NBA's 10 Wasted Lottery Picks Since 2001

Jeff ChaseSenior Analyst IISeptember 21, 2011

NBA's 10 Wasted Lottery Picks Since 2001

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    The NBA draft always has a few surprises.

    Nothing is a bigger surprise, though, than when teams find out they drafted a complete bust.

    Sometimes it is a pick in the 20s, but other times we are talking about someone in the top 10.

    Just because some players had a great college, high school or international career, it doesn't always mean they will translate well to the professional level.

    These 10 players not only showed us they can't play in the NBA, but they were also a huge waste of a pick.

10. Michael Beasley

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: In 2008, the big question was Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley. Beasley was a standout college player at Kansas State, and many projected him to do big things in the NBA.

    Why He is on This List: Beasley finds himself on this list because he was never able to fulfill his hype. After being drafted with the second pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Heat traded him away without even thinking twice about it. Beasley ran into trouble with the NBA and the law a few times, but he has hoped to revitalize his career in Minnesota. Its an experiment still under review.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Beasley were O.J. Mayo, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Javale McGee and Roy Hibbert. All would have been better options.

    What It Could Have Looked Like: Westbrook, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and fill-in-the-blank.

9. Emeka Okafor

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: Emeka Okafor was the man at UConn, especially coming off a championship title. Without a doubt, he should have been taken first or second in the 2004 draft. The Magic decided to go with future superstar Dwight Howard, and it was a wise choice. The Bobcats were looking for a positive face for their new franchise.

    Why He is on This List: After Okafor's first year in Charlotte and winning the Rookie of the Year award, his career seemed to backpedal. In 2004-05, Okafor averaged 15 points per game in his rookie season. This last season in New Orleans, he only averaged 10 points. Definitely not the right direction for a potential All-Star power forward.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Okafor were Ben Gordon, Devin Harris, Luol Deng, Jameer Nelson, Kevin Martin and Andre Iguodala.

    What It Could Have Looked Like: Honestly, not that great since this was the Bobcats' first season. The addition of a young Devin Harris perhaps would have propelled the Bobcats into a different direction.

8. Mike Dunleavy, Jr.

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: Mike Dunleavy, Jr. was coming off a big season at Duke. Along with teammates Jay Williams and Carlos Boozer, the Blue Devils' best were ready to take on the NBA draft. Dunleavy was a standout in college, scoring more than 600 points over the entire season.

    Why He is on This List: Dunleavy just never produced in the NBA. Also, in 10 seasons he has only played five where he has played at least 70 games. When he can play, he shoots decently well, but he never has been the impact player he was in college.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Dunleavy were Nene, Amar'e Stoudemire, Caron Butler, Carlos Boozer and Tayshaun Prince.

    What It Could Have Looked Like: Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Antwan Jamison, Troy Murphy, Stoudemire.

7. Yi Jianlian

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: Yi Jianlian was a highly regarded player overseas. He also was coming out of the shadows of Yao Ming's success and translation to the NBA. Many teams saw him as the next best thing out of China.

    Why He is on This List: Well, Jianlian was not the next Yao Ming, to say the least. The Milwaukee Bucks took Jianlian with the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, and his 8.6 points per game were not what they expected. In four seasons, he has played for three different teams. I think that says enough about the kind of player he turned out to be.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Jianlian were Joakim Noah, Spencer Hawes, Jared Dudley, Rudy Fernandez and Wilson Chandler.

    What It Could Have Looked Like: Ramon Sessions, Michael Redd, Desmond Mason, Joakim Noah and Andrew Bogut.

6. Hasheem Thabeet

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: I honestly don't know why Thabeet was taken with the second pick in the 2009 draft. He was not that good in college, and his experience of playing basketball was known to be very little. He is tall, though.

    Why He is on This List: Thabeet makes this list because, just like many of us knew before he drafted, he really can't play. In three seasons, Thabeet has yet to surpass an average of four points a game. Four! He was the second overall pick, remember. His career rebound averages are no more than three a game, either. Pretty pathetic.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Thabeet were James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, DeMar Derozan and Ricky Rubio, to just name a few.

