Busting My Way Through The NBA Draft Since 2000: Part Two of Three

Pete Toal@@PetetoalContributor IMarch 2, 2010

LOS ANGELES - APRIL 12:    Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Darko Milicic #31 of the Memphis Grizzlies on April 12, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Yesterday I posted Part one of my three part series in which I will chronicle my top three draft busts of each year. I will also continue to list my three runners up for those worthy of mention, while also providing a brief summary as to why I chose them. 



1. Darko Milicic - Darko was selected out of Serbia with the third pick by the Detroit Pistons, ahead of Carmelo Anthony, whom many expected the playoff-contending Pistons to take.

Milicic encountered a loaded front court when he arrived in Detroit which limited his in-game experience. Herald as a sharp shooting 7'0" player who could also play inside, Darko had his confidence quickly broken along the way as he only saw four minutes of playing time per game under coach Larry Brown.

Milicic would play limited minutes again in his next two seasons before being traded to Orlando where he flashed his potential in two seasons there but could not effectively turn that into consistent production.

Darko ended up signing with Memphis during free agency in 2007 and played consistent minutes but again failed to meet expectations. Darko eventually was traded to New York to play under coach Mike D'Antoni and many expected him to blossom in the up tempo system but it did not happen.

Darko stated this season would be his last in the NBA as he is returning to Europe in the offseason. He currently is playing for the Minnesota T-Wolves where he is contributing nightly but is far from the star potential he once possessed.

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2. Michael Sweetney - Michael was selected with the ninth overall pick by the New York Knicks.

Sweetney had a good college career at Georgetown University as a highly-skilled big man who could score and rebound well. Sweetney's knock was his weight as he struggled mightily with it.

This also led to average on-court production through two seasons with the Knicks, and then Michael was traded to Chicago in 2005, where he only lasted two seasons before falling out of the league.

Sweetney attempted a comeback in 2009 with the Boston Celtics before being cut. Although he played well, weight was a factor for the decision.

Sweetney has career averages of 6.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game, leaving many to wonder if he can gain control of his weight and make a lengthy comeback to the league.

3.Troy Bell - The star guard out of Boston College was drafted 16th overall by the Boston Celtics but was traded on draft night to the Memphis Grizzlies. Bell quickly found out that he was overmatched defensively and unable to run the point guard position and found himself languishing on the bench all season.

Bell played in only six games total and averaged 1.8 points a game in 5.7 minutes. Bell quickly was out of league in 2005 as he was unable to find a market for a 6'1" two guard trying to learn the point.

Runners Up:  

Reece Gaines - The 15th pick of the draft was a 6'6" combo guard out of Louisville who had the experience the Orlando Magic looked for when drafting him, as he was a four year starter in college.

Gaines quickly lost his confidence in training camp as he battled shooting woes in the preseason and was stuck trying to learn the point guard position. Reece played limited minutes (9.6) and gave limited production (1.6 points per game) in his only season with Orlando before being traded to Houston.

Reece lasted 10 games with Houston before being shipped to Milwaukee where he lasted two seasons before falling out of the league for good in 2005.

Zarko Cabarkapa - Drafted 17th out of Serbia by the Phoenix Suns and looked at as a mismatch nightmare at 6'11" because of his ability to run the floor and finish inside and shoot outside consistently, Zarko performed well during his rookie season before being injured on a dunk attempt and fracturing his wrist.

The following season saw limited confidence for Zarko thus leading to his trade to Golden State in 2005. Zarko never regained his confidence before the wrist injury and despite playing well for Golden State, he returned to Europe in 2006. Cabarkapa held career averages of 4.3 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per game and many wonder where he would be without the wrist injury.

Ndudi Ebi - Ebi was drafted 26th overall by the Minnesota T-Wolves as a High School Senior. Ebi possessed a raw ability for running the floor and playing defense and many expected him to become Kevin Garnett.

Ebi's expectations were short lived as he did not have a high work ethic and was never able to pick up the speed of the NBA game. Ebi was released after only two seasons and holds averages of 2.1 points per game in  4.5 minutes per game.


1. Rafael Araujo - Drafted eighth overall by the Toronto Raptors, Araujo was the first college senior taken out of BYU.

Rafael was thought by many to be a reach at eighth overall after being overmatched in workouts. Araujo quickly proved many critics right as he averaged a mere three points and three rebounds per game in his two seasons with Toronto.

Araujo was shipped off to the Utah Jazz the following season which would be his last in the NBA before heading to Europe to play.

2. Robert Swift - Swift, who stood 7'1", was drafted 12th overall out of Bakersfield High School by the Seatlle Supersonics. Swift brought with him a keen ability to shoot mid-range and finish under the basket, along with being able to run the floor effortlessly.

Swift played sparingly for Seattle his first season but picked up his game during his second season averaging 6.4 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Disaster struck before his third season as he ruptured his ACL in a preseason game, ending his season and vastly limiting his once high production. Swift soon returned the following season but just was not the same player and soon found himself released 2009 due to chronic injury issues.

