I’m going to be very honest with you: most players who are selected during the boring two rounds of the NBA Draft never really pan out. Of course, we have our stars who fans follow and praise, but those dudes at the end of the bench who never play will pretty much do that their whole career or end up competing overseas or for some minor league team as another draft choice takes their spot on the pine. The NBA has become a very scripted league if you haven't noticed.
With that being said, obviously there are some amazing draft choices out there running up and down the court, but unlike the other major sports, there really isn’t that big of a surprise player who takes the league by storm picked in the latter part of the first or second round. If you’re the Philadelphia 76ers, that holds true for early selections as well. Too bad, so sad.
Then there are other teams like the Washington Wizards that also haven’t seemed to catch a break this century. That’s not true, we will talk about John Wall, but superstars can only do so much… they need role players. You would think that they would have caught on considering Ted Leonis owns both the Wizards and the Washington Capitals and the hockey team has certainly made the right moves over the year with their young stars. Sometimes they just don’t get everything right in Washington; I mean, look at Congress: there are definitely some draft duds there.
Successful franchises draft well. Washington seems to be getting closer to making the Wizards great again. Well, I guess they were never great per se.
15 BEST: SHELVIN MACK
I guess? I told you from the beginning that there is slim pickings with the best draft choices; especially considering we’re dealing with the Washington Wizards. In 2011, Shelvin Mack was drafted 34th overall by the Wizards. He was unlucky to be drafted during the lockout because teams had more time to evaluate his potential. Washington didn’t play Mack much and in 2012 he was part of the Summer League to up his game, but it turned out he was just on the stage for other teams to take notice. He was waived by the Wizards twice, but eventually found a landing spot in Atlanta, playing for the Hawks from 2013-2016, and now performs in Mormon country after being traded to the Utah Jazz this year. He’s developing which is great for him, and the Wizards technically gave him the chance. Being a second-round draft choice, he certainly has done well, but his performance in college at Butler probably helped.
14 WORST: BILL WALKER
On the other hand, sometimes your performance in college sets the bar way too high. Okay, Bill Walker was a second-round pick by the Washington Wizards so there was room for error and growth, but during his great tenure at Kansas State University the franchise hoped his play would have eventually transitioned into NBA talent. Washington took a big shot drafting Walker after the forward suffered yet another injury, but the mistake was soon made aware of. We’re talking really soon, like the same day. Walker was traded to the Boston Celtics for cash – it really puts a price tag on confidence, doesn’t it – and eventually his career went from NBA to Developmental League to playing ball in Venezuela. Out of all places, that may be the worst. Wait, it gets better – slightly – because he did once sign with the Croatian team Cedevita Zagreb. Who would have thought these countries had legitimate basketball leagues? Then again, maybe they don’t.
13 BEST: JARED JEFFRIES
Well, here’s another “I guess” pick for best draft choices since 2000. At least Jared Jeffries was a starter for the Washington Wizards. After he was drafted as a lottery-pick in 2002, things were rocky in year one as he tore his ACL. However, he bounced back and earned his playing time along with an option in 2005. After he left Washington he stayed in the league until late in the 2012-2013 season, and then went on to bigger and better things like being the host of a fishing show on the Outdoor Channel. Why, you may ask. I have no clue; it’s a strange career change to make, but he was born and raised in Indiana so that probably has something to do with it. He had a great career as a Hoosier and a steady stint in the NBA, but let’s be honest here, people, I think we all would rather know how great of a fisherman he is. Maybe basketball just got in the way of his true calling. We don’t know the guy.
12 WORST: JAVALE MCGEE
JaVale McGee isn’t a bad player, he’s just a tad sporadic. A promising pick for the Washington Wizards, the seven-footer was drafted 18th overall in 2008 and had a wishy-washy four years with the franchise. He constantly made bad decisions, but also was the first Wizards’ player to ever participate in the Slam Dunk competition. Those two things don’t necessarily balance out, but neither did his tenure in Washington. His ego was bigger than his game, he played a tad out of control, and he really didn’t meet the potential the Wizards had hoped. The team was trying to rebuild after the Gilbert Arenas incident (which one) – McGee was involved in one of them – and perhaps they believed that the center would be a good player to build a solid group around; especially since they had just drafted John Wall. The future was bright! However, for McGee, it was shining somewhere else as he was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2012.
