With the NBA Draft Lottery all sorted out, and the selection order now set, people can start their Mock Draft frenzy. But before we delve into the future, let’s break down the best and worst picks of the past decade by 2010′s Lottery teams.
1. Washington Wizards
BEST: Andray Blatche (2005, pick 49)
Despite his immaturity and inconsistency early on, Blatche has proven to be a great value pick for the Wizards and a great offensive talent when he puts his mind to it. He put up incredible numbers at the end of last season after Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were traded, and could be a star going forward.
BUST: Kwame Brown (2001, pick 1)
Brown may be on of the biggest busts in NBA history, and he certainly is one of the worst No. 1 picks ever as he never developed into the player the Wizards (a.k.a. Michael Jordan) thought he could be. Brown did prove valuable though for the Wiz when they managed to get Butler for him in 2005.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
BEST: Andre Iguodala (2004, pick 9)
Igoudala has proven to be a very great pick for the Sixers. He is a solid all-around player who can pass, rebound and score, however he hasn’t developed into the number one option the Sixers are paying him to be. Nonetheless, he was still a great pick.
BUSTS: Jason Smith (2007, pick 21)
While not technically drafted by the Sixers, they acquired him on Draft Day in 2007. He actually started out his rookie year well before fading, then missed all of the 2008-09 season with injury, and didn’t play well on a bad Sixers team last year. I hate to say it, but he doesn’t seem to have much of a future in Philly.
3. New Jersey Nets
BEST: Brook Lopez (2008, pick 10)
Lopez in only two years has proven to be one of the top 10 centers in the NBA, and if he didn’t play for the Nets last year, would have gotten consideration for an All-Star bid. Lopez is the best building block the Nets have right now, and a huge drawing card for potential free agents this summer.
WORST: Marcus Williams (2006, pick 21)
Williams was drafted as Jason Kidd‘s heir to the throne, but fell far short of his lofty status. Williams clashed with head coach Lawrence Frank for most of his two years in New Jersey, and his run as Kidd’s replacement ended with Devin Harris‘ acquisition in 2008 before bring traded to Golden State at the end of the season.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves
BEST: Corey Brewer (2007, pick 7)
The Wolves have had some bad luck with the Draft, trading away some great picks on Draft Night (Brandon Roy and O.J. Mayo come to mind), so Brewer is their best pick almost by default. Saying that, he is a great defender and was a candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award this year after doubling his scoring average.
WORST: Ndudi Ebi (2003, pick 26)
After finding success by taking a power forward out of high school with Kevin Garnett, the Wolves tried their luck again by taking Ebi and failed miserably. He played a total of 86 minutes in his only two seasons with the Wolves before being cut loose by the team before the 2005-06 season.
5. Sacramento Kings
BEST: Tyreke Evans (2009, pick 4)
The Kings had the best chance at the No. 1 pick in 2009, but fell to No. 4. Luckily for them, it all worked out as they drafted the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year. Evans will be one of the best scorers in the League for years to come, and has helped revive a struggling Kings franchise.
WORST: Quincy Douby (2006, pick 19)
Douby was seen as a guy that could come in to the NBA and score, but he never materialized. He never averaged above 4.8 points per game with the Kings before they released him in February 2009 to make room for Brad Miller and Drew Gooden who were acquired in a trade.
6. Golden State Warriors
BEST: Monta Ellis (2005, pick 40)
Ellis would be a great draft pick no matter where he was selected given what he has turned into, but being drafted 40th overall makes Ellis one of the NBA’s biggest steals of the decade. He is an elite scorer who is blazing fast and a fan favorite out in Golden State. He could be an All-Star for years to come.
WORST: Patrick O’Bryant (2006, pick 9)
O’Bryant was a dominating, athletic big man in college and was seen as a good fit for Don Nelson and his offense. However, Nelson never liked O’Bryant and criticized him for not improving, and O’Bryant only played 40 games in his two seasons for the Warriors before not being re-signed.
7. Detroit Pistons
BEST: Tayshaun Prince (2002, pick 23)
Prince was a key contributor to the Pistons’ unprecedented six straight trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, and has been a consummate professional his entire career. His long arms have turned him into a great defender, and his range from three has been very valuable over the years.
WORST: Darko Milicic (2003, pick 2)
Milicic has been a bust almost from the start. Taken in the same Draft class as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony, Milicic is the only one of those guys who hasn’t been a star. After rotting away on Detroit’s bench for three seasons, never averaging even 2.0 points per game, he was traded to Orlando in 2006. The rest is history.
