This past summer, NBA fans anxiously watched as the free agency period unfolded. This offseason saw several major changes to the landscape of the NBA thanks to quite a few high profile players joining new teams. While LeBron James' move to the Los Angeles Lakers may have been one of the biggest moves this offseason, the Eastern Conference saw quite the shakeup when the former Finals MVP joined the Toronto Raptors following his fallout with the San Antonio Spurs thanks to a trade that saw Raptors staple DeMar DeRozan sent to the Spurs.
With the 2018-19 NBA season underway, fans are enjoying a competitive start. While the reigning champions of the West, the Golden State Warriors have jumped ahead, the Denver Nuggets have continued to amaze basketball fans as they have secured themselves the second place in the West. Similarly, in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks have come out strong, cementing themselves as a contender in the East. However, the Raptors look like the team to beat thanks to the addition of of Kawhi Leonard.
Now, in the full swing of the season, we're taking a look at 10 recent draft picks that teams wish they could take back, given the current dominant landscape of the NBA. We're going to be looking at the longevity of players careers, stats during their careers, and the impact they made on the team that drafted them.
20 Regret: Nik Stauskas - Sacramento Kings
Drafted as the eighth overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, Nik Stauskas played in 73 games his rookie season, averaging 4.4 points per game to go along with 1.2 rebounds per game. Stauskas only spent one season with the Kings before joining the Philadelphia 76ers in his second season, thanks to a trade that dealt "Sauce Castillo" as part of a package deal in exchange for the rights to two Euroleague big men. Neither man has played in the NBA despite being drafted, and it wound up being quite a bit of a waste of a top 10 pick for the Kings.
19 Replacement: Zach LaVine
Drafted as the 13th overall draft pick in 2014 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Zach LaVine was drafted just a couple picks below Nik Stauskas. In comparison to Stauskas' lone season in Sacramento, LaVine spent three seasons with the Timberwolves before then being traded to the Chicago Bulls. During the course of LaVine's three seasons in Minnesota, he increased his scoring every season, finishing with 18.9 points per game in his final season with the team. This season, LaVine has proven himself to be a reliable leading man for the Chicago Bulls.
18 Regret: Jan Vesely - Washington Wizards
Jan Vesely was drafted as the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Washington Wizards. The 7'0" power forward from the Czech Republic had a successful career overseas before being drafted, and the Washington Wizards hoped he could find similar success in the NBA. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Vesely never played in more than 57 games a season during his two seasons with the team, struggling on the offensive end as well with under five points per game both seasons. After just two lackluster seasons he landed a spot on the Denver Nuggets briefly for a season before returning to the Wizards for the 2013-14 season, which wound up being his last in the league.
17 Replacement: Bismack Biyombo
Just one pick below Jan Vesely in the draft was Bismack Biyombo, a 6'9" center from Zaire. In his first four seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Biyombo averaged a high of 7.3 rebounds per game to go along with a high of 1.8 blocks per game in both his rookie and sophomore season. In addition, he proved to be durable, playing in over 60 games every season, including two 75+ game seasons. While he has been on several teams since the Hornets, Biyombo certainly could've given the Washington Wizards more help than Vesely did.
16 Regret: Thomas Robinson - Sacramento Kings
Drafted as the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Thomas Robinson played his rookie season for the Sacramento Kings, then for the Houston Rockets after a trade. The Kansas alum played in just 19 games his rookie season, averaging just 4.5 points. The Kings wound up receiving Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, and Cole Aldrich, who all had mediocre seasons with the team. Patterson wound up being part of a trade that saw Rudy Gay join the Kings, however, so the move to trade Robinson may ultimately have helped the Kings very briefly in the short term. However, it certainly remains a wasted opportunity by the franchise.
15 Replacement: Andre Drummond
Drafted just a few spots below Thomas Robinson in the 2012 draft was Andre Drummond, the 6'11" center out of Connecticut. Drummond was selected ninth overall by the Detroit Pistons and has since proven himself to be a reliably dominant option for the Motor City team. Averaging a double-double in five straight seasons to go along with at least one block and steal per game every season, one can only wonder what the Sacramento Kings franchise would have looked like if Drummond had been selected instead of Thomas Robinson.
14 Regret: Jonny Flynn - Minnesota Timberwolves
Drafted as the sixth overall pick of the 2009 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jonny Flynn played in 81 games his rookie season, scoring 13.5 points and dishing out 4.4 assists per game. The guard showed promise at first, but after undergoing hip surgery the following season, he never bounced back. The guard from Syracuse played in just a handful of games in the 2011-12 season split between two teams before retiring. The Timberwolves certainly wish they could get this one back given the direction the team was headed at this point.
13 Replacement: Stephen Curry
Oh, what could have been. Drafted as the seventh overall pick, just behind Jonny Flynn, by the Golden State Warriors, the two-time NBA MVP has spent his entire nine-season career with the Warriors as he currently plays his tenth season in the league. Curry has broken countless records during his time with the team and helped to bring them three NBA championships. Had the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Curry, one could only wonder what direction the team would have gone with No. 30 playing the point and launching shots from deep.
12 Regret: Ekpe Udoh - Golden State Warriors
Drafted as the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Golden State Warriors, Ekpe Udoh played in 58 games his rookie season, one of the most of his career, where he averaged just 3.1 rebounds to go along with 4.1 points per game. Udoh played in even fewer games the next season, just 38 to be specific, before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a package deal that saw Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson traded to the Warriors. He played in more games the following season, but was never really able to find his stride, and has bounced around teams since then.
