The Best and Worst Draft Picks (and draft day trades) of the Last Ten Years
By Kevin Duffy
The Ten Worst Picks of the Last Ten Years
10. Mike Dunleavy 3rd overall by Golden State in 2002
The Warriors were looking for a SF, and they should have looked no further than Caron Butler.
9. Everyone except Minnesota in the 2000 Draft
The T’Wolves were the only team to get the 2000 Draft right…they forfeited their pick as every other team should have done.
8. Rodney White 9th overall by Detroit in 2001
25 ppg scorer Joe Johnson was taken with the very next pick. In his one season with Detroit, White scored a total of 56 points.
7. Seattle SuperSonics Drafts
Seattle’s First Round Picks Since 1996:
Bobby Jackson, Vladamir Stepania, Traded draft rights of Corey Maggette to Orlando for Horace Grant, Desmond Mason, Vladamir Radmanovic, Nick Collison, Robert Swift, Johan Petro, Mohamed Sene.
Note to Sonics: Stop drafting foreign players and stop trading the few athletic black players that you pick.
6. Nicoloz Tskitishvilli 5th overall by Denver in 2002
Was a member of five teams, averaging 3 points per game before David Stern sent him back to the Soviet Union.
5. (Tie) Aleksander Radojevic 12th by Toronto and Frederic Weis 15th in 1999
One was drafted out of community college and played 12 games in his sorry excuse for an NBA career. The other became famous…for being Vince Carter’s *****.
4. Celtics, Magic, Nets and Jazz all looking for their PG of the future in taking Joseph Forte, Jeryl Sasser, Brandon Armstrong, and Raul Lopez respectively with the 21st-24th picks in the 2001 Draft.
Unfortunately for these teams, the next three point guards off the board were Tony Parker, Jamaal Tinsley, and Gilbert Arenas. Whoops. And it’s not like PG was the only position left, Gerald Wallace and Sam Dalembert were taken with the 25th and 26th picks.
3. Michael Olowokandi 1st overall by the LA Clippers in 1998
Just a rule of thumb…never use the top pick in the draft on someone who went to Pacific.
2. Darko Milicic 2nd overall by Detroit in 2003
Yeah…Detroit won two championships in spite of this pick, but imagine if they had taken Dwayne Wade or Carmelo Anthony.
1. Mavericks, Warriors and Cavs taking Samaki Walker, Todd Fuller, and Vitaly Potepenko 9th, 11th, and 12th in 1996.
Why was this so bad? Not only did all three of these players turn out to be awful, but 4 of the next 5 picks to come off the board were Kobe Bryant, Peja Stojackavic, Steve Nash and Jermaine O’Neal. Ouch.
Ten Best Picks of the Last Ten Years
Dwayne Wade 5th overall to Miami in 2003
Not that it was a good pick, because at this point, LeBron, Carmelo and Chris Bosh were already gone…but it was a pick that certainly changed the franchise and delivered an NBA title.
Carlos Boozer 35th overall to the Cavs in 2002
This certainly would have been on the list if Cleveland held on to Boozer, who is now one of the best power forwards in the game.
Rashard Lewis 32nd to Seattle and Cuttino Mobley 41st to Houston in 1998
Both ended up being standout NBA players for the past nine years…not something you can say about most second-round picks.
Monta Ellis 40th to the Golden State in 2005, Josh Smith 17th to Atlanta in 2004, and Kevin Martin 26th to Sacramento
All could end up on the list, but it’s a little too early in their careers to tell.
10. Josh Howard 29th overall to Dallas in 2003
Mark Cuban, normally not shy about taking foreign players, passed up projected first-rounders Maciej Lampe, Sofoklis Schortisiantis, Slavko Vranes, and Zaza Puchilla to draft this future All-Star.
9. Derek Fisher 24th overall to LA Lakers in 1996
Who knew that this pudgy guard out of Arkansas-Little Rock would play a key role in the Laker’s three-peat? Fisher will perhaps best be remembered for his desperation game winning shot with 0.4 seconds left in Game 5 of the 03-04 conference semifinals against the Spurs.
8. Gilbert Arenas 31st overall to Golden State in 2002
Arenas was one of the better second round steals in the last decade. Though he didn’t truly become a superstar until he played for Washington, Arenas helped lift the Warriors out of the Pacific Division cellar during his stint in the Bay Area.
7. Amare Stoudemire 9th overall to Phoenix in 2002
A year after Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, and DaSanga Diop all flopped as rookies, picking high school big men was not trendy in the 2002 Draft. Phoenix easily could have gone with a “safe” college player such as Jared Jeffries, Melvin Ely, or Juan Dixon, but they went for the home run with Stoudemire and they nailed it.
6. Deron Williams 3rd overall to Utah in 2005
Williams was somewhat of a late-bloomer, catapulting himself into the Top 5 behind a standout NCAA tournament. The Jazz took a lot of heat initially for passing on Rookie of the Year Chris Paul, but Williams had a fantastic second year in Utah and might be the better of the two when it is all said and done.
