SOSB FLASHBACK: BUT WE NEED A CENTER, PT. 2

TONY BATTIE 5TH PICK OF 1997 DRAFT TAKEN AHEAD OF-TRACY MCGRADY

While it’s true Battie was picked way too high and had an underwhelming NBA Career, he’s on this list for one reason above all others:

Dan Issel, who was the Nuggets announcer at the time, and ironically would eventually be hired to coach him, nicknamed the guy “El Busto” after ONE YEAR in the league.

I mean, he really was a bad draft pick and all, but his inclusion is proof positive that a good nickname will get you everywhere in this world.

MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI 1ST PICK OF 1998 DRAFT TAKEN AHEAD OF: MIKE BIBBY, ANTAWN JAMISON, VINCE CARTER, DIRK NOWITSKI, PAUL PIERCE, RAHSARD LEWIS, ANYONE WITH A PULSE

 In my opinion, the worst draft pick EVER, considering the staggering list of players they passed on, which features at least 3 likely Hall of Famers. This is Elgin Baylor’s hit sequel to the Benoit Benjamin pick, another talented Center who played like a guy who wouldn’t have been there if he weren’t being payed alot of money.

Stories abound about the Kandi man’s lack of desire, from Alvin Gentry’s assertion that this dunk didn’t belong among Amar’e Stoudamire’s best ever because “Olowokandi is a pussy”, to the time Bill Walton opined on a National telecast that “Michael Olowokandi can hardly hide his disdain for the game of Basketball”, this guy would be the ultimate of example of Don Nelson’s philosophy.

I could talk about this guy all day, but this short youtube clip says it all.

 KWAME BROWN 1ST PICK, 2001 NBA DRAFT TAKEN AHEAD OF: PAU GASOL, JOE JOHNSON

 Oh, Kwame.

 Perhaps the blame for this one falls on Michael Jordan for taking a kid who went on to show absolutely nothing in the way of baskertball skills, and might have the worst hands in the history of the game.

Even worse, Jordan destroyed whatever confidence Brown might have had in his rookie training camp, berating him constantly and using an unflattering, homosexual term toward him in front of the entire team.

Either way, Jordan had to have been seduced by a 7 foot, 280 pound manchild, and he certainly has never been accusing of being a great talent evaluator.

 As for Brown, he’s managed to carve out a niche as a pretty good back-up center, and a staunch post defender. In other words, he would have been a steal as a 2nd round pick.

Then again, he did give us this highlight during his Laker stint, so it’s not all bad.

RAFAEL ARAUJO 8TH PICK OF 2004 DRAFT TAKEN AHEAD OF: ANDRE IGUODALA, JAMMER NELSON, JOSH SMITH

 If you ever watched ESPN’s Monday night Mountain West games back then, you’ll remember this slow motion plodder, with the most mechanical post moves this side of Greg Kite. Of course it makes perfect sense the guy was exactly nimble, considering he was busted for steroids just two years prior at the World Basketball Championships. Guess he thought he had to bulk up to bulk up tro handle the rigors of the BYU schedule or whatever.

Needless to say, it’s hard to imagine why the Raptors thought this guy could play at the next level. Perhaps they never stayed up late enough to see him play?

Worst part about this pick is, they can’t even play the “hey we needed a big man card”, considering they took Rafa ahead of Andris Biedrins and Al Jefferson, among others.

Of course, the Raps had to learn the hard way that he had no business playing in the NBA. So did the Kings. As soon as his 3 year rookie contract was up, Araujo had a one way ticket to the Russian League. His Wiki says he’s now the star of his Brazilian Club team, and the darker side of my nature is giddy at the thought of seeing one of those games.

Oooh, almost forgot: I went looking for video evidence of how terrible this dude was, and I found a grand total of two clips from his NBA days.

 One is a parody of those Southwest Airlines commercials, and the other is him losing a jump ball to a guy SIXTEEN INCHES SHORTER THAN HIM.

The loud groans of the Toronto crowd on both clips (one of the most passionate and savvy fanbases in the league), realizing what kind of a player their team had wasted a lottery pick on, is equal parts sad and funny.

SHELDEN WILLIAMS 5TH PICK OF 2006 DRAFT TAKEN AHEAD OF-BRANDON ROY, RUDY GAY, RAJON RONDO

This one hits home a little. I mean, I remember telling everyone that would listen that Shelden Williams would be an awesome pro, blocking shots and racking up Double-Doubles from day one. Certainly not an unreasonable expectation for a guy who dominated in the ACC, right? Sure, he bares a striking resemblance to this guy? So What? He’s gonna be a beast in the NBA, I was convinced.

Well, he turned out to be unfathomably muscle-bound and slow at the next level, with Chris Anderson range (in the words of Jeff Bzdelik, if he can’t dunk it, he shouldn’t shoot) and an inability to avoid fouling people. Having seen him play in person, I couldn’t believe how badly I had mis-judged him. Really, this is a “fire the GM” level draft bust.

Oddly enough, this guy is married to the best Female Basketball player on the planet,

so there is at least a 50/50 chance their firstborn will be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

HASHEEM THABEET 2ND PICK IN 2009 DRAFT TAKEN AHEAD OF: TYREKE EVANS, RICKY RUBIO, STEPHEN CURRY, JAMES HARDEN BRANDON JENNINGS

 So yeah, I pretty much called this one last year. Sad part is, I  atill might have managed tp over-estimate him. I mean, the guy got sent to the D-league after being the #2 pick in the draft, you know? You’d think anyone who saw DeJuan Blair put him over his knee in College would have been scared off, but what do I know.

Perhaps some of you Grizzlies fans (wait, is there such a thing) are hoping for better things in year two, but trust me, anyone who saw him in the Vegas Summer League this year will tell you diifferent. I mean if what you want from your Center is a 7’3 beanpole who has no instincts for the game, gets completely lost on offense and gets shoved around The post by people half a foot shorter than him. then you’ll be stoked.

So anyway, there you have it. Trust me, I could easily add about 10 more bona fide candidates to this list, but these are the cream of the shitty crop.

-JOHN HATHWELL

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