Top 10 lottery busts of the last decade
10. Yi Jianlian(notes), Milwaukee Bucks, taken sixth overall in 2007
Some say Yi was born in 1987. Others contend that he might have been born a year earlier, or even three years before. Most contend that he's a willowy waste of a 7-foot frame, who refuses to get to the line, work on anything but a low-percentage long jumper, while allowing opponents to walk all over him defensively, and on the boards. He makes the fringe of this list merely because he's still in the league, but after two full seasons in Milwaukee and New Jersey, it's pretty clear what Yi is all about. And it ain't unrealized potential.
9. Kedrick Brown, Boston Celtics, taken 11th overall in 2001
He wasn't exactly taken ahead of Jordan, Stockton, or Malone; but by my count, Brown was selected ahead of 15 players who started an NBA game last year. An athletic ... something, who was working out of a junior college long enough to impress Chris Wallace and the C's, Brown was an immediate washout.
8. Rodney White, Detroit Pistons, taken ninth overall in 2001
He came with a slightly shinier resume than Kedrick Brown, selected with an Andy Katz stamp of approval by Detroit's Joe Dumars, who was in his first year as Detroit's personnel chief (after merely working as a consultant the year before). White had skills and an offensive touch, but he never put any work into that game of his. He was sent to Denver before being packaged with Nikoloz Tskitishvili and shipped to the Golden State Warriors for a pick that eventually (after being tossed around by several teams) landed the Philadelphia 76ers the rights to Petteri Koponen(notes). History!
7. Yaroslav Korolev(notes), Los Angeles Clippers, taken 12th overall in 2005
I watch a lot of basketball, and as a curious sort, I'm often on the lookout during garbage time for prospects both heralded and unknown. And yet, despite his lottery status, I never saw a second of Korolev's 168 NBA minutes. It's possible that I missed him without knowing it, I fully concede, but I sure can't remember a lick of his NBA career. And it is a career, because even at age 21, he ain't coming back. Mike Dunleavy clearly dropped the ball with this Russian athlete, who shot 28 percent from the field in 34 NBA games.
6. Rafael Araujo(notes), Toronto Raptors, taken eighth overall in 2004
Your humble narrator received all sorts of stick from Toronto backers for calling Hoffa a bust after his rookie year, as if he was ready for a bust-out season at age 25 after turning the ball over on nearly 21 percent of the possessions he used up in 2004-05. Raps fans, as they sometimes do, warmed to a dose of reality a year later when Araujo continued to stink, and Jazz fans got a taste in his third season before he was mercifully left to play overseas. And Rob Babcock? Don't draft players who are two months away from their 24th birthday, unless they're averaging 30 and 20 in the NCAAs. It's not Hoffa's fault, he worked his butt off, he was just a huge reach at eighth overall.
5. Adam Morrison(notes), Charlotte Bobcats, taken third overall in 2006
Morrison is ranked this low (high?) because he's still in the league. He still has a chance, even at age 25, to improve upon his 37 percent lifetime mark from the field. He still has a chance to learn how to rebound, defend, get to the line, or pass the ball properly. The unfortunate truth is, were I to compile this list in 2012, Morrison would likely vault to the top three, as he was taken ahead of Brandon Roy(notes), Craig Smith(notes), and Jose Juan Barea(notes) in 2006. The last two players leave you a little cold? Apologies, but they're still (much) better NBA players than Morrison.
4. Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Denver Nuggets, taken fifth overall in 2002
Dirk Nowitzki(notes) was a month away from shooting the Dallas Mavericks in to their second consecutive postseason appearance, a fact (Dallas? In the playoffs?) that still tended to boggle the mind in 2002. Peja Stojakovic(notes) was a few weeks removed from, well, shooting his Sacramento Kings out of a Game 7 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. But the ideal remained. Big guy, big shooter, pretty young, gobble him up. The Nuggets got two of the three correct. Skita shot 30.4 percent in 172 career NBA games. Yikes.
3. Kwame Brown(notes), Washington Wizards, taken first overall in 2001
Kwame's the first top pick on this list, which holds quite a bit of weight because a top selection's success or failure will rightfully be measured alongside all that come after him. Every pick. Even the free agents. Luckily for Kwame, the 2001 Draft wasn't great shakes in terms of star power, though it was a deep and helpful prospect pool, so his middling NBA career can almost be left to its own merits. And his merits (seven points, 5.6 rebounds in 23 minutes a contest, career) are bloody awful.
2. Entire 2000 NBA Draft
You can't pick a single bust-worthy standout. Sure, Stromile Swift(notes) (taken second overall) has disappointed greatly, but what were the Grizzlies' options? Darius Miles(notes)? Marcus Fizer? Chris Mihm(notes)? DerMarr Johnson(notes)? Do you want me to go on? Or do you want me to just mention Jerome Moiso's name and move on with it? It nearly bears mentioning that any time I see a comment wondering how it was, exactly, that a dope like me got this job, I think back to this draft. And I think, "I live-blogged the 2000 NBA Draft. I've paid my dues, dammit."
