Ex-Cat Budinger heating up at end of rookie seasonby Anthony Gimino on Apr. 04, 2010, under Sports
Remember when former Arizona forward Chase Budinger slid all the way out of the first round of the NBA draft last summer?
Turns out, he was a pretty good steal in the second round.
Budinger, in the midst of the most productive stretch of his rookie season with the Houston Rockets, is the third-highest scorer among all second-round draft picks. (Can you name the other two? Answer below.)
Injuries have cleared the way for Budinger to see more playing time recently, and he has responded by averaging 16.2 points in the past six games.
He has set and matched his career high during that span, scoring 24 against Washington on March 30 and 24 against Boston three days later.
“I think throughout my whole career it’s going to motivate me, to prove people wrong,” Budinger was quoted as saying in the Houston Chronicle.
“A lot of it is just getting the opportunity to play. Having so many guys out, especially in my position, has given me more minutes, more opportunity for me to be more aggressive.”
Compare these two stat lines (stats before Sunday’s games):
Not a lot of difference. The first line belongs to Oklahoma City guard James Harden, the former Arizona State star who was selected third overall last summer. The second line belongs to Budinger, selected 44th by Detroit and then traded to Houston.
With his 17-point effort off the bench Sunday, Budinger has increased his season scoring average to 8.7 points.
And to answer the question from earlier: The top second-round scorer is New Orleans guard Marcus Thornton, who is averaging 14.0 points per game. He was selected one spot ahead of Budinger.
Detroit forward Jonas Jerebko, who had played professionally in Sweden and Italy before entering the NBA draft, is averaging 9.4 points.
(Ex-Cat post player Jordan Hill has done better since his trade from the New York Knicks to the Rockets. Hill, the eighth overall pick in the draft, is averaging 6.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 17.8 minutes in 16 games in Houston. He averaged 4.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 10.5 minutes in 40 games with the Knicks.)
The Rockets have six games left in the season, including one at Phoenix on April 11.