The Worst NBA Lottery Picks

With the NBA Draft a mere 10 days away and the Finals trophy looking to be heading to the NBA equivalent of Mordor (Yes that’s a LOTR reference) I thought it would be a fun exercise to look back over the last 20 years and go pick by pick to determine who was the worst player drafted in each slot.  This is absolutely arm chair quarterbacking, but it’s still a lot of fun.  So without further ado here are the worst of the worst determined by me, a five foot seven white kid with no basketball experience past high school.

1.  Michael Olowokandi (Los Angeles Clippers)

This one was slightly tough choosing between the Candy Man and Kwame Brown.  Both have produced less than illustrious NBA careers and each received more than their fair share of criticism throughout their respective careers.  However only Michael has the distinction of being  associated with Vh1’s Basketball Wives.  A show so vile that the only people who aspire to be on it are the members of Bad Girls Club, because it would be a step up.  Here’s a highlight of Mr. Olowokandi’s ex Suzie Ketcham from season one.  Excuse the quality.

Other considerations:  Kwame Brown

2.  Shawn Bradley (Philadelphia Sixers)

Apologies in advance to Pistons fans (Darko) and Rockets fans (Thabeet) but this one is personal.  My earliest NBA Draft memory, I was ten, is of the 1993 draft when my beloved Sixers drafted the infamous Shawn Bradley.  I got all prepared to watch the draft in my basement with the necessary snacks excited for the Sixers to pick second overall.  Chris Webber went first to the Magic and then with the Sixers on the clock I sat about to burst with anticipation,  and watched them pick lanky pasty white Shawn Bradley.  Enraged I immediately grabbed a fist full of Oreos, flung them at the tv and yelled, “Are they fucking high?”  Ok that didn’t happen.  What really happened was I sulked and began to wonder why my team chose to pick a player I thought looked more like a character from Nickelodeon’s Doug and not my hero, Duke’s Bobby Hurley or highlight reel regular J.R. Rider from UNLV.  Shockingly the Shawn Bradley experiment didn’t last long, despite the team’s best effort by bringing in Moses Malone to act as Shawn’s basketball Yoda, Pat Croce as strength coach, and a registered dietitian to add bulk to Shawn.  Who would have thought a 7’6″ 235 pound center with one year of college experience followed by a two year Mormon mission would have trouble adjusting to the pro game?

Other Considerations:  Darko Milicic and Hasheem Thabeet

3.  Adam Morrison (Charlotte Bobcats)

Picking Adam Morrison for this spot was fairly easy.  Adam Morrison was the basketball version of Tim Tebow before we even knew  Tim Tebow.  At Gonzaga he played with a ton of energy and emotion famously on display in his final collegiate game against UCLA in the NCAA tournament.  Unfortunately for Adam, Michael Jordan was asleep at the wheel when he made Morrison the third overall pick condemning him to a legacy as an NBA Draft bust.  If you’re curious about where Adam is now Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie blog did a piece on him last month attached here.

Other Considerations:  Darius Miles

4.  Eddy Curry (Chicago Bulls)

Below are a list of Eddy Curry quotes throughout his highly criticized NBA career.

“I think myself and this team are definitely in store for a great season. We’re ready to step up and claim that role of being one of the best teams in the East. That’s pretty close to a guarantee. I don’t make guarantees, but if I wanted to bet, I’d bet we’d make the playoffs this year.”

“It’s only been two games. We’ve been through ups and downs with every player over minutes. That’s just a natural thing on any team. We still have good chemistry and a good group. We just need to win a couple of games.”

“It is hard to try and find a rhythm when you’re only out there for short spurts, but it’s fine,”

“I think I have enough to be successful out there.”

You noticing the trend yet?  That these quotes are of little substance and fairly forgettable.  Well Eddy’s career to date has had the same theme.  Maybe Eddy was just caught in the wrong era.  I feel like if he were drafted in the same period as Derrick Coleman or Kenny Anderson we wouldn’t have looked at his career with the same disdain, since many of his least palatable traits were hallmarks of the players drafted in the early 90’s.  That’s a debate for another time.

Other Considerations:  Marcus Fizer, Antonio Daniels, Wes Johnson

5.  Nikoloz Tskitishvili (Denver Nuggets)

Here’s what ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote about Nikoloz after he was drafted.

