Teams that missed the play-offs cross their fingers today, hoping that the ping pong balls for the NBA Lottery bounce their way. The draft holds an strong allure as teams and fans believe that the new selection will provide a building block for their team’s future glory. Each owner, GM, scout, player, writer, and fan gets to wish for ‘their guy’ to join the team. And the higher the pick, the more hopeful each of those people becomes. However, there is rarely a consensus and even at the top of organizations, disagreements occur because the draft is so fickle.
Even number one picks are no guarantee. And since the Clippers don’t have their first round pick, we’re going to console ourselves by revisiting all the failures at the potential spots of the pick the Clippers traded to Cleveland, which are the first, second, third, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh pick from 1990 to 2009 (not last year’s draft, gotta give ‘em more than a year).
The Eleventh Pick: “I swear, Trajan Langdon is going to turn the Cavs around! He’s the Alaskan Assassin!”
Should three teams jump over the Clippers’ pick going to the Cavs, this is the history of the 11th pick in the last 20 years (again, not including last year’s class):
Terrence Williams (10.9 Career PER, drafted by New Jersey in 2006)
Acie Law (9.9 career PER, Atlanta, 2007)
Fran Vasquez (Never played in the NBA, Orlando, 2005)
Jared Jeffries (9.7 career PER, Washington, 2002)
Kedrick Brown (11.0 career PER, Boston, 2001)
Jerome Moiso (12.0 career PER, Boston, 2000)
Trajan Langdon (12.2 career PER, Cleveland, 1999)
Tariq Abdul-Wahad (11.4 career PER, Sacramento, 1997)
Todd Fuller (10.3 career PER, Golden State, 1996).
That’s 9 of 20 picks that were not just average, but far below average. Not very likely for the Cavaliers to get that pick, but still. Ugh.
The Tenth Pick: “Have you heard of Mouhamed Sene?” “No. Is he good?” “He’s supposed to be ridiculously athletic!”
The tenth picks were considerably better in terms of all out busts than the eleventh pick:
Spencer Hawes (borderline case: career 13.0 PER, Sacramento, 2007)
Mahoumed Sene (career 13.5 PER, but he only played 47 games total, Seattle, 2006)
Luke Jackson (career PER 9.4 [- 6.0 in his 3 games with the Clippers], Cleveland, 2004)
Jarvis Hayes (career PER 10.4, Washington, 2003); Adam Keefe (career PER 12.9, Atlanta, 1992)
Rumeal Robinson (career PER 13.0, Atlanta, 1990).
The Ninth Pick: “I’m telling you, Ed O’Bannon brought greatness back to UCLA, he’ll be a steal for New Jersey!”
The ninth picks were worse than the tenth picks:
Patrick O’Bryant (career 11.0 PER, 90 NBA games played in his career, drafted by Golden State in 2006)
Ike Diogu, sort of (career 15.9 PER, but only 229 games played, Golden State got rid of him after only a year and a half, drafted in 2005)
Michael Sweetney, similar to Diogu (career 15.1 PER, but played only 233 games, none since 2007, drafted by New York in 2003)
Rodney White (career PER 12.3, Detroit, 2001)
Samaki Walker (career PER 12.7, Dallas, 1996)
Ed O’Bannon (career PER 9.1, New Jersey, 1995)
Eric Montross (career PER 9.1, Boston, 1994)
Willie Burton (career PER 12.7, Miami, 1990).
The Eighth Pick: “Dude, did you see Joe Alexander? Dude can touch the rim with his nose!”
The eighth picks (be good, Aminu) have been really mediocre:
Joe Alexander (career PER 9.9, 67 total NBA games played, Milwaukee, 2008)
Brendan Wright (a career PER of 17.6, but he’s played only 114 games since he was drafted in 2007 by the Warriors, it wasn’t because of injury)
Rafael Araujo (career PER 6.3, Toronto 2004)
Do you want to count Chris Wilcox by the Clippers in 2002? He’s at least in the conversation, right?
Shawn Respert (career PER 11.6, Portland/Milwaukee, 1995)
Todd Day (career PER 14.1, Milwaukee, 1992); Mark Macon (career PER 8.9, Denver, 1991)
Bo Kimble (career PER 8.1, Los Angeles Clippers, 1990).
The eighth and ninth picks showed some weakness from the Golden State Warriors (2005, 2006, 2007 were rough) and the Clippers (Wilcox and Kimble).
Going into the top three picks, the slots where there is much more money and hope at stake, I raised the bar a bit for what would be considered a bust.
The Third Pick: “No way, I’m telling you, Adam Morrison will be a great pro! Didn’t you see what he did at Gonzaga?”
I’m surprised at the magnitude of some of these failures:
Adam Morrison (career PER 7.4, Charlotte, 2006)
Mike Dunleavy (career 14.4, Golden State, 2002)
Darius Miles, despite being part of those fun, early ought teams, he really wasn’t that good (career PER 13.9, Los Angeles Clippers, 2000)
Billy Owens had a couple decent years before falling off (career PER 14.4, Sacramento/Golden State, 1991).
The Second Pick: “Chad Ford is brilliant, man. Darko’s going to be amazing!”
This pick has to be the most comically bad, not just because of Darko, a handful of others:
Hasheem Thabeet was picked right after Blake Griffin (career PER 10.5, Memphis, 2009)
Marvin Williams should not have been picked ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams (career PER 13.6, Atlanta, 2005)
Oh, Darko… over Carmelo, Wade and Bosh? (career PER 12.5, Detroit, 2003)
Jay Williams, the one that crashed his motorcycle (career PER 12.2, Chicago, 2002)
maybe Stromile Swift (career PER 16.1, Vancouver, 2000)
The First Pick: “Dude, Jordan was the best, how can he screw up this pick? If he likes Kwame, I love Kwame!”
These are just tragic:
Greg Oden… if only his body wouldn’t have betrayed him (career PER 19.5, but he only played 82 games in 4 seasons for Portland, drafted in 2007);
Andrea Bargniani, the sneaky bust, surprising considering the Euro alert many had after Darko’s flop (career PER 14.3, Toronto, 2006)
Kwame Brown (career PER 12.6, Washington, 2001)
Michael Olowokandi, just ugh… (career PER 10.5, Los Angeles Clippers, 1998)
Joe Smith (career PER 15.4, Golden State, 1995).
When it comes down to drafting, especially considering the Clippers picks, maybe it’s better that the Clips just sit this one out this year, let Cleveland take the pick. It might save the Clippers cap space and, more importantly, hope.