A Few Lottery Busts


Tonight is the night for the teams who are no longer playing and who can not wait until next season. First team that comes to mind? The Charlotte Bobcats. They sucked. Plain and simple. They need a new coach, a new team and really a new owner. Until the great Michael Jordan realizes that he has too many “Yes” men and realizes he is a much better player than an owner, his team will suffer.

They were lucky enough to win seven games and gain the opportunity to be the lucky team number one. The Bobcats have a 25% chance to win, but no team, who has the worst record and the most opportunity for the first draft pick, has won the lottery since 2004.

And this year, it is the coveted freshmen of Kentucky, Anthony Davis, that Charlotte wants. Do they need him? Yes, for a variety of reasons, but mostly, he can change that franchise around with just his shot-blocking presence.

So in honor of Davis, we take a look back at some of the draft busts (in no particular order), who had high stock when first drafted but were in reality just crappy NBA players.

Also listed are notable people who were in the same draft class, but picked lower than these busts.

1. Kwame Brown

What a steal! Only in his teens! Lots of time to grow! Unlimited potential! At least that is what everyone thought for a moment. One of the last few players to be drafted straight out of high school and the only high school player to be drafted #1, Brown had the unfortunate luck of being drafted by the great Michael Jordan. This was Jordan’s first crack at the business aspect of basketball and clearly his talent evaluator skills were/are not as good as his playing ones. Trying to live up to the high expectations of being drafted Number 1, Brown never amounted to anything close to his high draft pick. He struggled on and off the court and has now played for four different teams, but only regulated to the bench role.

Two notable people in that draft? Pau Gasol and Joe Johnson.

2. Robert “Tractor” Traylor

Tractor is a good nickname, as this man had a huge frame and huge appetite to accommodate it. His large frame was what people saw first and the most. Although his NBA career was short and unproductive, his biggest feat came in college. Coming after the “Fab 5” from Michigan, Traylor led the Wolverines for three seasons, including winning the Big Ten championship in 1997. Drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 1998 with the sixth pick, the Mavs traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks for the rights of some guy named Dirk Nowitzki. Traylor never found a home as he played for the Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans/Charlotte Hornets before bouncing to Puerto Rico, where he was recently playing for Bayoman Cowboys. However, a scandal with a booster, while he was still playing for the University of Michigan overshadowed his playing abilities. Unfortunately, Traylor passed away on May 11, 2011 at just the age of 34. It was said that a heart attack was the cause of death. His big frame had made it so he had to have surgery on his aorta in 2005. While never amounting to anything in the NBA, this gentle giant, still was a dominate force in college and seem to made a positive impact on the team he was playing for.

Two notable people in that draft? Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis

3. Stromile Swift

Remember this guy? In all honesty, neither do I, until I looked up at past drafts and saw this dude. He looks like Al Harrington and looks like he should have played on the Portland Trailblazers when they had a bunch bad players (off the court stuff, like Damon Stoudaimire). A few quick facts. He was drafted at the #2 spot by the Grizzlies. He has the distinction of being on the roster for the Grizzlies when they were in Vancouver and then moved to Memphis. And he’s played for six NBA teams, never finding a home. Most recently, he went overseas to play for the Shangdon Lions (China).

Two notable people in that draft? Hedo Turkoglu, Mike Miller

4.  Michael Olowokandi

Until this year, the LA Clippers had no real luck. Every draft pick was (sorta) a bust. Lamar Odom, Michael Olowokandi, Blake Griffin (only cause he was injured in his first year), Darius Miles, Shaun Livingston.  And Olowakandi is no exception. In a decent draft class, the Clippers took the “Kandi Man” with the number 1 pick in 1998. And he never rewarded their risk, as he played for nine season for three different teams. He might have been a good role/bench player if he didn’t get injured as much as he did. Either way, he didn’t help any team and hasn’t played in years (thank god).

Notable people in that draft? Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Mike Bibby

5. Adam Morrison

This is a guy with a lot of hype and nothing to back it up. At Gonzaga, he was unbelievable and made a name for himself during the Big Dance. And he built his stock up with by leading the the Bulldogs to the 2006 Sweet Sixteen against the UCLA Bruins. After blowing a 17 points lead, the Zags lost in the final seconds and Morrison broke down and cried on the court. That same year, he shared the national player of the year award with J.J. Reddick of Duke. Drafted at the number 3 spot by the Charlotte Bobcats, Michael Jordan (seems to be a common theme), took another huge risk, who was only known as a shooter and who had built up his stock value during one college season. Like other busts, he could not last long in the NBA due to his lack of skill. The one good thing is that he was on the bench to celebrate the two championships the Lakers won in 2009 and 2010. He eventually went overseas to play, but was either released or quit.

Two notable people in that draft? Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo

6. Darko Milicic

This pick was a head-scratcher. Cause there was a bunch of young players in that class that were way better. I’ll list them later. But, Milicic, went to the Detroit Pistons as the number 2 pick in the 2003 Draft Class. He barely played and when he did, it just garbage time. In just four seasons, Milicic only scored 152 points. He was later traded to the Orlando Magic in 2006. He bounced around the league, never finding a home until he was with the Timberwolves in 2010. After spending a year contemplating of returning to overseas basketball, he signed a three year deal with the Wolves. But to be honest, he won’t get a ton of playing time behind Kevin Love. Either way, he is a great benchwarmer who could not produce when given enough minutes anyways.

Notable people in the draft? Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Kaman, David West, Mo Williams

7. Greg Oden

Now this is a bust only cause Oden couldn’t stay healthy enough to play. When he was healthy, he was dominate force that the NBA has not seen since the days when big men ruled the NBA. In five seasons, Oden has effectively played in 82 games, which equal to one full season of NBA basketball. The Blazers seem content on letting Oden go, after his one year contract is up at the end of the season and Oden has been said to want to play for the Miami Heat. Can you imagine that? While there is no indication that Oden could stay healthy for that, there is certainly one thing. The Blazers, who did a nice job of rebuilding around LaMarcus Aldridge, now regret not taking the much skinner but more effective Kevin Durant. No matter what, Oden was a big risk that led to big failure.

Notable people in the draft? Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Joakim Noah

8. Sam Bowie

It is unfortunate that the same teams get bust draft picks after bust draft picks. But maybe it is has something to do with their owners and who they hire as GM. The Trailblazers again, make the list with selecting Sam Bowie with the number 2 pick in the 1984 draft. He played 11 years in the NBA, but never amounted to earn that high draft pick. He’s most known for  being the guy that as selected before some dude named Michael Jordan. And that class was also included Charles Barkley, John Stockton and Rick Carlise (though I would make the argument that he isn’t that good, except he won a championship with the Celtics as a player and a championship with the Dallas Mavericks as a coach).

Notable people in the draft? Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton