After a historic NBA Draft on Thursday night, the question was brought up “How long do NBA rookies stay relevant?” Do rookies typically fade and not even receive a second contract in the league? Let’s look at recent draft classes to see how many rookies made it in the league past their fourth season.
2013 NBA Draft
16.7% of first-round picks didn’t make it past their fourth NBA season
66.7% of second-round picks didn’t make it past their fourth NBA season
Starting off the list is the most recent draft class that could have played more than four seasons by now and even gotten a contract extension. The percentages show that leaving college early, and betting on yourself in the NBA can be a risky business, especially if you are a second-round talent. The chances of making it in the NBA long-term as a second-round pick are slim, and the money you make in the first seasons in the league as a late pick isn’t great. For example, Glen Rice, the 35th pick by the Washington Wizards made $400,000 during his basketball career. While that is a lot of money, Rice didn’t make it in the league, so he either has to go overseas or go back to school to find another job. Just because a team drafts you, that doesn’t mean success is in the future for the player.
2012 NBA Draft
30% of first-round picks didn’t make it past their fourth NBA season
73.3% of second-round picks didn’t make it past their fourth NBA season
The 2012 NBA Draft was a brutal one in terms of longevity. Nine players drafted in the first-round in 2012 never got a second NBA contract. Those nine players didn’t make it past their first four season in the association. First-round picks have talent, but every player drafted in the first-round is also at risk to fail, ask the 2012 NBA Draft class.
2011 NBA Draft
13.3% of first-round picks didn’t make it past their fourth NBA season
70% of second-round picks didn’t make it past their fourth NBA season
The 2011 NBA Draft held up well related to getting guys past their fourth season in the NBA, and getting guys a second NBA contract. But, there were still guys who didn’t pan out. Take a look at Jan Vesely, the sixth pick. Vesely ended up playing only three seasons in the NBA before calling it quits. However, Vesely will be okay as he made over $9 million in his three seasons in the league.
2010 NBA Draft
16.7% of first-round pick didn’t make it past their fourth NBA season
86.7% of second-round pick didn’t make it past their fourth NBA season
The 2010 NBA Draft further proves the tough life of being a second-round pick. Players work their entire lives to get drafted, and their dreams come true when they are selected. However, the history proves that there is a good chance that a second-round pick won’t make it in the league, it’s just facts.
The numbers back it up, it can be a tough life in the NBA at times. All odds are against these prospects, and while they may get drafted and feel very good about themselves, the work is not even close to being over if they want to make it in the long run.