Rebuilding or adding to a sports team is a tough task. It is almost impossible to see who has the tenacity and skillset to really survive the greatest level of competition before actually gaining that experience and walking that line. Some guys just never work out, whether it be lack of talent, IQ, or often injury. Others will take longer to develop or go to a crappy team and in turn, provide crappy results. They are a product of their environment. They pack all of their talent into a suitcase upon arrival waiting for the day that they hear the words, “you have been traded.” Once they hear that, they turn into the NBA players in Space Jam when MJ wins back the talents of Barkley, Bogues, Johnson, Ewing and Bradley. They have it! It’s back!
There is so much unknown in the world of sports and seeing who will rise to the challenge and who will fall. The list below explains situationally, why each of these draft picks are awful in their own way. They have been a hiccup in the drafting process for one reason or another. At the end of the day, they were once NBA players and there is something to be said for that. You have reached the highest level. The only problem, they were the worst of the absolute best..
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30 Atlanta Hawks – Shelden Williams (5th overall)
Shelden Williams arrived at Duke University two years removed from the school securing it’s 3rd Championship. For the next 4 years, he was a dominant force playing every game like he was going to make it back and win one for himself. Unfortunately for himself and his teammates, it wasn’t enough at the time. The great thing for Williams was that he was a beast both offensively and defensively. He was powerful, could score around the rim, and could block anything in the paint as shown as he was the coaches Defensive Player of the Year twice! His senior season, he gave the Blue Devils 18.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game.
Shelden’s skillset was something that most teams would love to have in their frontcourt, however he was only 6’9. Having that kind of height is fortunate when you are the biggest and baddest dude in the room. In the NBA, this is not the case. For his skillset, he would need to be 2 or 3+ inches taller to have made an impact. The Atlanta Hawks saw the NCAA dominance of Williams, but that didn’t translate into the NBA when they took him 5th overall in 2006. Shelden did last six seasons in the league, but you don’t expect to only get six seasons out of a guy who showed game changing promise on both ends of the court. Fortunately for the Hawks, they have had much recent success due to other draft picks panning out.
29 Boston Celtics – Fab Melo (22nd overall)
The Boston Celtics have hung their hat on good defense over the Doc Rivers days at the helm. Within four years of their NBA Championship, the roster was lacking young athletes and the once superstars in Garnett and Pierce, were noticeably aging. The Celtics went after a defensive minded athletic inside presence in the 2012 draft to develop under Rivers and Garnett. The result was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Fab Melo from Syracuse with the 22nd overall pick.
Fab in college was like DeAndre Jordan. He would block, rebound, and catch the alley-oop when thrown his way. Boston took him with hopes to be enforcer down low and as someone who can run the floor to be a spark in the fast break. They had already had Jared Sullinger, an undersized 4 but with scoring abilities who they thought would match nicely with Fab. Melo only lasted one season. He mostly played in the D-League, only making six appearances with the Celtics. His lack of scoring and his inability to get it from a mental standpoint drove Melo out of the league. At 26, he has found a home playing hoops in Brazil. Maybe one day we will see the return of Fab but I wouldn’t count on it.
28 Brooklyn Nets – Terrence Williams (11th overall)
After the Nets lost in the NBA Finals in both 2003 and 2004, the organization has been on a steady decline. Now they have drafted some quality talent in this time, but they have not drafted consistently nor any true star to put the team into a consistent playoff contender, let alone a contender even once in a while. As of late, the team is similar to the Browns or Jaguars in the NFL.
Terrence Williams was drafted in 2009 with the 11th overall pick out of Louisville. He had size at 6’6 for a shooting guard, he was a decent defender, and he could dish the ball or grab a board if needed. The problem is that Williams couldn’t find his niche. Everything he did on a basketball court was good, but he needed to find something he was great at. Either lock-up defender, or tremendous scorer is what you need to make it at that position in the NBA. Terrance lasted four years before spending time in the D-League and Dominican league before calling it quits completely. This was a hard pick because the Nets have drafted some talent, however no one stays long enough to be good with the Nets, they surge for other organizations.