    What It Could Have Looked Like: Mike Conley, Tyreke Evans, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

5. Kwame Brown

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: Kwame Brown was regarded as the best high school player and player in the draft. He was a McDonald's All-American and was coming off a great high school season.

    Why He is on This List: Brown is on this list because he is arguably one of the worst No. 1 overall picks that just did not play well at all. He was not injured, he just sucked. In Brown's third season with Washington, it seemed as if he was getting the hang of the NBA game when he averaged 10.9 points per game for the season. That was the peak, though, as his numbers went down year after year following that season. It is known as the worst pick Michael Jordan ever made, hurting his reputation as a general manager as it had just begun. Ironically, Jordan has given him another chance in Charlotte.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Brown were Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, Gerald Wallace and Gilbert Arenas.

    What It Could Have Looked Like: Chris Whitney, Richard Hamilton, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner and Pau Gasol.

4. Eddy Curry

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: Eddy Curry was high school standout, known for his athleticism. Curry was also apart of a draft class that was huge on high school talent. People saw him as the second coming of Shaquille O'Neal

    Why He is on This List: Curry was not horrible, but he was just a waste of space. With his size, he could score easily down low, but besides that he was just lazy on the court. He was also extremely out of shape. Perhaps it is due to his cardiovascular problem, but still he was not the player the Bulls were hoping for with the No. 4 pick. In the end, the Bulls moved Curry and his career has been a roller coaster ever since, but mostly on the down.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Curry were Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, Gerald Wallace and Gilbert Arenas.

    What It Could Have Looked Like: Trenton Hassell, Jason Richardson, Ron Artest, Tyson Chandler and Brad Miller.

3. Greg Oden

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: Perhaps the most followed high school player since LeBron James, Greg Oden showed he could perform at the higher level during his one year at Ohio State. The man was a beast on the boards, and he didn't have a terrible shot either.

    Why He is on This List: Since Oden was drafted first overall in the 2007 draft, he has played 82 games. He missed the entire 2007-08 season due to micro-fracture surgery, and he never became the same player since. What was the hope of Blazers fans fell as quickly as it came.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: A player drafted after Oden was Kevin Durant.

    What It Could Have Looked Like: Brandon Roy, Steve Blake, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla.

2. Adam Morrison

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: After a standout season at Gonzaga, Morrison was projected to be a great player. He had a great ability to shoot and get to the rim, and he showed the passion of a true leader.

    Why He is on This List: Morrison is on this list because he simply sucked. The Charlotte Bobcats took him with the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft, and I am sure they still dread it to this day. Morrison's game simply didn't translate to the NBA game. He had a good first season, but then he just disappeared. Perhaps it was due to a knee injury he suffered back in 2007, but for some reason Morrison never truly became the player the Bobcats thought they would be getting.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Morrison were Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, JJ Redick and Rajon Rondo.

    What it Could Have Looked Like: Raymond Felton, Brandon Roy, Gerald Wallace, Sean May and Emeka Okafor.

1. Darko Milicic

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    Why He Was Chosen So High: Darko Milicic was this highly anticipated young player coming out of Serbia. He had looked great in international play, and many saw him as the next great international big man.

    Why He is on This List: Milicic just never lived up to expectations in Detroit. After being selected with the No. 2 pick, Milicic failed to ever average more than four points a game in his three seasons in Detroit. In perhaps what is considered the best draft class in NBA history, Milicic is just a mistake within all the talent. Either it was the transition to the NBA game or he didn't fit well with the Pistons, but either way it was a mess. Milicic never saw the court 40 times throughout a single season in Detroit.

    Who Else Could They Have Taken?: Players drafted after Milicic were Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and David West.

    What it Could Have Looked Like: Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Carmelo Anthony, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace. Remember, this team won the Finals as the team it was. Imagine if they had Anthony that season.

     

     

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