Arizona Basketball

Historical look of Arizona’s second-round NBA draft picks with Pelle Larsson selected that round

Arizona’s All-Second Round Team of the NBA Draft (left to right): Steve Kerr, Gilbert Arenas, Luke Walton, Jud Buechler and Sean Rooks.

Pelle Larsson became the 28th player in Arizona history to be selected in the second round of the NBA draft when the Miami Heat chose him as the 44th pick overall on Thursday.

The good news for Larsson as a second-round pick from Arizona — all but three of the previous 27 players went on to play a rookie a season in the NBA and five of them had at least a 10-year career in the NBA.

That includes Steve Kerr, who experienced the longest career of the second rounders playing 15 years from the 1988-89 to 2002-03 seasons despite being the lowest pick of the group at No. 59 by the Phoenix Suns in 1988.

The average career span of an Arizona player selected in the second round of the NBA draft is not entirely bad at 4.8 years.

Kerr’s 910 games in his NBA career is the most by the Wildcats selected in the second round.

It is Arizona’s fifth-most overall behind first-round picks Jason Terry (1,410 games from 1999-2000 to 2017-18), Andre Iguodala (1,231 from 2005-06 to 2022-23), Richard Jeffferson (1,181 from 2001-02 to 2017-18) and Mike Bibby (1,001 from 1988-89 to 2011-12).

The bad news for Larsson when factoring Arizona’s players who were selected in the second round is that a majority of them — 14 — did not play more than three years in the NBA.

Eight of them (almost 30 percent) played only one season, including most recently Larsson’s former Wildcat teammate Christian Koloko with the Toronto Raptors in 2022-23. That was mostly because of a health reason, however.

In January, Koloko was waived by the Raptors, and a day later, he was put into NBA’s Fitness-to-Play panel due to discovering career-threatening blood clot issues. No teams can claim him off waivers to sign him until he is medically cleared to play.

An interesting fact about Arizona’s second-rounders is four of the five longest-tenured players in the NBA from that group were not highly recruited when they joined the Wildcat program with Lute Olson as coach. Kerr, Sean Rooks, Jud Buechler and Gilbert Arenas were diamond-in-the-rough gems who developed under Olson and his staff.

If Arizona’s second-rounders were matched against the first-rounders the teams would look something like this (based on their NBA careers):

G Mike BibbyG Steve Kerr
G Jason TerryG Gilbert Arenas
F Andre IguodalaF Luke Walton
F Sean ElliottF Jud Buechler
F Channing FryeC Sean Rooks

Out of that starting lineup, who would win? Tough call.

A look at the potential top reserves:

G Damon StoudamireG Eric Money
G Michael Dickerson G Salim Stoudamire
F Lauri MarkkanenF Chase Budinger
F Aaron GordonF Derrick Williams
C Deandre AytonC Bob Elliott

If combined at the prime of their careers, Money, Salim Stoudamire, Budinger, Williams and Bob Elliott would be formidable but their NBA careers did not develop like Damon Stoudamire, Dickerson, Markkanen, Gordon and Ayton (criticize him for his team play but he is averaging 16.7 points and 10.5 rebounds in his NBA career). Although Dickerson played only five years in the NBA, he averaged 15.4 points and shot 43.2 percent from the field, 40.2 percent from 3-point range. He retired premature due to severe hamstring and groin injuries from which he was unable to fully recover. Bennedict Mathurin certainly has the potential to crack the rotation of the first-rounders with a sustained career.

How Larsson will factor into the top second-round picks from Arizona is if he can surpass the 4.8-year average range and be a factor where he plays much like how Kerr, Arenas, Walton, Buechler and Rooks made their mark as second rounders.


Steve Kerr19885919892003910.479.454.86417.
Sean Rooks19923019932004749.459.091.69918.
Jud Buechler19903819912002720.433.366.63311.
Luke Walton20033220042013564.429.326.71517.
Gilbert Arenas20013120022012552.421.351.80335.
Eric Money19743319751980426.494.74825.412.22.13.8
Chase Budinger20094420102016407.430.352.79719.
Tom Tolbert19883419891995312.460.296.71618.
Loren Woods20014620022008215.419.143.64211.
Salim Stoudamire20053120062008157.407.366.88217.
Bob Elliott19774219791981141.494.64916.
Reggie Geary19965619971998101.344.328.4939.
Hassan Adams2006542007200973.534.000.6437.
Christian Koloko2022332023202358.480.083.62713.
Kadeem Allen2017532018202047.435.349.75713.
Ben Davis1996431997200040.356.4623.
Nico Mannion2020482021202130.342.367.82112.
Nick Johnson2014422015201528.347.238.6809.
Al Fleming1976301978197820.484.5884.
Marcus Williams 2007332008200913.3183.
Grant Jerrett201340201520158.269.0671.0006.
A.J. Bramlett199939200020008.1907.
Miles Simon199842199919995.200.0003.
Ed Stokes199335199819984.333.5004.
Joseph Blair1996350
Michael Wright 2001390
Herm Harris1977430
Sorted by games played. Source:

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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