The NBA Draft and Each Team's Best and Worst Decisions in the Last Decade

Alexander DiegelCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2011

The NBA Draft and Each Team's Best and Worst Decisions in the Last Decade

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    David Stern  has 30 more names to call out on June 23rd
    David Stern has 30 more names to call out on June 23rdJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Our decisions are what define us (just ask LeBron James). Certainly, the NBA draft is no different, as choices made on June 23 could affect your favorite team for years to come. Trades, sleepers, steals and franchise players are all elements of a successful draft day. All aspects will be brought into consideration in determining the best and worst draft-day decisions for every NBA franchise in the decade. 

Atlanta Hawks

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    "J-Smoove" is a singular talent in the NBA
    "J-Smoove" is a singular talent in the NBAKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Selecting Josh Smith 17th overall in 2004. 

    "J-Smoove" gets the slight edge here based on value of pick and his wide array of defensive skills, of which he is second to none. As a 23-year-old, Smith busted out with ridiculous all-around averages of 17.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 1.5 steals and 3.4 assists. He may never achieve the superstardom he appeared to be destined for after that season, but still, Smith is a great all-around talent. 

    Honorable Mention: Drafting Al Horford third overall, 2007.

     

    Worst Decision: Taking Marvin Williams second overall in 2005. 

    Afflicted with the Sam Bowie syndrome, it's not that Williams is a bad player. Not at all. It's just that he was drafted second overall ahead of both Deron Williams and Chris Paul. This if for a team that, six years later, is still searching for an answer at point guard. With such a talented roster as is, Hawks fans are left wondering what could have been. 

    Honorable Mention: Taking Dermarr Johnson sixth overall, 2000.

Boston Celtics

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    Rajon Rondo has been a big part of the Celtics' resurgence.
    Rajon Rondo has been a big part of the Celtics' resurgence.Elsa/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Trading for the rights to Rajon Rondo in 2006.

    Rondo was an integral part of the Celtics' championship team, and his importance grows as the Big Three continue to age. One of the best passers in the NBA and a great defender, Rondo averaged a double double in points and assists last season. 

    Honorable Mention: Drafting Al Jefferson 15th overall in 2004. 

     

    Worst Pick: Drafting Kedrick Brown 11th overall, 2001.

    Brown washed out of the league in four short seasons, finishing with career averages of 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds. 

    Dishonorable mention:  Drafting Joseph Forte 21st overall in 2001.

    If you include Joe Johnson, who didn't begin to blossom until his fourth season when he was far away from Boston, this is a Golden Sombrero of first-round foul ups in '01. Forte was a monumental head case, and went from "point guard of the future" to locker room cancer in just over a season. 

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Adam Morrison proved to a monumental bust as the third overall pick in 2006.
    Adam Morrison proved to a monumental bust as the third overall pick in 2006.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Emeka Okafor second overall in 2004

    A team with one playoff appearance in its brief history, none of their draft picks have brought an immense amount of success. However, Okafor was the best player they drafted. While he will always be overshadowed by the top pick of his year, Dwight Howard, Okafor averaged a double double for every season he was in Charlotte. 

    Honorable mention: Drafting Raymond Felton fifth overall, 2005

     

    Worst Decision: Selecting Adam Morrison third overall, 2006

    "Ammo" shot nothing but blanks in the NBA. More famous for his awful mustache than his play, Morrison is already out of the league, flaming out in four short seasons. Even in a weak draft class, it is hard to believe Morrison was drafted as high as he was. 

    Honorable mention: Taking Sean May 13th overall in 2005.

Chicago Bulls

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    Rose has been the franchise player the Bulls had hoped for when they drafted him in 2008.
    Rose has been the franchise player the Bulls had hoped for when they drafted him in 2008.Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Derrick Rose first overall in 2008

    Rose has been far-and-away the Bulls' best player since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen left town. At 22 years old, he is the youngest MVP in NBA history. He led the team to its first Conference Finals appearance since the Jordan era this past season. Thus far, he has averaged 21 points, seven assists and four rebounds for his career, improving significantly with every season. 