1. Darko Milicic(notes), Detroit Pistons, taken second overall in 2003
He's the total package. His name eases right into the lame jokes ("you could get yourself another Dar-ko Milicic; you know what I mean? This guy knows what I'm talking about!"), he's been an underachieving flameout, he only rose to prominence by taking advantage of well-sourced but not entirely basketball-savvy (at least, then) hoops scribes who were smitten by his ability to spin and dunk in an empty gym, and he was taken ahead of franchise types like Dwyane Wade(notes), Carmelo Anthony(notes), and Chris Bosh(notes). Darko is, quite easily, the biggest lottery bust of the decade.
agree or disagree?
I agree with a lot of this list but morgison should be higher
I disagree with 10. I think Yi will have a good season.
Take Yi out and put in Marcus Fizer. I thought this man would be like a superstar
I agree about Yi, i think he should have a solid season this year.
I think Yi will average 16 and 8 this season
Marcus Haislip 13th pick in the 02' Draft was a high ceiling guy who was an unbelievable athlete I remember reading about him on this site and could bench 400 with a 40'' vert out of college, but that didn't translate into a productive NBA career. He was playing over seas by 05 after only playin 79 NBA games with career averages of 3.6 ppg and 1.5 rpg. I know he was late lotto, but thats a pretty big bust in my opinion. I read a little bit about him when I thought of him to put on this list, and apparently he had a good European career and signed with the Spurs this year. Maybe he can turn his career around, because he is a great athlete, but as far as his NBA career is concerned to this date he is a pretty big bust.
D Miles and Q were fun 2 watch on the cllippers
i think its great that the bucks traded tractor taylor for dirk
Yi isn't that bad...I'm sure there are worse on the list somwhere...Shelden Williams?
D.Miles was good in his Clippers day
Add Shelden Williams to your list, and put Kwame Brown #1 and Darko #2. Then you should be fine.
Yeah i figured Shelden williams is a bigger bust that Yi, i think Yi should be solid this season
I really don't see how Yi can be on this list. It completely devalues every other point made.
There are at least 15 players who were lottery picks in the last decade who have been worse busts than Yi.
yeah, we need to wait a while on Yi. He hasn't proven to be a bust yet. Also, I can't call Shelden Williams a bust because I knew the Hawks were dumb for taking him. When I heard that he quit working out for teams becuase he had a promise from the Hawks at 5, I was in shock.
Overall you did put together a well-written list. However, I must agree with most that Shelden Williams is in fact a loser. Haha jk, but I would put him up there. If he could play like he did in college that'd be great. Unfortunately I doubt it.
Yi Jianlian is not a bust. One simply cannot make that point with his amount of production. Even if he produced less, it's too soon to say something like that.
He was a sophmore who averaged 8.6 points per game and 5.3 repounds in 23 minutes.
Here is a list of lottery players and what they averaged in their sophmore season:
Yi Jianlian 8.6 ppg 5.3 rpg
Tracy McGrady 9.3 ppg 5.7 rpg
Joe Johnson 9.6 ppg 4.1 rpg
Devin Harris 9.9 ppg 2.2 rpg
Caron Butler 9.2 ppg 4.8 rpg
Steve Nash 9.1 ppg 2.1 rpg
Al Jefferson 7.9 ppg 5.1 rpg
Hedo Turkoglu 6.7 ppg 2.8 rpg
Shane Battier 9.7 ppg 4.4 rpg
Here are the real busts in the last 10 years:
Marcus Fizer drafted 4th
Eddie Griffin drafted 7th
Trajan Langdon drafted 11th
Stromile Swift drafted 2nd
*DerMarr Johnson drafted 6th
*Jonathan Bender drafted 5th
Mike Sweetney drafted 9th
Luke Jackson drafted 10th
*Dajuan Wagner drafted 6th
Sean May drafted 13th
Shelden Williams drafted 5th
Saer Sene drafted 10th
Corey Brewer drafted 7th
Robert Swift drafted 12th
Darius Miles drafted 3rd
Btw Yi just took his China team to a championship game averaging about 18 ppg 11 rpg 4apg 2blks
and by Eddie Griffin, give him bonus points, he managed to sway the Rockets he was good enough for them to trade Richard Jefferson for him
Gabereal33 why is wagner on there?..he averaged 11-13pts his first year got hurt then got his colon removed( never had that but im sure that will have some major effect on youre basketball skills. dermarr johnson played ok and was still developing before he broke his neck. im not sure how old bender was before he retired from a bad back. personally i wouldnt have included miles or drafted him that high because he never showed me that he could be a big factor before he got drafted since the only thing i say he was good at was dunking
i guess injured players deserve an asterisk *
Wagner, Bender, Livingston, DeMarr all were injuried early in their careers before they could really prove they were legit. So its probably not fair to say they were busts in the same way the Kwame Browns, Stromile Swifts and Marcus Fizers were.
point duly noted quincey
Did somebody mention me ?LOL
Guys, this isnt my list, i just copy and pasted it, i dont agree with some of it .