11 Replacement: Greg Monroe
Drafted just one spot below Ekpe Udoh was Greg Monroe. Monroe, a 6'11" center out of Georgetown, spent the first five seasons of his career with the Detroit Pistons, averaging nearly a double-double every single season, before posting 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in his final season with the team. Monroe proved to be an incredibly valuable asset for the team, and had the Golden State Warriors picked him over Ekpe Udoh, they certainly could have done a bit more to speed up the rebuilding process, while still filling the need for a big man.
10 Regret: Derrick Williams - Minnesota Timberwolves
Drafted as the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, Derrick Williams played just two seasons for the team before being traded early on in his third season. During his first two seasons with the team, the 6'8" power forward put up solid numbers for both a rookie and a sophomore in the league. Early in his third season, he wound up being traded for Luc Mbah a Moute. Williams bounced around from team to team, putting up average performances every season. The move marked a wasted opportunity for the Minnesota Timberwolves, given the potential selections they passed up to select Williams with the second overall pick that year.
9 Replacement: Tristan Thompson
Selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson has proven to be an extremely durable and reliable player for "The Land." In his rookie season, Thompson played 60 games, averaging 6.5 rebounds and 8.2 points per game. That changed his second season, however, as he began to nearly average a double-double, a feat he has kept up nearly his entire career. Had the Timberwolves drafted Thompson, they would have had a durable long-term big man to start their rebuild around before adding Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to the team in later years.
8 Regret: Yi Jianlian - Milwaukee Bucks
Drafted as the sixth overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2007, Yi Jianlian played in just 66 games his rookie season, averaging 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Ultimately, due to injuries preventing the 7'0" center from China from playing at his full potential, Yi was traded to the New Jersey Nets for Richard Jefferson. While Jefferson helped the team, had the Bucks not selected Yi, they certainly could have done more for the franchise.
7 Replacement: Joakim Noah
Drafted as the ninth overall pick in 2007, Joakim Noah was drafted just a couple spots behind Yi Jianlian. Noah, a 6'11" center out of Florida, possessed many physical similarities to Jianlian. Noah was drafted to the Chicago Bulls, where he played nine impressive seasons, which included an All-Star appearance. Noah became a go-to center for the Bulls franchise during his time with the team, before ultimately seeing his career decline due to injuries. Had the Milwaukee Bucks selected the gritty big man instead of Jianlian, one could only wonder how the late 2000s would have gone for the franchise.
6 Regret: Anthony Bennett - Cleveland Cavaliers
Drafted as the first overall pick of the 2013 draft, Anthony Bennett played in just 52 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging only 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. The 6'8" power forward was an attempt to back up Tristan Thompson at the power forward spot, and possibly someone who could play a key role for the Cavs in a year or two. However, a three-team trade saw Bennett sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves alongside Andrew Wiggins. In return, the Cavaliers received Kevin Love. The move certainly proved worthwhile for the Cavaliers, considering how Love turned out.
5 Replacement: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Selected as the fifteenth overall pick of the NBA draft in 2011, Giannis Antetokounmpo would have been the ideal draft-solution for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite being listed as just 6'9 at the time he was drafted, the now 23-year-old is currently listed at 6'11". An All-Star big man who possesses extremely impressive guard skills, Antetokounmpo would have been an option for the Cavaliers if they had been interested in having a player develop within a couple of seasons after being drafted. The move certainly would have paid off given how the "Greek Freak" is dominating for the Bucks in his sixth season in the league.
4 Regret: Hasheem Thabeet - Memphis Grizzlies
Drafted as the second overall pick in the 2009 draft, Hasheem Thabeet entered into the league as a highly-touted shot blocker. At 7'3", Thabeet was expected to make a significant contribution to the Grizzlies defensive efforts. However, over just 68 games played Thabeet averaged just 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 points-per-game. If there was one bright spot in Thabeet's stat line, it was the 1.3 blocks he averaged in limited playing time. Unfortunately, that wound up being the highest of his professional career. The Grizzlies wound up trading Thabeet to the Rockets for Shane Battier and Ish Smith. What an opportunity the Grizzlies missed.
3 Replacement: James Harden
The 2018 NBA MVP was selected as the third overall pick of the 2009 draft, just one spot after Thabeet. Harden was selected third in the draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he played the first three seasons of his career. Harden showed improved averages in every season with the team, in both rebounds, assists, and points-per-game. While the Grizzlies were looking for a big man, had they picked James Harden, they certainly could have seen a change in the franchise's direction had they selected Harden instead.
2 Regret: Greg Oden - Portland Trailblazers
Widely considered to be the biggest bust of the modern era, Greg Oden was selected as the first overall pick of the 2007 draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. The team used their pick on the 7'0" center out of Ohio State and passed up on several incredible opportunities to pick someone more reliable. Unfortunately, after playing in 61 games his rookie season that saw him average a solid 8.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game, Oden was injured, and played in just 21 games the following season before going on a multi-season hiatus thanks to a litany of injuries and off-court troubles. The 2013-14 season was Oden's last, as he played in 23 games for the Miami Heat, the last games of his professional NBA career.
1 Replacement: Kevin Durant
Oh, the potential what-if. Selected as the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, Kevin Durant could have had a very different career had the Portland Trail Blazers decided to select him with the first overall pick instead of Greg Oden. Durant was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics before the team relocated to Oklahoma City prior to the start of Durant's sophomore year on the team. He played nine seasons with the franchise, putting up incredible numbers and helping to lead the team to the Western Conference Finals multiple times before joining the Golden State Warriors prior to the start of the 2016 season. Had Durant joined the Trail Blazers, who knows what the landscape of the NBA would look like today.