Every young man dreams of being the 1st overall pick of the Draft, as it pretty much grants you a lot of attention, endorsement deals, playing time, a bright future and why not? Even a lady or two.
More often than not, there’s not that much difference between the 1st and the 2nd overall pick, as both are considered to be can’t-miss talents that have the potential to turn a franchise’s future around for good.
Of the last 27 picks, only Alonzo Mourning and Jason Kidd are Hall of Famer, with Kevin Durant who will be the Hall of Famer when he finishes his career. LaMarcus Aldridge has only 27% to become a Hall of Famer, so I will not count him.
Even so, it seems like the 2nd overall pick of the Draft hasn’t fared as well as the 1st or even the ones that come right after, either because they wind up being busts, they get traded right away or just weren’t worthy of being taken that high. Today, we’re going to review the last 27 2nd overall picks, so you learn about the curse of the 2nd overall pick.
1992 - Alonzo Mourning (Hall of Famer, But Traded)
Alonzo Mourning was always quite a dominant big man, and he managed to have a very successful 15 season career in the NBA, winning the Championship with the Heat in 2006. Mourning was taken right behind Shaquille O’Neal, and quickly outgrew the Charlotte Hornets. So, after rejecting a contract extension from a team that couldn’t win in the playoffs, he was dealt after just 3 seasons with the team.
1993 - Shawn Bradley (Bust)
Shawn Bradley was taken right after Chris Webber and Penny Hardaway, as he was supposed to be a can’t-miss talent and a dominant two-way center standing at 7’6’’. Even so, Bradley was dealt away by the Sixers a couple of seasons after being drafted, mostly due to his inconsistency in both sides of the hardwood.
1994 - Jason Kidd (Hall of Famer, but Traded)
Jason Kidd is one of the best point guards in the history of the game, but his constant problems with the Mavericks’ coaching staff made them trade him away to the Phoenix Suns despite being Rookie of the Year and an All-Star. Eventually, he’d come back to the Mavs, but he was still dealt as a 2nd overall pick just 3 seasons after entering the league.
1995 - Antonio McDyess (Good, but Traded)
Just when everybody thought the Clippers had landed a diamond in the rough in McDyess, the team traded him before the start of the season to the Denver Nuggets. Even so, McDyess’ was never able to sustain his great performances, averaging 21, 19 and 20 points in 3 straight seasons before his career took a major downfall.
1996 - Marcus Camby (Good, but Traded)
Marcus Camby is one of the best rim protectors ever, and he impressed right away for the Raptors after being taken 2nd overall. Even so, he was traded to the Knicks in Draft day the very next season on the deal that sent Charles Oakley to Canada. Eventually, he’d win Defensive Player of the Year.
1997 - Keith Van Horn (Good, but Traded)
Keith Van Horn was taken right after Tim Duncan and ahead of Chauncey Billups, but the 76ers immediately traded him away on a blockbuster deal to the New Jersey Nets. He was great as a rookie and was even the first white player to make the cover of Slam Magazine, but everything went downhill as his NBA career progressed.
1998 - Mike Bibby (Good, but Traded)
Mike Bibby was the first 2nd overall pick to be traded away from the Vancouver Grizzlies, being dealt after just 3 seasons at Canada. While Bibby was an explosive point guard and led the Kings during their most successful time, taking him as high as 2nd overall was a major reach by the Grizzlies.
1999 - Steve Francis (Refused to play/Traded)
Steve Francis actually refused to play for Vancouver, citing taxes, distance, and God’s will as the main reasons. Even despite being heavily criticized for his antics, the team eventually granted his wish and dealt him to the Houston Rockets, where he’d had the best years of his NBA career.
2000 - Stromile Swift (Not Good)
Back in 2000, the Vancouver Grizzlies took Stromile Swift right after Kenyon Martin, on a poor Draft class who’s the best player was Michael Redd. Even while Swift was a solid big man off the bench throughout his entire career, taking him as high as 2nd was a major reach. Also, when he left the Grizzlies in 2005, he was the last player remaining from the Vancouver era.
2001 - Tyson Chandler (Good, but Traded)
Early on, everybody expected Tyson Chandler to be something of the likes of the second coming of Kevin Garnett. While he was nothing near that, he was still one of the most dominant defenders in the league during his prime. Even so, the Clippers traded him during the Draft night, despite clearly being the best defender of his class.
2002 - Jay Williams (Bust due to injury)
Jay Williams wasn’t able to fulfill his potential because of a tragic motorcycle accident that caused him an injury he never could recover from. He injured his ACL, the main nerve on his leg and fractured his pelvis, so the Bulls eventually waived him. Sadly, he really looked like a stud in the making.
2003 - Darko Milicic (Bust)
Darko Milicic is one of the biggest busts in the history of the game, going after LeBron and before Wade, Anthony, and Bosh. He was supposed to be a dominant scorer and rebounder but wasn’t even a factor in the Pistons’ Championship. Now, he’s just a farmer and has been seen drunk in bars overseas.
