Joy, happiness, pride: Just a few emotions players feel as they hear their name called in the NBA Draft, one of the most important events in the league. Its the chance for teams to get future stars, and a chance for bad teams to rebuild and become good again. It’s crucial that organizations make the right pick, it could greatly affect their future. Here I’m listing the 8 biggest draft mistakes since 2000 based on who was available, and their success in the league.
The Denver Nuggets draft Nikoloz Tskitishvili #5 in the 2002 NBA Draft.
A 7”0 center, Tskitishvili spent just 4 years in the NBA. He played for 4 teams in his short NBA career before eventually moving back overseas. Out of 322 possible games, he played in 172 of them. His stats reflect why he was so unsuccessful. A center often has a very high field goal%, as most of the points they score are dunks or shots in the paint. In fact, for this NBA season out of the 80 current centers in the NBA, just over half of them (41) all have field goal %s of at least 50%. However, Tskitishvili averaged a dismal career 30% from the field. He also averaged a career 2.9 points per game, 0.2 blocks per game, and 1.8 rebounds per game.
The Toronto Raptors draft Andrea Bargnani #1 in the 2006 NBA Draft.
If Bargnani had been drafted later in the draft he would be a pretty good pick. Standing at 7”0, he averages a solid career 15.2 ppg 1 bpg, and 4.8 rpg, decent stats for an NBA player. But not for a #1 overall pick. Other issues with Bargnani include how many shots he takes in close to the basket. As a center, you often will score the majority of your points from in close too the paint, and often you will shoot very high percentage shots, (dunks, layups etc.). However for this NBA season Bargnani has only taken 40% of his shots from in the paint, a low percentage even for guards. This could explain why he shoots 43% from the field, a very low percentage for a big man. The Raptors also missed two all-stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and possible future Hall of Famer Rajon Rondo.
The Memphis Grizzlies draft Hasheem Thabeet #2 in the 2009 NBA Draft
Currently the tallest active NBA player and the tallest player to ever play for the UConn Huskies, 7”3 Thabeet was a very promising prospect coming into the Draft. He was named 2x NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) Defensive Player of the Year, and 2009 Big East co player of the year. To add to this, he only started playing basketball when he was 15, and his upside was incredible. However, we have yet to see his potential. Averaging only 2.3 Ppg 0.9 Bpg and 2.8 Rpg throughout his career, Thabeet has not exactly been a superstar in the league, unlike his two fellow draft member James Harden and Stephen Curry. One good part about Thabeet’s game however is that he shoots 56% from the field, but this stat becomes far less impressive when you take into account that he averages 1 shot per game throughout his career. The Grizzlies got rid of Thabeet after 2 seasons, and he’s been jumping around from team to team ever since.
The Milwaukee Bucks draft Andrew Bogut #1 in the 2005 NBA Draft
Actually a very solid player in the league, Andrew Bogut may be a very weird name too see on a list about draft mistakes. Starting for the Golden State Warriors, Bogut averages a career 11.2 Ppg 1.6 Bpg and 9.3 Rpg, as well as pulling down 25% of all defensive rebounds in a game and 10% of all offensive rebounds in a game. He also led the league in blocks the 2011 season. He doesn’t seem like a mistake at all. But, the Bucks overlooked two crucial players, Deron William and most importantly Chris Paul, arguably the best point guard in the league. If Bogut had been taken in a different draft, he would be a solid selection. But the fact that the Bucks passed on Williams and Paul makes this pick just stupid.
The Miami Heat draft Michael Beasley #2 in the 2008 NBA Draft
Another decent player in the league, Beasley declared for the draft after 1 college season. He is regarded as one of the greatest freshman college players in the 2000s. Teams were clamoring for him in the draft, and he was taken only behind Derrick Rose. He is still active in the league and averages 14.1 Ppg and 5.2 Rpg, and also has the exact average player efficiency rating of 15. However his offcourt issue’s often conflict with his play on court, as he has a history of fines and suspensions due to drug abuse and legal issues.
The Washington Wizards draft Kwame Brown #1 in the 2001 NBA draft
19 years old. That’s how old Kwame Brown was when he was the first number one pick drafted straight out of high school. Attending Glynn Academy, he graduated as the school’s all time leading rebounder (1,235) and shot-blocker (605). He was constantly rated as the best high school player in his class, which included high school phenomenons such as Tyson Chandler, and Eddie Curry. However Brown never lived up to the standards set for him, as in his Rookie Season he only averaged 4.5 Ppg and 3.5 Rpg, and at 32 years old it’s very unlikely he ever will. The Wizards stuck with him for 4 seasons, believing in his potential, but eventually he was traded. Ever since he’s been moved from team to team, averaging about the same stats (6.6 Ppg and 5.5 Rpg).
The Portland Trail Blazers draft Greg Oden #1 in the 2007 NBA draft
Coming out of college, Oden was a “once in a decade player” as described by Steve Kerr (NBA Analyst). He averaged 15.7 Ppg 9.6 Rpg and 3.3 Bpg in college and alongside Kevin Durant, was voted into the All American first team, the first freshman to be selected since 1990. He never lost a home game throughout college and high school. Come draft time, Oden and Durant were head and shoulders above the rest. However the Trail Blazers chose to draft Oden, and things have gone downhill ever since. Riddled with knee injuries, Oden was forced to sit out for much of his career. Eventually, he was waived. Currently, out of 492 possible games played, Oden has only played in 104 of them. While all this was happening, Kevin Durant has become arguably the best player in the league. He is a 5x All Star and averages 27.3 Ppg for his career, leaving the Trail Blazers wondering what in the world they we thinking.
Part of a very special draft class, Darko and fellow members of his draft class were often overshadowed by the likes of LeBron James, who was drafted #1 in this draft. He was originally unknown but was discovered when a scout from an NBA team saw him working out. He was sharing a court with the team and had really impressed the scout. Word got around, and now all of a sudden along with the LeBron James talk you would hear talks of this amazing kid from Serbia. Draft day came, and this draft class was loaded with the likes of LeBron, Melo, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. The Pistons were really impressed with Milicic, and he was picked before the likes of Melo Bosh and Wade, all future Hall of Famers. Boy did the Pistons regret this decision. Averaging a dismal 6.0 Ppg and 4.2 Rpg as well as shooting 46% from the field, Milicic has been far from stellar. Throughout his 10 year stint in the league, he has been traded 8 times. Meanwhile, LeBron Bosh and Wade teamed up to win 2 Championships in a row and are looking for a 3peat, while Melo became a 7x All Star and an NBA scoring champ.