Something interesting happened as the list was compiled -- the Warriors, Clippers and Blazers managed to pile up eight of the worst 10 picks in NBA history.
There's a good chance for a repeat performance this year. The Clippers look like they'll take a risk and use their second pick overall on high schooler Dwight Howard. And the Blazers may reach out all the way to Russia for Pavel Podkolzine, a 19-year-old, 7'3" center who the scouts say has an awful long way to go.
Check back next for a "best picks" list.
10. Joe Smith (Golden State Warriors, 1995)
After a couple of very good years (started every game as a rookie, averaging 15.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg; second year averaged 18.7 ppg and 8.5 rpg), it's been all downhill for Smith. Among the players the Warriors could have selected: Antonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett, Michael Finley and Damon Stoudamire.
9. Lancaster Gordon (L.A. Clippers, 1984)
With the eighth pick in the 1984 NBA draft, the Clippers decided that Louisville's Lancaster Gordon -- who averaged 12 ppg at Louisville -- was a better bet than Gonzaga's John Stockton. Gordon averaged 5.6 ppg in little more than three NBA seasons. With the ninth pick, the Kings selected Otis Thorpe, who went on to average 14 points and 8 rebounds in a 17-year career.
8. Russell Cross (Golden State Warriors, 1983)
Golden State had the sixth pick in the 1983 draft, and took Cross, a 6-foot-10 forward from Purdue. He played 45 games during his only NBA season, averaging 3.7 ppg. Among those picked after Cross: Derek Harper, Dale Ellis and Clyde Drexler.
7. Michael Olowokandi (L.A. Clippers, 1998)
One of the worst first picks ever in a very good draft year. The Clippers could have had Mike Bibby, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Bonzi Wells ... we could go on and on. In the meantime, Olowokandi played five years for L.A. before being dealt to the Timberwolves. His lifetime stats: 9.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
6. Chris Washburn (Golden State Warriors, 1986)
With the third pick in 1986, the Warriors selected the 6-foot-11 N.C. State center. Only a few months into his first season, he went into drug rehab. The Warriors traded him to the Hawks after he averaged 3.8 ppg in 35 games that season. He slid from there, playing only 90 minutes total for the Hawks in 1987-88. He never played again in the NBA. Among the players the Warriors could have selected: Chuck Person, Ron Harper, Mark Price and Dennis Rodman.
5. Lorenzen Wright (L.A. Clippers, 1996)
In a great, deep draft, the Clippers missed again. Wright has averaged 9.7 points and 7 rebounds per game in his eight-year career, and his greatest honor was being selected to the All-Rookie second team. Among those the Clippers passed up: Kobe Bryant, Predrag Stojakovic, Steve Nash, and Jermaine O'Neal.
4. Jon Koncak (Atlanta Hawks, 1985)
The 7-footer from SMU went to Atlanta as the No. 5 pick in 1985. He played 11 NBA seasons -- 10 with the Hawks -- compiling career averages of 4.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Among the players the Hawks passed on: Chris Mullin (7th to Golden State), Detlef Schrempf (No. 8 to Dallas), Karl Malone (picked 13th by Utah), Joe Dumars (picked 18th by Detroit), A.C. Green (picked 23 by the Lakers), and Terry Porter (picked 24th by the Blazers).
3. LaRue Martin (Portland Trail Blazers, 1972)
With the No. 1 pick in 1972, the Blazers picked Martin, a 6-foot-11 center out of Loyola of Chicago. He averaged 5.3 ppg and 4.6 rebounds in his four NBA seasons, all with the Blazers. With the No. 2 pick, the Buffalo Braves selected Bob McAdoo out of North Carolina. Other first round picks: Paul Westphal, picked 10th by the Celtics, and Julius Erving, selected 12th by the Bucks.
2. Sam Bowie (Portland Trail Blazers, 1984)
In 1984, the Rockets took Hakeem Olajuwon with the first pick. The Trail Blazers, with the No. 2 selection, passed on Michael Jordan. They passed on Charles Barkley. They passed on John Stockton. They passed on Carl Lewis (selected 208th by the Rockets). Because their scouting told them that 7-foot Kentucky center Sam Bowie was the man. He averaged 10 ppg in an injury-riddled career.
1. Pervis Ellison (Sacramento Kings, 1989)
The 6-foot-10 swingman from Louisville was the surprise No. 1 overall NBA pick in 1989, selected by Sacramento. Over the next 11 seasons, "Never Nervous" never excelled, playing about 40 games a year. He retired with career averages of 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Among the first-rounders the Kings passed up: Shawn Kemp, Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway, and Vlade Divac.
Also receiving votes:
Shawn Bradley (Philadelphia 76ers, 1993): The Sixers spent the second overall pick on the towering BYU prospect, passing up Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Isaiah Rider, Vin Baker, Allan Houston, and Sam Cassell.
Marcus Camby (Toronto Raptors, 1996): The second pick overall, who Toronto thought was a better bet than Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Antoine Walker, Kobe Bryant, Predrag Stojakovic, Steve Nash, and Jermaine O'Neal.