As we prepare for what all lottery teams hope is not a draft full of underachievers, let’s take a look at the 20 biggest NBA Draft Lottery busts since 2000.
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20. JAY WILLIAMS – No. 2 Pick (2002), selected by the Chicago Bulls
Jay Williams put together a respectable rookie season with averages of 9.5 points and 4.7 assists per game. While his assist-to-turnover ratio exhibited his strong decision-making on the court, his career was abruptly ended after making a poor decision off the court. In the summer of 2003, Williams crashed his motorcycle into a street light on the north side of Chicago. Williams attempted a comeback after this horrific injury in 2006 and was given a chance by the New Jersey Nets, who then cut him less than a month later.
19. SHAUN LIVINGSTON – No. 4 Pick (2004), selected by the Los Angeles Clippers
Shaun Livingston was a player who had lofty expectations coming into the league due to his playmaking abilities as a 6-7 point guard. Unfortunately, his career was put on hold during his best statistical year (9.3 points/5.1 assists) after a gruesome knee injury that left many believing his career was over. Since then, Livingston has made an inspirational comeback, playing for six other NBA organizations since his injury in 2007. Livingston, once believed to be a franchise cornerstone, has turned his career into that of a journeyman after his unfortunate injury.
18. STROMILE SWIFT – No. 2 Pick (2000), selected by the Memphis Grizzlies
The hype around Swift’s game coming into the 2000 NBA Draft was that he was the second coming of Shawn Kemp. Unfortunately for Swift, the closest thing to Kemp is Blake Griffin, who was drafted after the LSU product had exited the NBA. Swift had a 10-year NBA career that include stops with the Grizzlies, Rockets, Nets and Suns. While Swift put up respectable numbers of over eight points and four and a half rebounds per game, he certainly underachieved for being the No. 2 pick in the draft.
17. SHELDEN WILLIAMS – No. 5 Pick (2005), selected by the Atlanta Hawks
Williams had a solid NBA career, but “solid” is not what most teams have in mind when selecting in the top five. The serviceable big man is no longer in service as he is currently playing in France after seven NBA teams in six years. Williams’ main value added to an NBA club were his six fouls. Williams averaged just over four points and four rebounds per game throughout his career. His most notable achievement in the basketball world was how he somehow managed to marry Candace Parker.
16. MARCUS FIZER – No. 4 Pick (2000), selected by the Chicago Bulls
Fizer had a storied collegiate career under Tim Floyd at Iowa State, leading them to the Elite Eight while being named both a consensus First Team All-American and Big 12 Player Of The Year. While Fizer didn’t disappoint in his first NBA season, being named All-Rookie Second Team, his career was short lived. He exited the NBA for good after his stint with the Milwaukee Bucks during the ’04-05 season. As an undersized power forward, Fizer probably posted the best averages of anyone on this list with 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds for his career. But for whatever reason, teams continued to pass up on him.