    Honorable mention: Selecting Joakim Noah ninth overall in 2007

     

    Worst Decision: Picking Eddy Curry fourth overall, 2001

    Nicknamed "Baby Shaq" a more appropriate title would be "Baby Fat." Curry never got in shape, never played defense and let his considerable offensive talent go to waste. The Bulls shipped him out to the Knicks and let them sign him to the fat (pun intended) contract he was asking for. That is the only useful thing Curry did for the Bulls. 

     

    Honorable Mention: Jay Williams (Second overall, 2002)

    Curry gets the nod because he has no excuses for his lack of production. Williams was well on his way to a productive career before a motorcycle accident ended it. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    LBJ was supposed to be the savior of Ohio sports. Fate had a different plan.
    LBJ was supposed to be the savior of Ohio sports. Fate had a different plan.Elsa/Getty Images

    Best "Decision": Selecting LeBron James first overall, 2003

    LeBron was the savior of a woebegone franchise. Then he left. During his time, however, he gave Cleveland fans the most successful run in the team's history. Cleveland made it to their first ever NBA Finals in 2007 and made another trip to the Conference Finals. It didn't end how fans wanted it, or how LeBron promised it, but it was a heck of a ride while it lasted. 

     

    Honorable mention: Drafting Carlos Boozer 34th overall, 2002

    Ironically both of the team's best draft picks bolted via free agency and are the two most hated players by Cavs fans.

     

    Worst Decision: Picking DaJuan Wagner sixth overall in 2002.

    Wagner started promising averaging 13.4 points per game in his rookie season. That was overshadowed by his horrid 37 percent shooting from the field, however. The percentages stayed the same, his production went down and he was out of the league by 2007.

    Honorable mention: Taking Luke Jackson 10th overall 2004.

Dallas Mavericks

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    DALLAS - MAY 11:  Forward Josh Howard #5 of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot against Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 11, 2009 in D
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Josh Howard 29th overall, 2003

    Howard was a starter for the Mavs' squad that won the West and fell to the Heat in 2006. He peaked statistically in '07-08, when he averaged 20 points and seven rebounds per game. Any way you cut it, a great pick for his position in the draft. 

    Honorable Mention: Trading Antawn Jamison to Washington for the rights to Devin Harris, 2004. 

     

    Worst Decision: Picking Maurice Ager with the 28th pick in 2006.

    Ager has only appeared in 82 games, and was a wasted first round choice, as his NBA career is likely over.  

Denver Nuggets

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    Carmelo Anthony brought took the Nuggets to the playoffs every season he was in Denver, and has helped provide them with a bright future.
    Carmelo Anthony brought took the Nuggets to the playoffs every season he was in Denver, and has helped provide them with a bright future.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Carmelo Anthony third overall in 2003.

    'Melo took the Nuggets to their first playoff appearance in nine seasons as a rookie in 2004. The team made it every season since then, including this past season after the blockbuster trade that sent 'Melo to the Knicks. Due to the kings' ransom the Nuggets got for their former superstar, the Nuggets future still looks bright, all as a result of drafting the NCAA Champion out of Syracuse. 

    Honorable mention: Trading for the draft rights to Ty Lawon in 2009.

     

    Worst Decision: Drafting Nikolos Tskitishvili fifth overall in 2002. 

    The seven-foot Tskitishvili was out of the league by 2006. His career peak? His rookie season when he averaged four points and two rebounds per game. 

Detroit Pistons

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    Greg Monroe appears to be a solid building block for the rebuilding Pistons
    Greg Monroe appears to be a solid building block for the rebuilding PistonsHarry How/Getty Images

    Best Decison: Selecting Greg Monroe seventh overall in 2010.

