The Untapped Potential Of The No. 2 Pick

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Saturday, March 01, 2014 with No comments
Written By Clevis Murray 


For some the NBA Draft is the beginning of a long career as most are selected in their early 20's and hope to retire late in their 30's.  Not everyone can be drafted with the first overall pick.....someone has to go second. One would think being drafted second would bring a similar career arc to the player taken as the first pick but lately that hasn't been the case and now players that are projected be the Gus Grissom have something to worry about. This article will take you down memory lane looking at the worst No.2 picks since 2000.

Stromile Swift, F/C, 2000

Stormile Swift was looked at one of the best big-men in college basketball as he led the LSU Tigers to the Sweet 16 as he averaged 16.2 points & 8.2 rebounds in his sophomore year which was a drastic improvement from his freshmen year. After a great season he would go on to declare for the 2000 NBA Draft (which was being called by many as the weakest draft class in the history of the the NBA) and be selected with the second pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies (Now Memphis Grizzlies) after Cincinnati star Kenyon Martin who was drafted by the New Jersey Nets (Now Brooklyn Nets). His rookie season was a struggle as he played in 80 games averaging 4.9 points and 3.6 points. The best season for the career of Swift was the 2001-2002 season in which he averaged 11.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. Swift's career lasted nine seasons from 2000-2009 and didn't live up the potential he had along with only being in the playoffs twice. Since his career in the NBA, he has dealt with legal issues as he pleaded guilty to stalking a woman last year, in 2011 he stalked the women and did it again in 2012. He showed to the woman's house with a gun and also sent threatening texts. Swift is now serving a 18 month supervised probation after his six months in jail were suspended.

Drafted ahead of: Jamal Crawford, Mike Miller and Hedo Türkoğlu

Jason "Jay" Williams, G, 2002

Jay Williams was one of the best college basketball players in the nation in the early 2000s under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. He received many accolades during his tenure with the Blue Devils as he was a NCAA champion (2001), 2x NABC Player of the Year (2001–2002), Naismith College Player of the Year (2002), Oscar Robertson Trophy (2002), John R. Wooden Award (2002), AP College Player of the Year (2002), Adolph Rupp Trophy (2002), Sporting News College Player of the Year (2002) and 2x Consensus first team All-American (2001–2002).  He also played for Team USA in the 2002 FIBA World Championships. After his junior season with Coach K he declared for the 2002 NBA Draft concluding his college career with averages of 19.3 points & 6.0 assists. Williams was drafted by the Chicago Bulls after Yao Ming was taken by the Houston Rockets. In his lone season in the NBA he averaged 9.5 points & 4.7 assists. He was very inconsistent his rookie year but showed promise in a few games. During the summer of his rookie year his life would change for the worse on June 19, 2003 as he was driving without a helmet in Chicago and lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a streetlight. Williams drove without a helmet, a license for the motorcycle in Illinois and violated his contract with the Bulls for riding a motorcycle. He suffered numerous injuries in the crash as his pelvis was fractured, suffered dislocated ligaments in his knee along with ACL and severed a nerve in his leg. Due to his injuries the Chicago Bulls drafted Kansas Point Guard Kirk Hinrich a week later with the No.7 pick in '03. As time passed and it became more evident that he wouldn't play in the NBA again and Chicago decided to waive him, legally he wasn't owed and money but the Bulls decided to give him $3M for medical expenses in his rehab. Williams tried aggressively to make a comeback to the league and was signed by his hometown team the New Jersey Nets on September 28, 2006 to a non-guaranteed contract but was released one month later on October 22nd. He would go on to make trips in the D-league but released due to injury and worked out with the Miami Heat during the '10-11 season but wasn't contacted back. He played one year in the NBA and a argument could be made that he's a bust. Williams spends his days now as a College Basketball Analyst for ESPN and a motivational speaker. Some may or may not know this but after his accident he was at the lowest point of his life as he contemplated suicide as he said

" I mean, to the point where I sat there, and I had this pair of scissors in my hand. I just kept going on my wrist. I wasn’t trying to go sideways. I was going vertical. I didn’t want to be here. At all."

Drafted ahead of: Mike Dunleavy jr, Jamal Crawford, Amar'e Stoudemire, Nene, Drew Gooden, Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons, Carlos Boozer, Matt Barnes and Luis Scola

Darko Miličić, C/F, 2003


We all know about Darko Miličić and how he was suppose to be one of the best players from the '03 draft, but things did not go his way at all. Entering the draft he was thought as the best big man in the draft and a future star. He had the people buzzing and Americans wanting to see him play. The Detroit Pistons decided to draft him after the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted arguably the best player from that draft LeBron James. Miličić struggled mightily in Detroit as he played in 34 games and averaged 1.4 points in his rookie season and become the youngest player to win a NBA championship in 2004 at the age of 18. The Pistons nicknamed him "The Human Victory Cigar" because when he was put into the game the Pistons were clearly going to win. His tenure in Detroit was interesting because people thought he put up horrible stats because he was on a championship team playing behind Ben Wallace and didn't have enough playing time and Miličić blamed lack of playing time for his growth as a player. Joe Dumars would go on trade him to Orlando and then signed with Memphis and was injury prone there and was eventually traded to the Knicks. In Minnesota he became a good role player but was amnestied by the team and signed with the Celtics, he seemed like a good player their but requested to be released by the team for personal reasons and that's where his NBA career as he would retire from the league in 2013. Darko was fine with not living up to the hype and his former teammates Chuncey Billups blames him for the Pistons not having a championship dynasty 

