Each year, all the best young basketball players get a chance to live their dreams through the NBA Draft.
Rabid fans of the NBA wait for the draft all year to witness a selection of new talents that might shape the future of the league. The event happens right after the NBA Finals, and everyone starts picking their favourite six months prior to the draft. A lottery system decides who gets to pick a player first, which is based on the standings of the previous year’s regular season.
Sometimes teams have changed their entire legacy with their picks, and more than often, they have been completely wrong about their predictions of a future superstar. In any case, it is fascinating to follow the journey of these young stars, who either shine bright as ever or fizzle out in anonymity. To discover the worst decisions made by teams, and huge misjudgments that could have potentially changed the NBA as we know it today, keep reading!
The Anthony Bennett disaster
In the 2013 draft class, Bennett was the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, this would prove to be a colossal mistake. Cleveland thought they had struck a chord with Bennett because, previously, they had chosen the ‘Akron Hammer’ LeBron James himself, who went on to become a legend in the sport. This time around, their search for another LeBron would prove to be fruitless.
Anthony Bennett was picked over the predicted No. 1 pick, Victor Olipado, which shocked a lot of people at the time. Bennett became the first Canadian to be the first pick; unfortunately, his career would last only four short seasons with an average of only 4 points per game.
The Blunder of 2009
The NBA has many legendary draft years, but in the modern history of the game, none were as consequential as the one in 2009. A draft class that had two future MVPs in Harden and Stephen Curry and other stars such as DeMar DeRozan, Jru Holiday, and Blake Griffin who was picked number one by the Los Angeles Clippers. Other blunders that year include picking the Spanish player Ricky Rubio as the No. 5 pick over Stephen Curry, who would go on to win multiple championships and change the game of basketball itself.
The underwhelming Kwame Brown
Before the emergence of LeBron James, picking high school athletes as the first overall pick was pretty uncommon in the league. Players such as Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant had been in the top ten in previous years but were not considered for the top spot at all.The Washington Wizards would challenge that notion. However, they would pay a hefty price for it in the end. Kwame Brown would have a long career in the league but mostly underperformed throughout his career. Another interesting fact is that Brown was picked ahead of the legendary Spaniard Pau Gasol, who, along with Kobe Bryant, would go on to win back-to-back championships for the LA Lakers.
The NBA draft isn’t always this wrong; teams have many times turned around a franchise with their draft picks. A great example of that would be the San Antonio Spurs, who picked both David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Duncan and Robinson turned out to be the superstars who won the Spurs five championships, both of them individually winning regular season MVPs. Allen Iverson is also proof that NBA drafts get their players right, as he would revolutionise the point guard position.