The 11 Most Inexplicable NBA Draft Lottery Picks Of The 2000s

Did anyone really think Joe Alexander would be a good NBA player? Anyone?

1. 2000: The 2000 Draft isn’t worth doing because there just weren’t any good options. You can’t be faulted for making a bad lottery pick when they were all bad lottery picks.

2. 2001: DeSagana Diop, 8th Overall, Cleveland Cavaliers

Chuck Burton / AP

OK, so: Diop’s a true seven-footer who played at basketball factory Oak Hill. But he had no semblance of an offensive game — not even the kernel of one; it’s not that hard to average 14 points a game when you’re seven feet tall in high school — and though Diop’s put together a career as a pro, he’s never been more than a defensive specialist. He’s certainly not an offensive specialist — the most points per game he’s ever scored in a season was 3.0, in 2007-08. He also did this.

Players who were drafted after Diop:
Joe Johnson
Richard Jefferson
Troy Murphy
Zach Randolph
Brendan Haywood
Gerald Wallace
Samuel Dalembert
Jamaal Tinsley
Tony Parker
Gilbert Arenas

3. 2002: Nikoloz Tskitishvili, 5th Overall, Denver Nuggets

Matt York / AP

Georgian seven-footer Nikoloz Tskitishvili was drafted sixth overall despite averaging only 6.6 points per game in the Italian league the year before the draft — not exactly a sign of future NBA greatness. Sure enough, the guy shot 30% from the field for his career. (Reminder: HE’S SEVEN FEET TALL.) That would be a terrible number for a volume-shooting guard; for a center, it’s abysmal.

Players who were drafted after Tskitishvili:
Nene
Chris Wilcox
Amar’e Stoudemire
Caron Butler
Jared Jeffries
Tayshaun Prince
John Salmons
Roger Mason, Jr.
Carlos Boozer
Matt Barnes
Luis Scola

4. 2003: Darko Milicic, 2nd Overall, Detroit Pistons

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

Everyone knows the story of Darko Milicic, and it seems at first glance that maybe he doesn’t belong on this list — lots of people though Milicic would be good, right? Sort of. Even at the time, there were serious questions not only about Milicic’s game, but also his motor and state of mind, and the latter two concerns especially proved to be millstones that he could never quite get rid of in the following decade. (“Weaknesses: Millstone Disposal.”) Milicic will forever be notable, though, for the sheer quality of players drafted after him, including Melo, Chris Bosh, and D-Wade, who even at the time were all regarded as can’t-miss superstars.

Players who were drafted after Milicic:
Carmelo Anthony
Chris Bosh
Dwyane Wade
Chris Kaman
Kirk Hinrich
Mickael Pietrus
Nick Collison
Luke Ridnour
David West
Boris Diaw
Carlos Delfino
Kendrick Perkins
Leandro Barbosa
Josh Howard
Jason Kapono
Steve Blake
Willie Green
Zazu Pachulia
Matt Bonner
Mo Williams
James Jones
Kyle Korver

5. 2004: Luke Jackson, 10th Overall, Cleveland Cavaliers

Despite having a remarkable college career, Jackson’s game never seemed like it would translate well to the NBA — he wasn’t fast enough to be anything but a spot shooter, and you can’t be a spot-shooter as a pro unless you’re reallllllly accurate and add some other elite skill, like defense or rebounding, which Jackson didn’t. Indeed, in the pros he couldn’t create his own shot and would only score 252 points over the course of seven seasons.

Players who were drafted after Jackson:
Andris Biedrins
Sebastian Telfair
Kris Humphries
Al Jefferson
Josh Smith
JR Smith
Dorell Wright
Jameer Nelson
Delonte West
Tony Allen
Kevin Martin
Beno Udrih
Anderson Varejao
Chris Duhon
Trevor Ariza

6. 2005: Sean May, 13th Overall, Charlotte Bobcats

Sean May won a national championship at UNC; this is true. But even then, he was overweight and unathletic, two of the hardest things for an NBA player to overcome, and he just didn’t have the quickness to make his size worthwhile for professional teams.

Players who were drafted after May:
Danny Granger
Gerald Green
Hakim Warrick
Nate Robinson
Jarrett Jack
Francisco Garcia
Linas Kleiza
Ian Mahinmi
David Lee
Brandon Bass
CJ Miles
Ersan Ilyasova
Ronny Turiaf
Monta Ellis
Lou Williams
Andray Blatche
Amir Johnson
Marcin Gortat

7. 2006: Adam Morrison, 3rd Overall, Charlotte Bobcats

Oh, Adam Morrison — how I’ve pulled for you. It’s just that, even after his remarkable senior season, no one really understood how a guy who made his bones feasting on mid-major defenders would survive in the pros, and being drafted by the Bobcats, who had one of the worst developmental track records in the league, only made it worse. One of the biggest warning signs regarding Morrison was his three-point shooting: his junior-year 43% rate was an aberration from his sophomore and freshman performances, and when that regressed back to precedent once he entered the NBA, he was without a reliable way to score.

