NBA Power Rankings: Evan Turner and the 25 Most Disappointing Rookie Seasons

Joseph Fafinski@Joseph FafinskiCorrespondent IApril 28, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Evan Turner and the 25 Most Disappointing Rookie Seasons

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    Throughout the NBA's long history, there have been many rookies who have both surprised and disappointed.

    When you think of a surprise, you think Manu Ginobili, a guy who has produced a borderline Hall of Fame career with the hardware to show for it.

    When you think disappoint, a streaming image of Darko Milicic might come into your mind.

    Regardless, all NBA players have to start somewhere, whether it be up or down.

    Here is a list of 25 of those players whose careers didn't get off on the right foot, and they ultimately disappointed.

    Feel free to give me constructive feedback or suggestions since this topic required extraordinary research.

25. Kent Benson

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    Kent Benson was the number one overall pick of the 1977 NBA Draft.

    He would never live up to his full potential, and it all started out with the way he played in his rookie season, when he averaged seven points and four rebounds.

    To add injury to insult, Benson was punched in the face by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in just his second professional game.

24. Evan Turner

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    Evan Turner was selected second overall in last year's draft.

    The 6'7 shooting guard, however, had a dismal rookie campaign, averaging just seven points while playing 24 minutes.

    More recently, he missed a bunny that would've tied Game Five of the Sixers playoff series with the Heat with a minute to go.

23. Marvin Williams

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    On draft day 2005, the Atlanta Hawks were set to grab a point guard. After all, they needed one.

    Instead they picked Marvin Williams, who would go on to average 8.7 points per game in 78 games, which isn't terrible but when you think of who they passed up it's fairly disappointing.

    Oh yeah, and Chris Paul was picked after Marvin.

22. Shaun Livingston

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    Shaun Livingston was supposed to revolutionize the way the point guard game was played.

    He was 6'7, and was destined to be the first effective tall point guard since Magic Johnson.

    Instead, he averaged a disappointing seven points and five assists in almost 28 minutes per game. Those are not exactly flattering numbers for a fourth overall pick.

21. Michael Olowokandi

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    Michael Olowokandi, who came out of Pacific, was the first pick of the 1998 draft.

    His first season was filled with injury and doubt, as he averaged just eight points in 29 minutes of play. That's the equivalent of putting up just under 15 in 48 minutes.

    Sadly, it would be one of "The Kandi Man"'s best seasons.

20. Trajan Langdon

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    It is hard to put this selection in permanent ink because Langdon only played 10 games, but the "Alaskan Assassin" put up just 4.9 points during those contests.

    It must be that Duke gene.

19. J.J. Redick

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    One of the greatest college basketball players of all-time, J.J. Redick is a prime example of somebody whose talents don't exactly translate well from the collegiate level to the professional ranks.

    In his rookie season, 2006-07, Redick averaged just six points in 15 minutes of play.

18. Robert Traylor

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    At 6'8 and 284 pounds, Robert Traylor was an absolute mammoth of a man. 

    He was selected sixth overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1998 draft, who then promptly exchanged him for Dirk Nowitzki.

    He averaged just five points in 16 minutes as a rookie.

17. Shelden Williams

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    Shelden Williams is yet another example of an overhyped Duke Blue Devil who didn't get off on the right foot.

    Williams, a 6'9 forward/center, put up just 5.5 points and 5.4 boards on average during his freshman campaign.

16. Pervis Ellison

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    The number one pick in 1988, "Never Nervous Pervis" Ellison is known as one of the NBA's biggest busts ever.

    It all started out in that rookie season, where injury kept him out for 48 games, and even when he did play he only averaged seven or so points.

    Alas, he would return the following season and win the Comeback Player of the Year award.

15. Kwame Brown

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    Kwame Brown is a name that is snickered upon when mentioning in NBA roundtables.

    Poor Kwame was the number one overall pick, and in his rookie season he averaged 4.5 points in over 14 minutes of play.

    Well, at least he got to play with his Airness.

