NBA, NBA Draft / Jun 24, 2010 / 7:00 pm

Top 5 NBA Draft Day Disasters

With the most exciting night in the NBA upon us, we often tend to focus on the players who get picked and their dreams finally coming true. But Draft Night is not always such a wonderful dream. For some franchises, selecting the wrong player turns a night of dreams into nightmares. With that in mind, here are my Top 5 Draft Day Disasters:

1. Same Bowie
Year: 1984
From: University of Kentucky
Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Pick: 2nd overall

Why: In the 1984 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers made maybe the worst decision in NBA history. No, not by selecting Sam Bowie, but by not selecting Michael Jordan. The Blazers (like most teams) got in this predicament by drafting for needs instead of overall talent. As the result of taking Bowie with the second pick, they not only missed out on MJ, but they also passed on Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. Now I know that they already had Clyde Drexler on the team, but if you really needed a big man and took Bowie over Barkley, that’s lands this pick as the worst Draft Day disaster ever.

Who they passed on: Michael Jordan…enough said!

2. Darko Milicic
Year: 2003
From: Serbia
Team: Detroit Pistons
Pick: 2nd overall

Why: Imagine this line-up: Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Carmelo Anthony, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace. Bring Tayshaun Prince off the bench, and we may be reminiscing a Detroit Pistons dynasty. Instead, we are talking about the Pistons’ rebuilding and I am going to put most of that blame (maybe 55 percent) on drafting Darko.

Who they passed on: Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

3. Kwame Brown
Year: 2001
From: Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Georgia
Team: Washington Wizards
Pick: 1st overall

Why: Michael Jordan should have reviewed tape from his Draft and realized the potential mistake he was about to make. It’s easy to calculate today as to exactly how bad of a pick Kwame Brown was, but in 2001, Brown was considered a future NBA All-Star. Turns out he wasn’t, and if it weren’t for Bowie’s misfortune of going ahead of the G.O.A.T. in the Draft, Kwame could have been higher on this list.

Who they passed on: Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson, Tony Parker and Gilbert Arenas.

4. Michael Olowokandi
Year: 1998
From: Pacific University
Team: Los Angeles Clippers
Pick: 1st overall

Why: “The Candyman” would have been a better choice than The Kandiman. The reason that the Clippers don’t have a proven franchise player is because of Olowokandi. The list of players that they could have taken includes two superstars in Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki. Sorry Clipper fans.

Who they passed on: Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter.

5. Shawn Bradley
Year: 1993
From: BYU
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Pick: 2nd overall

Why: One of the worst days in 76ers history. The 7-6 center has a career long list of poster achievements. No, not him dunking on people, but instead players dunking on him: From dunks as light as Derek Fisher, to dunks as nasty as Tracy McGrady‘s baseline slam. The Sixers are still hesitant to draft a big-man.

Who they passed on: Penny Hardaway and Jamal Mashburn.

Honorable Mention: Pervis Ellison (Sacramento Kings), Danny Ferry (Los Angeles Clippers), Ed O’Bannon (New Jersey Nets) and Chris Washburn (Golden State Warriors).

What do you think?

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  • Ian

    bowie shouldnt be on the list
    he was injured he had bad luck. now the rest of these fuckers just plain suck.

    btw if portland was going big and the article mentioned barkley as a safer pick??? u know sir charles is shorter than jordan right?

  • sh!tfaced

    Tskitishvili and the whole 2000 draft class, that was a disaster…

    No draft blog this year…?

  • sh!tfaced

    *not that Tskitishvili was part of the 2000 class…

  • quest???

    @ ian I totally agree with you, Bowie was skilled. He just had bad luck with injuries. Your also right about sir charles, I believe he is 6-4 6-5 maybe even 6-3.

  • Jonathan

    Len Bias… Sadly he should be number 1 on any list like this. A true draft day disaster.

  • ms

    What about Huston? They passes up on Jordon too? Olajuwon was good, eventually, but he was no Jordan. Bowie never had a chance because of injury, that doesn’t make him he worst pick ever. Hind site is 20-20.

  • icey

    rafael arrujo by toronto?

  • bookkwormmaster

    The Atlanta Hawks should be on the list for double jeopardy.

    6. Marvin Williams
    Year: 2005
    From: North Carolina
    Pick: 2nd overall

    Who they passed on: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger, David Lee, Monta Ellis

    7. Shelden Williams
    Year: 2006
    From: Duke
    Pick: 5th overall

    Who they passed on: Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, Paul Millsap

  • Alpha Goat

    This list is dead on.Yeah Bowie had injuries but would he have been a greater player than Jordan if the injuries didn’t happen, Id bet both my left & right nuts NOT! Regardless of Barkley’s height he played PF and at 6’3-4 he still would’ve been a better pick over Bowie

  • Peter

    I put my Warriors’ 1980 disaster second on this list. Yes, worse than picking Darko over Carmello was this:
    – Trade Robert Parish and the no. 3 pick to Boston for the no. 1 pick. The Warriors take Joe Barry Carrol, who we came to know as “Joe Barely Cares,” and the Celtics take Kevin McHale. Without that trade there were no Celtics championships in the 80’s and no Larry-Magic NBA rivalry.

    Honorable Mention: my Warriors trade the no. 3 pick in 1970 to Atlanta for the NBA rights to Zelmo Beatty. The Hawks pick Pete Maravich.

  • Really

    You can’t say a team passed on a player drafted in the 2nd round. If that’s the case, hell everybody passed on that player at least once. That would go for Monta, Gilber Arenas, etc

  • yoda

    you are pushing too much this “ideal” starting five with carmelo in detroit. c’mon, they had brow as a coach. carmelo wouldn’t play at all in his first season and who knows what would happen to him if he went there. especially with all issues that surrounded ‘melo in his first few years in nba. after all, how many minutes played lbj, wade and melo combined for brown on national team?

