Just a quick caveat, and then I’ll get right to it: I’m only picking guys from drafts I can actually remember. Sure, I’d love to throw Sam Bowie on here, but I was 4 years old when he was drafted. Ditto Larue Martin. I wasn’t even close to being alive when the Blazers made that horrible pick. And we’re exempting the entire 1986 draft. I was 6. We know it was bad.
5. Kwame Brown, No. 1 overall pick in 2001 by Wizards
I’m not sure what was worse -- Michael Jordan drafting Kwame in the first place, or Michael Jordan destroying Kwame by berating him every day as a teammate for two seasons. Actually, wait, I know what was worse: the Lakers trading Caron Butler for Kwame despite no evidence that Kwame would ever do anything. Any time a guy can destroy two teams, he’s a true draft bust. On a positive note, he’s the only American on this list (and I don’t have anything particular against international players, they just produce much more memorable busts).
4. Vitaly Potapenko, No. 12 overall pick in 1996 by Cavaliers
You know who was picked immediately after Potapenko? Oh, just some high school kid from some crappy school in suburban Pennsylvania. Oh wait, that kid was Kobe Bryant. Holy fuck. Seriously, you ever want to blow someone’s mind, remind them that Vitaly Potapenko (career scoring average: 6.5 PPG) was picked directly before Kobe Bryant. Then, if you want to screw with them some more, remind them that the players picked 7-11 in that draft were Lorenzen Wright, Kerry Kittles, Samaki Walker, Erick Dampier and Todd Fuller. The horror...
3. Nikoloz Tskitishvili, No. 5 overall pick in 2002 by Nuggets
If anyone asks you in the next few weeks how bad could Yi Jianlian possibly be (and just a reminder, he wants his name pronounced “ee” as in “ee-gads this guy is bad), remind them of Skita. The first guy drafted solely on how good he looked in grainy footage and workouts against folding chairs, Skita proved quickly that just because a guy is tall, foreign and white doesn’t mean he’s the next Dirk. In 172 career games, Skita scored a grand total of 507 points, or 2.9 PPG. I’m pretty sure if you threw me in for 10 garbage minutes a game, I could find a way to score 3 points each time out. And I’m short, fat and white.
2. Darko Milicic, No. 2 overall pick in 2003 by Pistons
Don’t give me that crap about how the Pistons won the NBA title that year. Fuck that. How good would they be right now with Melo? Or Wade? Or even Bosh. Here are the players selected immediately after Darko: Melo, Bosh, Wade, Kaman, Hinrich, Ford. I’d take any of those guys over Darko, and Ford missed an entire season due to injury. Amazingly, there are still people trying to sell me on Darko developing into a solid NBA player. “He’s still young” they say. “He still sucks” I respond. He’s the only top 5 pick from that draft that hasn’t made an All-Star team. And he never will. I’ll be at an All-Star game before Darko.
1. Frederic Weis, No. 15 overall pick in 1999 by Knicks
I again say: Holy Fuck! What were the Knicks thinking? Gee, a big french stiff is exactly the guy we need to replace Patrick Ewing. The drafting of captain stiff-a-lot was a dumb idea, compounded by the fact that New York native and future All-Star Ron Artest was selected with THE VERY NEXT PICK. Yeah, cause New York couldn’t have used a guy like Artest. No, they needed Monsieur Raide (that’s French for Mr. Stiff). Oh, and to add to this, Weis never played a game in the NBA. Actually, that’s probably a good thing, considering if he had come to America, then this might have happened more often. At least then, Shawn Bradley wouldn’t be the saddest poster-fodder in NBA history.
(By the way, the funniest thing about that video isn’t Carter destroying Weis’ career. It’s the fact that Vin Baker is on the court. For Team USA. In the Olympics. That probably should have been a sign for USA Basketball that this “Dream Team” concept wasn’t working out so well).