2010 NBA Draft: A Look Back at the Worst Draft in NBA History
As the final minutes of the Lakers’ Game Six rout over the Celtics played out Tuesday night, Adam Morrison sat on the bench in an ugly suit looking ugly and disinterested. D.J. Mbenga was going to get some minutes in garbage time, but Morrison wasn’t.
Behold one of the biggest busts in NBA history.
The 2010 NBA Finals has provided a showcase of sorts for what is arguably the worst draft in NBA history.
The 2006 NBA Draft produced five players who are participating in the finals this year. It also featured two kinds of international chocolate, an impressive array of overrated college players, and a wealth of downright puzzling selections.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and return to that fateful day: June 28, 2006.
No. 1 Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani, F, Italy
The Raptors nabbed the next Dirk Nowitzki—or so they thought. Given the lack of talent in the draft and the nature of Toronto, widely considered to be an international city of sorts, the pick actually made sense. Bargnani has shown the ability to score and even occasional flashes of rebounding and defense. Not good a pick, but not horrible pick either.
No. 2 Chicago Bulls (Traded to New York then Portland): LaMarcus Aldridge, F, Texas
The Bulls finally had a low-post scorer; for a few minutes at least. At the time, the Aldridge selection seemed like a bit of a reach. He was still somewhat of an unknown commodity after battling injuries during his two years at Texas. He has battled injuries and health issues throughout his NBA career but has certainly produced when on the court.
No. 3 Charlotte Bobcats: Adam Morrison, G/F, Gonzaga
Michael Jordan certainly has an eye for talent. MJ made Morrison the face of the franchise by nabbing him No. 3 overall. He got plenty of minutes as a rookie and averaged 11.8 points on 37 percent shooting. Things went downhill quickly after that for a variety of reasons, including a knee injury and a general lack of talent and athletic ability. Needless to say, Morrison won’t be part of the free agent frenzy of 2010. Neither will Kwame Brown.
No. 4 Portland Trailblazers (Traded to Chicago): Tyrus Thomas, F, LSU
A strong performance in the NCAA Tournament vaulted Thomas into the national spotlight and up the draft board. Four years later, Thomas has shown flashes but has also caught the NBA knucklehead disease. Having Larry Hughes as a teammate clearly isn’t good for anybody.
Aside from being able to jump out of the gym, Thomas is remarkably uncoordinated and has no touch on the offensive end. The Blazers had a good start to the draft thanks to a trade that sent Thomas to Chicago and a shooting guard who was still on the board—somehow.
No. 5 Atlanta Hawks: Shelden Williams, F, Duke
A backcourt of Chris Paul and Brandon Roy would have probably been enough to fill the seats in Phillips Arena. Instead, a frontcourt of Marvin and Shelden Williams proved to be an epic fail.
After a strong college career, the Landlord quickly fell on hard times in the NBA. Still, he has a chance to win an NBA title on Thursday with the Celtics and is married to Candace Parker—it could be worse.
No. 6 Minnesota Timberwolves (Traded to Portland): Brandon Roy, G, Washington
In all fairness to the NBA teams that passed on Roy, not many experts thought he would be as good as he is. At No. 6, he is arguably the best player to come out of the draft and at the time was a certainly a better prospect than Shelden Williams. If he can stay healthy, Roy should have an outstanding NBA career and make and handful of All-NBA teams.
No. 7 Boston Celtics (Traded to Portland then Minnesota): Randy Foye, G, Villanova
Foye had a nice career at Villanova and became a lottery pick. A combo guard who can’t run a team or defend bigger players, he is a career 41 percent shooter. At least he was better than Rashad McCants. He won’t be better than Brandon Roy.
No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies: Rudy Gay, F, UConn
Everyone could see Gay’s talent and potential, but his attitude and lack of effort during his college career caused him to slip. He has battled those issues at times throughout his career in Memphis, but put together a strong 2009-2010. Gay is about to translate that consistency into a huge contract.
No. 9 Golden State Warriors: Patrick O’ Bryant, C, Bradley
No wonder the Warriors hate drafting big men. O’Bryant dominated the Missouri Valley thanks to a huge height advantage over almost all opponents and tricked scouts into believing he could make an impact in the NBA. His career numbers of 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds say otherwise.
