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The Worst Top 5 Lottery Picks

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by emjohn, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. emjohn

    emjohn Contributing Member

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    Just some summer boredom fun. Sticking to the Top 5 lottery picks, since there's little excuse to fumble a pick that high. Giving (some) mercy on picks that were unexpectedly cut short by major injury and (some) mercy on guys that were picked too high but were still okay. If the player was at #5, I only nabbed him if he completely busted out. Number ones had the bar set a little higher. Also, I'm bearing in mind that there was ALWAYS someone else that could have been drafted - you could ding 80% of draft picks for that each and every year. So there needed to be a whopping difference. In short, if you were a halfway decent starter, I gave you a pass.

    My List:
    1984
    Sam Bowie (POR, 2) - throw out the Jordan thing and he was still an awful pick. Perkins, Barkley, Kevin Willis, and Otis Thorpe were all there and lights out better. He was weak sauce on the boards (7.5 career) and only good for 15 ppg when "healthy."

    1985:
    Benoit Benjamin (LAC, 3) - pure laziness. This was a bad year to be desperate for a center, since he was the fat-laden cream of the crop. Uncoachable underachiever.

    1986 - I need to preface this by mentioning this was up there with the all time draft class stinkers. There was extremely little to choose from. Oddly, there were just about as many good players (Mark Price, Jeff Hornacek, Dennis Rodman, etc) in the 2nd round as there were in the first. I'm passing on Len Bias because of his death, which may or not be fair.
    Chris Washburn (GSW, 3) - complete junkie burnout and the worst top 3 pick ever in the lottery (all time?) unless you count Len Bias.

    1987:
    Dennis Hopson (NJN, 3) - Out of the league in 5 years. And Scottie Pippen came two picks later playing the same position.

    1988:
    Charles Smith and Chris Morris weren't much to brag about, but they were able to play at a starter's level for a decent while and this was not a deep draft. I grant them amnesty.

    1989:
    Pervis Ellison (SAC, 1) - the first worst #1 pick. To his credit, he did have a nice season and a half in Washington, but averaging 10+7, 24 mpg, and playing half of your career off the bench? Vlade Divac was there (though Euro's were still a major gamble/unknown in this era).

    1990:
    Derrick Coleman would be the guy here, but it's easy to forget he was a 20-10 stud (if a headcase) all 5 years he was in Jersey. And it's hard not to be a little amused by a guy who once gave his headcoach a blank check at the start of the season in advance of all the fines he'd receive for violating team rules. Professional Pride, meet DC.

    1991:
    I'm torn about putting Billy Owens here. He was a total flop as a Don Nelson smallball positionless big man, and his career went in the toilet the second the numbers-inflating Warriors gave up on him. On top of that he was a rookie contract holdout. Saving grace? The Kings took him and turned him into Mitch Richmond after Owens held out.

    1992:
    Hard to knock anyone here. LaPhonso Ellis was worthwhile when he was on the court.

    1993:
    Shawn Bradley is the closest, but he was passable as a starting center most of his career. Luther Wright and Acie Earl were your alternatives at center.

    1994:
    Donyell Marshall was the only non-star in this top 5, but he was still a solid player over his career and there wasn't a lot of studs behind him on the board either.

    1995:
    On the other hand, we have...
    Joe Smith (GSW, 1) - Maybe he had a comparably solid career, but Joe Smith was THE #1 pick, and there were several All Star studs at his exact same position in this draft class. McDyess, Rasheed, and KG....did the Warriors even hold predraft workouts???

    1996: not a soul to pick on

    1997:
    Antonio Daniels and Tony Battie may be weak sauce, but this was another shallow draft and they both managed to stick in the league as rotation players.

    1998:
    Kandi Man (LAC, 1) - Again, #1 picks don't get as much grace. Maybe he was the best in a draft class of backup centers, but the Clippers can't use the Drexler excuse for Vince Carter when they were starting Eric Piakowski at the 2 and Lamond Murray at the 3.

    1999:
    Jonathon Bender (Tor-->IND, 5) - all potential, 5 ppg and 34 games per season.