27 Charlotte Hornets – Adam Morrison (3rd Overall)
There are many guys who stand out for being picked extremely high in the NBA over the last 16 years. Many. But Adam Morrison’s name is almost cemented in the top 3 of all of those reaches. He was a machine coming out of Gonzag, standing at 6’8 and scoring at will. He dropped 19 PPG as a sophomore and 28 PPG as a junior before declaring for the 2006 NBA Draft.
The National Player of the Year and Conference Player of the year in 2006 could not live up to the hype. Morrison came out of a draft which still employs many in the NBA, including LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, Kyle Lowry and Rajon Rondo. Some of these guys have rings while others are shining in their prime or key components on playoff caliber teams. The 32-year-old Morrison has been out of the league for over six years and the Hornets had wasted a lottery pick in a deep draft class.
26 Chicago Bulls – Jason Williams (2nd overall)
The sad story of Jason aka Jay Williams brings us to Chicago’s worst 1st round pick since 2000. Drafting Williams with the 2nd overall pick in 2002 was a no-brainer. Yao Ming went of the board at #1, and Jay Williams was your reigning National College Player of the Year winner available at #2. Chicago needed just about everything from a rebuilding standpoint, why not try a 25 PPG and 6 APG guy from a highly respected basketball program in Duke?
Jay was a starter in well over half of the games during his rookie season averaging 10 PPG, almost 5 APG, and over 1 steal per game. He looked to be the right piece to help build around as he would only get more comfortable with the speed and physicality of the NBA over time. During the NBA offseason in June, Jay wanted to be an NBA player, and a 22-year-old living the dream. He took his motorcycle out for a ride which ended in a devastatingly painful crash and violated his Bulls contract. Suffering injuries like a fractured pelvis, three dislocated knee ligaments, and a severed nerve in his leg, Williams couldn’t play, nor could he walk. Over 13 years later Williams is very mobile and working as an extremely successful college basketball analyst, however with the accumulation of injuries, Jay was never able to solidify an NBA comeback. He made it as far as the D-League in 2006 but was waived. What could have been?
25 Cleveland Cavaliers – Anthony Bennett (1st overall)
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had some blunders over the years. The buzzer beater from Michael Jordan in the Eastern Conference Finals, the array of draft picks, falling short multiple times in the NBA Finals with LeBron James. Something has been against Cleveland gaining success over the years. This pick was just another hiccup in the course.
Anthony Bennett was a pick that you see and genuinely wonder… Wait, they took who? Number 1 overall out of UNLV, Bennett was supposed to lighten the load for the young core of Tristan Thompson, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. The problem was that Bennett wasn’t averaging the 16 points and 8 rebounds he was in college. In fact, it took him 33 games to record a game with double digit points. Numbers show two thirds of #1 overall picks drop double digits in their first game.
I wouldn’t say Cleveland sweats their horrendous 1st pick anymore as Anthony was sent in a trade to grab Kevin Love and later leave room for LeBron James, both of whom were a big part of taking Cleveland to championship heights. Bennett spent roughly 3.5 years in the NBA being waived by three teams. He now plays in a Turkish League.
24 Dallas Mavericks - Maurice Ager (28th overall)
Including 2016, the Dallas Mavericks have had limited opportunities to upgrade and reinvigorate their roster through the NBA draft. They have had four picks that were theirs in the 1st round, and eight total picks between rounds 1 & 2 that the Mavericks have had the rights to since 2000. The other 19 picks have been drafted and traded or the Mavericks didn’t have the rights to such player.
It is extremely tough to build an NBA team to begin with, but when you send your young talent away, you have nothing to fall back on and the Mavs are currently experiencing that negative effect as they are one of the worst teams in the NBA. Maurice Ager would have to the worst pick by default for Dallas. He was Shannon Brown’s high-flying and lethal scoring accomplice during their time at Michigan State. Ager could jam and shoot, but his 20 PPG his senior year of college wasn’t the same in the pros. If you can’t score as a shooting guard, you'd better be an exceptional defender like Tony Allen, but Ager wasn’t. For good reason, his 2 PPG average in the NBA wasn’t enough and the former Spartan only made it five total years in the NBA.