    For a team in rebuilding mode after a long and substantial playoff run, Monroe seems to be one of very few positives for the Pistons right now. The 21-year-old Monroe averaged 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, and really came on for the team at the end of the season. He seems to be a legitimate building block for a franchise in serious need of one. 

    Honorable mention: Taking Tayshaun Prince 23rd overall in 2002.

     

    Worst Decision: Picking Darko Milicic second overall in 2003.

    Milicic was drafted after LeBron James and before 'Melo, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He has developed into a serviceable center and really isn't a bad player, but truly will go down as the Sam Bowie of his time. Milicic had his best season as a pro with Minnesota, averaging nine points, five rebounds and two blocks per game. 

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Rodney White ninth overall, 2001.

Golden State Warriors

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    Monta Ellis has been an explosive scorer for the Warriors since entering the league as a second round pick.
    Monta Ellis has been an explosive scorer for the Warriors since entering the league as a second round pick.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Monta Ellis 40th overall in 2005.

    Ellis was not a big name coming out of high school. All he's done since is average 19.5 points, 5.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. Ellis is a true scorer, and as an undersized shooting guard, may be the closest thing to this generation's version of Allen Iverson. Ironically, that is one of the teams he is rumored to go to in trade scenarios. If he is dealt, he will undoubtedly net the Warriors a player to help get them back to the playoffs. 

    Honorable mention: Selecting Stephen Curry seventh overall in 2009.

     

    Worst Decision: Taking Patrick O'Bryant ninth overall, 2006.

    In five seasons, the seven-foot O'Bryant never made an impact and is already out of the league. 

    Dishonorable mention: Selecting Ike Diogu Ninth overall in 2005.

Houston Rockets

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    Yao was a great player. While he lasted.
    Yao was a great player. While he lasted.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Taking Yao Ming first overall, 2002

    Yao's worst enemy? The physical attribute that made him so famous: his 7'5" frame. Yao is an extremely skilled player, and there is no doubt he would have been as effective, if not more, in a seven-foot body. As it is, his feet and legs have failed him, and it seems unlikely he will play another NBA season.

    Statistically, Yao peaked in 2006 when he averaged 25 points, nine boards and two blocks. The writing was one the wall even then, however, as he only played in 48 games. Houston made the playoffs in five of the seven seasons he was able to make an impact, their most successful run since Hakeem Olajuwon was manning the post. 

    Honorable mention: Signing Luis Scola in 2007.

     

    Worst Decision: Trading Rudy Gay, eighth overall in 2006, for Shane Battier. 

    Gay represented everything the Rockets needed at the time: youth, athleticism and a three-point shot. Yet they traded him for a player who at best is a solid sixth man and a rotation player. Gay is a 20 points per game scorer and a premier athlete in the the Association. 

Indiana Pacers

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 26: Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers drives to the basket past Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 26, 2011 in Chicago
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Picking Danny Granger 17th overall in 2005

    A great player at a great value, you can't say enough about Granger. An all-around threat, he can beat you from deep, on the drive and is a solid defender. Granger may be better off as a number two to a superstar, but as it is, he helped get the Pacers back to the playoffs this season. The scrappy bunch was competitive against the top-seeded Bulls. Peaking statistically in 2008-09 when he averaged 26 points and five rebounds a game, the Pacers need to find their star some help. His scoring dropped nearly five points per game this past season, and there may be early signs of wearing down, as he has been the team's lone offensive threat for quite some time.

    Honorable mention: Drafting Tyler Hansbrough 13th overall, 2009.

     

    Worst Decision: Selecting Shawne Williams 17th overall, 2006.

    Williams has been nothing but a fringe rotational player. His career averages of six points and three rebounds are hardly overwhelming.  

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Fred Jones 14th overall, 2002.

LA Clippers

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    Blake Griffin has only begun to tap into his potential.
    Blake Griffin has only begun to tap into his potential.Pool/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Taking Blake Griffin first overall in 2009

    We all knew Blake Griffin would be a human highlight reel coming out of Oklahoma. What we didn't know is how exceptional of an all-around player he would be right off the bat. He averaged 22.5 points without a jump shot, 12 rebounds and four assists. He still has so much room to grow as a player, and watching his progression will be as much of a spectacle as his dunk over the car. 

