The worst No. 1 of the Draft in the history of the NBA

Next Thursday night (02:00 a.m. from Thursday to Friday, Spanish time) one of the most anticipated events by NBA fans will be held, like every year around this time: the NBA Draft.

That night, the most promising youngsters on the basketball scene (most of them from the NCAA) hope to hear their name from the mouth of the NBA commissioner and be chosen, if possible, as soon as possible, to be part of the best basketball league of the world.

But being the No. 1 in the Draft is not synonymous with being a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson or LeBron James, and having a long and successful career in the NBA, as the cases show. which we will explain below.

Markelle Fultz

2017

Markelle FULTZ (Philadelphia 76ers)

Rookie statistics: 7.1 points and 3.8 assists NBA career: 10.9 points and 3.1 rebounds (5 seasons – 131 games)

Perhaps some will question the fact that Fultz appears on this list, both because of his age (23 years old) and because the point guard who amazed during his college days in Washington has only been able to play, due to his multiple injuries, a total of 131 games (of a possible 410) in his five professional campaigns. But the truth is that, numbers in hand, and when he has been more or less healthy, Fultz’s performance has not been, much less what was expected for an entire number 1 in the NBA Draft. In fact, now in Orlando he is looking the best version of himself so far (11.9 points and 5.2 assists).
In addition, if we compare him with any of his generation peers, we are full of reasons to place Fultz on this controversial list.
Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons (2016 #1 pick) – 15.8 points, 8.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds
Other notable players in the Draft: Lonzo Ball (#2), Jayson Tatum (#3), De’Aaron Fox (#5), Donovan Mitchell (#13), Bam Adebayo (#14), John Collins (#19), and Kyle Kuzma (#27).

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2013

Anthony Bennett (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Rookie statistics: 4.2 points and 3 rebounds NBA Career: 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds (4 seasons – 151 games)

Without a doubt, one of the biggest disappointments in recent NBA Draft history. Although, to the dismay of poor Bennett, it should be noted that not many understood the Cavs’ choice at the time. After going through Cleveland, Minnesota, Toronto and Brooklyn with more pain than glory, in 2017 he was proclaimed champion of the Euroleague with Fenerbahce… despite playing only 1 minute in the Final Four and being ‘cut off’ just at the end of the tournament. Since then, the most varied destinies: various teams in the development league, the Cangrejos de Santurce, Hapoel Jerusalem and currently he plays, in a last attempt to save his career, in the Kaohsiung Steelers … of Taiwan.
Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams (#11) – 16.7 points and 6.3 assists
Other notable players in the Draft: Victor Oladipo (#2), CJ McCollum (#10), Giannis Antetokounmpo (#15), and Rudy Gobert (#27).

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2007

Greg ODEN (Portland Trail Blazers)

Rookie statistics: 8.9 points and 7 rebounds (61 games) NBA Career: 8 points and 6.2 rebounds (3 seasons – 105 games)

A case that is very reminiscent of another Blazers player: Sam Bowie, chosen at number 2 in the 1984 Draft… ahead of a certain Michael Jordan. After excelling at Ohio State University (alongside Mike Conley), averaging nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds in his only college year, many saw Oden as the NBA’s next big man. His multiple knee injuries only allowed him to play just over 100 games between the Blazers and the Heat and in 2014 he decided to retire. And for more ‘inri’, the comparisons with the number 2 of the draft (Kevin Durant) were always the most hateful.
Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant (#2) – 20.3 points and 4.4 rebounds
Other notable players in the Draft: Al Horford (#3), Mike Conley (#4) and Marc Gasol (#48).

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2006

Andrea BARGNANI (Toronto Raptors)

Rookie statistics: 11.6 points and 3.9 rebounds (65 games) NBA Career: 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds (10 seasons – 550 games)

It cannot be said that the first European No. 1 in the history of the NBA had a bad career in the best league in the world, and he even had a couple of seasons in which he flirted with 20 points per game, but he never lived up to expectations. created by his high choice, he was not the franchise player they expected in Toronto or New York. Weighed down by injuries (he did not reach 37 games on average in his last five seasons), in 2016/17 he played for Baskonia… until he was cut due to physical problems. At just 31 years old, Bargnani’s career ended in Vitoria.
Rookie of the Year: Brandon Roy (#6) – 16.8 points and 4.4 rebounds
Other notable players in the Draft: LaMarcus Aldridge (#2), Rudy Gay (#8), Rajon Rondo (#21), and Kyle Lowry (#24).

Andrew Bogut

2005

Andrew BOGUT (Milwaukee Bucks)

Rookie statistics: 9.4 points and 7 rebounds (82 games) NBA Career: 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds (14 seasons – 706 games)

The transition from the NCAA to the NBA is not always easy. Or else tell Bogut, who went from averaging 20.4 points and 12.2 rebounds in his senior year at the University of Utah to not reaching 10 in his Milwaukee Bucks debut. As in the case of other promising great centers, injuries conditioned his sports career and, despite being a starter in the champion Warriors in 2015, his numbers never reached what was expected of a No. 1 in the NBA Draft.
Rookie of the Year: Chris Paul (#4) – 16.1 points and 7.8 assists
Other notable players in the Draft: Deron Williams (#3), Danny Granger (#11), and Monta Ellis (#40).