In the end, Denver just couldn’t pass on Tskitishvili upside. Some have predicted that he’s three years away. I don’t think so. We said the same thing about Pau Gasol last year. He’s so sound fundamentally, I think he’ll be just fine at small forward. Eventually he’ll put on weight and muscle and turn into a devestating four. In five years, he may be the Kevin Garnett of this draft.

Lets cut Chad Ford a break though.  Nobody is going nail every draft pick.  Still a pretty funny whiff.  Additionally I’d love to see what Kevin Garnett would have to say about this comparison.  As for Nikoloz Tskitishvili in four NBA seasons his per game averages were 2.9 points on 30.4% shooting, 1.8 rebounds, and .7 assists.  Also of note when you Google him one of the searches that shows up is “Nikoloz Tskitishvili wife.”  After 20 minutes of searching I found no photos of his alleged wife.  Unsure what to make of that.

Other Considerations:  Jonathan Bender and Sheldon Williams

6.  Bryant Reeves (Vancouver Grizzles)

One of these guys found moderate success in six NBA seasons before eating himself out of the league.  The other terrorized Manhattan in 1984 finding mild success before meeting his demise at the hand of four Ghostbusters and exploding all over New York City covering it in confection sugar.  You be the judge of which was which.


Other Considerations:  Sharone Wright, Dajuan Wagner, and Yi.

7.  Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte Bobcats)

See Number 10.

This one is more of a prediction, but before you jump down my throat lets consider some things. First Michael Jeffery Jordan’s draft record.  Second remember what was said about Bismack in his draft evaluation? Here’s a refresher.


  • Long, athletic big man
  • Excellent rebounder, shot blocker
  • Huge wingspan
  • Getting decent playing time in the ACB


  • Still raw
  • Needs more experience, strength
  • Still needs to work on his offensive game

Just keep that in the back of your mind as we move forward.

Other considerations:  Chris Mihm and Charlie Villanueva

8.  Joe Alexander (Milwaukee Bucks)

Milwaukee fans I feel your pain with this one.  I know the type all too well.  My Philadelphia version was Eagles’ defensive end Mike Mamula.  I’ll paint the picture.  They start to find success in the second half of their NCAA career.  At the combine they impress you with their incredible athleticism.  According to Wikipedia Joe posted the second highest number of bench reps, second highest max touch, and second fastest 3/4 sprint time.  Mamula performed similarly well at the NFL Draft combine in 1995.  Once drafted they even manage to tantalize you on occasion displaying that raw athleticism and what might be before slipping into obscurity only to later be mentioned among draft busts.  Well Milwaukee just be happy Joe left before having an opportunity to embarrass his team by exposing himself at a night club like big Mike Mamula.  Of course how mad can we be at Mr. Mamula  for confusing himself for Peter North, confusing the female bouncer for Jenna Jamison, and an Allentown bar for a porno set?  Actually really upset.  Keep it in your pants Mike.  I’ll also never understand the amount of Mamula jerseys still running around at Eagles games.  It’s as if the fans think he’s a local hero from South Philly when he’s in fact from New York.  I’m going move on before I start looking up Mike on LinkedIn and attempt to contact his current employer about his past transgressions.

Other Considerations:  Sean Respert & Desagana Diop

9.  Michael Sweetney (Chicago Bulls)

That right there is former Chicago Bull Michael Sweetney.  No that isn’t Chris Brown’s bouncer who got clocked over the head with a bottle Louis Roederer Cristal 2004 vintage.  Ok I’m assuming Drake’s pallet prefers the ’04 to the ’02.  But, that’s still former NBA player Michael Sweetney, who is receiving what I can only guess is the Baltimore YMCA Rec League Spirit Award.  He managed to eat himself out of the league after just four seasons shattering the mark previously set by Bryant Reeves.  I’m looking forward to watching Michael’s journey on The Biggest Loser next year.  To give you an even better grasp of his ineffectiveness here are his career per game averages below thanks to

MP      PTS     FG%     TRB     AST     BLK     STL     CBE

15.5     6.5      48.5         4.5      0.6       0.5        0.3        22

For those unfamiliar with the statistical abbreviations that’s Minutes Played, Points, Field Goal %, Total Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals, and Cinnabon’s Eaten.

Other Considerations:  Ed O’Bannon, Rodney White, Ike Diogu

10.  Mouhamed Sene (Seattle Supersonics)

Mouhamed Sene spent a grand total of 260 minutes on an NBA basketball court.  To put that in perspective he spent more time on his flight from the draft in New York to Seattle for his introductory press conference than he ever did on the court.  That’s impressive.  Mouhamed Sene was drafted out of Senegal after having spent a limited amount of time playing in Europe.  Starting to sound familiar Charlotte fans?  Well here is ESPN’s pre-draft evaluation of Mouhamed.


