#2 Biggest Bust of the '00s: Kwame Brown
This offseason, NBA FanHouse will address important questions about the league. It will be a Summer of Answers. First up: the biggest draft busts of the decade.
The 2001 NBA Draft was pretty weak in terms of legitimate ballers who would be found contributing meaningful minutes for seasons to come. Sure, '01 gave us Tony Parker and Gilbert Arenas, but they went 28th and 31st overall respectively. Lottery picks that year were far from household names: Eddy Curry, Eddie Griffin, DeSagana Diop, and Rodney White were all selected in the top 10. But all of that doesn't make that year's number one overall selection, Kwame Brown, any less of a bust.
Before we lay out the evidence of Kwame's career suckitude, let's admit that he had quite a bit working against him coming into the league, shall we? He was the first player ever drafted number one overall directly out of high school (KG was taken fifth in '95), and to go along with that he had the pressure of being Michael Jordan's first draft pick as an executive of the Washington Wizards. Considering that Kwame turned out to have the mental toughness of a certain cake he destroyed one fateful night in Hermosa Beach, this was clearly going to be too much stress for the youngster to handle.
The story goes that Michael Jordan pretty much emotionally abused Kwame during practices and workouts, once Jordan started to realized that Kwame wasn't going to live up to his number one draft pick status. Who knows if this was the reason for Kwame's stunted basketball development, but either way it led to his exit from Washington under some less than ideal circumstances.
Dude was openly feuding with Gilbert Arenas (seriously, who feuds with Gilbert except USA Basketball coaches?), and ended up getting suspended by the team during the 2005 playoffs. He was traded to the Lakers before the following season, and wasn't exactly a fan favorite in Los Angeles either.
Besides the cake thing and other, um, transgressions, Kwame was literally booed out of the building by his home fans during a fabulous performance -- one that included seven turnovers and a missed dunk -- a couple of weeks before being shipped to Memphis.
When you combine all of this with career averages that hover below eight points and six rebounds, it's difficult to think of someone that fits the "draft bust" label any better than Kwame does. Difficult, but not impossible ... there's still one more to go in our series.
Other Busts of the 00's:
#3 Rodney White
#4 Rafael Araujo
#5 Nikoloz Tskitishvili