NBA Draft 2012: The Worst Draft Misses of the Last Decade

Scott Cournoyer@MDC_CournoyerContributor IIIJune 22, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: The Worst Draft Misses of the Last Decade

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    Ever wonder what would have happened if Carmelo Anthony went to Detroit? How about Chris Paul in Atlanta? Rajon Rondo with Golden State?

    The NBA draft can change the course of a franchise. The right pick can propel a team to new heights, and the wrong pick can send a team spiraling downhill into irrelevancy.  

    Here are 10 of the worst draft misses of the last decade.

    Enjoy the show!

10. 2003: New York Knicks Select Mike Sweetney

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    With a New York Knicks' backcourt of Stephon Marbury and Allen Houston, two playmakers who could score night in and night out heading into summer of 2003, the temptation was too great for the Knicks to pass up on taking Georgetown power forward Michael Sweetney in that June's draft.

    New York ended up selecting Sweetney with the ninth overall pick, hoping to get a praised big man—by coaches and scouts alike—who could play his offensive game around the rim on a consistent basis, ultimately allowing Marbury and Houston to run the show.

    Just one problem: The dynamic offense never came to fruition, and ultimately limited Sweetney's first two years with the team.

    Houston sat 32 games due to knee injuries during 2003-04. Marbury didn't technically arrive home to his native-New York until halfway through the regular season when the Knicks acquired him in a midseason deal involving the Pheonix Suns that January. 

    After Houston officially retired from basketball in 2005, Sweeteny jumped ship and landed in Chicago, signing a two-year deal with the Bulls. His weight problem—something that limited him for years—became unsustainable for the team to keep him beyond '07. He has since played for various teams outside the NBA. He's currently playing for the Vaqueros de Bayamon.  

    In a year loaded with talent, the Knicks found one of the few lottery guys that didn't turn out to be great.

9. 2006: Golden State Warriors Selected Patrick O'Bryant (Over Rajon Rondo)

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    In what could be argued as the worst draft class ever, the Golden State Warriors' selected Patrick O'Bryant with the ninth overall pick in 2006.

    O'Bryant, a seven-footer out of Bradley, was highly touted as an athletic big man who could work well around the rim. O'Bryant was supposed to develop into a true center who would have various moves to elude defenders. 

    Sadly, in September 2006, O'Bryant was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot. He missed the first six weeks of the season and was used in situational spots throughout the entire 2006-07 campaign while he rehabbed back. 

    O'Bryant bounced around the NBA for a few years, went to play in China and eventually returned back to the U.S. He is now in Puerto Rico playing with the Indios de Mayaguez.

    Too bad that the draft in '06 didn't produce much talent...except just one good player: Rajon Rondo. What's worse is that the Warriors could have had him!

8. 2005: Atlanta Hawks Select Marvin Williams (Over Chris Paul, Deron Williams)

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    After helping North Carolina capture a national championship in 2004-05, Marvin Williams cashed in all of his chips when he opted to enter the draft in '05, having only played one full college season.

    Although Williams has (questionably) attained a small portion of tangible success in the league in his seven seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Williams has certainty failed to live up to the status as a No. 2 pick. His best year came in 2007-08 when he average 14.8 PPG playing 34.6 minutes per contest.

    Williams failed to average more that 15 PPG in the league, even though he built a pedigree in college and received high praise from NBA scouts.  

    What's worse is the fact that stars like Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum were all still on the board at the time for Atlanta to take.  

    It may have been difficult to sell the Hawks on any other player besides Williams, but they simply missed on guys who could have changed the franchise forever. 

7. 2008: Milwaukee Bucks Select Joe Alexander (Over Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez)

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    The 2008 draft featured an abundance of big men.

    Unfortunately for the Milwaukee Bucks, who selected West Virginia's Joe Alexander with the eighth overall pick, they made the wrong selection.

    There's not much to say about Alexander except he didn't develop as a pro and averaged a career 4.2 PPG and 1.8 RPG. He played himself in and out of the league between 2008 and 2010, but hasn't been back in the league since. 

    Here are some names associated with that draft who were all still on the board at the time: Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and JaVale McGee.

6. 2007: Milwaukee Bucks Select Yi Jianlian

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    The Milwaukee Bucks thought they were getting a potentially dominant center when they drafted Yi Jianlian with the sixth overall pick in 2007.

    Jianlian turned out to be just another letdown. 

    The Chinese player lasted only one season in Milwaukee, averaging 8.6 PPG. He has since played a season for the Nets, Wizards and, more recently, Mavericks.

    Jianlian never fully developed into a polished NBA player.  

5. 2002: Chicago Bulls Select Jay Williams

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    When the Chicago Bulls selected Dukes' Jay William with the No. 2 pick in the 2002 draft, the entire organization thought they were getting a star.

    Sadly, not all promising players perform well in the NBA.   

    In his first full season, Williams showed inconsistencies in his game but also glimpses of a superstar. Unfortunately, Williams got into a motorcycle accident in June 2003, tore several ligaments (including his ACL) and never went back to the Windy City.

