Worst of the Best, From Worst to Best: A Four-Part Series, Part 2
By Jamar Brown
I was really waiting on finding inspiration to start the second part of this series, but as life was going on, I realized that I was waiting for something that my exhausted brain would never achieve. Finally, after 8 hours of rest last night and a whole hour until my next class starts, I’ve decided to get to it. In the last blog, I promised to name the next five #1 overall picks from 15-11. I also mentioned that there might be two players that you completely forgot were still in the NBA. That was a half-truth in all honesty. I personally had forgotten about the “breakout” season one of those two players were having. Who might that be you may ask? Just wait till I get to #11. Let’s get to it.
Andrea Bargnani, 2006 (Toronto Raptors)
Notable Stats: 550 games played, 14 ppg, 4 RPG (He’s 7-feet tall), Personal favorite player on 2K
I kind of almost feel bad for Bargnani. He was drafted this based on the sole idea that he could be the next Dirk. A European who was a legit 7-foot tall and wasn’t limited to playing strictly on the block. Like most European players drafted into the NBA, he came in with about 4 years of pro experience playing in his native Italy. He had shown the ability to shoot the ball which was a pretty big deal before the whole notion of the stretch-4 was thought of. In retrospect, this wasn’t the class with the most long-term talent. Of the players from this class that is still playing meaningful minutes in the league still, the only one who could’ve been considered for this pick was LaMarcus Aldridge who went 2nd overall to the Bulls who was the traded immediately to the Blazers. Bargnani didn’t make the most immediate impact on the raptors only starting in two games his rookie year and needing emergency appendectomy surgery during the season (no idea what that is, I’m a communications major).
As his career continued in Toronto, he was either asked to play out of position next to the future Hall of Famer Chris Bosh or injured. Once Bosh left for Miami, Bargnani showed exactly why the Raptors made him the first pick. He put up 21 points a game while also proving that height isn’t everything in this league by grabbing only 5 boards a game. Remember, he’s 7-feet tall. Then, the little linguini that could lost his elbows. Not literally, but he basically suffered an elbow injury every meaningful season he played in the league after his breakout year. This all culminated with the cherry on top that was him tearing a ligament in his left elbow on a missed dunk attempt. He last played in Italy in 2017 after suffering what I’m sure was an abundance of head injuries. I’m kidding, it was definitely his elbow.
Deandre Ayton, 2018 (Phoenix Suns)
Notable Stats: First team all-rookie, Pac 12 POTY, Pac 12 FOTY
I’ve yet to make up my mind about him. For those who don’t know, I’m a huge Duke basketball fan, meaning a huge part of me believed Marvin Bagley III should’ve gone 1st. Common sense now tells me that it CLEARLY should’ve been Luka (or Trae). The Suns decided to go with the local boy who played high school basketball in Phoenix and went to college at Arizona under Sean Miller (who probably paid the man (fuck the NCAA by the way)) where he went on to win Pac 12 player of the year and freshman on the year. The biggest question for Ayton coming out of the draft was the pick and roll. Not just running it, but also defending it. For some reason, this behemoth of a man who can shoot the ball can’t pop after a pick and knock down a jumper. He also can’t seem to move his feet fast enough to stop anyone else relatively close to his size get to the rim.
He also failed to average an entire block per game as a rookie. In 71 total games, he couldn’t even block 71 shots and he is 7’1. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad player by any means. This is all mostly off personal preference. He was a finalist for ROTY (the other two finalists are all-star starters this year). He was even the third player last decade to average a double-double as a rookie (Blake Griffin and Karl Anthony-Towns). After such a positive rookie season, do you know what this bright young man did? He got suspended at the beginning of his second season for taking a diuretic which basically means that he was on some shit and knew he had a drug test coming up so he did his best to piss it all out.
Instead, he pissed 26 games of the season out. His career is kind of interesting. He’s only a second-year player and he’s not doing bad at all. He’s just on a bad team that’s been bad for a while now and two players drafted behind him have made a huge leap in year two. The future is definitely bright for him as long as he can stay in shape and quote Stephen A, “Stay off the weed!”.
