While Kentucky's Anthony Davis is considered a can't-miss lock for the first pick in Thursday's NBA draft, there are plenty of men who came before who seemed like decent bets for great success. While superstars have emerged from the first pick, and most wind up with noteworthy careers, there's always a chance they'll be failures, relative to their draft status. This is a list of the guys that had the most trouble living up to the hype.
"Never Nervous Pervis" was a force for Louisville, winning Most Outstanding Player while leading his team to the national title in 1986. The Kings took him with the first pick, but he saw limited action his rookie year due to injury. Danny Ainge went so far as to change his nickname to "Out of Service Pervis." Injuries hampered Ellison throughout his career, limiting his career totals to 9.6 ppg and 6.7 rpg.
Players taken after Ellison: Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp.
Smith was the College Player of the Year at Maryland in 1995, and was selected No. 1 overall by the Warriors that same year. Smith became the definition of a journeyman in his NBA career, playing for 11 different clubs in his 15 years as a pro. Smith finished his career averaging 10.9 ppg, and only played more than 70 games in a season six times.
Players taken after Smith: Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse.
Long before the days of Lob City, the Clippers were known for their head-scratching personnel decisions. Drafting Olowokandi first overall was chief among them. Olowokandi was a force at small Pacific University, but those skills did not translate to the NBA. He averaged double-digits in scoring only twice during his career and never blocked more than 2.2 shots per season. He retired after the 06-07 season, finishing his career with 8.3 ppg and 1.4 blocks per.
Players taken after Olowokandi: Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce (ouch).
Just take a look the first five picks: Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer and Mike Miller. Woof. Widely considered as the worst NBA Draft of all time. Only three of the picks even made it to an All-Star Game (Martin, Jamaal Magloire, Michael Redd). Only 9 of the 58 picks ended up with double-digit scoring totals for their pro careers.
Quite possibly the poster child for NBA draft busts. Brown was selected straight out of high school and can be viewed as a cautionary tale about going pro too soon. He was viewed by many as not being mature enough at the time, and it showed. He has spent most of his career feuding with teammates and getting in trouble with the law. Currently on his seventh NBA team, Brown has averaged a mere 6.8 ppg thus far.
Players taken after Brown: Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker.
Oden was an absolute monster while at Ohio State and was everyone's consensus number one pick. Unfortunately for Oden (and Portland) he has spent more time in the operating room than on the court. Numerous knee surgeries have all but ended his career and he is currently without a team. While he is still only 24, many wonder if his body will allow him to dominate in the NBA.
Players taken after Oden: Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Joakim Noah.
Did we miss anyone? Were we too harsh on a player's career? Let us know in the comments.
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