23 Denver Nuggets - Nikoloz Tskitishvili (5th Overall)
Before Denver could grab ahold of Carmelo Anthony in 2003, they had the 5th pick in 2002. Needing help in virtually every position, the Nuggets jumped on the not so small forward from the Country of Georgia, Nikoloz Tskitishvili. If the video game NBA Live wasn’t around, it is tough to say who would really know this name. Tskitishvili was amazing on NBA Live.
At 7 feet tall, he had a ton of potential with a jump shot that needed a bit more development. He didn’t exactly have post moves to complement his height, so that would have to come in time as well. Neither did. Basically as the story goes, the same general manager that helped establish Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, was now in Denver looking to pull off a similar feat. Nikoloz wasn’t Dirk on any level, especially natural talent and grit/determination. In a four year career, he posted 3 PPG. That isn’t Dirk-esque even the slightest bit.
22 Detroit Pistons – Darko Milicic (2nd overall)
The pick heard round the world.. The draft class from 2003 was absolutely stacked. From top to bottom, stacked. Over a quarter of the picks from 2003 are still in the league in 2017, roughly 14 years later! LeBron James was the easy pick for Cleveland at #1 overall. The 2nd pick belonged to the Pistons. Melo, Bosh, Wade? Nope, the question mark from Serbia, Darko Milicic.
At 7 feet tall, Milicic was drafted with “potential.” Flashes of talent, but mainly the build of an NBA player is what the Piston organization had seen, or so I think. Milicic never grew into what the expectation was while guys like Wade and James are on their way to the Hall Of Fame. Over his less than stellar 10 years in the NBA, Darko averaged 6 PPG and 4 RPG. Shortly after the NBA, Darko tried kickboxing which went something like his NBA career, and now he is rumored to be living on a farm in Serbia at the age of 31.
21 Golden State Warriors – Ekpe Udoh (6th overall)
Warriors, come out to play… Ekpe Udoh must have missed the memo? In 2010, in the midst of the rebuilding process and a year after finding a gem in Steph Curry, the Warriors wanted to find an inside presence to complement their outside scorers in Curry and Monta Ellis (who didn’t hang around Golden State much longer). Udoh was supposed to be the guy. He transferred from the Big 10 - Michigan to Big 12 – Baylor and seemed to hit stride. Doubling his points and rebound averages from the following year.
It was a quick realization for Udoh that he wouldn’t be averaging 14 and 10 anymore. He only lasted with Golden State a little over a season before being shipped to two other teams before leaving the NBA. He currently plays overseas near our man Anthony Bennett. Luckily for the Warriors, this pick didn’t hurt much as they proceeded to land the second splash brother (Klay Thompson) in 2011 with Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in the following draft. Two NBA finals trips later and going home with one ring, I’d say the Warriors are still in a good place.
20 Houston Rockets – Royce White (16th overall)
Royce White had only played one season at Iowa State under the guidance of Fred Hoiberg, but that was enough to convince the Houston Rockets to take the versatile forward with the 16th pick in 2012. While in school, White’s style was very comparable to the way that Draymond Green plays on the offensive end today. He led his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. He was a jack of all trades on the basketball court.
After draft day, the Rockets were excited to integrate Royce’s skillset into their future success. It never came. White has an obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder. This along with his fear of flying, led to discussions between White’s agent and the team trying to accommodate White and his needs. Somewhere along the way, there were miscommunications and here we are today with White never having played a game for the Rockets. He was signed for a brief stint with the Kings, but is now out of the league and possibly looking to make a comeback. Best of luck Royce.
19 Indiana Pacers – Tyler Hansbrough (13th overall)
If we are referencing just statistics on the basketball court, Tyler Hansbrough is in the discussion for the best ACC Player of all time. The lowest points averaged throughout his four years spent at Chapel Hill was 18.4 PPG. The kid was a stud and proved it by pulling in National Player of the Year honors his junior year and pushing UNC to their National Championship win in his senior season.