No. 10 Seattle Supersonics: Mouhamed Sene, C, Senegal
The Sonics had three-year obsession with drafting bad big men. Johan Petro, Robert Swift, and Sene spent most of their time on the injured list. Lauded as a defensive stopper, Sene will fight just to make NBA rosters for years to come.
No. 11 Orlando Magic: J.J. Redick, G, Duke
The media spent much of the 2005-2006 College Basketball season arguing about who was a better college player, Redick or Adam Morrison. There was little argument over who would have the better pro career.
At the time, Orlando was chastised for selecting Redick at No. 11. It took a couple of seasons, but Redick has justified the selection, especially considering the cesspool that is the 2006 draft.
No 12. New Orleans Hornets: Hilton Armstrong, F/C, UConn
After spending much of his career backing up Emeka Okefor, Armstrong’s shot-blocking ability and potential made him a lottery pick. He lacks the size to play effectively on the inside and will bounce around the NBA without having much of an impact.
NBA teams thinking about making Daniel Orton a lottery pick in the 2010 draft should take note.
No. 13. Philadelphia 76ers (Traded to Chicago): Thabo Sefolosha, G, Switzerland
The jury is still out on this pick. Sefolosha had size, athletic ability, and potential. Although he still can’t shoot or handle the ball, he has become one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA.
It remains to be seen if he can be a starting shooting guard on a contending team, but there is certainly a niche for his skills.
No. 14 Utah Jazz: Ronnie Brewer, G, Utah
Brewer suffered a broken arm as a child, causing his right elbow to fly out wildly when he shoots. This turned some NBA teams off and caused him to slip a bit in the draft.
A productive college career suggested he would make it in the NBA, and he has. No. 14 might even be a bit low for Brewer—that’s how bad this draft was.
No. 15 New Orleans Hornets: Cedric Simmons, F/C, North Carolina State
Simmons was selected based on his potential—supposed potential. He has bounced around the NBA without making any impact whatsoever and would probably be wise to head overseas. Needless to say, the Hornets did not have a good 2006 draft.
No. 16 Chicago Bulls (To Philadelphia): Rodney Carney, G, Memphis
Carney was a poor-man’s Rudy Gay in college, showing decent range and tons of athletic ability. He flourished on a Memphis team loaded with D-League type talent that routinely dominated inferior opponents in Conference USA. Carney has bounced around the NBA and made a ton of money considering his minimal skills.
No. 17 Indiana Pacers: Shawne Williams, F, Memphis
Williams showed size and versatility during his freshman season at Memphis. He was drafted based mostly on potential and has yet to pan out in the NBA. Don’t hold your breath, it probably won’t happen
No. 18. Washington Wizards: Oleksiy Pecherov, F/C, Ukraine
Pecherov's claim to fame is that he looks exactly like Stuy from family guy. His proudest NBA moment is getting dunked on by Andres Nocioni of all people, causing Bulls TV analyst Stacey King to yell “Stuy!!! Get out the way boy!!!”
Like many European players who don’t make it, Pecherov has some ability—just not very much.
No. 19 Sacramento Kings: Quincy Douby, G, Rutgers
What a great name. Douby was a nice college player who could get hot, but not big or athletic enough to do much at the next level. Everybody could see that, but he still went in the top-20. Go figure.
No. 20 New York Knicks: Renaldo Balkman, F, South Carolina
What exactly did the mighty Knicks see in Balkman? He was a productive college player but didn’t have a clear position and didn’t do any one thing particularly well. The pick looked bad then and still looks bad now.
No. 21 Phoenix Suns (To Boston): Rajon Rondo, G, Kentucky
The Suns drafted Steve Nash’s replacement, only to move him to Boston. While Brandon Roy is perhaps the best player of the 2006, no player has had a bigger impact than Rondo.
Pro careers are difficult to project, but even after a up-and-down career at Kentucky Rondo figured to have a better career than a handful of players selected ahead of him.