    Williams returned to basketball in 2006 after the New Jersey Nets offered him a non-guaranteed contract. He was waived one month into his deal and has been out of the NBA ever since. Currently, he is an NBA analyst for ESPN.

    It's not totally fair to blame the Bulls for what happened to Williams. However, he was never able to help the team, and remains a big miss for the franchise.

4. 2006: Charlotte Bobcats Select Adam Morrison (Over Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay)

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    As a dynamite player at Gonzaga during the 2005-06 season, Adam Morrison was the talk of the entire country.

    His bull-headed style of play combined with a fiery, evident passion had fans everywhere raving about his potential. The Charlotte Bobcats believed that Morrison could fit into their system. He was selected with the No. 3 pick in the '06 draft.

    Sadly, Morrison never panned out in Charlotte. Although he average double figures in scoring (11.8 PPG) during his rookie season in 2006-07, he had a substantial drop in his development and was never quite able to put it all together.

    Morrison bounced around and found himself with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2009-10 season. He hasn't played in a pro game since.

    Two significant players that were selected after Morrison in that year's class were Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay.

    Roy helped the Portland Trail Blazers advance to the playoffs as recently as two seasons ago—before retiring with chronic knee pains. Gay has helped make the Memphis Grizzlies one of the most complete teams the NBA has to offer.

    It's a mix what he didn't become and how was still available that makes Morrison one of the worst picks in the last decade.

3. 2009: Memphis Grizzlies Select Hasheem Thabeet (Over Harden, Tyreke Evans)

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    No one may have been more hyped coming out of the 2009 draft than Connecticut's Hasheem Thabeet.

    The Memphis Grizzlies bought into it, and they selected him with the No. 2 pick.  

    Thabeet, who is listed at 7'3", averaged 13.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG and blocked more than four shots per contest in 2008-09 while playing for the Huskies. His size and defensive abilities had scouts and NBA execs thinking he could be a dominant center in the league for years.

    Thabeet was never able to develop a low-post game and avoided physicality in the paint. He was eventually sent down to the NBA's D-League to work on his game, but he has failed to produce the talent level Memphis paid for.

    The real issue here is who was still on the board when Memphis selected Thabeet.

    James Harden went on to be selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder and shined. Tyreke Evans continues to develop with the Sacramento Kings, and Ricky Rubio had the Minnesota Timberwolves thinking playoffs before he tore his ACL in March.

    This is another case of who was still on the board at the time when Memphis selected Thabeet.

2. 2003: Detroit Pistons Select Darko Milicic (Over Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade)

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    It’s a shame that the basketball world didn’t get to see Carmelo Anthony blossom under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.

    Sadly, instead of opting for Anthony, the Detroit Pistons selected seven-footer Darko Milicic with the second overall pick.

    Milicic, a Serbian that had scouts raving about his size and speed, was highly touted as a youngster with tons of potential to tap into. 

    Milicic never panned out. Detroit was a team that was already stacked and had won the 2003 NBA Finals over the Los Angeles Lakers. If Milicic ever became more than a role player (which he barely was), who knows how many rings the Pistons could have won.  

    What hurt even more was that Detroit missed on two coveted players that eventually transformed themselves into stars in Anthony (selected by the Denver Nuggets) and Dwayne Wade (selected by the Miami Heat).

    Both Anthony and Wade went on to help their respective franchises climb to the top of the basketball world.

1. 2007: Portland Trail Blazers Select Greg Oden (Over Kevin Durant)

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    Whether it’s fair or not, Greg Oden will forever be tied with Kevin Durant.

    The Portland Trail Blazers' streak of bad No. 1 selections continued when it took the Ohio State center with the first overall pick in 2007.

    Oden showed up in Columbus, Ohio, already a household name and continued his dominance at the college level. During his one season with the Buckeyes (2006-07), Oden averaged 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and more than three blocked shots per contest.

    His counterpart, Kevin Durant, flourished as well during his one college campaign with the Texas Longhorns. He was named the 2007 Naismith College Player of the Year while averaging a double-double (25.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG).

    Going into the 2007 draft, Oden and Durant were pitted against each other in countless conversations on who Portland should take first.

    Scouts suggested that Durant had a scorer's mentality and could put one in the bucket at any time. Oden, however, was seen as the more dominant all-around player who could be a defensive force by blocking shots and filling lanes. 

    It was a tough choice, but the Trail Blazers settled on Oden, thinking he was too good to pass up.

    Unfortunately, Oden’s knees failed. He played only 82 games over a five-season span in Portland, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

    Portland cut him during the regular season, and he has publicly stated that he plans to sit out the entire 2012-13 campaign to rehab.

    What happened with Durant? Other than reaching the NBA Finals with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season, he has racked up three scoring titles, evolved into a superstar and transformed OKC into one of the “elite” franchises in the NBA...and he's just 23. 

    At 24, Oden could still land on another NBA team and flourish, but at this point, it’s hard to tell where his career will go. Portland missed the boat again.

    Only time will tell if the franchise can find that superstar that has eluded them all these years.