5. Michael Redd 43rd overall to Milwaukee in 2000
Not often do you get a franchise player in the middle of the second round. I’m not saying Milwaukee got lucky, because they obviously did their homework on Redd, but I don’t think anyone, even the Bucks, expected him to be this good.
4. Shawn Marion 9th overall to Phoenix in 1999
At the time, Marion was a relative unknown out of UNLV. The Suns picked him over some highly-regarded prospects such as Jason Terry, Corey Maggette, Ron Artest, Trajan Langdon, and William Avery. Marion turned out to be a pretty good pick.
3. Tayshaun Prince 23rd overall to Detroit in 2002
While other teams were reaching for upside players such as Qyntel Woods, Jiri Welsch, Boston Nachbar, and Marcus Haislip, the Pistons went the conventional route and took a proven college star who fit right into their system. Prince has made the Eastern Conference finals in each of his first five seasons and has won two championships.
2. Tony Parker 28th overall to San Antonio in 2001
Parker made an immediate impact, and has turned into one of the leagues best point guards over the last few seasons. Had the Spurs not taken him here…it would likely have been Jamaal Tinsley (taken one pick later) that seduced and date-raped Eva Longoria after meeting her in the San Antonio locker room.
1. Manu Ginobili 57th overall to San Antonio in 1999
Ginobili was the second-to-last pick in the ’99 Draft and turned out to be a major player on a two-time NBA champion Spurs squad that is currently in the midst of another title run.
Most Impactful Draft Day Trades of the Last Ten Years
10. 2004- Phoenix Suns trade the draft rights of Luol Deng to the Chicago Bulls for a future first round pick (which turned out to be #21 Nate Robinson of the 2005 Draft).
Phoenix took the risk that Chicago would get a high pick in 2005. They didn’t, so the Suns ended up trading Robinson to the Knicks with Quentin Richardson for Kurt Thomas. The Bulls were the big winners of this trade, getting a 20 point per game scorer in Deng essentially for Robinson.
9. 2005- Washington Wizards trade Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laetner, and the draft rights of Devin Harris to the Dallas Mavericks for Antawn Jamison.
Dallas made out like bandits, essentially getting their point guard of the future and the league’s best sixth man in Stackhouse for Jamison, a talented player who didn’t fit in with the Mavs.
8. 2006- Houston Rockets trade the draft rights of Rudy Gay to the Memphis Grizzlies for Shane Battier.
This is a trade I will never understand. It is evident that Battier will be nothing more than a role player, but Gay has the chance to be special. I bet Houston, whose third scorer is Luther Head, regrets making this move a year later.
7. 2003- NY Knicks trade the draft rights to Leandro Barbosa to the Phoenix Suns for a future first round pick (which turns out to be #30 David Lee in 2005).
David Lee has been a solid rebounder for the Knicks, but his contribution does not compare to what Barbosa has done for the Suns.
6. 1998- Toronto Raptors trade the draft rights of Antawn Jamison to Golden State for the draft rights to Vince Carter.
Not that Jamison, the former National Player of the Year at North Carolina, is a bad pro, but he is not Vince Carter. Carter is almost solely responsible for jumpstarting the Toronto Raptor franchise and drew a ton of media attention for his gravity-defying dunks.
5. 2002- The NY Knicks trade Marcus Camby and the draft rights to Nene Hilario to the Denver Nuggets for Antonio McDyess and Frank Williams.
Camby ended up being the 2006-2007 Defensive Player of the Year and Nene has contributed a great deal to Denver despite tearing his ACL two seasons ago. As well all know, McDyess, and particularly Frank Williams, really helped turn around the misfortune of the Knicks.
4. 2002- Houston Rockets trade the draft rights of Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins, and Brandon Armstrong to the NJ Nets for the draft rights to Eddie Griffin.
At the time, the Nets didn’t look too smart trading away Griffin, the Seton Hall freshman phenom for a pervert with suspect driving skills. Five years later, it turns out Jefferson is the All-Star, while Griffin is the one crashing his SUV because he was watching porn.
3. 2001- LA Clippers trade draft rights of Tyson Chandler to the Chicago Bulls for Elton Brand
This honestly was just inexcusable on the part of Chicago. Brand was entering his third year and was one of the league’s best young big men. At best, Chandler would be as good as Brand, but there was a huge risk involved because the Bulls didn’t know exactly what they were getting with Chandler. They shortly found out, and regret making the trade to this day.
2. 1998- Milwaukee Bucks trade the draft rights of Dirk Nowitzki to the Dallas Mavericks for the draft rights to Robert Traylor.
It’s not all that bad…at least Traylor got to train for the National Hot Dog eating contest in the frank footer capital of America.
1. 1997-Charlotte Hornets trade the draft rights of Kobe Bryant to the LA Lakers for Vlade Divac.
You can read this countdown in its entirety and my other blogs and draft insight at www.nbadraft2007.blogspot.com