    Honorable mention: Drafting Eric Gordon seventh overall in 2008

     

    Worst Decision: Selecting Darius Miles, third overall, 2000

    Miles gets the slight edge here because there was not an injury to serve as an excuse for his position as a bust, just mediocre play. Miles wasn't a terrible player; he just never lived up to the hype. He had all the ability, just never worked on specific aspects of his game to become a better player. 

     

    Dishonorable mention: Picking Shaun Livingston fourth overall in 2004

    Livingston seemed to really be coming into his own before a horrid knee injury nearly ended his career and robbed him of his athleticism. After a long layoff, he is making a career for himself as a back-up point guard. 

LA Lakers

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    Andrew Bynum has been Lakers' owner Jerry Buss' pet project, and his patience has paid off.
    Andrew Bynum has been Lakers' owner Jerry Buss' pet project, and his patience has paid off.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Selecting Andrew Bynum 10th overall in 2005

    The youngest player ever drafted, and a true project at that, Bynum has developed into a special talent for the Lakers. It seems unclear if he will ever make the step from very good starter to all-star, but still, Jerry Buss deserves credit for sticking with his guy. A massive seven-foot frame and with plenty of skill, Bynum's biggest enemy has been himself. He hasn't ever played more than 65 games in a regular season.

     

    Honorable mention: Picking Marc Gasol 48th overall in 2007

    Pundits cried foul when the Lakers "stole" Pau Gasol from the Grizzlies. Little brother, however, has developed into an excellent player for the Grizz. Strangely enough, the Lakers look like they could use a little more toughness and a little less flash right about now.

     

    Worst Decision: Taking Javaris Crittenton 19th overall in 2007

    Originally thought of as "point guard of the future" material, it only took Crittenton four seasons to flame out of the league. The Lakers are still looking for their point guard, as 36-year-old Derek Fisher continues to man the position and get burned by younger opposition. 

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Kareem Rush 20th overall in 2002

Memphis Grizzlies

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    In just over a season, the Grizzlies have already given up on Thabeet.
    In just over a season, the Grizzlies have already given up on Thabeet.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Taking Shane Battier sixth overall, 2001

    Battier was a solid player for the Grizz. In four seasons, he averaged 10.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. His biggest contribution, however, was being traded for Rudy Gay, who has averaged 18 points and six rebounds since entering the league. In another chapter, Battier is back via midseason trade, helping Memphis overcome a season-ending injury to, ironically, Rudy Gay. Battier was a key rotational player in the Grizzlies' first ever playoff series win, upsetting the top-seeded Spurs. 

    Honorable mention: Trading Shane Battier for the draft rights to Rudy Gay in 2006. 

     

    Worst pick: Taking Hasheem Thabeet second overall, 2009

    The 7'2" Thabeet was the highest draft pick ever to be sent to the NBDL. Memphis has already given up on him, as he was included in the trade to the Rockets that brought back Battier. Thabeet was drafted behind Griffin, and ahead of James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings. Ouch.

    Dishonorable mention: Taking Stomile Swift second overall in 2000.

Miami Heat

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    "Flash" has led the Heat to two finals appearances. One they won, the other, well, you know the rest.
    "Flash" has led the Heat to two finals appearances. One they won, the other, well, you know the rest.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Dwyane Wade fifth overall in 2003.

    Since being picked out of Marquette, Wade has been one of the best players in the league, and led the Heat to their first championship in 2006. With averages of 25 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game throughout his career, Wade will throw himself into the best shooting guards of all-time discussion before his career is over. 

    Honorable mention: Selecting Caron Butler 10th overall in 2002.

