By: Evan Jankens
The Detroit Pistons have the ninth selection in this year’s NBA Draft. And nine can be a very tricky pick, as I learned while looking over the best and worst picks at nine overall since the 1992 NBA Draft. The 1992 draft is notable because it’s where Clarence Weatherspoon was chosen by the Philadelphia 76ers and started a career where he played 915 games in 13 seasons, six of those with the team that drafted him. You would take that, wouldn’t you? I know I would be happy for the Pistons to draft a guy tonight who stays in the league for 13 seasons and is with the Pistons for six of those years.
That means he’s a legit NBA player.
Below you will find the top three players drafted at 9th overall and the three worst players drafted 9th overall in the NBA Draft. Please leave a comment below or tweet me at KingoftheKC to let me know if you agree or disagree with my picks.
- 1998-Dirk Nowitzki, who was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks but then traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Robert “Tractor” Traylor and Pat Garrity. Since coming into the NBA, Nowitzki has been one of the best players year after year. In his 14 years with the Mavs he has won an NBA Championship, appeared in every All-Star game since 2002, NBA MVP for the 2006-07 season and also the NBA Finals MVP in 2010-11 season. Nowitzki has also been on the All-NBA First Team four times. In his 14 NBA Season he has a career average of 22.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 2.6 APG.
- 1997– Tracy McGrady who was drafted by the Toronto Raptors out of Mount Zion Christian Academy turned out to be one of those “high school guys” who really made it in the NBA. McGrady who played his first three seasons in Toronto before he really “made it” in the NBA after signing with the Orlando Magic before the 2000-01 season. McGrady in his time with the Magic got them to playoffs 3 straight seasons before missing the playoffs in his final season with the Magic. McGrady’s Houston Rocket’s teams also made the playoffs three times. In his 15 seasons in the NBA he has a career average of 19.6 PPG. McGrady led the NBA in scoring the 02-03 season with 32.1 PPG and also the 03-04 season with 28 PPG. McGrady has appeared in 7 All-Star games and has been named to the All-NBA First Team twice.
- 2002– Amar’e Stoudemire was drafted by the Phoenix Suns out of Cypress Creek High School. Stoudemire has played with both the Suns and now the New York Knicks. In his 10 NBA seasons he has averaged 21.6 PPG and 8.8 RPG. Stoudemire has been named to six All-Star teams, the Rookie of the Year for the 2002-03 season and named to the NBA First Team twice. Stoudemire could very well take over the McGrady for the second best 9th overall player but he still has some proving to do.
Honorable Mention- Andre Iquodala, Shawn Marion and Joakim Noah.
Now it’s time for the 3 worst players chosen ninth overall since the 1992 NBA Draft. There have been quite a few players who didn’t pan out for the team that drafted them — such as Ed O’Bannon out of UCLA — but he can’t even compare to the three worst players drafted ninth since ’92.
- 2006- Pat O’Bryant was drafted by the Golden State Warriors out of Bradley. At Bradley, O’Bryant wasn’t exactly a great talent but he had a huge attribute, literally, in being 7 feet tall and he showed potential. But that potential never developed into an NBA talent. O’Bryant has never appeared in more than 39 games in a single season and that was the 08-09 season when he played with both the Celtics and the Raptors. In his four years in the NBA he averaged 2.1 PPG, 1.4 RPG and .4 BPG. Those are not very good stats for a 7-footer drafted 9th overall. O’Bryant only appeared in 90 career NBA games. The Warriors could have drafted Rajon Rondo who went 21st. Having said all I have said about the O’Bryant you really can’t blame the Warriors because the ’06 draft was one of the worst drafts in league history. The top five went Andrea Bargnani, LaMarcus Aldridge, Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas and Sheldon Williams.
- 2001- Rodney White was drafted by your Detroit Pistons out of Charlotte. White left Charlotte after his freshman season and was looked to be a project but had tons of potential. Yet again his potential never panned out. As a freshman at Charlotte he averaged 18.7 PPG and had all the looks as a guy who could create his own shot and also be able to score at the NBA level. Well, those thoughts weren’t correct. White appeared in 16 games for the Pistons before being dealt to Denver for Don Reid and Mengke Bateer. In four NBA seasons White appeared in 218 games while averaging 7.1 PPG. On July 27, 2011 the Charlotte Observer reported that White was charged with felony manufacture of marijuana, along with 4 other charges.
- 2005– Ike Diogu was also drafted by the Golden State Warriors. Diogu was a 6’8 swingman out of Arizona State. At ASU Diogu was the man! He averaged 21.4 PPG in his 3 seasons with the Sun Devils and could flat out score. That never translated to the NBA game. Diogu has just completed his 6th season in the league but has never amounted to what scouts thought he could be. Diogu has played for 5 teams in 6 seasons. This past season he played for the Kings and played in 2 games. Diogu has never played in more than 69 games and that was during his rookie season. It looks like the Warriors may want to stay away from the ninth pick as the messed it up twice in a row.
Honorable Mention- Samaki Walker, who was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1996 NBA Draft. Let’s just say it was a good thing they erased that mistake with the pick of Dirk.