Breaking down the worst NBA draft class in league history
When it comes to bad NBA Draft classes, there are a few that come to mind.
Heck, some people would even consider the recent 2013 draft class, which saw Anthony Bennett go No. 1 overall. He is no longer even in the league.
But a deeper look at that year shows that players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo (you know, the guy who was on his way to winning back-to-back MVP awards before the season was indefinitely suspended), Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter Jr., CJ McCollum, Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert, Kelly Olynyk and Dennis Schroder were all taken that year.
Was it a great draft class? No, but it definitely was not the worst.
That dubious distinction belongs to the 2000 draft class, which was the most hideous NBA Draft in league history.
Kenyon Martin went No. 1 overall that year. He at least became a decent NBA player, but then you see that Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer and Mike Miller rounded out the top five, and you realize just how horrendous that group of rookies really was.
Yes, Miller turned out to be a solid role player, but Swift and Miles are widely regarded as two of the biggest wastes of talent in recent memory. Let’s not even get started on Fizer.
Oh, and the rest of the top 10? DerMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm, Jamal Crawford (nice), Joel Przybilla and Keyon Dooling.
So, basically, outside of Martin, Miller and Crawford, no players in the top 10 went on to enjoy successful NBA careers, and when you look further down in the order, there weren’t many other highlights.
You had Hedo Turkoglu, who may very well have ended up being the best player of the class, going 16th overall. There was also Michael Redd at No. 43. Redd actually appeared on his way to an impressive career before injuries derailed him.
Oh, and Jamaal Magloire (who somehow made an All-Star team in 2004) went 19th.
But other than that? My goodness.
No disrespect to any of these players, because they worked their rear ends off to get to that point, but in terms of pure skill and NBA fit, most of these guys just didn’t have it.
The anatomy of a draft class is interesting, to say the least.
Sometimes, you end up with a group of loaded players. Take 2003, for example. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh all went in that draft. Or 1984, a draft class that featured Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkey and John Stockton (let’s not even mention the No. 2 overall pick for the sake of Portland Trail Blazers fans).
Then, other times, you get a bunch of guys who struggle to even say in the league.
Of course, there are the more common years where the class has a nice balance of stars, role players and fringe NBA guys, but the highs and lows are definitely what people remember the most.
Think about that for a second. You typically don’t pay much mind to the worst players in the league, and yet, we all remember the 2000 draft class because of how bad it was.
The worst part about that fateful draft two decades ago was that there weren’t even many players who turned out to be sleepers. Usually, there are more than a few players drafted in the 20s or in the second round who go on to carve out very fruitful NBA careers. But in 2000? It was slim pickings, and the one second-rounder that did seem to have a shot of stamping his name among the bigger second-round steals (Redd) so his professional tenure cut short.
Again, the best player was probably Turkoglu, who was drafted by the Sacramento Kings and spent three seasons in Sacramento growing alongside of Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby and Vlade Divac before being traded to the San Antonio Spurs during the summer of 2003.
Turkoglu then spent just one season with the Spurs before signing with the Orlando Magic in 2004, where he went on to flourish and enjoy the best stretch of his NBA career. His highlight came in 2009, when he helped lead the Magic to an NBA Finals appearance as a do-it-all stretch/point forward (he was even a decent defender).
But as good as Turkoglu was, it is saying a whole lot when he is the best player to come from a specific draft class. He never even made an All-Star team, and he averaged 11.1 points per game for his career.
So yeah. The 2000 NBA Draft class is unquestionably a memorable one. Unfortunately, it’s for all of the wrong reasons.