    2000:
    Marcus Fizer (4, CHI) - Stro Swift may be all kinds of underachievement, but he's still stuck around the league as an 8-7 guy. Fizer couldn't stick to the roster of the expansion Bobcats.

    2001: The year of the busts.
    Kwame Brown (WAS, 1) - We all know his story.
    Eddy Curry almost makes the list, dodges it by a hair. He's the second coming of Derrick Coleman, only without a single 20-10 season to defend him with.

    2002:
    Can't Miss Jay Williams misses (Chi, 2). It seems mean to put him on the list, because the accident robbed him of his chance. Except! He was a trainwreck his entire rookie year, managing to become the first player I know of to get slapped onto the IL for "acne-stress." When you can't handle the point better than Jamal Crawford, you're struggling.
    Nikolov Tskitishivilli (Den, 5) - Jay Williams isn't enough to hide behind. This was an atrocious pick and a posterchild of the misguided era of teams continuing to throw drafts away picking obscure high schoolers and Euros that had (potential! so much potential!) a 9% success rate. Amare, Boozer, and Nene Hilario were available at the same position.

    2003:
    DARKO (Det, 2) - I'll half defend this pick since I agreed that a mega (ego) star like Carmelo probably wasn't a good fit for the all for one one for all team-centric Pistons. But when you had Bosh and Wade there as well, it pops a hole in the defense - they had choices. Darko proved to be such an entitled brat when he arrived, I wonder if they really did their homework on him. As I recall, there were predraft reports of his teammates overseas not being particularly fond of him.

    2004: I can't really fault any of these picks. Shaun Livingston really was sensational when he was on the court, and you can't see it coming when a player has landmines stuffed into his knee.

    2005:
    Marvin Williams (ATL, 2) - He's almost putting up fair numbers for an NBA forward, but you can't give this pick a pass when the Hawks had NO ONE at the point and two HOF caliber points were available. You have exceedingly rare chances to draft franchise point guards and centers, and the Hawks decided to decline that opportunity to pick a forward that wasn't starting for his college team but "had potential."
    I'm not quite ready to call it, but Bogut (1) isn't far from making this list. His career is definitely looking similar to Joe Smith and Olowokandi at this point (12 and 9 from a #1 pick center).

    2006:
    Andrea Bargnani (TOR, 1) - The Raptors made a directional change preceeding this pick, stung by constant American star defections back to the US. They decided to get away from that by going global. They committed a cardinal sin by letting that philosophy supersede common sense (take the best player in the draft) with the top pick. Had they picked him up by trading down, it would have been more forgivable - but reportedly there was little trade interest at the time. There's still time for him to find himself in the NBA.
    Adam Morrison (Cha, 3) - Michael Jordan continues to blow it with draft decisions. The Bobcats still have yet to find a swingman scoring star and they wiffed thinking Morrison could be it. This wasn't a deep draft, but Roy and Gay were perfect fits and Morrison's game was never going to translate.

    I'm going to consider 2007 and on too soon to call, though Greg Oden and Mike Conley are in the crosshairs.
     
    #1 emjohn, Jul 7, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
    1 person likes this.
  2. adoo

    adoo Member

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    By far LaRue Martin was the worst #1 overall pick of all time.

    He was taken first overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1972, drafted ahead of future Hall of Famers Bob McAdoo and Julius Erving.

    While Ellison, Kandi Man, Joe Smith were flops, at least, they were good enough to last in the NBA longer than their rookie contract. they all got 2nd or more contracts.

    Martin was so bad that no one in the NBA pick him up, not even for the league minimum, once his rookie contract expired.
     
  3. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Your Tweety Bird dance just cost us a run

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    nice read evan.. read like a solid article/legit blog entry.

    but i disagree on a couple:

    Marvin Williams. He's developed into a legit starter on maybe 75% of teams imo. Didn't count it out, so maybe I'm off on the #, but basically I think he should be a starter...great shooter inside the arc, has improved his game every single year, and is a good tweener for defending 2/3/4 positions at times. And I think he gets a pass as much as any of the other guys on your list who were not #1 overall. I realize your argument is mostly based on Paul/Deron, but I think he's good enough that he doesn't fall into the category that the rest of your article does.