     

    Worst Decision: Drafting Michael Beasley second overall in 2008

    Beasley blossomed with the Timberwolves this past season, and could hardly be considered a bust. He was, however, a disappointment in Miami, where he was expected to play second fiddle to Wade. He was shipped out of town for nothing to make room for the signing of LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Dorrell Wright 19th overall in 2004.

    Another one that didn't perform until leaving Miami, he had a career year with Golden State last season. 

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Jennings has proven to be a solid pick for the Bucks.
    Jennings has proven to be a solid pick for the Bucks.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Brandon Jennings 10th overall, 2009

    Jennings returned to the States with mixed reviews from Europe and was certainly no sure thing as a lottery pick. He has impressed from day one, exploded for 55 points early in his rookie season and has continued his strong play ever since. If Milwaukee could find him a true number one scorer, which he is not, his efficiency and assists should skyrocket.

    Honorable mention: Drafting Andrew Bogut first overall, 2005

     

    Worst Decision: Taking Yi Jianlain with the sixth overall pick, 2007

    Yi was compared to Dirk Nowitzki entering the draft, and he has failed miserably if you consider that the standard. He is not a bad player and seems destined to be a journeyman scoring threat off the bench, but he was drafted ahead of better players like Joakim Noah, Wilson Chandler and Rodney Stuckey.

    Dishonorable mention: Selecting Joe Alexander eighth overall, 2008.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Love is the the franchise player Minnesota has been looking for since KG left town.
    Love is the the franchise player Minnesota has been looking for since KG left town.Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Trading O.J. Mayo, third overall, to Memphis Grizzlies for Kevin Love, fifth overall, 2008

    Kevin Love put up statistics we haven’t seen in decades last season. Along with all the rebounds, Love is an extremely versatile scoring threat whose range extends out to the three-point line. He has provided Minnesota with the building block they desperately need, while Mayo has played his way out of a starting spot, and maybe out of town in Memphis.

    Honorable mention: Drafting Ricky Rubio fifth overall in 2009???

     

    Worst decision: Taking Corey Brewer with the ninth overall pick in 2007

    Brewer came in highly regarded as part of the two-time defending champion Florida Gators. He has not seen the same success as his buddies Joakim Noah and Al Horford. Brewer carries a career average of just nine points and three rebounds per game. He was traded midseason to Dallas and promptly rode the pine for their championship run. 

     Dishonorable mention: Drafting Ricky Rubio fifth overall in 2009???

New Jersey Nets

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    Lopez has been a consistent scorer and a big piece of the Nets' rebuilding plans.
    Lopez has been a consistent scorer and a big piece of the Nets' rebuilding plans.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Brook Lopez 10th overall in 2008

    Averaging 20 points per game, Lopez was the second-best scoring center last season, behind only Dwight Howard.  He is a good shot blocker, and if he can pick his rebounding up, has a legitimate chance at being an all-star and the second best center in the league. Lopez and Deron Williams give the Nets a great shot at a return to the playoffs.

    Honorable mention: Drafting Kenyon Martin first overall in 2000

     

    Worst Decision: Drafting Terrence Williams 11th overall, 2009

    It doesn’t look like Wiliams will ever live up to his lottery selection. He shot just 40 percent from the field as a rookie and was traded to the Rockets in a midseason deal. Drafted behind him? Tyler Hansbrough, Jrue Holliday, Ty Lawson, Daren Collison and Taj Gibson.

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Antone Wright 15th overall, 2005.    

New Orleans Hornets

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    Paul has been picture perfect for the Hornets.
    Paul has been picture perfect for the Hornets.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Selecting Chris Paul fourth overall, 2005

    Paul has been a true franchise player, and excels at everything you want from a point guard. Due to a balky knee, we may never see the season averages from Paul that we saw from 2007-09, when he averaged 22 point and 11.3 assists. Paul can still turn it on when his team needs him, as evidenced by his playoff performance against the Lakers, when he averaged 30 points, 14.5 assists, and three steals in the Hornets’ two wins, as the undermanned Hornets pushed LA to six games.