The problem with Hansbrough was that his style of play was absolutely unstoppable in the NCAA and his hustle made up for the skills that he didn’t have. In the NBA, he had the hustle, but his style of scoring was matched by defenders who were as big if not bigger and could leap out of the gym. In turn, he was too small to defend guys at his position as they would just dunk or shoot over him. Hansbrough’s career ran through 2015, however this year he found himself in free agency where he currently resides. Hansbrough wasn’t an awful pick, but to take him 13th overall is where I have the issue. He may not have had much NBA success, but the guy left one hell of an NCAA legacy behind.
18 Los Angeles Clippers – Yaroslav Korolev (12th overall)
Before CP3 and Blake Griffin gave the Clippers a respectable look, the little brother team in Los Angeles was in shambles for a long time. Even with some of the high draft picks that they would receive, they couldn’t ever really pull it together to make a consistent and strong NBA team.
The true worst pick for the Clippers was the young Russian Yaroslav Korolev at #12 in 2005. After Dirk and Pau Gasol showed NBA success, NBA teams were looking for the next great overseas talent. Most of his fame had come from his dominant performance in the Russian Junior League & U-18 Championship. He had size and a great skillset for 6’9, but he had never played against men. For this reason, his skillset was good but not NBA ready and he was driven out of the NBA in two short years.
17 Los Angeles Lakers – Javaris Crittenton (19th overall)
The Los Angeles Lakers franchise has a rich history and the 2nd most NBA titles behind the Celtics. They have had great management under the Buss family and they are the team of Los Angeles. In 2007, the franchise was looking to get a bench scorer to fill the void because Kobe couldn’t play all 48 minutes. They threw Javaris Crittenton into the pot and took him with the 19th overall pick, one of the few mistakes of this privileged franchise.
Crittenton was seen as an overvalued item almost immediately. They dished him to Memphis and from Memphis he was sent to Washington where his NBA career went for a complete spiral. He and Gilbert Arenas pulled out guns in the locker room at one point and thus, Crittenton was suspended indefinitely. In less than two years, he was gone like a flash of lightning. Unfortunately for Javaris, his story added a few chapters when in 2011, he had killed a mother of four in a drive-by shooting and shortly after, he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Talk about a rise and fall.
16 Memphis Grizzlies – Hasheem Thabeet (2nd overall)
The draft class of 2009 was deep and the Grizzlies were in a good position to take full advantage. Headliners and current stars include guys like Blake Griffin taken #1, Harden, Curry, DeRozan, Teague, and the #2 overall pick of the Grizzlies, Hasheem Thabeet?! His 7’3 frame and college success intrigued the Grizzlies as they are typically a defensive oriented team, but Thabeet wasn’t the same guy he was at UConn.
Like many others on this list, his size wasn’t going to give him an advantage anymore in the NBA. His shortage of basketball experience couldn’t be hidden as he started playing at the age of 15. He was overwhelmed and outmanned. Thabeet’s lack of progression and success with the Grizzlies landed the top pick as a D-League individual, where he would be pulled from and sent back down for just about all of his seven NBA seasons. Now in 2017, Thabeet has been out of the game for almost two years at the young age of 29.
15 Miami Heat – Wayne Simien (29th overall)
Similar to the Dallas Mavericks draft picks over the past 16 years, The Miami Heat have been involved in a lot of draft day trades. They have hardly kept any of the talent over the past 10 years that they have drafted, and the ones towards the beginning of the millennium are mostly second round picks. Now, with that being said, they have had major success with their few first round picks with guys like D-Wade, Caron Butler and Michael Beasley.
Wayne Simien just made it into the first round at pick 29 in 2005. He had good size, was athletic and was a leader at a good Kansas program coming into the league, not to mention the Big 12 player of the year. It just never clicked after that for Simien. Only two NBA seasons, and one season spent playing in a Spanish league. That is all the former conference player of the year could turn in. However, unlike other bad picks, Simien did ride the coattails of Shaq and D-Wade to an NBA Championship in 2006.