14. Mateen Cleaves

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    Mateen Cleaves was the hero of the 2000 Michigan State Spartans basketball team that captured the hearts of many viewers by winning the national championship.

    His NBA career, though, is forgettable at best and it starts with how he performed as a Piston.

    During the 2000-01 season, Cleaves shot just 40 percent and averaged just over five points per game.

    It's hard to believe, but that was his best season— by far.

13. Tyson Chandler

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    Tyson Chandler, the second pick of the 2001 NBA Draft, was, along with Eddy Curry, supposed to breakout and help the Bulls return to relevancy.

    His rookie season, however, was filled with inconsistency, and the 7'1" Chandler averaged just six points and five boards per game.

    Nonetheless, Chandler is now one of the game's biggest defensive intimidators.

12. Ed O'Bannon

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    Ed O'Bannon is another example of a guy who was pegged to become much greater than he actually was.

    After he averaged six points per game in 20 minutes his rookie season, judgments were made and everyone had to stop and reevaluate  the 6'8 big.

11. Wayne Simien

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    A standout college star at the University of Kansas, Wayne Simien was taken by the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft.

    He averaged just 3.4 points per game for Miami that season, one that saw the team win the NBA Finals.

10. LaRue Martin

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    When he was drafted out of Loyola with the first pick of the 1972 draft, LaRue Martin was supposed to be one of the game's next great centers.

    He did not get off on the right foot, averaging a paltry 4.4 points and shooting 39 percent, an absolutely pathetic clip for a center.

9. Stromile Swift

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    Stromile Swift, the second overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft and out of LSU, was a guy who the Grizzlies were ready to hand the keys to the franchise to.

    Swift wouldn't accept them though, and although he played in a decent portion of 80 games he only put up 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

8. Luke Jackson

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    Luke Jackson is another good example of a guy who was totally overhyped in college.

    In his rookie season, he averaged just 2.9 points in 10 games.

7. Austin Croshere

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    A 6'10 forward, Austin Croshere was selected 11th by the Indiana Pacers.

    In his first of nine seasons with the club, Croshere averaged a 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game before getting benched.

6. Jerome Lane

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    Jerome Lane was an absolute beast at Pitt, and he was picked in the first round by the Nuggets.

    In his rookie season he disappointed, averaging just 4.8 points and 3.7 rebound, much different than the guy who put up 13 and 12 in college.

    Here's a fun fact: Lane went to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. Do you know anyone else who went there?

5. Chris Washburn

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    The third pick of the 1986 draft, Chris Washburn is a supreme example of a guy who threw everything he had away for drugs.

    He was as big a headcase as anyone, and in his rookie season he averaged 3.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and shot 39 percent from the floor.

    Don't do drugs, kids.

4. Hasheem Thabeet

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    Hasheem Thabeet, the second overall pick of the 2008 draft, didn't exactly turn out the way everyone thought he would in his rookie season.

    He averaged a terrible 3.1 points and a solid 1.3 blocks in 13 minutes per game for the Grizzlies.

3. Darko Milicic

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    Coming out in the summer of 2003, Darko Milicic was supposed to be the NBA's next great big.

    His rookie season produced moans and groans, and Darko scored a grant (and pathetic) total of 48 points in 34 games.

    The reason Darko is so low on this list deals with the fact that he won the NBA title, and even if he wasn't a main catalyst the truth is that a ring dominates individual success any day.

2. Jonathan Bender

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    Jonathan Bender was picked fifth on the night of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Raptors, only to see his rights shipped to the Pacers.

    It was there that he "enjoyed" a dismal rookie campaign, averaging just 2.7 points and shooting a pathetic 32.9 percent in just 24 contests.

1. Nikoloz Tskitishvili

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    Coming out of Italy as a raw 19-year-old big, Nikoloz Tskitishvili's game was just about as confusing as the spelling of his name.

    He played 81 games his rookie season, 2002-03, for the Denver Nuggets and blew the minds of fans by shooting just 29.6 percent and averaging an embarrassing 3.9 points per game.

    Unfortunately for Tskitishvili, that would be his— gulp— best season ever.