I like Slam-dunks, take me to the hoop. My favorite play is the alley-oop. -Curtis Blow
Public Service Announcement: Ok here we go! It’s that time of year again. The moment we cheer or fear again. The NBA Draft. You know what that means boys and girls. That means the obligatory bargains and busts post. Every year we do this so why should this year be any different? You know the drill. Who are the busts? Who are the bargains? We’re going to start with 1998. Because that’s when my main man, Paul Pierce came out. The Truth. You can’t handle the Truth. The Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. The Truth will set you free. All of it. All right, let’s go do it. Let’s get to it. Like may main girl Jennifer Love-Hewitt.
Bargain: Paul Pierce. Chosen with the 10th pick. I was certain he’d be gone by five. Experts had him going second or third. When he kept slipping, I kept hoping. Rumors started flying. Stuff like, “He has poor training habits,” or ”His postseason workouts had been lackluster.” Denver Nuggets GM, Dan Issel had the gall to say he was “a terrific scorer who might be a little soft.” Soft? Are you out of your cotton picking mind? Pirece just kept slip sliding away. Simon and Garfunkel style. When he was there for the Celtics at ten, I was ecstatic. Olowokandi went before him. Raef LaFrentz went before him. Big fat Tractor Traylor went before him. Larry Hughes went before him. White Chocolate went before him. None of those cats are impact players. In fact, only two guys chosen ahead of Pierce have been arguably better. Vee Dot Carter and Disco Dirk. At one point, the Celtics had three of 1998′s top ten. Raef, Kandi man and the Truth. A lot of good it did them. It just shows to go ya, the NBA draft can be a crap-shoot at best.
Bust: Michael Olowokandi. The Kandi Man. A complete bust. Taken with the first pick overall. The Clippers took a chance with the 7-foot center out of the University of the Pacific. A soccer player who had been playing competitive basketball for only three years. They took a chance, and they blew it. Freddy Heflin style. In 366 career regular season NBA games (335 games started), Olowokandi averaged 9.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.63 blocked shots per game. Not what you’re looking for out of the number one.
Bargain: With the 57th pick, the San Antonio Spurs pick the best basketball player ever to come out of Latin America. That’s right kids, Manu Ginobili. The waiting is the hardest part. He didn’t sign with the Spurs until after the 2002 World Basketball Championship. But once he got to Texas, he sure helped. He helped the Spurs win an NBA title in 2003. He helped the Spurs win an NBA title in 2005. He was voted to play in the 2005 All-Star Game. Manu can hit the jumper, yes he can. But he is at his best when he attacks the hole relentlessly. Attacks I say. Behind the back, slam bam dunkeroos. This guy’s an animal. Head down, shoulder down, to the hizzy. This guy may be the biggest steal in any draft.
Bust: High school sweetheart, Jonathan Bender. Fresh out of Picayune High in good ole Mississippi. The fifth pick. Taken by the Raptors. No longer in the NBA. He was big. He was strong. He was athletic. He was a disappointment. He never averaged double digits in scoring. He was always hurt. He was a tremendous bust. Quite frankly, that pick was an abject disastah.
Bargain: With the thirteenth pick in the second round, the Milwaukee Bucks select Michael Redd. The Silent Assassin. I know he’s been hurt, but when healthy, he’s the best shooter in basketball today. He has the league’s quickest shot. He has the league’s deadliest shot. He can make shots inside the arc. He can make shots outside the arc. He also takes care of the ball. His career turnover ratio of 6.81 is the best in the history of the league. Guys like Rodney White, Kedrick Brown, Kirk Haston, Jeryl Sasser, just to name a few, were chosen before Redd. Inexcusable.
Bust: Marcus Fizer. Fourth pick overall out of Iowa State. The next Karl Malone. More like the next Karl Malden. Fizer spent four years stumbling and bumbling with the Bulls. He never averaged more than 12.3 points per game. He bopped around with the Bobcats and Bucks. Now he toils in Europe. When he’s not hurt that is.
Bargain: Tough one. At first I was gonna go with Tony Parker. But how could I not pick The Black President? Stealth? The East Coast Assassin? Agent Zero? Or his latest incarnation, The Hibachi? Gilbert Arenas. Getting fired up at an arena near you. Yes, he’s has his troubles as of late, but there hasn’t been somebody this good on this team since the Big E and Wes Unseld left town. How did he make it to the 31st pick?
Bust: Kwame the Boy Genius. Kwame Brown. MJs boy. He is a slacker he was in Washington. He is a slacker who who oversleeps practices. He is a slacker who only halfway practiced when he does show. He is a slacker who always finds somebody else to blame. He is a slacker His Airness picked with the Wizards number one pick.
Bargain: Carlos Boozer. Taken with the sixth pick in the second round. Behind Melvin Ely. Behind Jiri Welsch. Behind Robert Archibald. Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn, and caldron bubble. Double, double toil and trouble, something wicked this way comes. A double double machine, something wicked came way too late.
Bust: This is a tough one. I want to say Jay Williams. Does a motorcycle accident count? Would you say Len Bias was a bust? I dunno. So I’m going to go with the Nuggets selection of Nikoloz Tskitishvili with the fifth pick. To be honest, I didn’t even remember the name. That has to be an indicator. Seven footer out of Russia. With a career average of 3.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per game over his first three seasons, I guess you could say this guy is a major draft bust. Anthony Nelson style. Wolfgang Hochstetter style. Frank Burns style.
Bargain: I was very tempted to pick LeBron here. A bargain at any price. But that would go against the very spirit of the whole thing. So I select Kyle Korver. Chosen with the 51st pick overall. Korver becoming a sixth man, averaging more points per game off the bench than he had as a starter, not bad. The 51st pick in the draft. Priceless. Great bargain, even if he did cry like a little bitch over his stupid bobble head.
Bust: Darko Milicic. Nuff said
Bargain: Al Jefferson Boston Celtics #15
Bust: Shaun Livingston LA Clippers #4
Bargain: David Lee. If you read this space with any regularity you know we here at Josh Q. Public *heart* us some David Lee. What’s not to *heart*? And, if you read this space with any regularity, you also know this story. You know football coach Bear Bryant once brought USC running back Sam Bam Cunningham into the Alabama locker room after a game and told his players, “This is what a football player looks like.” Well, take a look at the video below. That my friends, is what a basketball player looks like.
Bust: Yaroslav Korolev Los Angeles Clippers #12
Bargain: Leon Powe Boston Celtics #49
Bust: Adam Morrison Charlotte Bobcats #3
Bargain: Kevin Durant. How can the second pick in the draft be a bargain you ask? I answer: It’s a bargain when everybody on the planet not named Bill Simmons had Greg Oden as the can’t miss number one pick. That’s how.
Bust: Greg Oden. Mr. Glass. The last we heard, Oden suffered a fractured left knee patella knee injury. Yup, a broken knee cap. Terrorizing suckers on the seven seas. And if you’ve got beef, you’ll get capped in the knees. Oden got capped in the knee. Capped in the knee after trying to block a shot by Houston’s Aaron Brooks. After trying to block a shot by Houston’s Aaron Brooks, Oden fell and writhed in obvious pain, clutching the knee for several minutes. This is a sight that is becoming all too familiar. I want to like this guy, I really do. I’ve said time and time again I think he can win himself some championships. A bunch of championships. Honey bunches of championships. Rings on his fingers. Bells on his toes. All of it. Not like this he can’t.
And that’s where we end it. To be fair, it’s too early to judge the last couple of drafts. Let me know what you think. Who are your bargains? Who are your busts? The Public wants to know!
Peace out homies. Six two and Even!
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