11 BEST: JERIAN GRANT
Jerian Grant was with the Washington Wizards for a matter of minutes. So why is he on the best side of things? Be patient, I’ll tell you, geez. After the Wizards drafted Grant 19th overall in 2015, his rights were traded to the Atlanta Hawks then he ended up being a New York Knick before the night was over, and now he’s on the Chicago Bulls. Since that has really nothing to do with the Wizards now, we will move on. Washington received Kelly Oubre Jr. from all of this draft-day madness and the second-year player is starting to have an impact for the young core nucleus of the Wizards. He was a tad immature at the beginning, but after a great Summer League performance, he has become a consistent contributing member to the squad during this current season. So he may not have been drafted by Washington per se, but the Jerian Grant domino effect landed him with the Wizards at the end of the day.
10 WORST: NICK YOUNG
This guy. I remember when Nick Young was selected by the Washington Wizards in the first round of the 2007 draft because during his interview he mentioned how excited he was to play with Gilbert Arenas. Wow, that didn’t work out for anyone. He, along with the aforementioned JaVale McGee, was fined for getting involved in Arenas’ antics. Let’s also not forget the fact that he air-balled a layup by tossing the rock over the backboard during a breakaway. That sums up a lot right there. He was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers before eventually becoming Swaggy P of the Los Angeles Lakers. The most publicity he received so far as a member of the storied franchise is that he dated, got engaged, and then cheated on Iggy Azalea. Another musical connection is that Young’s cousin is Kendrick Lamar. Maybe Swaggy P should give up basketball and bask in the glory of his ex and cousin.
9 BEST: STEVE BLAKE
If you’re going to play basketball, why not cover the entire DMV area. Steve Blake attended the famed Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, played his college ball at the University of Maryland, and then was selected by the Washington Wizards in the second-round of the 2003 NBA Draft. Again, give second-round picks some slack. This could be another "college case" because Blake did win a National Championship with the Terrapins, but there was reason for that: he was a solid player, and has been his entire NBA career which remarkably chugged along until the end of the 2016 season. He may not have been a great contributor to the Wizards during his first two years in the league, but he certainly had an impact on the seven other teams he played for. It comes a time when it’s best to leave home and explore America, and Blake did exactly that – with the help of the Wizards letting him go.
8 WORST: ANDRAY BLATCHE
Andray Blatche was seven years a Washington Wizard, and was a great example of why people should go to college. Usually when a player comes out of High School and immediately declares for the NBA draft then they are assumed to be a very high selection. Some names to mention are Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett who all had okay careers from the looks of it – James is still going strong. Blatche’s name isn’t mentioned with that caliber of player because he was picked late in the second-round. If I was him, and my name kept dropping in the ranks that night, I probably would have started applying for college right then and there. Blatche did develop slowly which was promising, but was also involved in the Gilbert Arenas situation – the Wizards made a lot of money off fines in 2010. However, unlike the others, he had career numbers in 2011. He must have celebrated too much from his one good year because he was benched the following season for essentially being out of shape.
7 BEST: DEVIN HARRIS
The fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft was once again taken and given away by the Washington Wizards. It was planned from the beginning that Devin Harris would become a Dallas Maverick, but he was selected by the Wizards nonetheless. I know what you’re thinking, no matter what the sport it’s strange to see Washington and Dallas getting along. Harris has had a solid career so far, currently in his second stint with the Mavericks, and was an All-Star in 2009. I’m beginning to think the Wizards aren’t very good at this whole draft thing? Of course there wasn’t any room on the roster from a position standpoint for Harris because Gilbert Arenas was just taking off as a star – and then falling hard from all the way up there – but if we all knew what we did now then who knows where the franchise would be. My guess is probably right where they are at the moment.
6 WORST: JARVIS HAYES
Jarvis Hayes had a lot of potential. He was selected tenth overall in the 2003 draft by the Washington Wizards and was supposed to be Jerry Stackhouse’s backup and eventually his replacement one could only assume after being drafted so high. However, Hayes hit the rookie wall hard and never bounced back, and it wasn’t necessarily due to bad defense or a slew of missed shots, but injuries plagued him in his first season which led to his knee splitting open in his second season and then fracturing the same knee cap over and over until surgery was required during his third season. This post is not for the squeamish, that’s for sure. Talk about bad luck, and he was a good player. Perhaps Hayes being noted as a bust isn’t very fair because we all know none of us could do anything with a busted knee cap and we would complain about it for the rest of our lives, making it our excuse of why we can’t play a pickup game, or go golfing, or pick up the kids, or do the laundry, and so on.