  • Heckler

    Same Bowie?

    the correct spelling is ‘SAM’.

  • Diego

    Absolutely nobody (except maybe Chuck) knew out of college that Barkley had the skills he showed as a pro. So Barkley was by no means a safe bet. At Auburn, he pretty much was a fat guy who rebounded.

    When, oh when oh when will it be acknowledged what a mistake the Oden pick was? Guy is heading to a much worse career than Bowie. And who cares about who else Portland has on the roster? They wouldn’t be tons better with Durant (youngest scoring champ ever who is heading to be a sure HOFer)? OKC aleady is a better team now than Portland, and I sure hope LeBron doesn’t win another MVP next year if he again fails to make noise in the playoffs next year.

  • Diego

    And you want to know the Hawks biggest draft mistake in recent years? The Hawks drafted Pau Gasol, but immediately traded him to Memphis, who then had Billy Knight as GM.

    So Billy Knight not only burned the Hawks with the Marvin and Shelden picks, but he really burned us by fleecing us of Pau!!

  • http://gladitsover.org Chicagorilla

    LMFAO@ Sam*e* Bowie. That is classic.

    oh and please someone look into the drafting of Kwame Brown. Research it. From what i’ve read, MJ was trying to trade the pick for Elton Brand. And who else could they have chosen #1? Arenas who EVERY NBA team passed on and Pau Gasol, who no one really knew since he came from Spain? After that, the rest of the draft sucked donkey nuts. I think people fail to realize just how terrible that 2000 and 2001 draft class was.

  • SlimeBucket

    The Jordan one is overrated too.

    Before MJ, look at the top 2 guards of all time(according to espn.com) who lead teams to championship.

    #3. Jerry West, 1
    #4. George Gervin, 0
    #8. Pete Maravich, 0
    #9. Earl Monroe, 1

    So this is really in hindsight and Jordan is quite an outlier. Why didn’t you go buy Google stock or Microsoft stock when they IPO too?

  • Ian

    this is a bust list not a are u better than the player picked after you list. bowie had bad luck like i said the other 4 players suck.

    if thats the case only like 6 players ever arent busts going by your logic.

    and not even barkley mother would pick him over bowie in that draft.

  • Ian

    one thing you said that if bowie was healthy he wouldnt be better than jordan well prob not but with a healthy bowie maybe its portland winning chips in the 90s with drexler being considered the best sg ever thats a big fuckin if i know but hey add one more allstar center to that portland squad and you got yourself a bulls vs blazers finals for 8 straight seasons.

  • Alpha Goat

    @ian WTF are u talkin about would Bowie have been the all time greatest draft disaster if Jordan and all the other players drafted after him had been bust as well? No and if if all the players after him had been bust that would make this entire debate a moot point.

    The fact that Bowie was drafted numbe 1 overall and contray to what many think he did play some and his numbers were not that of a number 1 over all pick in any games he played.

    So when history looks back and a team could’ve had the greatest basketball player ever in the entire whole wide world Michael Jeffrey Jordan, anybody with an IQ above some cold caca would say, Jordan was better than Bowie and so much better that it renders Bowie the greatest draft day disaster ever

  • Ian

    alpha goat
    what the fuck are YOU talking about?? what is all that nonsense you wrote?

    again this article isnt about the number one picks that that werent the best player in their draft. if you think like that then hakeem was a bust also because the rockets had also a chance of drafting that same jeffrey jordan right? the next season ewing was a bust he wasnt the best player in his draft??

    sir if you are not a bad player like darco or kwame you are not a bust the man was just injured the blazers didnt get it as wrong as people make it out to be because with a healthy bowie avg 15 and 10 they coulda won some rings with drexler as their best player.

    i looked up all the drafts since 84 to 00 and only the admiral , shaq , iverson , td , and maybeee webber were the only first picks better than the rest of the packs. i guess that means that allstars or good players like martin , ewing , brand , big dog , larry johnson are busts right?

    point is portland drafted what they needed to win if wasnt for injuries they woulda had it can u say the same about the other 4 scrubs on the list?

  • Ian

    btw bowie wasnt the first pick

  • Alpha Goat

    Yeah Bowie was taken 2nd overall,give yourself a pat on the back.We’ll have to agree to disagree.I fully understand that this article isn’t SOLELY about hindsight being 20-20 and the number 1 & 2 picks that turned out not to be the best players in their draft classes but it’s very relevant…

    You think maybe that’s why the author of this article took the time to list the guys that were passed over because he to felt it was relevant to why these are the top 5 NBA draft day disasters.

    With the exception of die hard NBA fans most people would not know who Sam Bowie was/is, if Jordan had just an average NBA career or himself had been a bust. I think two things are obvious from reading your post 1 you’re a Blazers fan and 2 You’re still not over what MJ did to the Blazers in 92

  • Jesus

    Barkley is NOT 6’4″. He clearly at least 6’6″ in shoes. Just check some dream team photos and you’ll see Jordan is about half an inch shorter than Barkley

  • Joe’s Momma

    Sixers are still hesitant to draft a big man…

    hahahah that is funny as heck.

    But the Bowie thing, that is why you draft the best player available. Forget about drafting for need. You can always find a way to utilize a guy that talented.

    If you got CP3 on your team, do you pass up a pg who is considered the best available? I wouldn’t, just take best available no matter you are picking #1, or #8.

    Look at the Thunder, they picked Harden who still has the tools to be a legit 2 guard, but wouldn’t you rather have taken Curry? They needed a 2, and they got one, but they would have been better served to go after the best available.