    Andrea Bargnani. He's still young, and he has shown flashes the last 2 years. I think he will get it and be a productive outside shooting big man for a long time. It's questionable as to whether he'll be a legit #1 pick or more of a Joe Smith, but I think he deserves more time--esp. given that he was a young draftee AND an international AND a big man (all 3 things requiring longer adjustment)
     
  4. roswell raygun

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    It's interesting that the Blazers made the worst draft decision of the 1970s (Martin as #1) and the 1980s (Bowie over Jordan). And if Greg Oden and Kevin Durant continue on their current career paths, they may have made the worst of this decade as well.
     
  5. rhino17

    rhino17 Member

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    Kevin Durant? How so?
     
  6. rhino17

    rhino17 Member

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    nm, i did not read your full post :)
     
  7. foodworld

    foodworld Member

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    <quote>Joe Smith (GSW, 1) - Maybe he had a comparably solid career, but Joe Smith was THE #1 pick, and there were several All Star studs at his exact same position in this draft class. McDyess, Rasheed, and KG....did the Warriors even hold predraft workouts???</quote>

    Yes--and the lead scout recommended to Dave Twardzik, then-GM and current GM of the Magic, drafting KG. Twardzik refused, thinking that Sprewell and Joe Smith could be the next Jordan-Pippen combo.
     
  8. jevon3012

    jevon3012 Member

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    Sam Bowie was a great player and they already had Drexler. Jordan being on the same team as Drexler would have ruined his career and the person we know as the greatest of all time wouldn't have been.
     
  9. TheGreat

    TheGreat Member

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    Add Yao Ming.
     
  10. jevon3012

    jevon3012 Member

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    You mean the guy who almost averages 20/10 for his career but can't help that he has 310 pounds over his feet? Get real kid
     
  11. TheGreat

    TheGreat Member

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    Hes not a BIG BUST. But hes still a bust. He has a tremendous skill set but can never use it. He can easily average 30 points per game.
     
  12. Air Langhi

    Air Langhi Contributing Member

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    We got 6 good years out of him. He could have been Jwilliams.

    I thinking putting Jwill on this list is wrong. You can't judge a player on just one year at the point guard position. I mean deron williams didn't have a great rookie year
     
  13. Nuggets4

    Nuggets4 Contributing Member

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    "Sk*ta" is considered an obscenity in the N4 household.
     
  14. FishBulb913

    FishBulb913 Contributing Member

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    If Derrick Coleman belongs on the list then so does Yao. Bring up the difference in attitudes all you want, but look at the numbers, Coleman has the more impressive career.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/c/colemde01.html
     
  15. FishBulb913

    FishBulb913 Contributing Member

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    Well when I saw the title, I was thinking he made this list just from the "lottery" era, which would be starting in 1985.

    But Sam Bowie is on the list (1984) it's hard to resist putting him on a bust list though.
     
  16. HeyDude

    HeyDude Contributing Member

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    If you feel he should've avg 30 pts per game (he actually got to 25 one year), then you can say that he has underachieved. But saying that Yao is a bust is going a little overboard dont you think?
     
  17. TheGreat

    TheGreat Member

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    Well, if this surgery puts him out for his career, don't you think he was a BUST for a 1st overall pick. I know hes had really good seasons but the INJURIES are what have made him a bust. I still don't think he will last after the age of 32 or 33 but if he can last until there and end up still being productive, I will not think hes a bust.
     
  18. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    I don't understand how anyone doesn't include Shawn Bradley as perhaps the worst #1 pick in the history of the game.
     
  19. FishBulb913

    FishBulb913 Contributing Member

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    Probably because he was the #2 pick.
     
  20. FishBulb913

    FishBulb913 Contributing Member

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    On a somewhat unrelated note, last summer I saw a game with Sam Bowie when he was in college on ESPN classic i think it was.

    And I can understand why the Blazers took a chance on him, the guy looked like he was going to be Kevin Garnett 10 years before Garnett got a chance to lol. Still, even if he did live up to that potential you would rather have MJ.
     

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