Calls and Flops
No, this is not about charging, but it is about your history with the draft. Ever since I started my interest in basketball, around when I was about 8-9, I have tried to follow players from early on in their career, always looking for the next great player or for guys whose games I liked. I would make lists of players and would inevitably have favorites, as well as try and predict how a guy would translate to the NBA. Over the years I have definitely gotten a few who I have called, but have also had many flops, as is the case with anyone that is willing to go out on a limb. So, to prove I am willing to admit when I am wrong, I will give you a list of guys who I was dead wrong about, as well as a few guys who I was lucky enough to have faith in. I am not at all a prophet, the draft remains as mysterious as ever in many scenarios, but projecting what will happen is always fun to me.
Flops=Players who never lived up to their potential, or players who you may have seen as being a bust but proved you wrong
Calls=Players who lived up or surpassed their potential, or picks that you called as being total busts
1. Michael Olowakandi #1 pick in the 1998 Draft LA Clippers: The "Kandi Man" was a legit 7 footer who was projected as being "The Next Hakeem Olajuwon". Even Harold Miner being called "Baby Jordan", was not close to as ridiculous a claim. Nonetheless, I totally bought into the hype, I had read articles in ESPN magazine praising the choice, had seen him interviewed on numerous programs, I believe on Jim Rome as well and he seemed like a guy that might actually be a legit center in the league. He never came close in my opinion, and after a few very disappointing seasons in LA, he moved to Minnesota, where the hype was on again and people started calling him "The second best C in the league next to Shaq." Luckily, at this point, I had jumped way off the bandwagon and just thought those claims were ridiculous. Needless to say, they were. I still see him as a worse pick than Kwame Brown due to the fact that Kwame never had the same labels put on him as "Kandi", and I think Olowakandi overall lack of understanding about the game of basketball was second to none. I have never been able to live the praising of the British Big Man down to this day, and it has to go as a major flop on my part.
2. DerMarr Johnson #6 2000 Atlanta Hawks: I learned about DerMarr early in his junior year and also learned that he was considered a player who likely could have gone to the draft and been picked ahead of most players in the senior high school class. He was considered an incredible talent and was ranked #1 in the 1999 high school class, I even got to see him play in a tourney in Toronto. I went to two of MCI's games, DerMarr played extremely well in both, and I was sold. He was a 6'9 shooting guard, he had a great handle and could shoot the rock well. I was much more impressed with him than by his high school team mate who some had said was an even better player than DerMarr and would tear him up in practice. His team mate's name was Caron Butler. Well, I followed DerMarr when he went to Cinci, surprised and happy he had went to college, and while he did not tear it up necessarily, he played well enough to be thought of as a high draft pick. I thought he would be a steal where ever he went, and would eventually turn out to be even better than Kenyon Martin, the number 1 pick and his team mate at Cinci. Well, I was wrong once again, even though Kenyon did not necessarily kill it. DerMarr did get hurt in an unfortunate car accident, which could have ended his career and surely stunted his improvement, but looking at his first few years, he would have never come close to living up to billing. Sorry DerMarr, I was pulling for you.
3. DaJuan Wagner #6 2002 Cleveland Cavaliers: Again, this one was since high school. However, I had followed Wagner since I heard about him freshman year, when he made the SLAM HS All-American Honorable Mentions. He than I believe went on to make second team that next year and I believe first team the two years following, though I could be wrong. He also had that 100 point game in HS and went on to have a big freshman year at Memphis. At the time, their was a guy who was considered a better player than Wagner that year in college, I laughed when I heard someone was considered a better newcomer than "Juanny" in the C-USA. That player was Dwyane Wade (Marquette left C-USA for the Big East soon after). Needless to say, I thought Wagner should have gone before Jason Williams (which would not have been the worse thing in the world, with his unfortunate situation), Mike Dunleavy, hell, Yao Ming. I thought he was the second coming of Allen Iverson and would be near the NBA's scoring leaders. Instead he was a streaky undersized SG who could not hack it at point. I was really excited when LeBron went to Cleveland that next year, as I thought he and DaJuan would take the league by storm. I was right about LeBron, who was a guy myself and countless others called (even though I did say I thought he would be an immediate 20 ppg scorer in the league), but was very wrong about DaJuan. I know he had unfortunate health problems and was trying to make a comeback, and as with DerMarr, I still would love to see him back in the league, but it is safe to say, I was wrong again.
