Top 5 Wizards Draft Busts
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The Washington Wizards don’t have a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft — and maybe that’s a good thing. After all, the Wizards don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to finding talent in the first round.
Here are the five biggest draft busts in Wizards (and Bullets) history:
5) Kenny Green (12th Overall, 1985 Draft, Wake Forest University)
This one hurt. Washington selected Green one pick before the Utah Jazz took Karl Malone. That’s right, “The Mailman” was very nearly a Bullet. Green didn’t even last a full season in the nation’s capital — he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers after just 20 games — and was out of the league one year later. He averaged a mere 4.4 points per game for his short-lived career. Meanwhile, Malone went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers, and ranks second on the NBA’s all-time leading scoring list.
4) Oleksiy Pecherov (18th Overall, 2006 Draft, Ukraine)
Pecherov had been playing professionally in Europe since 2002 and the 7-foot center didn’t suit up for the Wizards until the 2007-08 season, a year after he was drafted. His time in Washington was pretty forgettable — he averaged 3.6 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game in two seasons. He was traded before the 2009 NBA Draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with Etan Thomas, Darius Songalia and the Wizards’ 2009 first-round pick in exchange for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. The T-Wolves selected Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio with the Wizards’ pick (No. 5 overall). After playing one season in Minnesota, Pecherov returned to Europe where he’s still playing professionally.
3) Jarvis Hayes (10th Overall, 2003 Draft, University of Georgia)
Selected just a few picks after Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the loaded 2003 Draft, Hayes — heralded as an offensive weapon — showed promise during his rookie season in Washington. But nagging knee injuries caused him to spend more time on the sideline than on the court over the next two seasons, and Hayes never returned to being the player he once was. He averaged nearly 9 points per game in four seasons with the Wizards but he’ll always be remembered for never fulfilling his potential.
2) Jan Vesely (6th Overall, 2011 Draft, Czech Republic)
It’s hard to decide the best highlight of Vesely’s so-far unspectacular NBA career: When he aggressively kissed his girlfriend after being selected by the Wizards and became a YouTube sensation … or when he said, after hearing that he was being heralded as the “European Blake Griffin,” that Griffin — the No. 1 pick in the 2009 Draft — was the “American Jan Vesely.” Either way, it’s hard to swallow the fact that Washington could have taken Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kenneth Faried or Jimmy Butler instead. Washington shipped Vesely to the Denver Nuggets during the 2013-14 season as part of a three-team deal that brought Andre Miller to Washington.
1) Kwame Brown (1st Overall, 2001 Draft, Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga.)
Brown is the runaway winner on this dubious list, and his story is well-known by now: He became the first high school player to be selected 1st overall when Michael Jordan took him over Pau Gasol, Tyson Chandler and Joe Johnson. Brown and Jordan clashed during their time in Washington and Brown’s lack of maturity was a major reason he never developed into the athletic big man the Wizards needed. Brown and Laron Profit were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers before the 2005-06 season for Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins. To his credit, Brown carved out a 13-year NBA career and reportedly made more than $63 million in earnings.