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worst draft pick in sports

esquire.

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the recent nba draft pick precipitated an argument between a friend and i over who was the single worst draft pick decision in the past 25 years in any sport.

he's adamant that ryan leaf has to be the worst possible pick ever. even espn seems to agree with this analysis since they've selected leaf as not only the second worst draft pick in the last 25 years, but also as the biggest sports blunder in the last 25 years.

we both closely followed the ryan leaf debacle, and watched the chargers games just to see how badly he could do. but, i think everybody is being too harsh on the guy.

sure, his numbers stink and he retired with a QB rating of 48.8. but, everybody seems especially down on the guy cause he was the second pick the year peyton manning was the first one and peyton is a lock for the hall of fame.

but, that's an unfair comparison. if the chargers had the first pick and selected leaf over manning, then i could understand that logic. but, the chargers had the second pick after manning was no longer available in a draft that didn't really have any other stars except randy moss who wasn't picked till almost the end of the first round.

to me, it was all the other collateral stuff that made this pick so bad- all the draft picks the chargers traded to go up one spot higher to get leaf. and, how they were so gun shy from the ryan leaf experience that they traded away the top pick when they could selected michael vick. but, that doesn't make this the worst draft pick ever in sports.

but, in some ways, it was better the chargers didn't select manning.

the ironic thing is that leaf is currently enrolled in a media relations claass at his alma mater, washington state.
 

bachbeet

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esquire: I read that article on ESPN but don't remember who they thought was the worst pick ever. Though I do agree that Leaf was probably #2.

As for this year's NBA draft, I think the Lakers' 2nd round pick of Turiaf may have a more immediate impact than Bynum. PJ is not used to giving rookies any PT. But, he may have no choice this year. ESPN's comments about all 3 picks were good: Bynum - "stunned" at his skills and size; Turiaf - "very solid" pick who can rebound; Wafer - may be the "sleeper" pick.
 

Tokyo Slim

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ESPN's pick was

1. Sam Bowie
In 1984, the Rockets took Hakeem Olajuwon with the first pick. The Trailblazers, with the No. 2 selection, passed on Michael Jordan. They passed on Charles Barkley. They passed on John Stockton. Because their scouting told them that seven-foot Kentucky center Sam Bowie was the man. He averaged 10 ppg in an injury-riddled career.

in hindsight, that seems to have been a poor choice.
 

Thracozaag

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Sam bowie was hurt, but he might have been a great one, actually. Heath Shuler was another horrible pick.

koji
 

Eric

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Shawn Bradley, or Kwame Brown.

Sam Bowie was injured, like everyone else said, if MJ weren't picked right behind him, he wouldn't even be in the running, there have been tons of other #2 picks that didn't do anything.

Eric
 

PhiloVance

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Well, I think no matter how you look at it (unfulfilled potential, degree of impact on the team, etc.), if you're going to pick the worst draft pick ever, I think you have pick someone from what is considered the worst draft ever in any sport: the 1986 NBA Draft. Here's a little blurb on it from about.com:

The Darkest Day in Draft History
Some drafts are good, many bad, but the realm of judgment is usually confined to the court. The 1986 NBA Draft changed all that - the tragedy and misfortune that struck so many of the names below would be hard for even Hollywood to hatch. From the early deaths of Len Bias and Drazen Petrovic to the drug-addicted failures of Roy Tarpley, Chris Wasburn and William Bedford, the 1986 NBA Draft will live in infamy and as a sad lesson that simply getting drafted doesn't mean you've made it.

That being said, I think you have to nominate Len Bias, hands down. In the last of Red Auerbach's many draft day coups, he secured the #2 pick in the draft for the defending champion Boston Celtics. With Bias, the Celtics were supposed to put a stranglehold on the NBA for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, Bias went partying a few days after the draft and OD'd. So in terms of unfulfilled potential or lack of impact (although one might argue his death had a negative impact on the franchise that lingers to this day), it's got to be Bias, hands down.

Obviously, this is pure speculation, but a front five of Bias, Bird, Parish, Reggie Lewis, and Dee Brown in 1991 would have been something to see.
 

mrgoblueguy

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Tony Mandarich aka The Incredible Bulk. Thats what you get for drafting a player from Michigan State.
 

Eric

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Well, I think no matter how you look at it (unfulfilled potential, degree of impact on the team, etc.), if you're going to pick the worst draft pick ever, I think you have pick someone from what is considered the worst draft ever in any sport: the 1986 NBA Draft. Here's a little blurb on it from about.com:

The Darkest Day in Draft History
Some drafts are good, many bad, but the realm of judgment is usually confined to the court. The 1986 NBA Draft changed all that - the tragedy and misfortune that struck so many of the names below would be hard for even Hollywood to hatch. From the early deaths of Len Bias and Drazen Petrovic to the drug-addicted failures of Roy Tarpley, Chris Wasburn and William Bedford, the 1986 NBA Draft will live in infamy and as a sad lesson that simply getting drafted doesn't mean you've made it.

That being said, I think you have to nominate Len Bias, hands down. In the last of Red Auerbach's many draft day coups, he secured the #2 pick in the draft for the defending champion Boston Celtics. With Bias, the Celtics were supposed to put a stranglehold on the NBA for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, Bias went partying a few days after the draft and OD'd. So in terms of unfulfilled potential or lack of impact (although one might argue his death had a negative impact on the franchise that lingers to this day), it's got to be Bias, hands down.

Obviously, this is pure speculation, but a front five of Bias, Bird, Parish, Reggie Lewis, and Dee Brown in 1991 would have been something to see.
I've heard stories of what would have been had Bias lived. Apparently he was more talented than Jordan, though we'll never know. Thats a good nomination, if Bias lived, Jordan wouldn't have any rings most likely.

Eric
 

mkk

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Re: Mandarich, he at least went on to have a "second coming" with the Colts as a serviceable lineman.
Leaf was plain horrid.

Nobody nominates Darko Milicic?
 

bachbeet

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Darko is still new to the NBA. He may just turn into a good player. Too early. I will say that if he does NOT turn into a good player with a lot more PT, then he will definitely be #1 in my book.
 

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