    Honorable mention: Drafting David West 18th overall, 2003

     

    Worst Decision: Taking Hilton Armstrong 12th overall in 2006

    Armstrong had one good season out of four at UCONN, and the Hornets thought that warranted a lottery selection. Armstrong has averaged three points and 2.6 rebounds for his career as he clings on to NBA rosters as a back-up big man.

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Julian Wright 13th overall, 2007

New York Knicks

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    Even Spike Lee had to laugh when the Knicks took Renaldo Balkman in the first round.
    Even Spike Lee had to laugh when the Knicks took Renaldo Balkman in the first round.Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting David Lee 30th overall, 2005.

    Lee has been a double-double machine for the better part of his career and came at an amazing value with the last pick in the first round. Lee’s best season in New York was his last, as they decided to spend his money on Amare Stoudemire. Lee has continued his strong play in Golden State.

    Honorable mention: Drafting Wilson Chandler 23rd overall, 2007

     

    Worst decision: Selecting Renaldo Balkman 20th overall in 2006

    Balkman averaged between six and nine points per game in all three of his college years, and was expected to be available to any interested as an undrafted free agent, or maybe a late second round pick if you really liked him. That didn’t stop the Knicks from taking him top 20. Balkman has predictably been a bench player and marginal contributor.

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Michael Sweetney ninth overall, 2003.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    The Thunder got their dynamic duo in successive drafts.
    The Thunder got their dynamic duo in successive drafts.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Best Decison: Drafting Kevin Durant second overall in 2007

    The "Durantula" is the NBA's two-time scoring champion. He has led the Thunder to two straight playoff appearances, including the Conference Finals this past season. When the Thunder drafted him, they were near the brink of extinction. Now OKC is the youngest, most talented team in basketball, and it all starts with Durant. From contraction to team of the future? Solid decision. 

    Honorable mention: Selecting Russell Westbrook fourth overall in 2008

     

    Worst Decision: Drafting Mouhamed Sene 10th overall, 2006

    Sene was dubbed a "Next Dikembe Mutombo" prospect. Instead, he only made it three seasons in the NBA, averaging two points and a rebound. 

    Dishonorable mention: Taking Robert Swift 12th overall, 2004

Orlando Magic

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    Superman is back in Orlando
    Superman is back in OrlandoKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Dwight Howard first overall in 2004

    There was some debate in taking Howard over Emeka Okafor, as it seemed Okafor was the sure thing, and Howard a boom or bust. Clearly, the Magic picked right. Howard has been a hard worker, not relying mainly on his exceptional physical gifts and continues to hone his game. A perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate and a leader in blocked shots and rebounds, Howard's offensive game seems to finally be catching up. He averaged a career-high 23 points per game this past season and has been the lone constant in the Magic's best run since Shaq was in town. 

    Honorable mention: Selecting Mike Miller fifth overall in 2000

     

    Worst Decision: Drafting Fran Vazquez 11th overall in 2005

    Lottery picks used: One. Games played: Zero. 

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Keyon Dooling 10th overall in 2000

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Iguodala has given Philly everything they could ask for as a late lottery pick.
    Iguodala has given Philly everything they could ask for as a late lottery pick.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Taking Andre Iguodala with the ninth pick in 2004

    "Iggy" has provided excellent defense and all-around play for the 76ers. Though he is not a true number one scorer, he has filled that void for most of his career as well and has led the undermanned 6ers to four playoff appearances. For his career, Iguodala has averaged 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. If he is indeed traded, it will most likely be for the primary scorer this team has lacked. 

    Honorable mention: Selecting Lou Williams 40th overall in 2005

     

    Worst decision: Trading Thabo Sefolosha for Rodney Carney in 2006

    Carney is no longer in the rotation, as he only played in just 27 games for two teams last season. Sefolosha has been a productive starter and rotation player and was named Second-Team All Defense in 2009.

