Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NBA Draft Busts

So as we all know the NBA draft is coming up and on all the sports websites are the obligatory Mock Drafts, stories about Len Bias, and Lists of Busts. I was to young to feel the effects of the Bias OD but I always wonder why he is not listed as a draft bust he passed away before he ever played a game? I will leave it at that to try to avoid any trouble I may cause by expounding on that thought, anyway here is my personal list of Draft Busts from my 20 years of being a Basketball fan.

Joe Smith - 1st overall selection by the Golden State Warriors in 1995

Notables picked after him: Rasheed Wallace(#4), Kevin Garnett(#5),Michael Finley(#21)

Poor Joe Smith. He started strong, and is still a starter in the NBA but never really lived up to expectations. Coming out of University of Maryland, he managed to make the all rookie team and came in second n the voting for the rookie of the year. Since then he has played for 8 teams, 9 if you count both of his turns with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is probably best known for being tampered with back in 2000 when Kevin McHale convinced him to sign below market value with a promise of a big contract. The Team lost 3 first round picks, McHale was suspended for a year and they were fined 3.5 Million. Smith finished this past season with Cavs, and on his career has made $53,767,560, and averaged 15.2 points a games with 8.7 rebounds.

Michael Olowokandi - 1st overall selection by the LA Clippers in 1998

Notables picked after him: Paul Pierce(#10), Mike Bibby(#2), Dirk Nowitzki(#9)

I remember when his name started to be floated around back in 1998, and all I could say was who? A native of Nigeria, he grew up in London and didn't play serious Basketball until he was 17 years old, he had Bust written all over him. He lasted a total of 366 games where he averaged 9.5 points and 7.7 rebounds. He ended up playing for three teams in his short career including last year when he played for my beloved Celtics where he scored 40 points in 24 games. I am assuming that he has retired as I can't seem to find him anywhere, probably spending the $37,906,690 he made over the course of his career.

Jonathan Bender - 5th overall selection by the Indiana Pacers in 1999

Notables picked after him: Richard Hamilton(#7), Shawn Marion(#9), Manu Ginobli(#57)

Bender was acquired by the pacers in a draft day trade with Toronto for Antonio Davis, that was the highlight of his basketball career. He was drafted straight out of High school and lasted 7 seasons in the NBA before he was forced into retirement due to a knee injury and his 5.6 points per a game average. He still managed to make $29,748,785 playing for the Pacers.

Kwame Brown - 1st overall selection by the Washington Wizards in 2001

Notables picked after him: Pau Gasol(#3), Joe Johnson(#10), Tony Parker(#28), Gilbert Arenas(#31)

What was Michael Jordan thinking, I know he is the most famous athlete in the world but he doesn't know how to manage a team when you pick Kwame Brown with your number one pick. Kwame on the other hand maybe the stupidest person on the face of the planet. After three years in Washington he rejected a 5 year 30 million dollar contract only to play like crap later in the season. The best Kwame moment is probably back in 2005 when during the playoffs he sat out a game with a stomach ailment only to be spotted at a Chinese food restaurant later that night. He has also had three run ins with the law, but the $42,148,653 he has made helped keep him out of trouble, his 7.5 points a game though got him in trouble with Kobe and led to him being traded to Memphis.

Jay Williams - 2nd overall selection by the Chicago Bulls in 2002

Notables picked after him: Amare Stoudemire(#7), Caron Butler(#10), Carlos Boozer(#34)

I loved Jay Williams when he was in college, I had no real college team of my own and I thought that he would be a great player for years to come. Then in 2003 while riding a motorcycle severed a main nerve in his leg, fractured his pelvis, and tore three ligaments in his left knee. He tried to return in 2006 and was signed by the Nets, ended up getting released, and tried one last time with the NBDL before being released from there as well in December of 2006. He still managed to make $8,711,511 and last I saw him he was doing sign like work for CBS college coverage.

Dajuan Wagner - 6th overall selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2002

Notables picked after him: Amare Stoudemire(#7), Caron Butler(#10), Carlos Boozer(#34)

Another player from the 2002 draft, I remember reading an article in SI about him back before he went to college at Memphis, I remember thinking he was an Ass. In some shady circumstances he played at the University of Maryland after his Dad was hired as a coach. He played for Cleveland and Golden State in his time in the NBA and averaged 9.4 points and never lived up to the hype. He did manage to make $8,185,051 during his NBA Career and is now playing for the Polish team Prokon Trefl Spopot.

Darko Milicic - 2nd overall selection by the Detroit Pistons in 2003

Notables picked after him: Carmelo Anthony(#3), Chris Bosh(#4), Dwayne Wade(#5)

Wow this guy was nothing but a work out wonder, he some how managed to squeeze his way into a Top 5 that many would argue is one of the best draft classed in years. He may have been hurt by being drafter by Detroit where he was buried on the Bench, but since he was traded to Orlando he hasn't exactly broken out. He is only 21 years old and who knows but he seems to be headed towards a life of being a mediocre NBA players. Over the last 4 years he has made $23,315,062 which probably makes him a king in his home in Serbia.

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