Worst #6 Picks since 1980
Somehow, for some reason, the 6th pick in the NBA Draft is by far the worst out of the Top 13. Take a look...
10. Joe Kleine, Sacramento Kings, 1985, from Arkansas (15 seasons, 4.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.6 apg) - Kleine is an anomaly on this list playing in 15 NBA seasons with 7 different teams, but like his twin Jon Koncak, being really tall never hurt. Kleine makes this list purely on production, or lack thereof over those 15 years. In his last 11 seasons, he started all of 82 games. He never averaged double figures. He was selected before Chris Mullin, Karl Malone and Joe Dumars.
9. Dajuan Wagner, Cleveland Cavaliers, 2002, from Memphis (103 games, 9.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.9 apg) - In defense of Wagner, his career was shortened due to a serious medical illness, so this is more of a bad luck pick for Cleveland, although if he had been any good in his one season, they might never have had the opportunity to draft LeBron James.
8. DerMarr Johnson, Atlanta Hawks, 2000, from Cincinnati (344 games, 6.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.9 apg) - A career that had promise was sidetracked by a horrible car accident and subsequent comeback attempts that could never justify a pick as high as #6. Part of it is just the curse of the number. The 2000 draft did not yield much, so this goes down as just a wasted pick for the Hawks.
7. Jonny Flynn, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2009, from Syracuse (163 games, 9.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.9 apg) - Flynn has quickly played himself out of the NBA, disposable to the Timberwolves when Ricky Rubio was ready to join the NBA. He tried to latch on with Houston and Portland but is currently playing abroad. The pick after Flynn in 2009 was Stephen Curry.
6. Doug Smith, Dallas Mavericks, 1991, from Missouri (296 games, 8.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 apg) -
Smith is one of those players that wasn't terrible in his NBA career, but had a short career and could never make his way back. After leaving the NBA, Smith played for 10 seasons in the CBA, ABA and IBL. The 1991 draft turned out to be very mediocre, but Stacey Augmon would have been a better selection going 3 picks later to the Hawks.
5. Stacey King, Chicago Bulls, 1989, from Oklahoma (438 games, 6.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.9 apg) - I remember Stacey King as a monster in college and I even remember him as part of the Bulls first Championship teams. What he wasn't was a monster for those Bulls teams and was actually worse when he moved on. The Bulls won 6 championships, so the pick did not cripple them, and you have to go to Shawn Kemp at 17 to find an impactful big man from the 1989 draft. King is now a popular announcer for the Bulls.
4. Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee Bucks, 2007, from China (272 games, 7.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.7 apg) - Yi could never fully translate his skills from the Chinese league to the NBA, flaming out and returning to China after 5 uninspiring seasons. There were moments of potential being realized, but a 40% shooting stroke could not keep him in the league for long. Joakim Noah was selected three picks later by the Bulls.
3. Robert Traylor, Dallas Mavericks, 1998, from Michigan (438 games, 4.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.7 apg) - The late 'Tractor" was dealt on draft night for Dirk Nowitzki and the career comparisons stop there. Traylor's minutes and production could never match some of his immense talents and eventually after 5 teams in 7 seasons he was out of the league. He played for 7 more seasons abroad before his untimely death due to an apparent heart attack. The Bucks had no intention of drafting Nowitzki, but maybe they would have drafted Paul Pierce if the Mavericks weren't such a willing trade partner.
2. William Bedford, Phoenix Suns, 1986, from Memphis State (238 games, 4.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.5 apg) - This wikipedia reference of his post-NBA life basically sums up the career of one William Bedford...Bedford has had drug problems ever since he left the NBA. He was arrested for drug possession twice between 1996 and 1997. In 2001, Bedford was accused of transporting 25 pounds of marijuana in Michigan. After the Michigan arrest, he was arrested two more times for marijuana, and in 2003 was given a 10-year prison sentence. Bedford was released from prison in November of 2011 and is currently coaching basketball in Memphis.
1. Russell Cross, Golden State Warriors, 1983, from Purdue (45 games, 3.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.5 apg) - Russell Cross, the crown for worst on this list is quite an achievement. Beating out William Bedford for this spot is quite an achievement. Playing in only 45 NBA games after being the #6 pick is quite and achievement. He was selected before Thurl Bailey, Dale Ellis, Jeff Malone, Derek Harper, and Clyde Drexler, another worthy achievement. Maybe Russell Cross is an over-achiever.