" If he had drafted either Melo or Bosh, I think maybe that whole team would still be together. We probably would have more championships down the road. But this is the NBA and things happen. But, of course, I always think about that. "

Pistons GM Joe Dumars used drafted Darko Miličić as a learning tool for the future as he said 

" Absolutely, it was a mistake. I could give a dissertation on [background research] now. After I drafted Darko, from that point on, the amount of background we do on every single player that you see us draft is ridiculous. We do as much or more background than any other team in the NBA because of that. The background on Darko was about 20 percent of what we do now. I look back on it now and realize you didn't know half of the stuff you needed to know. With Darko, we may have had two sources of information. That was it. We may have talked to a couple of guys over in Europe. That was it "

Notable players drafted ahead of: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, T.J. Ford, David West and Mo Williams

Michael Beasley, F, 2008


If you're looking for a player that is the definition of untapped potential then Michael Beasley better be on your list. At Kansas State he was ranked as one of the best college freshmen of the 2000s and with a distinction like that someone with Beasley's talent would obviously be destined for stardom at the next level in the NBA. He set numerous school and freshmen records at the school and was known as a cocky player there as he predicted a few of their victories and a few of his awards at Kansas State are Big 12 Player of the Year (2008), First team All-Big 12 (2008), USBWA National Freshman of the Year (2008), Pete Newell Big Man Award (2008) and Consensus first team All-American (2008). Beasley ended his freshmen campaign averaging 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds. Heading into the 2008 NBA Draft, Derrick Rose and Michael  Beasley were the best players heading into the draft. Rose was drafted by his hometown Bulls and Beasley was drafted by Pat Riley and would begin his career in South Beach Miami. Before he even played a game Beasley was in trouble with the NBA and law. At the 2008 rookie symposium Beasley along with fellow rookies Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers were caught smoking weed along with partying with females in a hotel room which violated the symposium rules and noticed by police. Beasley would go on to receive a $50K fine from the league while Arthur and Chalmers received a $20K fine. Beasley had a good career in Miami  but checked into rehab for marijuana and had suicidal thoughts. Beasley was a intricate part in the Miami Heat signing LeBron James as Beasley needed to be traded for him to sign and was to Minnesota. He had a decent tenure in Minneapolis but was in trouble with marijuana and was off to Phoenix next and hoped it would be a new start. His career in the valley of the sun as he was yet again in trouble with marijuana and released a month later. The young career of Beasley looked bleak but he has a new opportunity in his second tenure with the Miami Heat and has been quiet but effective.

Drafted ahead of: O.J. Mayo, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, J.J. Hickson, Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, George Hill and Nikola Pekovic. 

Hasheem Thabeet, C, 2009

At UCONN he improved each showing his dedication to improve and after three seasons at UCONN Hasheem Thabeet decided to forgo his senior season and head to the NBA in 2009. As the draft approached Thabeet gained comparisons to Dikembe Mutombo, a major difference between the two is that Thabeet was thought of to be a major project for the team that drafted him. The Memphis Grizzlies would go on to draft Thabeet and made him the first Tanzanian born player. On February 25, 2010 Memphis sent Thabeet to the D-league which made him the highest selected player to be sent down. Thabeet would go on to make stops in Houston and Portland. In the summer of 2013 he signed the Oklahoma City Thunder and had his first career double-double early into the season. Thabeet is a clear cut bust and is only in the NBA for his shot blocking and size as he is 7'3", he is currently averaging less than 3 points & 3 rebounds for his career.

Drafted ahead of: James Harden, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, DeMar DeRozan, Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson, Gerald Henderson, Jeff Teague and Marcus Thornton.  

Derrick Williams, F, 2011

Coming out of the University of Arizona, Derrick Williams was thought of as the next superstar in the NBA as he won countless awards in his tenure at the school and a few notables are Consensus second team All-American (2011), Pac-10 Player of the Year (2011) and 2× All-Pac-10 First Team (2010–2011). He concluded his college career averaging 17.8 points and 7.8 rebounds. The Minnesota Timberwolves once again had the No. 2 pick and drafted Williams which looked like a great move but turned out not to be. His career in Minnesota was off to a shaky start but showed signs of possibly being with the team in the long run his second season in the league but was eventually traded to Sacramento early into the '13-14 season. He is the same player he was in Minnesota but has joined some glimpses of stardom, right now he is inconsistent. With Sacramento he is a athletic high flyer and great rebounder. Time will tell if he can live up to his potential.

Drafted ahead of: Tristan Thompson, Jonas Valančiūnas, Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, Markieff Morris, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, Iman Shumpert, Tobias Harris, Kenneth Farried, Jimmy Butler and Chandler Parsons.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, 2012


In his lone season at Kentucky he showed signs of being good in the NBA and a willingness to develop. The Charlotte Bobcats took a risk and drafted him after his teammate Anthony Davis who went to New Orleans. Gilchrist had a decent rookie season as he averaged 9.0 points & 5.8 rebounds. This season he is averaging 7.4 points and 5.1 rebounds which are clear drop offs from his rookie campaign. He won't develop into a 20-point per game scorer but is more similar to Kawhi Leonard in a sense as both players play similar styles. Gilchrist is a defensive player and athletic wing player with his great work ethic to get better. Hopefully though he becomes as good a player as he is a person off the court as he has paid countless tributes to his father and uncle and has overcome a anxiety he has with the media since he has a stuttering problem.

In the 90s the no. 2 picks had decent careers but in the 2000s and 2010s it's becoming a different story as they are becoming one of the worst players from the lottery and their draft class.

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