    Dishonoable mention: Picking Jiri Welsch 16th  overall in 2002

Phoenix Suns

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    Gortat really came on for Phoenix last season. A full year from him should help the Suns get back to the playoffs.
    Gortat really came on for Phoenix last season. A full year from him should help the Suns get back to the playoffs.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Selecting Amare Stoudemire with the ninth overall pick in 2002

    “Stat” was seen mostly as a project coming out of high school. Instead, he exploded onto the scene immediately, averaging 13.5 points and 8.5 rebounds as a rookie. There has been no looking back, as Stoudemire has developed into one of the NBA’s best scorers. The Suns made the playoffs in five of his seven healthy seasons, including two trips to the Conference Finals.

     

    Honorable mention: Drafting Marcin Gortat 57th  overall in 2005.

    Gortat made his mark as a backup to Dwight Howard in Orlando. Now he’s back, and looking like a solid starting center in his own right.

     

    Worst decision: Trading the draft rights to Luol Deng for a future pick in 2004

    Deng is exactly the type of player the Suns needed to overtake the Spurs and the rest of the West for the latter half of last decade. He would have been their third scorer, and go-to perimeter defender. As it was, the Suns had a great run, but never enough to make it to the Finals.

    Dishonorable mention: Trading the draft rights for Rajon Rondo to the Celtics for a future first-round pick. 

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Greg Oden has been a sad case for Portland, spending much more time in a suit than on the court.
    Greg Oden has been a sad case for Portland, spending much more time in a suit than on the court.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Trading the rights to Tyrus Thomas, fourth overall, to Chicago for the rights to Lamarcus Aldridge, second overall.

    Thomas has been maddening for every NBA coach and GM he has played for. His freakish athleticism always makes you want more than the modest 10 points and five rebounds he has averaged for his career. Aldridge, however, has been a smooth scorer and complete player. With all the injuries in Portland, Aldridge has remained the one constant, and hit career bests with 22 points and nine rebounds last season.

    Honorable mention: Trading the rights to Randy Foye, seventh overall, to Minnesota for the rights to Brandon Roy, sixth overall, 2006. 

     

    Worst decision: Drafting Greg Oden first overall in 2007 over Kevin Durant

    Obviously hindsight is 20/20, and Oden was supposed to be the NBA’s next great Big Man. However, there were warning signs, as Oden battled injuries in his lone season at Ohio State. Even when healthy, it was not evident that Oden would ever become the franchise player Kevin Durant is. 

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Martell Webster sixth overall, 2005

Sacramento Kings

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    Demarcus Cousins could prove to be a big time steal for the Kings.
    Demarcus Cousins could prove to be a big time steal for the Kings.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Kevin Martin 26th overall in 2004

    Martin developed into one of the best shooting guards in the league and was a complete steal this late in the draft. He averaged 24.6 points per game in 2008-09 and was the lone bright spot on the Kings for years.

     

    Honorable mention: Drafting Tyreke Evans fourth overall in 2009, and DeMarcus Cousins fifth overall in 2010

    At 20 and 21 years old, it is too early to tell the full return on these investments. However, both players have all the physical gifts you could want for their respective positions. The question is will they coast on them, or work to become better basketball players. The sky is the limit, and the Kings will go as they go.  

    Worst decision: Drafting Spencer Hawes 10th overall in 2007

    Hawes was hardly worth a lottery pick, as they traded him for Samuel Dalembert after drafting Cousins to be their center. Hawes shoots a low percentage for a seven-footer and is at best an average rebounder.

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Quincy Douby 19th overall in 2006. 

San Antonio Spurs

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    Tony Parker has been a playoff performer for the Spurs.
    Tony Parker has been a playoff performer for the Spurs.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Drafting Tony Parker 28th  overall in 2001

    It took some time, but Parker became the point guard the team was searching for and an integral piece of three championship teams. He has averaged 17 points and six assists for his career, with many big playoff performances along the way. Plus, he kept Eva Longoria around the locker room, which can never be a bad thing.