5 BEST: OTTO PORTER
Otto Porter went to Georgetown University so the excitement was high when the Washington Wizards drafted him in 2013 as the third overall pick. The start of his career was full of injuries and inconsistency, but since then he’s certainly turning into a valuable asset. Twice the Wizards have exercised team options on the forward to keep him in Washington so that’s a good sign one would think. So far this year he’s dropped a couple 30-point games and his range has become deadly. I think the Wizards may finally be catching on by not trading away someone minutes after they are drafted and by not giving up on a player because they miss a shot. Plenty of people miss shots, I miss shots, you miss shots, the whole world misses shots. Could Ted Leonis be cooking up something on the basketball court and not just the hockey rink now? With Porter and the two guys coming up on this list, they may just be one piece of the puzzle away… as long as some greedy franchise doesn’t steal them to add to their boring super team.
4 WORST: EUROPEANS
Take your pick from overseas. Maybe Tomas Satoransky will make an impact as the season goes on because he’s certainly progressing at the moment, but the rest of the Europeans who were drafted by the Washington Wizards have all been disappointments. Now, I don’t want to start a war or anything, but when it comes to Europeans playing basketball, it just doesn't work out. Here are the names you need to know and then forget – we’ll start from the early 2000s and work our way up to the recent regrets: Juan Carlos Navarro, Peter John Ramos, Vladimir Veremeenko, Oleksiy Pecherov, Nemanja Bjelica, and Jan Vesely – especially Vesely because everyone was excited when he made out with his hot wife on draft day after being selected. Wizards fans would have loved to have her in the stands every game.
3 BEST: BRADLEY BEAL
The Washington Wizards selected Bradley Beal with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. I know what you’re thinking, the Wizards receive an awful lot of high slots to make their choices. Sometimes you have to go through some down years to reach your goals. For Washington, they’re late bloomers, it’s a process, kind of like Millennials. Beal is now a part of the tandem that makes up one of the best backcourts in the NBA. He has amazing range and can change a game in an instant just like his partner-in-crime, John Wall. The only scary thing for Wizards’ fans is that he does seem to get banged up a little too much, not yet playing an entire season for the team. On another interesting rapper note (see Nick Young), Nelly apparently used to walk Beal to school in Missouri which is interesting… especially if they actually made it to school and not to the recording studio instead. It worked out for both.
2 WORST: KWAME BROWN
Oh boy, here we go, the poster child for why kids should go to college no matter how great they think they are. Kwame Brown was the first overall pick in 2001 by the Washington Wizards, giving hope on draft day for the franchise that the next Kevin Garnett was ready to take the league by storm. The 21st century was off to a great start… until about the first game of Brown’s career. He was a diva, immature, and couldn’t produce. Strangely, it was Michael Jordan – the team president at that time – who drafted Brown. I guess you can be amazing at playing basketball, but not really great on the business end of things. Also, apparently Brown told coach Doug Collins, “If you draft me, you’ll never regret it.” Let’s see the chain of events that happened after that statement: the Wizards are still not great, Doug Collins doesn’t coach in the league anymore, Michael Jordan runs another sub-par franchise in Charlotte, and Brown had a disappointing career full of… well, regrets.
1 BEST: JOHN WALL
In a league of routine, it’s not uncommon for certain players to be overlooked for their accomplishments. For example, why is Russell Westbrook not starting for the West All-Stars? The same goes for Isaiah Thomas and this guy named John Wall in the East. Fans seem to vote for names and not necessarily play most of the time. I will throw this out to you all as well: Is John Wall an MVP candidate this year? I certainly think so. The Washington Wizards started off bad in 2016, but they are rolling now because of his play, and that’s how it’s been since he came to Washington as the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. The Kentucky standout has done nothing but impress since his rookie year and continues to get better and better each season. Unfortunately, teams love to load their roster with All-Stars to assure victory and completely unbalance the NBA (Cavs and Warriors, cough cough), making it pretty boring in the process, but the Wizards’ best draft pick since 2000 is ready to change the complexion of a predictable league.