      Big-time athlete with a freakish 7-foot-8 wingspan. Aggressive defender who can dominate on the boards and by blocking shots. Good agility. Great in the open floor. Has added some much needed strength to his body since we saw him last spring at the Reebok Eurocamp.


    Still very raw offensively. Most of his points come from dunks and offensive rebounds. Relatively inexperienced — he only began playing basketball three years ago. Needs to continue to hit the weights.

Other Considerations:  Jarvis Hayes

11.  Fran Vasquez  (Orlando Magic)

Fran is the run away favorite for the eleven spot having spent as much time playing in the NBA as myself.  Again I’ll remind you that I’m 5’7″ and was told by my Dad when I was 12 years old that I was never going dunk a basketball.  In fairness this pick is really more of a jab at the Orlando Magic front office, specifically General Manager Otis Smith, who decided to confirm Fran’s desire to play in the NBA via a cross Atlantic bi-lingual game of Whisper Down The Lane.  You see after Otis decided to blow off conducting any due diligence and select the Spanish center 11th overall, Fran informed the Magic that he was all good and was going stay with his Spanish League team.  Fast forward the clock seven years and Fran still hasn’t jumped The Pond to begin his Magic career.  Fear not Magic fans cause the team does still retain his draft rights.  Although Fran’s value at this point falls somewhere between owning the rights to the new Dane Cook television show Next Caller Please and the script for the third season of The Killing.

Other Considerations:  None.  Everyone else at least played in one NBA game

12.  Everyone

Since the 12th pick became a lottery selection in 1995 here have been the selections, Cherokee Parks, Vitaly Potapenko, Austin Croshere, Michael Doleac, Aleksandar Radojevic, Etan Thomas, Vladimir Radmanovic, Melvin Ely, Nick Collison, Robert Swift, Yaroslav Korolev, Hilton Armstrong, Thaddeus Young, Jason Thompson, Gerald Henderson, Xavier Henry, Alec Burks.  Some of these guys have found a modicum of success but overall the list is pretty abysmal. If you took the 12 pick since 1995, combined all their career numbers this is what you would get, 39,120 points, 24,379 rebounds, 4875 assists, 2,840 blocks, and 2,838 steals in 106 NBA seasons.  And you know what they barely beat out Kareem for the most points scored and Wilt for the most rebounds. The 12th pick, as a lottery selection, would finish 7th all time in blocks, 55th in assists just edging out Mark Price, and 2nd in steals still woefully behind John Stockton.  If Stern were a pal at the 2012 draft he would hand the 12th pick their new team hat and two Southwest ticket vouchers for the inevitable trades at the 2 and 4 year career marks.  Get excited Milwaukee!

Other Considerations:  Anthony Anderson and the rest of the cast of Hang Time.

13.  Sebastian Telfair (Portland Trailblazers)

Bassy Telfair pulled off the rare seven teams in seven seasons before his career came to its unceremonious end.  Despite his mediocre playing career Sebastian managed to have a book written about him, The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High-Stakes Business of High School Ball, a documentary covering his senior season at the famous Lincoln High in Brooklyn, Through the Fire, and one Sports Illustrated cover.

I’m not sure how he managed to have this much media coverage.  Were there rainbows trailing his shots?  Did he pay these people to document his life?  Was he dating J-Lo?  Was there just zero sports news in 2005?  I’m at a loss.

Other Considerations:  Sean May, Courtney Alexander, & Marcus Haislip

14.  Kris Humphries  (Utah Jazz)

It’s only been a few years since the 14th pick became part of the lottery so options are limited and Kris has actually found his niche in the NBA as a great rebounder.  But Kris is also challenging Jordan for being on the most covers throughout his career.  Trouble is Jordan was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and ESPN.  Kris is on the cover of Us Weekly, People, and In Touch, because of his relationship and 68 day marriage (Still longer than Fran Vasquez’s NBA career) to serial athlete dater Kim Kardashian.  I’m convinced they would have had their wedding catered by Chipotle and Boone’s Farm if the price was right.  Kris, a word of advice I learned from my parents, when deciding on marrying a girl, look at the mother.  In other words, If the mother is a lying-cash-grabbing-attention-whore who looks like Cruella Deville’s sister odds are the daughter is going follow suit.

New Orleans you’re on the clock.


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