14 Milwaukee Bucks – Joe Alexander (8th overall) / Yi Jianlian (6th overall)
Based on potential and expectation, Yi Jianlian is without a doubt the winner of the worst first round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks organization. In Yi’s defense he did end up playing five seasons and at one point averaged 12 PPG, however that was not in his lone year in Milwaukee. For those reasons and a few more, I have to drop this award in the hands of Joe Alexander, the small forward from WVU that was selected 8th in 2008.
Joe wasn’t ready for the NBA but came out early after a solid junior season under Bob Huggins at West Virginia. Alexander was taken 8th which came after D-Rose, Beasley, Mayo, Westbrook, Love, Gallinari and Eric Gordon. I mean that is a nasty top 7. Alexander was the wrong choice at 8th as he made it two years in the NBA and guys who followed him in the draft like the Lopez brothers, Bayless, Mo Buckets, Hibbert, Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, Ibaka, Batum, and George Hill followed and are still making an impact. Milwaukee is on the rise now with their young stars, but what a benefit it could have been to get someone more like those listed above at the time to build upon.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonny Flynn (6th overall)
The depth of the 2009 draft has already been noted with Griffin, Harden, DeRozan and Curry as the headliners. What hasn’t been discussed is how badly the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted with three picks in the top 20. At #5, the Wolves took a shot on a fancy ball distributor in Ricky Rubio. Some European players have been known to be drafted, yet wait to play in the NBA for a season or more. As in insurance policy, the Wolves took point guard Jonny Flynn with the very next pick at #6. They then, took a 3rd point guard in Ty Lawson at 18! What?!
Lawson was quickly traded to Denver that same night for a future pick, but the Wolves were left with two PGs. Here’s how that unfolded. Rubio didn’t play in the NBA for two years following, Jonny Flynn was good his rookie year, but quickly declined after, was traded, and then was out of the league within three years. They completely whiffed on a ton of other talent in the class, specifically a future MVP in Curry, and through trades they got five games out of Brandon Roy before his retirement from injury and Martell Webster before he was released by Minnesota after two injury ridden seasons. There were a few other players that factored in, but you had three picks in a stacked class and really only have Rubio to show for it.. What a complete mess. All of upper management should have been fired and never rehired after that fiasco.
12 New Orleans Pelicans – Hilton Armstrong (12th overall)
The New Orleans Pelicans aka the New Orleans Hornets at the time, had started to lay a solid foundation to be a team not to be overlooked in the future. As they were looking to strengthen a promising young core in J.R. Smith, CP3, David West, Brandon Bass and Tyson Chandler, they wanted another inside force to really solidify that front line. They took Hilton Armstrong at #12 to fill that void.
The 6’11 UConn grad didn’t pan out. He played six years in the NBA, never making it past 3 PPG, 1 BPG, or even past 3 RPG in a season. It was a short stint and New Orleans did turn the organization around briefly, however they couldn’t manage to keep that talent together long enough to be a legit contender. Hopefully the organization can hang onto Anthony Davis or the city of New Orleans is going to be on another sports drought.
11 New York Knicks – Renaldo Balkman (20th overall)
In 2006, the New York Knicks were in desperate need of a revamp. They had names of some NBA stars, but some were getting old/injury prone and trying to have them play as a unit was another story. Three years prior in 2003, New York whiffed on the Georgetown stud Mike Sweetney at #9. It turned out to be beneficial to them, as they ended up trading Sweetney and others to snag Eddy Curry and Antonio Davis. That alone kept Mike Sweetney from being the worst pick.
Fast forward back to 2006 where NY just went 23-59 and needed help. They took Renaldo Balkman at #20 and fans in the Garden booed… They booed a lot. They didn’t even know who Balkman was. Basically, Balkman is a poor man's Kenyon Martin. He could jump, block, and rebound, but is not much of a scorer unless it was a putback or jam. Granted, at no.20 the picks are tough, but Balkman ended a six year career with a 4 PPG and 2 RPG average. That doesn’t scream first round to me.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder – Robert Swift (12th overall)
Another failed early entry high school pick was made in 2004 by the then Seattle SuperSonics. Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and Vlad Radmanovic gave Seattle a good shooting core, and they had veteran depth at the point guard position. They needed a center and saw the 7 foot high school stud Robert Swift at #12. He wasn’t the fix.
