There are bad NBA Draft classes ... then there is the 2000 NBA Draft class.
This crop of players produced no MVPs, no multi-time All-Stars, and only one All-NBA player in Michael Redd -- who was a second-round selection.
Former Grizzlies executive Dick Versace succinctly described the class this way to Bleacher Report in 2015: "It's not a draft where it goes five-deep or nine-deep or six-deep or 10-deep. It's 30 teams, and this (draft) in terms of sure bets went one deep."
That one-deep was Kenyon Martin. He played 15 years in the league for five different teams, earned one All-Star bid and had a productive career. But, he was one of the few bright spots of this class of players that was otherwise pedestrian in nature and infamous for its insipidness.
It's impossible to compare other draft classes to this one, but I set out to rank the worst classes since 2000 and came up with the five worst. I've already tipped my hand on which draft ranks No. 1 on this list, but let's take a look at the five worst NBA Draft classes since 2000:
- No. 1 pick: Nets - Kenyon Martin, Cincinnati
- Three All-Stars
- No multi-time All-Stars
- One All-NBA player
It wasn't just that Kenyon Martin didn't quite live up to expectations that come with being drafted No. 1, it's that the rest of the first round prospects performed stunningly below-expectations, too. No. 2 overall pick Stromile Swift was a career rotation player, making just 97 starts in nine years. No. 3 overall pick Darius Miles had potential as a scorer, but a knee injury early in his career proved devastating. And then there's Marcus Fizer, Jerome Moisco and Mateen Cleaves: lottery picks who, for varying reasons, just didn't pan out and found only a modicum of NBA success.
As with all bad drafts, there were, of course, some good ones. No. 5 overall pick Mike Miller stuck around the league for nearly two decades and won two NBA championships. No. 16 overall pick Hedo Turkoglu had some wildly productive years on offense in Orlando. Heck, No. 29 overall pick Mark Madsen, despite being a career role player, won a pair of NBA championships.
But in its entirety, this draft class will live in infamy as one of the worst of the modern era of basketball.
- No. 1 pick: Cavaliers - Anthony Bennett, UNLV
- Bennett out of league before age 24
- Three All-Stars
- Only 51 of 60 draft picks played in NBA
It was a mystery as to who would go No. 1 overall in this draft, and perhaps that should have served as an indication as to how this draft would ultimately be remembered. UNLV product Anthony Bennett was selected No. 1 overall and he quickly became the face of a draft that flopped, averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in Cleveland in 2013-14 before the Cavs traded him. He spent four seasons in the league with four different teams and hasn't played in the NBA since the 2016-17 season.
No. 15 overall pick Giannis Antetokounmpo salvaged this draft class by developing into an MVP, and No. 2 overall pick Victor Oladipo has grown into a multi-time All-Star, but the top of this draft -- with Cody Zeller, Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Michael Carter-Williams and Shabazz Muhammad as lottery picks -- has turned out to be largely underwhelming. The collective VORP (Value Over Replacement) of this draft ranks behind only the 2000, 2015, 2016 and 2017 classes (though it should be noted VORP accrues over time and therefore the total VORP of more recent draft classes are not adequately represented).
- No. 1 pick: Rockets - Yao Ming, China
- Ming and No. 6 pick Dajuan Wagner had careers end early because injury
- Top five picks combined to play in only 2509 games (fewer than the infamous 2000 class)
Hall of Fame big man Yao Ming, the No. 1 overall pick, was the face of this draft. He played in the league only eight seasons but dominated nonetheless, earning eight All-Star nods in each year he was healthy. He was the exception of this class, however. In total only four players earned All-Star bids from this class, though the four -- Carlos Boozer, Caron Butler, Ming and Amare Stoudemire -- all earned multiple bids.
- No. 1 pick: Raptors - Andrea Bargnani, Italy
- First year where high school players were not eligible to be selected
This was the year of the hidden value. No. 24 overall pick Kyle Lowry went on to become a six-time (and counting) All-Star; No. 47 pick Paul Millsap has thus far earned four All-Star bids; and Rajon Rondo, picked No. 21 overall, was also a four-time All-Star.
The top of this draft was a mixed bag, however, which is why this class ranks so poorly. 7-foot No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani never emerged as the force many expected. Adam Morrison, picked third in this draft, was an outright bust. Even fellow top-10 picks Patrick O'Bryant and Mouhamed Sene flopped. Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick and LaMarcus Aldridge were all valuable lottery picks, but there were far more busts than expected booms from this class.
The big winner of this draft was Portland, which secured LaMarcus Aldridge's draft rights and Brandon Roy's.
- No. 1 pick: Cavaliers - Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
- Wiggins became first overall pick since NBA-ABA merger to be traded before playing NBA game
- Two All-Stars
This is bordering on too soon to call territory, but the early results are in, and they're not great! This draft class has fewer All-Stars (2) than the 2017 (3), 2016 (4) and 2015 (4) classes. It just so happens that the two stars, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, are generationally great big men. Otherwise, top-10 picks Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum, Nik Stauskas, Noah Vonleh and Eldrid Payton have all, at least to this point, achieved far fewer than their draft slots would indicate.