    Honorable mention: Drafting DeJuan Blair 37th  overall, 2009.

     

    Dishonorable mention: Trading Leandro Barbosa, 28th overall, in 2003.

    For a franchise that does not do a lot wrong, they have to be called out here. Barbosa would have given the Spurs needed scoring off the bench, as well as been a viable fill-in for the numerous injuries to both Parker and Manu Ginobili.

     

    Dishonorable mention: Allowing Luis Scola to sign with the Rockets in 2007.

    Scola was a Spurs draft pick in 2002, but they could never bring him over. Now he is an 18 and 8 guy for conference foe Houston. 

Toronto Raptors

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    Ed Davis had a solid rookie season, and will help lead the post-Bosh rebuilding process.
    Ed Davis had a solid rookie season, and will help lead the post-Bosh rebuilding process.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Best decision: Selecting Chris Bosh fourth overall in 2003

    If you really want to nitpick, the Raptors could have done better for themselves by taking D-Wade. However, Bosh was the lone all-star for an otherwise sorry franchise and led the team to two playoff appearances. With as little help as Bosh had, it is hard telling if Wade could have done any better.

    Honorable mention: Selecting Ed Davis 13th overall, 2010

     

    Dishonorable mention: Taking Rafael Araujo eighth overall in 2004

    Araujo never broke the rotation and was an awful lottery pick. Araujo failed out of the league in three seasons with career averages of three points and three rebounds.

     

    Dishonorable mention: Trading the draft rights for Roy Hibbert to Indiana for Jermaine O’Neal

    Hibbert has improved every season, while O’Neal was a shell of his former all-star self and did little in Toronto.  

Utah Jazz

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    Paul Millsap has been a steady and dependable player for the Jazz since Day one.
    Paul Millsap has been a steady and dependable player for the Jazz since Day one.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Selecting Deron Williams third overall in 2005

    Williams wasn't an instant success the way Paul was, but he has certainly come on strong ever since. The Jazz made the playoffs in each of Williams' final four seasons in Utah. Williams has averaged 17 points and nine assists for his career and is established in the Holy Trinity of NBA point guards, along with Paul and Derrick Rose. The future still looks bright for Utah due to the abundance of young talent they have received in trading D-Will to the Nets. 

    Honorable mention: Selecting Paul Millsap 47th overall in 2006

     

    Worst Decision: Drafting Kirk Snyder 16th overall in 2004

    It took Snyder four seasons to play his way out of the league. Selected after Snyder? Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Dorrell Wright, Jameer Nelson, Delonte West, Tony Allen, Kevin Martin, Sasha Vujacic, Beno Udrih, Anderson Varejao, Chris Duhon and Trevor Ariza. It was hard to miss in '04, but Utah managed.

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Kosta Koufos 23rd overall in 2008. 

Washington Wizards

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    The Wizards will look to find John Wall some help in this year's draft.
    The Wizards will look to find John Wall some help in this year's draft.Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Best Decision: Selecting John Wall first overall in 2010

    It's only been a year, but Wall seems legit. Overshadowed by super-rookie Blake Griffin, Wall averaged 16.5 points, 8.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds and two steals per game. It appears Washington has their franchise player. 

     

    Honorable mention: Drafting Andray Blatche 49th overall in 2005

    I have long been a "Trade Blatche while you still can" proponent. Still, you have to love the value of getting a 17 and eight guy that late in the draft. Now trade Blatche while you still can. 

     

    Worst decision: Taking Kwame Brown first overall in 2001

    Brown is the poster boy for why high school players aren't allowed to jump straight to the NBA. Horribly immature, Brown was broken by one Michael Jordan stare in his first practice and never recovered. Brown never really showed any of the promise or ability that somehow made him a top overall pick. He has now remade himself as a solid rotational big man for, ironically, Jordan's Bobcats. 

    Dishonorable mention: Drafting Oleksiy Pecherov 18th overall in 2008