Worst: Ed O’Bannon, New Jersey (1995). The former UCLA star did everything possible in college, including earning a national player of the year award, the Final Four MVP and a national title. In the pros he lasted only 128 games.
Dishonorable mention: Joel Przybilla, Milwaukee (2000); Patrick O’Bryant, Golden State (2006)
Best: Paul Pierce, Boston (1998). For all of the things that went wrong in the Rick Pitino years, this was one thing the Celtics got right. Pierce has been one of the NBA’s premier slashers for nearly a decade, and one of the few things missing from his resume is extensive postseason success that a few more smart moves by Boston management could have made possible.
Also considered: Caron Butler, Miami (2002)
Worst: Luke Jackson, Cleveland (2004). OK, so he has been injured most of his career. But three seasons, 59 games and a 2.9 scoring average later, he hasn’t done much to distinguish himself.
Dishonorable mention: Keyon Dooling, Los Angeles Clippers (2000)
Best: Mickael Pietrus, Golden State (2003). His career averages of 9.0 points and 3.3 rebounds are not overwhelming. It’s just that the rest of this list is abysmal, and the only player vastly more productive than him is the headache known as Bonzi Wells.
Also considered: Bonzi Wells, Portland via Detroit (1998); Andris Biedren, Golden State (2004)
Worst: Jerome Moiso, Boston (2000). It’s not like Moiso didn’t have competition (Jared Jeffries, for all his struggles, is a middle of the road No. 11). What gives Moiso the “edge” isn’t his 2.7 ppg and 2.7 rpg in 145 games. It’s that he was neither a star college player nor a great JUCO player and the Celtics took him this high anyway.
Dishonorable mention: Todd Fuller, Golden State (1996); Trajan Langdon, Cleveland (1999); Kedrick Brown, Boston (2002)
Best: Nick Collison, Seattle (2003). Collison was a serviceable part (9.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg) this year, but some of that might be a function of playing for a dreadful team. The last No. 12 pick to average 10 points for his career was Mookie Blaylock (1989), so it’s not like anyone is getting snubbed by this selection.
Also considered: Etan Thomas, Dallas (2000); Vladimir Radmanovic, Seattle (2001)