2004 - Emeka Okafor (Not Good)
Emeka Okafor was taken right after Dwight Howard and ahead of players like Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, and Trevor Ariza. While Okafor managed to have a decent career as a tweener big man, he really wasn’t worthy of being taken that high, even on such a poor Draft class.
2005 - Marvin Williams (Not good)
Marvin Williams was called to be the league’s next defensive standout, being taken right after Andrew Bogut and before Deron Williams and Chris Paul. Needless to say, he was just a huge bust and an average player and terrible scorer. Nowadays, he’s the starting forward for the mediocre Charlotte Hornets.
2006 - LaMarcus Aldridge (All-Star, but traded)
LaMarcus Aldridge is yet another example of the 2nd overall pick curse, not because he was a bust or a bad player, but because of the fact that the Chicago Bulls trade him right after taking him. Not only the trade was really bad for Chicago, but also, Aldridge grew up to become a perennial All-Star.
2007 - Kevin Durant (Hall of Famer, but he didn't want to stay in Oklahoma)
Kevin Durant obviously wasn’t a bust, so he’s one of the few exceptions to this rule. Even so, the Portland Trail Blazers should be really regretting to have passed on him to get Greg Oden, considering Oden was never able to stay healthy and Durant is, you know, a future Hall of Famer.
2008 - Michael Beasley (Bust)
Michael Beasley has ranked as the best power forward of his class thanks to his great scoring ability from all three levels, but his misbehavior and poor work ethics made the Miami Heat give up on him, trading him to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Now, he’s piling DNP’s for the Los Angeles Lakers.
2009 - Hasheem Thabeet (Bust)
A guy the size of Hasheem Thabeet should ’ve really thrived in this league, but he was never able to be even slightly productive, being constantly assigned to the G-League. A couple of years after being drafted, the Grizzlies traded him away to the Rockets. Now, he’s playing in China, and not likely to ever make an NBA comeback.
2010 - Evan Turner (Traded)
The Philadelphia 76ers really should regret the fact they passed on DeMarcus Cousins to get Evan Turner in 2010. Turner was never able to be more than a mere role player for the Sixers, who traded him after 4 mediocre seasons. Now, he’s a backup guard/forward for the Blazers, and obviously, a huge bust.
2011 - Derrick Williams (Bust)
Derrick Williams was a major reach at 2nd overall, being taken right after Kyrie Irving. Williams was supposed to thrive in the league with his grit, grind, athleticism, hustle and high hops; but nowadays, he’s not even in the league anymore, being such a tweener and a huge defensive liability.
2012 - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Not good)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken with the 2nd overall pick in 2012 and he was supposed to become one of the league’s best defensive wings. Needless to say, he’s been one of the biggest busts of the decade. Now, he’s just a backup small forward for the Hornets, who always manage to mess up in the Draft.
2013 - Victor Oladipo (Good, but traded)
Victor Oladipo was taken right after Anthony Bennett, something the Cleveland Cavaliers should really regret. Even so, Oladipo was such a late bloomer after a couple of subpar years with the Orlando Magic, that wind up trading him to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now, he’s the league’s reigning MIP and one of the most promising two-way shooting guards in the world. Joke’s on you, Orlando.
2014 - Jabari Parker (Not Good, Overrated)
Jabari Parker looked like Carmelo Anthony’s second coming, but nowadays, that doesn’t look so good. He suffered a couple of season-ending injuries that really took a toll on his development, so the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t even bother trying to match the offer the Bulls handed him this offseason.
2015 - D’Angelo Russell (Good, but Traded)
D’Angelo Russell looked poised for stardom coming out of Ohio State, but his constant injuries and inconsistent shooting make him look like a bust right now. Also, him snitching on Nick Young and losing the respect of his teammates forced the Lakers hand to trade him away to the Nets following a couple of seasons.
2016 - Brandon Ingram (Too early to tell)
Brandon Ingram hasn’t developed the way we all expected him to do, mostly because of his jump shot still isn’t falling. Even so, he’s incredibly long and such a switchable defender and athletic scorer that his upside is just too good to ignore. Hopefully, LeBron’s mentorship brings the best out of him.
2017 - Lonzo Ball (Too early to tell)
Lonzo Ball has shown glimpses of greatness, but constant injuries, lack of a jump shot and his annoying father put a huge question mark over his head and his future with the Lakers. He’s got what it takes to become a Jason Kidd kind of playmaker, but his name is constantly being involved in trade rumors. If Magic Johnson wants to bring another star to LA, Lonzo may be on his way out.
2018 - Marvin Bagley (Too early to tell)
Well, it’s still pretty early to tell, but early on, it looks like takin Marvin Bagley with the 2nd overall pick was a major reach by the Sacramento Kings, especially considering the fact that Luka Doncic was right there. Even so, Bagley has had a decent rookie season off the bench, and even if he never becomes a solid defender, he’s got the skill set to grow into a scoring threat and a walking double-double.