Kenyon Brown, 2000 (New Jersey Nets)
Notable Stats: 1x All-Star, All-time leader in blocks at Cincy, Had his number retired at Cincy before he was even drafted (that’s pretty cool, I guess)
We’ve finally made it. The first all-star of the group. Now, Kenyon wasn’t a bad player. He just wasn’t a particularly great player. He was the first NBA draft pick this century and people probably forgot he was in the league a decade after he was drafted. I have him this high on my list for a few reasons. For one, he’s the first all-star, making the team in 2004. Next, when he played at Cincinnati, they were in Conference USA and while UTSA wasn’t a member of the conference at that time, it’s still badass to see someone from the conference go that high even though this conference fucking sucks. Martin saw a decent career in New Jersey helping them make two straight finals appearances, getting swept by the Lakers and losing to San Antonio in six. His final year with the Nets saw him, mock teammate, Alonzo Mourning’s life-threatening kidney disease (that’s a no-no kid) and eventually being a part of a sign and trade deal with the Nuggets. While with the Nuggets he changed his number TWICE in a six-year span to represent a fresh start (most people only need one fresh start in their life, but alright). An abundance of microsurgery on his knees brought his game to a decline and after signing ten-day contracts with both the Knicks and Bucks, ol’ K-Mart decided to call it quits. You can now catch his son being a super senior in high school at IMG, playing for their post-graduate program (I don’t get it either).
Andrew Bogut, 2005 (Milwaukee Bucks)
Notable Stats: NBL DPOY, Luscious locks, NBA Champion (1), NBA Block Title, Super nice dude
I haven’t met a lot of famous people in my life. I grew up in Corpus Christi and the most famous person to come out of their fucking DIED 20 years ago so you can imagine my excitement when I move to San Antonio and the hotel I was working for had the fucking Warriors staying there. This hotel (which will remain unnamed) was used to housing NBA teams. In my time working at this hotel that was associated with this outdoor mall on San Antonio’s northside, the Kings, Lakers, Warriors, and various Spurs players (Dejounte Murray is a fucking DICK) stayed there. One day I volunteered to host at one of the restaurants at the hotel on a hill and who asked me for directions.
Motherfucking Andrew Bogut, that’s who (Boogie did too, but this is a #1 overall pick blog, not an “I went to Kentucky and had several really good years before I destroyed my legs” blog). Bogut is every bit of 7-foot, proving to be true when he had to duck under a fucking doorway. I have no proof of this encounter because this resort and spa that I worked for that was on La Cantera parkway didn’t allow us to take pictures and freak out when these teams came to play in town. Back to basketball, the Australian native took a different route than his fellow international draft prospects and played college ball in the U.S. at Utah of all places. Milwaukee took a chance of the reigning National Player of the Year and took him 1st overall ahead of Deron Williams and future HOF Chris Paul based on what looked like a decent offensive skill set and a great shot-blocking acumen. They only got the latter.
Bogut never played a fully healthy season in Milwaukee (finally spelled Milwaukee right on the first attempt, fuck that place (love you Ekdahls) and didn’t score more than 15 a game his entire career. He does, however, have a block title from 2011 and a championship ring with the Warriors in 2015. Now, he’s back down underplaying for the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League, winning NBL’s most outstanding defensive player last year. Good on ya, Andrew
Andrew Wiggins, 2014 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Notable Stats: 2014 ROTY, Big 12 FOTY, First team all-crybaby
This kid has been a question mark for me all of his careers. It started out with his confidence just getting waterboarded by LeBron when he basically told the Cavs, “I don’t want him, trade him for Kevin Love”. Since then, even more, question marks popped up. He hasn’t had a bad career by any means. In fact, it’s been pretty solid aside from a few years in the middle. This was one of the first picks since Andrea where it was based solely on potential. Duke’s Jabari Parker was clearly the more pro-ready option, but Andrew’s potential was too much to pass up. He went to Kansas where he lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament with that broken foot bastard Joel Embiid as his teammate.
At Kansas, he showed just how much of a freak athlete he is and showed brief FLASHES of being able to be a high-level scorer at the next level. His first three years in the league, he showed that he can be a really good wing, improving his scoring every year. And then, he shit the bed. Jimmy Butler came into Minnesota and exposed just how mentally weak the young core was. It hit Wiggins the hardest, so much so that analysts along with himself questioned if he even wanted to play in the league anymore.
The effort was piss-poor and all that you really saw from his was subpar defense and even worse offense. Then, out of nowhere this season, he starts to look like he’s having fun, currently averaging 22.5 points per game. Yeah, the Timberwolves are fucking ass water and he’s tied to trade rumors AGAIN, but at least he’s finally living up to the potential that had him drafted ahead of VP of the “My knees are made of glass, please help” fan club. Plus, I get to see him play at my first Spurs game in March (if he isn’t traded in the next 3 hours) so that’s pretty exciting.
If you made it this far, why not stay and read Pt. 3 WHENEVER I decide to write it. You’ll see the most injury-prone players drafted this century and the rise and fall of one of my personal heroes of all time.
Edit: Literally 6 minutes after I finished writing this, I got a Wojbomb while I was shitting at noon that Andrew Wiggins was traded to the Warriors for D’Angelo Russell. So, it looks like I’ll be seeing D’Angelo and KAT in March. Fun fact, both those guys went #1 and #2 in 2015 in front of Jahlil Okafor.