8. Los Angeles Clippers
BEST: Eric Gordon (2008, pick 7)
In only two years with the Clippers, Gordon has proven to be a stud. He has averaged over 16 points per game in each of his first two years, and along with Blake Griffin is the future of the franchise moving forward.
WORST: Yaroslav Korolev (2005, pick 12)
Most of you are asking who? I don’t think the Clippers even knew who this guy was when they drafted him, and he was awful in his two seasons in L.A. before moving back to Europe after the 2006-07 season.
9. Utah Jazz
BEST: Deron Williams (2005, pick 3)
After losing John Stockton to retirement in 2003, the Jazz had been looking for a replacement ever since. And they surely found one in Williams. Williams has been dynamic since entering the League, becoming an elite point guard because of his great decision making, creativity and shooting ability.
WORST: Morris Almond (2007, pick 25)
Almond was drafted to be the shooter the Jazz were desperately lacking, but he failed to stick with the team in his first two seasons. He spent most of his time dominating with the Utah Flash in the D-League and sitting on the bench when with the Jazz. Also, halfway through his rookie season, the Jazz acquired Kyle Korver as their designated sharpshooter showing their lack of confidence in Almond right away.
10. Indiana Pacers
BEST: Danny Granger (2005, pick 17)
Granger has become the face of the franchise in Indiana. For a team that had lots of off-the-court issues, Granger is a solid citizen and just as good of a player. Not to mention he has averaged over 24 points per game the last two seasons. The Pacers need to find him some help in this year’s Draft.
WORST: Shawne Williams (2006, pick 17)
Williams showed some promise as a player in his rookie and sophomore seasons, but before his third season began he was arrested for drug possession – the last thing the Pacers needed to remake their tarnished image. He was out of town before his third season and his whereabouts are currently unknown.
11. New Orleans Hornets
BEST: Chris Paul (2005, pick 4)
This guy is one of the most exciting players in all of basketball. He also was the perfect leader for the franchise during the years after Hurricane Katrina. A selfless player and fierce competitor, New Orleans got an all-around star with this pick.
WORST: Cedric Simmons (2006, pick 15)
Simmons was expected to provide athleticism and energy for the Hornets alongside CP3, but he was so unimpressive in his rookie season the Hornets traded him to Cleveland for David Wesley (who never suited up for the Hornets in his second stint with the team). You can’t win them all.
12. Memphis Grizzlies
BEST: O.J. Mayo (2008, pick 3)
While not drafted by the Grizzlies, they acquired his rights on Draft Night so he fits into this category. Mayo has proven to be a great sidekick for Rudy Gay on the wing, and has averaged 18 points per game over his first two seasons.
WORST: Stromile Swift (2000, pick 2)
Swift came into the League with loads of hype and potential. While he became a decent role player for the Grizzlies, he never became the star the team envisioned. Factor in his inconsistency and lack of focus despite his incredible physical abilities, Swift is one of the most frustrating talents of the decade.
13. Toronto Raptors
BEST: Chris Bosh (2003, pick 4)
Bosh is one of the best players to emerge from the star-studded Draft Class of 2003, and was the key player in helping the Raptors turn around their fortunes after parting ways with Vince Carter. Bosh has gotten better every year, and losing him in free agency would be a huge blow for the Raptors.
WORST: Rafael Araujo (2004, pick 8 )
Drafting Araujo with the hopes of finding a back-to-the-basket frontcourt partner for Bosh, he never turned into a reliable player in his time with the Raptors; a time which only lasted two seasons before they gave up on him.
14. Houston Rockets
BEST: Yao Ming (2002, pick 1)
Even though he was the obvious pick in this situation, the Rockets made the choice to hold on to the pick and get Yao. He is one of the best post players in the game when healthy, and he provided a great complement to Tracy McGrady during his years in Houston.
WORST: Eddie Griffin (2001, pick 7)
The Rockets didn’t draft Griffin, the Nets did, but they traded all three of their first round picks to get him on Draft Night. Those three first round picks included Richard Jefferson and Jason Collins, key figures in the Nets’ reign atop the East. Griffin, despite having solid seasons with Houston in his first two years in the League, was released in his third year after attitude and alcohol problems.
What do you think? What are the best and worst picks by the Lottery teams this decade?
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