brawls during game 5 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals against New York. The brawl changed the course of the series, as a number of key Knicks players were suspended and the Heat came back from a 3-1 deficet to take the series.
Brown went on to spend the next chunk of his career in Charlotte/New Orleans. During the 2002 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Nets, Brown averaged 8.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2 blocks a game against his former team.
Brown finally won an elusive ring, along with Brian Scalabrine, on the 2007-08 Celtics team.