Once upon a time I had a favorite team in the NBA but every time I chose a team their players were scattered all over the NBA just a few years later. The Barkley/KJ/Majerle Phoenix Suns, the Webber/Spreewell/Tim Hardaway Warriors, the LJ/Mourning Hornets and the Van Exel/Eddie Jones Lakers are just some of the teams I once liked. I got tired of my teams breaking up and decided to only choose favorite players from that point on. The first player I chose was the first Florida Gator to enter the NBA after that point, Mike Miller. As my first favorite player since my new outlook on the NBA, my heart goes out to Mike Miller, as he must play on a team with the two biggest busts currently in the NBA.
Some people might say the worst NBA Draft decision of all-time came when the Portland Trail Blazers passed up Michael Jordan for Sam Bowie. I disagree. Clearly Jordan had the better career than Bowie but the Trail Blazers drafted Clyde Drexler the year before. Michael Jordan wasn’t the player they were looking for and though Bowie never panned out, Drexler did.
No, a much worse draft pick involved Michael Jordan the general manager when he selected Kwame Brown with the number one pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Kwame Brown was a high school kid that was drafted first in the draft but I don’t think anybody really thought this guy had the potential of a Kobe Bryant, Lebron James or Kevin Garnett. Michael Jordan took a chance on him and he was wrong.
During his first season Kwame Brown averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. Maybe he didn’t deserve a bust label that early in his career but he would earn it eventuallly. The next year Kwame Brown started a fourth of the games and still only managed about 7 points and 5 rebounds per game. Eventually the Wizards traded Kwame Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers for an underachieving Caron Butler, though Caron Butler would succeed in Washington.
Kwame Brown showed a little bit of progress at the end of the 2006 season but was eventually replaced in the starting lineup by Andrew Bynum. With Bynum as part of their future the Lakers shipped Kwame Brown to the Memphis Grizzlies, making it the second time Kwame Brown had been on the bad side of a lopsided trade.
The 2003 NBA Draft could go down as one of the best drafts of all-time. The top five players taken were Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh Dwayne Wade and…Darko Milicic? One of these things is not like the other. In 2003 the Detroit Pistons had the second pick in the draft and chose Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade.
The draft pick wasn’t a big blow to the Pistons because they were already a title contender, but obviously they had plans for Darko or they wouldn’t have drafted him. Darko impressed the Pistons so little that he barely even got playing time in Detroit.
It wasn’t until the 2005-2006 season that Darko played 20 minutes a game when he was traded to the Orlando Magic. His numbers have increased to around 8 points and 5 rebounds since actually getting playing time but he’s still hardly the player he was supposed to be and hasn’t had anywhere close to the impact of the other top five draft picks.
Now Dark Milicic is a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. When my boy Mike Miller receives the ball and looks underneath for somebody to pass to, there they will be, Kwame Brown and Darko Milicic on the same team. The Memphis Grizzlies are collecting busts like the Smithsonian. Who will the Memphis Grizzlies add next? Is Joe Smith available? Is Pervis Ellison healthy enough to come out of retirement? Maybe the Grizzlies can trade Rudy Gay for Michael Olowakandi.
My advice to Mike Miller…shoot the ball.