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Study: NBA Draft second-round picks get guaranteed contracts more than you think

P.J. Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt could get guaranteed contracts outside of the first round if they stay in the draft.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky Media Day Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

As Kentucky fans, we often look at the players we have that enter the NBA Draft and make judgments on what they should do based on their draft stock, particularly those that aren’t clear first round picks.

That has been the idea for a while now, since teams are bound to give their first round picks a guaranteed contract, and second round picks have no such guarantee.

However, a new study by NBC Sports shows that several second round picks are receiving guaranteed money, and with P.J. Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt projected as second round picks, the guarantee (or lack thereof) could make a major difference.

The study shows that of 132 college players selected in the second round over the last six years, 91 have received a guaranteed contract in some form. For some, it is a one-year guarantee of a minimum salary, or $815,615. For others, like Semi Ojeleye and Frank Mason of the Celtics and Kings, respectively, it has been two-year guaranteed deals.

And this excerpt from NBC’s Rob Dauster, who did an excellent analysis of the issue, is particularly intriguing.

In the past two seasons, every college player that was selected among the top 50 picks — a total of 30 of which came in the second round — received a guaranteed contract. Of those 30, 22 were given a two-year guaranteed deal. In 2017, that would equate to roughly $2.19 million guaranteed at minimum. Some players — Boston’s Semi Ojeleye, Sacramento’s Frank Mason, Houston’s Damyean Dotson — received more than the minimum. Ojeleye’s salary this season was just $100,000 less than that of Josh Hart, the 30th pick in the draft.

Dauster said the study goes to show that the idea of an underclassmen leaving for the NBA Draft only if they are a first round pick is antiquated, and when you look at the data, it is hard to argue.

Certainly, players are typically better off being a first round pick and some players have the ability to come back to college for another year and drastically improve their stock (like Washington and Vanderbilt) but this also shows that money can be made in the second round and opportunities are available for players in the second round who can come in and fill a particular role on a team.

Ultimately, there are plenty of factors that come into play, such as family backgrounds and income situations, so the players have to decide what is best for them and their families.

I would highly encourage people to read Dauster’s article in full here. It’s a great breakdown of second-round draft picks and the possibilities that exist for guys picked there.