I will name more later, and say that some of the guys I called were Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Redd, Morris Peterson, Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer, Danny Granger and Richard Hamilton (as being better than Wally Sczerbiack and some other guys in front of him) and I had Trajan Langdon pegged as a bust, and if things keep going the way they seem to be, I think I will have the same about JJ Reddick. Plus I was extremely pissed off when the Raptors took Rafael Araujo with the likes of Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith left on the board (thank you Rob Babcock). Well, I will contribute more later, but I was just wondering if anyone else wanted to admit times they have been off on a player or times where they thought they should have been made a GM on the spot with their insight.
Good stuff! I'll bet there's a lot of guys on this site that really in their hearts believe they would be outstanding GM's in the NBA. I have my moments when I truly fall into that category. Ever since I was a little kid, I'd always conjure up hypothtical deals in all sperts, especialy baseball and basketball. The draft was always an obsession as well. My favorite sport is usually the one offseason. Instead of actually enjoying the games, I'd rather decide what my team should do in the offseason.
My flops include: Olawokandi, Darius Miles, Sean May, Eric Montross, Frankie Williams, Patrick O'Bryant, J.J. Reddick, Corey Brewer, Adam Morrison, and Darko Milicic.
I have had my share of calls to. I've followed college and pro ball for a long time. My perspective is a little different than most posters due to my age. Things have changed throughout the years. In the "old days" there were no pc's and internet exposure. the media wasn't all over this stuff either. Unless a kid was Parade All-America, you didn't see anyone on a national level. You only saw local kids in high school. Living in Chicago, I saw Isiah, Doc Rivers, Aguirre and the lot in prep days. For the most part we saw players for the first time their freshman year in college without knowing their reputation. Games were also less televised back then, and it was mostly Big Ten in the Midwest. Times sure have changed. I just wonder how different my childhood would have been if I had ESPN and the internet. I think I would have been so obsessed, I'd probably really be a GM today. In my dreams, anyway!
Oh, put me down for Morrison hardcore as a flop. I thought he would be an outstanding scorer, he had a high release and a great set of offensive moves. Seemed like a tough enough player to guard and intense enough of a person to really be a competitor in the league. Has not at all been the case so far. Darius to me was a guy who I thought could be a much better player than he was, and I thought he was a much better pick for the Clips than Marcus Fizer, which I guess turned out to be true. He had a really good rookie year for a guy out of high school, but really hit his plateau for a few years which lead me to question his work ethic. He was a very bad ball handler, a streaky at best jump shooter and was atrocious from long distance. His attitude also had to make you wonder what he was thinking. In my dream of dreams, I would love to be a General Manager, but it would be such a high pressure position I am really not sure I would want it. I think it takes a special eye to be a good GM, and only a few seem to possess it. Plus, luck and having a good ownership would help tremendously. Even location plays a factor, as some teams just have a hard time attracting guys to their city. Oh, and now that I saw, definitely put me down for the Dark Man, I thought he could be special. If I were a GM this year, and did not have the first pick, I would honestly hate my job. This draft could be deep in role players, but I think it will be hard to look at the second or third pick in this draft and say it was a solid pick for that high in the draft. The rookie/sophomore challenge is usually a slaughter, and next year, it might be ugly.
Nice Post. I think as fans...we could can call some players and some busts.
I mean to be honest...I called Mike Sweetney as a bust a mile away but i was wrong on Okafor.
Flops: Darius Washington Jr., Tyrus Thomas (I thought he was Amare 2.0), TJ Ford, Telfair, Marvin Williams, Rashad McCants, Joey Graham
Called Flops: Corey Brewer, Greg Oden*, Adam Morrison, Sean May
Calls: Josh Howard, LeBron, Dwight, Trevor Ariza, Voon Wafer, Derrick Rose*, Devin Harris
So as you can see, I am wrong a lot more then right. Here are some that I think will be great in this draft: Flynn, Derozan, Evans and Derrick Brown. We'll see!
Just like Darko.....this kid will fail because we wasn't given the chance to get better....so its all in his head now he is scared and overwhelmed...he had a decent rookie campaign and Larry Brown took a dump on him because he can't D up....yeah you know what neither can michael redd, ben gordon, or steve nash....its just sad to see situations where a player could have been great but had terrible development and mentorship...i hope he goes to europe next year....