If he was a horse, he never made it out of his stable. Over a four year playing career, all spent with Seattle/OKC, Swift was a non-factor. In his best season, he managed to scrape together 6 PPG and 5.5 RPG over a 47 game span. During the next three years, he would play in only 34 games due to injuries to both knees and he would be out of the NBA by 2009.
9 Orlando Magic – Fran Vazquez (11th overall)
Who is Fran Vazquez? A year after the Magic had selected Dwight Howard #1 overall and improved team record by 15 games, their draft pick climbed a little in 2005. With the 11th pick, the Magic wanted a partner for Dwight in the front court and selected Fran Vasquez.
Vazquez was a Euro baller listed at 6’10 and was a tremendous shot blocker. The problem was that, he wanted to remain in Europe for another year before coming to the NBA. So that is what he did. One year became two, and two years became three and so on.. Vasquez never played in the NBA. To this day he remains overseas and the Orlando Magic wasted what could have been a valuable pick for the 2008-09 Orlando Magic team that lost in the NBA Finals.
8 Philadelphia 76ers – Evan Turner (2nd overall)
It is almost amazing to me how good the players are that have been drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers when it seems like they have been horrendous since the day Allen Iverson left for Denver. They have had a ton of studs come through their ranks, but they either weren’t there together, or they have developed into gems after their time with Philly either through trades or free agency. Lou Williams, Thad Young, Iguodala, Dalembert and Holiday have all been Philly draft picks.
The pick that doesn’t sit well is Evan Turner at no.2 in 2010. There was a ton of talent selected after him including Paul George, Cousins, Favors, Hayward and Bledsoe to name a few. He is a nice role player off the bench, but nothing more. Nothing that couldn’t have waited until half way through the first round. With that said, he was traded in 2010 for Danny Granger but he somehow never played for them. Philly seems to have something going right lately however now that Joel Embiid is coming into form and Ben Simmons is almost back from injury. There is hope Philly fans!
7 Phoenix Suns – Kendall Marshall (13th overall)
The 13th pick in the 2012 NBA draft has played for four different teams in four different NBA seasons. He has been a part of some awful teams and when not injured, has been an even worse addition to those teams. Now, his time is being spent in the NBA D-League trying to make it back to the big stage.
Kendall often looked like a wizard when at the University of North Carolina. He was a game general, he could get to the bucket if needed and he saw the floor extremely well. He could distribute and run the offense, but he could not shoot to save his life. He was and has continued to be a non-threat from anywhere outside of the paint. For a 6’4 point guard, that can be a problem and such skills are much easier to shut down in the NBA. If I were Marshall, I would start preparing for life after hoops.
6 Portland Trail Blazers – Greg Oden (1st overall)
Is it fair to label an athlete a bust if they never really had the opportunity to play or to compete? No, probably not. But for this list, heck yes. The Portland Trail Blazers took Greg Oden, the center from Ohio State at #1 in 2007 and he may be the biggest bust of the millennium. The Blazers seem to have some bad luck when it comes to drafts. One year prior, they took Brandon Roy who was phenomenal until he ran out of cartilage in his knees, causing an extremely early retirement.
Oden never made it to that point. He hardly made it onto the court in his 2007-2014 NBA run. From the time he was drafted until 2014 when he last played with the Heat, he had played in 105 total games. Injuries literally had driven his body into the ground. The most recent news on Oden was that he was hired onto the Ohio State Basketball staff while attempting to complete his college degree. That may be for the best, as basketball wasn’t very friendly to Greg.
5 Sacramento Kings – Thomas Robinson (5th overall)
If a player has been on more teams than they have been years in the league, that typically isn’t a good sign. This is the case for Thomas Robinson who the Kings selected 5th overall in 2012. The class of 2012 had some serious talent with Anthony Davis as the headliner but guys like Andre Drummond and Damian Lillard were something to see. They were both taken after Robinson and are All-Star talents. The Kings were looking for that All-Star talent and someone to sure up the post area with Boogie.
