NBA Draft History: Worst 13th Picks

You've seen the best of the 13th pick - now the rest. OK, the worst.

So you've seen who the best 13th picks have been since the NBA/ABA merger and I assume you now expect a Kobe Bryant or Karl Malone level player to find his way to the Suns. Well allow me to temper those expectations my friends because here comes the five worst 13th picks.

We're again going since the merger because if I went back any further the entire list would be guys who were picked 13th in the 60's and either played like 10 games or 0 games in the league. Trying to make it fun for you here. 

How bad has the 13th pick been? Marcus Banks was selected 13th and I could probably come up with 10 worse players than him. That's right, 10 players worse than Marcus Banks. Let that one sink in.   

(Dis)Honorable Mention:

  • Pearl Washington (1986) - The New York playground legend just couldn't cut it in the NBA. Most people probably assume it's drug related since he was in the '86 class but it was just a talent thing.
  • Julian Wright (2007) - He's accomplished almost nothing since he came out of Kansas but he's at least hung around the league long enough to play 231 games.
  • Courtney Alexander (2000) - The Fresno State product actually produced at a decent level in his 3 season NBA career (9.0 points per game) but has been unable to break back into the league since 2003.

(5)    Winford Boynes: 1978, South Carolina (New Jersey Nets)

Dossier:

If you just google ‘Winford' the former NBA player is the second search result after a small village in England. That said, a small village in England might have had a more memorable NBA career.

In his first NBA season he averaged 9.3 points per game in 17 minutes for a Nets team that made the playoffs. During his second season with the team he did just about the same numbers. He was promising enough that the Mavericks picked him in the 1980 Expansion Draft. His Dallas career lasted 44 games before he was released - like so many others that will follow on this list he never surfaced again.  

Who They Passed Up:

  • 15th pick - Mike Mitchell: He was a high scoring forward who averaged over 20 a game on 6 different occasions. He was a 1981 All-Star and his name was not Winford.
  • 18th pick - Dave Corzine: Not a superstar by any means but he hung around for 13 seasons and he looked like this. That absolutely counts for something.

(4)    Sean May: 2005, North Carolina (Charlotte Bobcats)

Dossier:

When May came out of North Carolina he was already a big college star. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2005 tournament while his Tar Heels won a championship. But not just that he also had NBA heritage in his father Scott.

The first hint that his NBA career wasn't going to go swimmingly was that he was picked by the historically awful drafting squad in Charlotte. Injuries and being in poor shape have defined May's career. He made it just 23 games through his rookie season and 35 games in his second season. In October of what would have been his third season he suffered a right knee injury that required microfracture surgery. By the time he came back new Bobcats coach Larry Brown didn't think he was in good enough physical shape to play.

He played 37 games with the miserable Kings in 2009-2010 but has since taken off for Turkey. He's still only 27 but I can't imagine he has a bright NBA future ahead of him.   

Who They Passed Up:

  • 17th pick - Danny Granger: Even at the time Granger was seen as a guy who was going to come into the NBA and score. Nobody was wrong about that one.
  • 30th pick - David Lee: If memory serves Lee wasn't seen as a guy with particularly high upside. Say what you will about his stats receiving a D'Antoni boost but he's been an All-Star and he's not Sean May.

(3)    Michael Smith: 1989, BYU (Boston Celtics)

Dossier:

Smith was a big-time player at BYU. The forward is still the school's all-time leading rebounder and is third all-time in scoring. He was considered a pretty versatile forward and that was the idea for Boston when they picked him.

Problem was he had a difficult time cracking the rotation with a Boston team that was still quasi-contending with their aging big 3. In his 2 seasons with the Celtics he played in 112 games and averaged around 5 points in less than 10 minutes a game. The Celtics released him before the start of the next season only to have the Bucks pick him up and drop him.

After a few seasons in Italy he returned to play for the Clippers and produced right around the same as he had with the Celtics. 29 games later his NBA career was over and he finished up in Spain. 

Who They Passed Up:

  • 14th pick - Tim Hardaway: Boston needed a point guard and there was one on the board. Guess that's why you don't let 80 year olds (no matter how legendary they are) run draft boards.
  • 17th pick - Shawn Kemp: Not that an uber athletic forward like Kemp would have fit with the Celtics of that era but it would have been interesting. Just think of the single unwed mothers that could be crawling around Boston today!

(2)    Tate Armstrong: 1977, Georgia (Chicago Bulls

Dossier: 

Armstrong was one of the original Duke NBA flops. He also won a gold medal with the US National Team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. His senior season at Duke ended with a broken wrist in January of 1977 but that wasn't enough to keep him from being a high pick in the NBA Draft.

He played on a couple crappy Bulls teams in the late 70's and was so bad that he was released just 26 games into his second season. Armstrong never surfaced in the NBA again. For his career he played in 92 total games and scored 350 points. At least he'll always have the memories of playing with Reggie Theus in Chicago. 

Who They Passed Up:

  • 14th pick - Tree Rollins: He had the nickname Tree and played in over 1,100 career games. Bu the nickname Tree should have been enough.
  • 16th pick - Rickey Green: The 1984 All-Star finished in the top 5 in the NBA in assists on three separate occasions. He is probably most well known for being the Jazz point guard before John Stockton.

(1)    Marcus Haislip:  2002, Tennessee (Milwaukee Bucks)

Dossier:

It was the physical skill of Haislip that seduced the Bucks into making him a lottery pick in 2002. It was the lack of pretty much everything else which has limited his NBA career to just 89 total games. In 2 seasons with Milwaukee he started just 8 times which were at the end of his first season and averaged just over 10 minutes a game. He showed so little potential that the Bucks declined his third year option.

Indiana picked him up the next season but he lasted just 9 games before his release. After a few seasons in Turkey and Spain the Spurs came calling in 2009-2010 for 10 games. He's since headed back overseas having likely completed his NBA career with just 311 points.

Who They Passed Up:

  • 23rd pick - Tayshaun Prince: The 2002 Draft was pretty much a joke so you have to go 10 picks down to find someone exceedingly better than Haislip. The 4-time All-Defensive 2nd Team selection Prince fits that bill.
  • 35th pick - Carlos Boozer: Sure this is a bit unfair dipping down so low but Milwaukee took the guy they thought had high upside instead of the guy who actually produced in college.

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