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The Worst Decisions Made From Each Of The First 15 NBA Draft Spots

We hope the 2018 picks don't follow these examples
by Emmanuel Calingacion | Jun 27, 2018
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The Los Angeles Clippers just shipped guard Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards for center Marcin Gortat, basically breaking up the first father-son, coach-player relationship in the history of the NBA.

The trade was bound to happen, since Rivers was considered a bust shortly after he was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans at the 10th spot in the 2012 draft. Three underwhelming seasons later, he was traded to the Clippers to play for his dad, Doc Rivers. Majority of the fans believe that the younger Rivers only got playing time because of pops, and his sporadic good performances aren't enough to solidify his position in the league.

With how lopsided the current NBA competition is, a team is extremely fortunate to have higher lottery spots for a chance to pick the better, if not best, freshman of the bunch. And while scouts are often right on the money with their choices, there have been more than a few times when they simply screwed up. No one really knows how a rookie will perform under the bright lights—many have shown great potential, only to fall short on the big stage.

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FHM looks back at the worst first to 15th NBA draft picks in recent memory.

#1 Pick: Anthony Bennett (Cleveland Cavaliers, 2013)

There's not much to say about Bennett, except maybe that he's even worse than Kwame Brown, who was also a top pick in 2001. He averaged 4.4 ppg and 3.1 rpg throughout his four-year stint in the NBA. Way to go, Cleveland.

#2 Pick: Hasheem Thabeet (Memphis Grizzlies, 2009)

Yes, Memphis did worse than Detroit, which drafted Darko Milicic in 2003. The Grizzlies drafted for Thabeet at the second spot most likely for one reason: he stands seven feet, three inches tall. Thabeet fizzled out of the NBA as fast as he came in, after the Grizzlies missed out on James Harden and Stephen Curry, just to name a few.

#3 Pick: Adam Morrison (Charlotte Bobcats, 2006)

The Gonzaga legend was reduced to sitting on the bench during the Los Angeles Lakers' two NBA championships (2009, 2010). Being in the right place at the right time with the right player (Kobe Bryant) may have gotten Morrison a couple of rings, but that doesn't change the fact that he had an underwhelming career.

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#4 Pick: Marcus Fizer (Chicago Bulls, 2000)

The millennium class didn't give us much, but it was still a shock to see Fizer selected fourth overall over a pretty solid player in Jamal Crawford (8th). Since his arrival, the 6'8" forward got lost in the rotation when the Bulls acquired more bigs. And after three knee injuries, Fizer was done in the NBA.

#5 Pick: Nikoloz Tskitishvili (Denver Nuggets, 2002)

We don't even know how to pronounce his name correctly, but Tskitishvili was a fascinating seven-footer despite the low scoring during his time in the Italian league, where he even won a title. But the pros is a whole different animal, which chewed him up and spit him out right away.

#6 Pick: Jan Vesely (Washington Wizards, 2011)

This could've been Jonny Flynn, whom the Timberwolves chose before Curry in 2009, but Vesely just never had a good season. At least Flynn put up 13.5 ppg in his first conference with Minnesota. The Czech big man didn't even average five markers throughout his three-year NBA appearance.

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#7 Pick: Chris Mihm (Chicago Bulls, 2000)

With all due respect, Mihm could've been at least a solid backup center, if his career wasn't plagued with injuries. He also might've won at least two chips with the Lakers, if he wasn't traded mere months before that.


#8 Pick: Joe Alexander (Milwaukee Bucks, 2008)

At least we remember who DeSagana Diop (2001) was, but Alexander? He impressed teams with his pre-draft workouts, but after suiting up for a total of 67 games in his first three years, ended up in the D-League. He was eventually called up, only to be traded to Chicago then New Orleans, which waived him.

#9 Pick: Patrick O'Bryant (Golden State Warriors, 2006)

O'Bryant was a much-hyped after turning heads with his size and athleticism. Unfortunately, his abilities never translated in the Bay Area and he was sent down to the developmental league mere months after he was drafted. It's okay, Warrior Nation—Golden State got its picks right the following years with Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

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#10 Pick: Mouhamed Sene (Seattle SuperSonics, 2006)

He was hardly one of the noteworthy players to make the march from Seattle to Oklahoma in 2008. Sene played a mere 231 minutes across 41 games in two seasons with the SuperSonics. He played 23 minutes with the Thunder, before playing one game for the New York Knicks during the 2008-2009 season.

#11 Pick: Terrence Williams (New Jersey Nets, 2009)

Williams spent four years in the league with the same number of teams, and was defined by his non-remarkable numbers. He has now left the NBA to play in various teams internationally.

#12 Pick: Yaroslav Korolev (Los Angeles Clippers, 2005)

Korolev was a player for CSKA Moscowin, the Russian Super League, before making the jump to the big leagues. It was apparent that he wasn't ready for the the level of competition, averaging 1.1 ppg and 0.5 rpg across 34 games in two seasons. Soon after that, he returned to Europe.

#13 Pick: Marcus Haislip (Milwaukee Bucks, 2002)

The Bucks thought Haislip was not only good enough to be in the lottery, but also started him several games at the end of his rookie season. He would never make the starting five again, and after just nine matches with the Indiana Pacers, became a free agent and spent four years abroad. Haislip returned for 10 games with the San Antonio Spurs, and that was the last we saw of him in the NBA.

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#14 Pick: Mateen Cleaves (Detroit Pistons, 2000)

No one really remembers who Cleaves is—if you do, well, you must have one heck of a memory. He played 78 games during his rookie season, averaging 5.4 ppg and 2.7 apg. He appeared in only 89 more games across five seasons with the Sacramento Kings, Cavaliers, and SuperSonics.

#15 Pick: Reece Gaines (Orlando Magic, 2003)

Gaines played 71 games in three years with three different teams. He spent 38 of those career matches in Orlando, ten in Houston, and 23 games in Milwaukee, before exiting the league and playing elsewhere.


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