3. Pavel Podkolzin - Pavel was touted as a high first-round pick who stood at 7'5" and 300 pounds but ultimately was selected 21st overall by the Utah Jazz then traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

Podkolzin although tall did not possess very good on-court skills as he was limited offensively and out-rebounded by smaller players often enough to only appear in five games with an average of two points per game.

Pavel's career would end in 2005 as he was waived by Dallas after only appearing in six total games in two seasons.

Runners Up:

Luke Jackson - Luke was drafted 10th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers who liked his 6'7" size and outside shooting ability.

Jackson was riddled by a back injury during his rookie campaign that limited his on-court production which led to him only appearing in 10 games.

Jackson returned in 05-06 but was unable to translate his skills on the court as he shot poorly from the outside and could not put the ball on the floor. Jackson latched on to a few teams until finally leaving the league for Italy in 2009. He holds career averages of 2.6 points per game and 0.8 assists per game.

Kirk Snyder - Snyder was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 16th overall pick. Snyder came out of the University of Nevada as a athlete who could score and defend.

Snyder performed solidly during his rookie season with Utah averaging five points per game, but was quickly shipped to New Orleans due to his attitude and lack on the defensive end. He had the same result in his only season there which led to his next stop the Houston Rockets.

Snyder played limited minutes in Houston for two seasons before resurrecting his value in Minnesota in 2007 where he posted career highs in points with 8.4 per game.

Snyder's off-court issues with a lack of effort led to his release in 2008 which then found himself in a world of confusion and his law troubles continue while he is out of basketball at the moment.

Shaun Livingston - Livingston was a highly-touted high school senior, who at 6'7" possessed point guard skills which enabled the Los Angeles Clippers to draft him fourth overall.

Livingston performed fairly well in his first three seasons with the Clippers as he possessed vision on passes and the ability to lead the team effectively. On February 26th, 2007, tragedy struck as Livingston endured one of the most horrific knee injuries an athlete could go through after a failed attempt on a breakaway layup.

Livingston tore his ACL, sprained his PCL, fractured his patella tendon, and injured his tibia-femoral joint and was out of action until 2008 when he signed with the Miami Heat.

Livingston's NBA return with the Heat was short-lived and he was traded to Memphis in 2009 and immediately waived. Livingston again tried a return with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 09-10 season but again he found the waiver wire, most recently being picked by the Washington Wizards on a 10-day contract.


Ike Diogu - Drafted ninth overall by the Golden State Warriors as a undersized power forward out of Arizona State University, Diogu when healthy is a very productive low post scorer who can rebound well despite being undersized (6'9") for his position.

The problem was and still remains is that he can not stay injury free long enough to put his value on display in order to earn playing time. He averaged seven points per game along with three rebounds as a key member off the bench his first two seasons in Golden State.

In 2006, he was traded to the Indiana Pacers and played there sparingly for two seasons before a trade brought him to the Portland Trail Blazers. He languished on the bench for a season before stops in Sacramento and New Orleans, where again he is battling injury in order to gain court time.

Fran Vasquez - The 11th pick by the Orlando Magic out of Spain was envisioned to play power forward alongside Dwight Howard. Vasquez decided that he wanted to remain in Spain and wait on the NBA, much to the dismay of fans in Orlando and has since become a premier player in the Spanish ACB League and has not given any word on when he will jump to the NBA.

Yaroslav Korolev - The 12th pick out of Russia by the Los Angeles Clippers. Korolev was a wiry 6'7" small forward who was looked upon as a project who possessed quality shooting skills. Korolev did not live up to the hype in his two NBA seasons with the Clippers averaging a mere one point per game and ultimately took his game to the NBDL.

Runners Up :

Gerald Green - The electrifying 6'8" high school phenom was drafted 18th overall by the Boston Celtics. Despite high potential he was drafted late first round after only working out for the top six picks in the draft.

Green possessed a streaky shooting stroke and could dunk with ease but also had a low basketball IQ and shoddy defense. He spent two very inconsistent seasons with Boston flashing his potential (10.4 points per game as a sophomore) in which the only highlight of it was winning the Slam Dunk Championship in 2007.

Green was traded in summer of 2007 to Minnesota where he sat on the bench playing sparingly until being traded to Houston then immediately released. 2009 brought Green to the Dallas Mavericks where he was exposed for his lack of work ethic and is currently out of the league playing in Russia.

Julius Hodge - Hodge, a 6'7" point forward out of NC State, was selected 25th overall by the Denver Nuggets. Hodge lasted only two seasons in the league, displaying poor decision making and an inconsistent jump shot, and averaging a bleak 1.2 points per game in 23 total games. Hodge has recently signed in Australia for the 2009 season.

Chris Taft - Taft was a highly scouted pick after only one season at Pittsburgh, selected 42nd overall by Golden State due to reports of back injuries. Taft only appeared in 17 games due to a severe back injury and after only one season was released despite being a once prospective lottery selection. Taft holds career averages of 2.8 points per game with 2.1 rebounds per game.

Look for part three of my three part series tomorrow afternoon as I bust my way through the decade of NBA Draft selections.

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