The NBA Draft starts tonight, with the Kings holding the 8th pick at the time of this posting. While picking in the mid-lottery tends to be a crapshoot and thus comes with less pressure to hit a home run, picking in the top three immediately puts intense scrutiny on both the front office making the pick and the player that is selected. Here are five top draft picks that we a bitter disappointment.
1. Michael Olowokandi (Los Angeles Clippers; 1998 No. 1 Overall)
The Clippers pretty much shocked everyone when they selected Olowokandi, the 7-foot University of Pacific standout, first overall in 1998. Olowokandi was considered a project (he didn’t start playing basketball until he was 18), so it’s tough to say that he didn’t live up to the hype – there really wasn’t a ton of hype to begin with. But, the Clippers rolled the dice. Here’s an example of how it turned out:
At least we’ll remember him for being on the wrong end of plenty of posters. Olowokandi retired in 2007 with a career average of 8.3 points per game.
2. Greg Oden (Portland Trail Blazers, 2007 No. 1 Overall)
Oden made a name for himself as a freshman at Ohio State where, alongside current Grizzlies guard Michael Conley, he led the Buckeyes to the NCAA Championship Game while averaging 3.3 blocks per game and shooting nearly 62% from the field – with a broken hand. There was much speculation as to whether Oden or Kevin Durant would go first overall to Portland – and we know how that turned out. Oden’s career would be ravaged by injuries, and although he is still in the league, he has played in only three seasons and has appeared in more than 25 games in a season just one time.
3. Shawn Bradley (Philadelphia 76ers, 1993 No. 2 Overall)
The 7’6″ Bradley came out of BYU as a highly-touted rim protector – he once blocked 14 shots in one game in college – but the 76ers quickly found out that they had spent the second overall pick on plumbing hardware.
As in, this dude got flushed on. A lot. Behold, the greatest lasting memories of Shawn Bradley’s career:
Bradley retired in 2005 with a career average of 2.5 blocks per game, but will always be remembered as the world’s largest poster model.
4. Adam Morrison (Charlotte Bobcats, 2005 No. 3 Overall)
Morrison came out from Gonzaga after a junior season in which he averaged 28 points per game and was bestowed with the honor of being Michael Jordan’s first draft pick as the decision-maker for Charlotte. He drew comparisons to Larry Bird before the draft… and then he started “playing” in the NBA. His rookie season wasn’t awful, but he would tear his ACL in a preseason game the next year after getting crossed up by Luke Walton. Morrison would flame out of the NBA in 2010 with a 37% shooting percentage.
5. Pervis Ellison (Sacramento Kings, 1989 No. 1 Overall)
Who could forget Never-Nervous-Pervis? Well, lots of people, really. Ellison was a standout at Louisville under Denny Crum, starting all four years and leading the Cardinals to a national title in his freshman season. The NBA was not so kind, however. Pervis missed half of his rookie season to injuries, and despite being named Most Improved Player for the 1991-92 season after averaging 20 points and 11.4 rebounds for the Washington Bullets, that would be the only season in which Ellison could stay healthy. He retired in 2000 with career averages of 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Nate Goodyear can be heard on “The Keith Brooks and Carmichael Dave Show,” weekday mornings from 5:30-9 PT on KHTK Sports 1140.