Thomas Robinson’s career 5 PPG and 5 RPG was not the plan. His downfall has been him only being 6’8 with a skillset like he should be 6’11. And in order to play the style that he does, he has to play bigger than himself. He is undersized but he is a hustler. So in 5 years in the league, he has been a part of 6 teams. A solid bench scrapper, but certainly not worth a top 5 pick. The Sacramento front office has had some woes like trading Isaiah Thomas for next to nothing, but this was their worst pick over the last 17 years.
4 San Antonio Spurs – James Anderson (20th overall)
In what could possibly be the most overlooked franchise in all of sports, the San Antonio Spurs exude consistency and greatness all without the hype and noise. Guys like LeBron James have a Sportscenter update whenever they sneeze. The Spurs have won 50 or more games each of the last 19 seasons, not including a lockout-shortened season of 1999. That kind of greatness and consistency doesn’t exist yet it's like San Antonio is never given their due respect or attention. They do this through the culture of Gregg Popovich and drafting team oriented talent. Almost anyone can fit into the Popovich system.
One of the few cases was James Anderson drafted in 2010 with the 20th overall pick. San Antonio rarely misses on draft picks, even when fans and analysts may think that they do. Anderson was a miss. He was in the league up until last year, as he bounced between four different teams in five years and ran through the D-League. The 6’6 guard couldn’t find his place as a reliable source of points, and thus is now playing in Istanbul. I don’t think the Spurs are sweating one bad pick out of many others that resulted in Hall of Fame talent.
3 Toronto Raptors – Rafael Araujo (8th overall)
In his first season, Chris Bosh was an up and comer for the Toronto Raptors. He had good size and athleticism, as well as the basketball IQ to get it done on both ends of the floor. Although young, he showed promise early but needed other weapons to provide some assistance. In the year following Bosh’s rookie season, Toronto took a shot on the man they thought to be his sidekick, Babby Araujo from BYU.
Taken 8th overall, Araujo was big kid at 6’11 and was coming off of a senior season where he averaged 18 PPG and 10 RPG. The inside was supposed to be solidified for the Raptors. Araujo was an utter disappointment, never taking his game further than a 3 point and 3 rebound per game average. It didn’t take very long for the Raptors to realize Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith or J.R. Smith would have been much better options to run alongside the talented Bosh. Araujo was with Toronto for two years and in the NBA for three before he tested out opportunities in several foreign basketball leagues.
2 Utah Jazz – Morris Almond (25th overall)
Historically, if a player is to be picked in the first round by the Utah Jazz, they should go on to have a long career in the NBA although not always with Utah. Morris Almond was a 1st round pick, but he did not have a long career with Utah or anyone else for that matter. Out of Rice, the 6'6 Almond was built like a thicker Michael Jordan, but in no way shape or form was he close to Michael.
Utah has been rebuilding ever since Stockton and Malone called it a day. Almond was a guy that they could afford to take a chance on because the only directions the organization could go was up, or stand still. Morris provided an opportunity to stand still. He was a 3.0 PPG guy and only made it three years in the league. Fortunately for Utah, they have found much more success in recent drafts, as the Jazz are young and rising.
1 Washington Wizards – Kwame Brown (1st overall)
Number 1 overalls picks are either phenomenal or busts; it is almost as if nothing in the middle exists. You can’t get away with just being a solid role guy if you were no.1, that almost counts as a bust. With no.1’s there is no guarantee that they will save an organization, nor with any pick after. Kwame Brown was not a good role player nor an organization savior. He would be a certified bust.
The Wizards took the athletic big man out of high school in 2001. Kwame couldn’t live up to the hype and didn’t have the drive to make himself elite. Even with a few seasons playing with the GOAT Michael Jordan, MJ couldn’t transform Brown’s game into superstardom. The Wizards grew tired of waiting around and ditched Brown after four subpar seasons. His career numbers are 6 PPG and 5 RPG. His size and potential kept him in the league for 12 seasons, but he is now 34 and has been on the side of retirement for over four years.
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