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2001

Kwame BROWN (Washington Wizards)

Rookie statistics: 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds (57 games) NBA Career: 6.6 games and 5.5 rebounds (13 seasons – 607 games)

For many, and by far, the worst number 1 in the history of the NBA Draft. In fact, only Anthony Bennett can argue with such a condition. Chosen by Michael Jordan himself, Brown became the first number 1 to arrive directly from high school (in the same case were his classmates, Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry), after excelling at the Glynn Academy. But he immediately saw that in the NBA things were not going to be so easy. Only in one of his 10 seasons as a professional did he reach an average of 10 points and ended his career in the ranks of the 76ers, where he retired at the age of 30 after 2012-13, signing a poor 1.9 points and 3.4 rebounds on average.
Rookie of the Year: Pau Gasol (nº3) – 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds
Other notable players in the Draft: Jason Richardson (#5), Joe Johnson (#10), Richard Jefferson (#13), Zach Randolph (#19), Tony Parker (#28), and Gilbert Arenas (#31).

Michael Olowokandi

1998

Michael OLOWOKANDI (LAClippers)

Rookie statistics: 8.9 points and 7.9 rebounds (45 games) NBA Career: 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds (10 seasons – 500 games)

The Clippers surprised locals and strangers by choosing this 2.13m Nigerian center in first position, whose main ‘merit’ was standing out at the small Pacific University. It didn’t help him either to have to ’emigrate’ to Bologna for a few months because of the ‘lockout’ in the NBA but, without a doubt, what made him rise in the ranking of ‘Biggest fiascos in Draft history’ was checking the list of future ‘Hall of famers’ among his generation peers: Nowitzki, Pierce, Carter, Jamison,…
Rookie of the Year: Vince Carter (#5) – 18.3 points and 5.7 rebounds
Other notable players in the Draft: Mike Bibby (#2), Antawn Jamison (#4), Dirk Nowitzki (#9), and Paul Pierce (#10).

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nineteen ninety five

Joe SMITH (Golden State Warriors)

Rookie statistics: 15.3 points and 8.7 rebounds (82 games) NBA Career: 10.9 points and 6.4 rebounds (16 seasons – 1030 games)

Considering just the cold numbers, many would argue whether Joe Smith’s presence on this list is deserved or not. But beyond the statistics, a Draft No. 1 is also expected to be a leader and Smith, except for his two seasons with the Warriors (17 points and 8 rebounds on average), always had a more secondary and sacrificed role in the league. . In fact, like most of the members of this list, he never played an All-Star Game. By the way, good old Joe played on a total of 12 teams! throughout his 16 seasons in the NBA. A record in the league. Almost nothing…
Rookie of the Year: Damon Stoudamire (#7) – 19 points and 9.3 assists
Other notable players in the Draft: Antonio McDyess (#2), Jerry Stackhouse (#3), Rasheed Wallace (#4), Kevin Garnett (#5), and Michael Finley (#21)

Pervis Ellison

1989

Pervis ELLISON (Sacramento Kings)

Rookie statistics: 8 points and 5.8 rebounds (34 games) NBA Career: 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds (11 seasons – 474 games)

The career of Pervis Ellison, another very promising center, was also marked by injuries, which only allowed him to reach the level shown at the University of Louisville in very specific moments, which he guided to the NCAA title in his year. ‘freshman’ and in which he averaged almost 18 and 9 rebounds in his senior year. Selected by the Kings, his best year had him in the ranks of the Washington Bullets, where he had an average of 20 points and 11 rebounds in 91/92, which earned him to be chosen ‘Most Improved Player’ of the NBA. From there, a host of injuries diminished his performance, retiring on 01/00 after a testimonial step by the now defunct Seattle Supersonics.
Rookie of the Year: David Robinson (1987 #1 pick) – 24.3 points and 12 rebounds
Other notable players in the Draft: Glen Rice (#4), Tim Hardaway (#14), and Shawn Kemp (#17).

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1977

Kent Benson (Milwaukee Bucks)

Rookie statistics: 7.7 points and 4.3 rebounds (69 games) NBA Career: 9.1 points and 5.7 rebounds (11 seasons – 680 games)

After shining at the always demanding University of Indiana directed by Bobby Knight (NCAA champion in 1976, with averages of 20 points and 10 rebounds), it can be said that the ‘zenith’ of Benson’s career in the NBA occurred at the two minutes of his debut. The ones it took to elbow Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the stomach and have him punch him in the eye in return. After this, the former ‘Hoosier’ did nothing more noteworthy … or, at least, the level expected of a No. 1 Draft. As a curious note, the Bucks also chose Marques Johnson at No. 3 in the Draft that year and he signed much better numbers in his debut in the league: 19.5 points and 10.6 rebounds.
Rookie of the Year: Walter Davis (#5) – 24.2 points and 6 rebounds
Other notable players in the Draft: Marques Johnson (#3), Bernard King (#7) and Eddie Johnson (#49).

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1972

LaRue MARTIN (Portland Trail Blazers)

Rookie statistics: 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds (77 games) NBA Career: 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds (4 seasons – 271 games)

The Blazers have earned to be considered one of the most ‘jinxed’ teams in the history of the NBA Draft. The youngest still remember the election of Greg Oden ahead of Kevin Durant and the selection of Sam Bowie instead of a certain Michael Jordan is also historic. But the curse of the Portland franchise started many years before, when they chose LaRue Martin in a Draft that included players like Julius Erving or Bob McAdoo. In four seasons in the NBA, Martin played an average of 14 minutes per game, averaging 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds, eventually retiring at the age of 25.
Rookie of the Year: Bob McAdoo (#2) – 18 points and 9.1 rebounds
Other notable players in the Draft: Paul Westphal (#10) and Julius ‘Doctor J’ Erving (#12).

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