Players who were drafted after Morrison:
Tyrus Thomas
Shelden Williams
Brandon Roy
Randy Foye
Rudy Gay
JJ Redick
Thabo Sefolosha
Ronnie Brewer
Renaldo Balkman
Rajon Rondo
Kyle Lowry
Shannon Brown
Jordan Farmar
Joel Freeland
James White
Steve Novak
Boobie Gibson
Paul Millsap

8. 2007: Yi Jianlian, 6th Overall, Milwaukee Bucks

Sergio Perez / Reuters

A guy with questions about how old he was who admitted that he wasn’t good enough to play in the NBA a year before he was taken sixth overall? How could this go wrong!

Players who were drafted after Yi:
Corey Brewer
Brandan Wright
Joakim Noah
Spencer Hawes
Thad Young
Rodney Stuckey
Nick Young
Marco Belinelli
Daequan Cook
Jared Dudley
Wilson Chandler
Rudy Fernandez
Aaron Brooks
Aaron Afflalo
Tiago Splitter
Carl Landry
Glen Davis
Josh McRoberts
Aaron Gray
Ramon Sessions

9. 2008: Joe Alexander, 8th Overall, Milwaukee Bucks

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

If you can’t shoot threes or create your own shot, and you’re not 6’11” or taller, it doesn’t matter if you’re a tremendous athlete: you have no chance in the NBA. Joe Alexander had no chance in the NBA.

Players who were drafted after Alexander:
D.J. Augustin
Brook Lopez
Jerryd Bayless
Jason Thompson
Brandon Rush
Anthony Randolph
Robin Lopez
Marreese Speights
Roy Hibbert
JaVale McGee
JJ Hickson
Ryan Anderson
Courtney Lee
Kosta Koufos
Serge Ibaka
Nicolas Batum
George Hill
Darrell Arthur
Nikola Pekovic
Mario Chalmers
DeAndre Jordan
Omer Asik
Luke Richard Mbah a Moute
Goran Dragic

10. 2009: Johnny Flynn, 6th Overall, Minnesota Timberwolves

Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

If you’re six feet tall and you aren’t REALLY REALLY GOOD AT BASKETBALL, you have no chance in the NBA. Johnny Flynn… yeah. And Flynn can’t even use the excuse that he didn’t get a fair shake because Minnesota drafted two other PGs that same year: they traded Ty Lawson — hahahahaha they traded Ty Lawson and kept Johnny Flynn — and Ricky Rubio waited a few years to come over.

Players who were drafted after Flynn:
Stephen Curry (Stephen Curry!!!)
Jordan Hill
DeMar DeRozan
Brandon Jennings
Gerald Henderson
Tyler Hansbrough
Earl Clark
Austin Daye
James Johnson
Jrue Holiday
Ty LAwson
Jeff Teague
Eric Maynor
Darren Collison
Byron Mullens
Rodrigue Beaubois
Taj Gibson
Toney Douglas
DeJuan Blair
Jonas Jerebko
Jodie Meeks
Marcus Thornton
Chase Budinger
Danny Green
AJ Price
Nando De Colo

11. 2010: Wesley Johnson, 4th Overall, Minnesota Timberwolves

Matt York / AP

Oh, look, another Timberwolves pick. Wes Johnson was a senior who’d only had one good year in college and played a well-rounded but unspectacular game. He just wasn’t good enough at any one thing to be a successful NBA player.

Players who were drafted after Johnson:
DeMarcus Cousins
Ekpe Udoh
Greg Monroe
Al-Farouq Aminu
Gordon Hayward
Paul George
Ed Davis
Pattrick PAtterson
Larry Sanders
Luke Babbitt
Kevin Seraphin
Eric Bledsoe
Avery Bradley
Quincy Pondexter
Jordan Crawford
Greivis Vasquez
Landry Fields
Lance Stephenson
Devin Ebanks

12. 2011: Jan Vesely, 6th Overall, Washington Wizards

Chuck Myers / MCT

It’s hard to declare a player a failure after only two seasons, but in his second year, Vesely has shown virtually no improvement and very little potential as far as basketball skills; he’s an athlete and nothing else right now, and there’s more than enough of those floating around the league.

Players who were drafted after Vesely:
Bismack Biyombo
Brandon Knight
Kemba Walker
Jimmer Fredette
Klay Thompson
Alec Burks
Markieff Morris
Marcus Morris
Kawhi Leonard
Nikola Vucevic
Iman Shumpert
Kenneth Faried
Reggie Jackson
MarShon Brooks
Norris Cole
Jimmy Butler
Kyle Singler
Chandler Parsons
Lavoy Allen

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