June 28, 2006. The Theatre at Madison Square Garden was brimming with anticipation as a fresh crop of NBA hopefuls filled the Green Room. With only college highlights to judge, it was anyone’s guess who was going to be the Next Big Thing or the Next Big Bust. And almost four years later, two of those top five picks in the Draft – Adam Morrison and Shelden Williams – have found their way to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, their careers haven’t gone quite as expected.
Let’s start with Adam Morrison. With career averages of 7.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, Morrison’s explosive scoring in the college ranks never quite translated to the pros. For a guy that was the first player picked by Michael Jordan in Charlotte, his short tenure with the Bobcats was to say the least, uneventful. After missing the entire 2007-08 season, the best part of his trade to L.A. last season was that he brought Shannon Brown along with him.
When you’re talking about Shelden Williams, the amount of teams he’s played on rivals that of a 10-year NBA veteran. After starting with the Hawks, Williams has also played for the Kings and Timberwolves before landing with the Celtics this past offseason. With career averages of 4.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, Williams never brought the rebounding and scoring presence that everyone though he would out of college.
On Thursday, the two former Top 5 picks will be in the building for Game 7, but only one of them will likely see any time. With Kendrick Perkins most likely shelved for the game, Williams might see some minutes. But after last night’s performance – 14 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls – Rasheed Wallace might take any minutes coming his way. As for Morrison, the big news for him during the Finals has been whether or not he’s even been on the active roster.
What do you think? Whose career has been more of a bust? Is there any hope for either player?
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