NBA Draft History: Biggest Lottery Busts from 2000 to 2010

Kyle Banks@@kylebanksContributor IIJune 23, 2011

NBA Draft History: Biggest Lottery Busts from 2000 to 2010

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    The 2011 NBA draft is just hours away and several prospects will get to shake hands with David Stern and realize a dream. The inexact science of drafting talent for the NBA can be very difficult.

    Scouts and general managers have to figure out which prospects have the most upside and how they’ll project in the league.

    Every draft has that “Can’t Miss” prospect that is destined for stardom, but the ones that are labeled as stars, who don’t live up to lofty expectations are later labeled busts.

    I decided to compile a list of the biggest draft busts from every NBA draft since 2000. Some draft busts are obvious while some verdicts are still out.

2000: Marcus Fizer, Chicago Bulls, Fourth Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    Marcus Fizer is the best player in this year’s NBA draft. When all is said and done Fizer will be head and shoulders above Kenyon Martin. He is the complete package. I see him scoring 22 PPG and grabbing 12 rebounds a game in a few years.

    Reality

    Fizer played only 289 games in the NBA for the Bulls, Bucks and Hornets before going overseas. He averaged only 9.6 PPG and 4.6 RPG during his short NBA career. Fizer is currently a free agent and goes down as one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history.

2001: Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards, First Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    The most gifted player in the draft, Brown is a great athlete with exceptional basketball skills. Brown is often compared to Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett. At this point, Brown has a much more NBA-ready physique than Garnett had coming out of high school. Brown could develop into a potential franchise player if he works hard on his game.

    Reality

    Brown was the first high school player drafted first overall, but hasn’t lived up to his draft status. He has played in 576 games with five NBA teams, averaging 6.8 PPG and 5.6 RPG. Brown has been nothing more than a backup center in his 10-year career.

    Honorable Mention: Eddy Curry, Chicago Bulls, Fourth Overall

2002: Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Denver Nuggets, Fifth Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    He's almost 7'0" and has a lot of talent. He's just got to put it together, get a butt on him and he'll be great. Talent-wise, I don't see why he wouldn't be better than Pau Gasol.

    Reality

    One of the repercussions of drafting based on upside, Tskitishvili was one of the first international prospects that turned out to be a huge bust. Tskitishvili played in only 172 games in four seasons averaging a mere 2.9 PPG.

    Honorable Mention: Jay Williams, Chicago Bulls, Second Overall

2003: Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons, Second Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    Milicic has tremendous upside and has a chance to be great. He is a highly skilled, creative scorer and is fundamentally sound. He needs to get stronger, as he gets pushed around a lot.

    Reality

    Darko Milicic will always be known as the guy drafted after LeBron James and before Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Milicic has averaged only 6.1 PPG in 438 games. After eight seasons in the league, it's unlikely Milicic will be anything more than a journeyman role player.

2004: Rafael Araujo, Toronto Raptors, Eighth Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    Araujo is a type of center that makes other players around him better. Physically, he can compete right away. He may not be the type of player making highlight reels, leaping over people and dunking, but he does the dirty work, hits the open jump shot and makes the extra pass.

    Reality

    Araujo was a head-scratching pick when the Raptors picked him at No. 8. He played in only 139 games, averaging 2.8 points and rebounds per game.

    Honorable Mention: Shaun Livingston, Los Angeles Clippers, Fourth Overall

2005: Fran Vázquez, Orlando Magic, 11th Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    Fran Vázquez is an athletic paint player who displays great speed and mobility, nice coordination and very good leaping ability. Vázquez is a natural-born worker, always trying to get better, always improving on his weaknesses and pretty intense on the floor. He's really serious about the game and shows great maturity and character.

    Reality

    Vázquez was supposed to team up with Dwight Howard in Orlando, but has yet to even come to the NBA. By the time Vázquez decides to come to the NBA, he very well may be 30 years old or older. I consider him a bust because he was a wasted pick for Orlando.

2006: Adam Morrison, Charlotte Bobcats, Third Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    Adam Morrison is undoubtedly a top-five pick, and could go as high as No. 1 depending on which team is selecting there. Morrison isn’t a lock to be a star, but will be a very successful NBA player in the right system.

    Morrison nails Nowitzki-style turnaround fadeaways with ease, and is very comfortable throwing up one-handed floaters on the move from 10-15 feet. These types of shots (that the average player would get benched for even attempting) are what Morrison has built his legend on, and are the main reason for the controversial Larry Bird comparisons.

    Reality

    Morrison’s career has been very disappointing, only playing in 161 total games thus far. He has two championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers, but was in street clothes most of the time. Out of basketball all of the 2010-2011 season, Morrison hopes to land a gig in the NBA this fall.

2007: Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers, First Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    A well-built athlete with long limbs and room on his 7'0" frame to carry at least another 20 pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness, speed or explosiveness. Is natural in the open court, especially for a player of his size, drawing comparisons to Tim Duncan in that area.

    Oden is more team-oriented than most quality stars and is perfectly content with boxing out an opponent, grabbing the offensive rebound or feeding scorers. If he becomes more assertive with age and experience, he'll be a well-rounded All-Star in the NBA.

    Reality

    It may be unfair to slap the label of bust on Greg Oden, but knee injuries have riddled his young career. Oden has only played in 82 games over two seasons and has missed two entire seasons altogether. Oden is only 23 years old so he still has time to salvage the rest of his career, but I doubt we’ll see superstardom. Fans in Portland will always wonder what if the Blazers had picked Kevin Durant over Oden.

2008: Joe Alexander, Milwaukee Bucks, Eighth Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    When deciding to go all the way to the rim, Alexander has all-world finishing ability off of one or two feet. He showed signs of finishing aggressively with awesome power or using the glass with nice touch. His work ethic and competitive drive should allow him to be a solid NBA small forward for many years.

    Reality

    Alexander has only played in 67 games, averaging 4.2 PPG. He struggled for playing time in the NBA and has spent most of his career in the NBA's D-League.

2009: Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies, Second Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    Hasheem Thabeet has one of the biggest upsides of anyone in the draft, but also contains a few risks. Is he Olajuwon or Olowokandi, or maybe somewhere in the middle. He has sheer athleticism. At 7’3" he runs the floor like a deer and is a tremendous shot-blocker.

    Reality

    Thabeet is very raw and still a work in progress. He is the highest drafted player ever to be sent to the D-League. Thabeet has played in 115 games and has averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.8 RPG.

2010: Cole Aldrich, Oklahoma City Thunder, 11th Overall

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    What Scouts Said

    Plays in the post, with a limited outside game. He is slow and methodical. Not convinced he can get his shot off in the NBA despite size. A tenacious defender, poised and gives high energy.

    Reality

    It’s way too early to know how Aldrich will turn out in the NBA. He should have stayed at Kansas for his senior season. Aldrich barely played during his rookie season and spent time in the D-League. Aldrich will either be a quality backup center in the league or be out of the league in a few years.


    For more 2011 NBA draft coverage, stay tuned to Bleacher Report for updated NBA mock drafts, B/R's Big Board of RecruitsNBA draft rumorsNBA draft results and draft grades.