No. 22 New Jersey Nets: Marcus Williams, G, UConn
Williams was a flashy college player surrounded by NBA talent. His numbers didn’t merit a first round pick and his inability to shoot kept him from having an impact when he got minutes with the Nets. He was last seen coming off the bench for the Golden State Warriors—while looking a bit overweight.
No. 23 New Jersey Nets: Josh Boone, C, UConn
The Nets nabbed Williams’ UConn teammate in hopes of landing a rebounding and shot-blocking presence on the inside. One of the worst free throw shooters in College Basketball history, Boone hasn’t developed since coming into the NBA.
No. 24 Memphis Grizzlies: Kyle Lowery, G, Villanova
Lowery is a classic case of a player who got bad advice and left school way too early. His rugged, attacking style of play will help him stick on NBA benches for years, but he hasn’t developed and jump shot and probably never will.
No. 25 Cleveland Cavaliers: Shannon Brown, G, Michigan State
Brown was one of the more athletic players in the draft and has finally made an impact in the NBA with the Lakers. The Cavaliers cast him adrift and the Bulls did the same, largely because of his inability to play the point.
No. 26 L.A. Lakers: Jordan Farmar, G, UCLA
Aside from his enormous ears, Farmar didn’t bring anything special to the table as a first-round pick. He is decent at running a team and a capable defender, but hasn’t performed with any consistency. He is fortunate to still be with the Lakers.
No. 27 Phoenix Suns (Traded to Portland): Sergio Rodriguez, G, Spain
Spanish Chocolate was considered to be a steal late in the first round. Not so much. He got some minutes early in his career with the Blazers before being banished to the Knicks.
No. 28 Dallas Mavericks: Maurice Ager, G, Michigan State
Shannon Brown’s running mate was a bit of a surprise as a late first-round pick. Like Brown, Ager wasn’t a great shooter and couldn’t go left. His inability to play the point prevented him from doing much of anything early in his career. Don’t expect Ager to get minutes for a contender anytime soon.
No. 29 New York Knicks: Mardy Collins, G, Temple
Some NBA personnel loved Collins, who showed promise as a defender and all-around player with good size. He is really slow and not a great athlete, but will play in the NBA for a long time.
No. 30 Portland Trailblazers: Joel Freeland, F, England
What a way to finish off the first round. Freeland could have an impact in the NBA at some point, but the Blazers obsession with drafting young foreign players is downright puzzling at times.
No. 35 Toronto Raptors: P.J. Tucker, F, Texas
Who wants a 6-4 power forward? The Raptors do. After a solid college career, Tucker and his spider web tattoo never got a chance to play in the NBA. The 2006 Draft was so bad that this selection didn’t look too bad at the time.
No. 42 Cleveland Cavaliers: Daniel Boobie Gibson, G, Texas
Given some of the other players chosen ahead of him, Gibson was a steal at No. 42. He had some nice moments early in his career and parlayed them into fame and fortune. Don’t be surprised if he makes a comeback now that the Cavaliers appear to have figured out how bad Delonte West really is.
No. 46 Utah Jazz: Dee Brown, G, Illinois
The most over-hyped college player in recent memory never made it in the NBA. His tiny stature, inability to play point guard, and poor shooting were the only things standing in his way. Brown will long be remembered for his exciting fast break layups.
No. 47: Paul Millsap, F, Louisiana Tech
Finally, a good player! Millsap dominated College Basketball and followed in Karl Malone’s footsteps to Salt Lake City, where he has produced outstanding numbers for the Jazz.
Millsap is arguably the fifth-best player to come out of the draft and lasted all the way until No. 47. Talk about poor scouting.
No. 54 New Jersey Nets, Hassan Adams, F, Arizona
Wow, what a horrible draft for the Nets. Adams was a fabled high school player who got worse as he got older, which is never a good thing. He is quite possibly the only NBA player with a worse jump shot than Tony Allen.
No. 60 Detroit Pistons: Will Blalock, G, Iowa State
Last but not least, simply because he actually played in the NBA unlike the five players chosen directly in front of him. Blalock teamed with Curtis Stinson on a strong Iowa State backcourt and had enough athletic ability to get drafted.