Both were number two overall draft picks. Both were labeled “projects” by the team that drafted them. Both struggled immensely in their rookie season. One was sent to the D-League. That one wasn’t one of the worst draft picks in NBA history Darko Milicic. As bad as Darko turned out to be, it seems like Thabeet may turn out to be even worse.
Darko Milicic was drafted in the top five with likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Pistons and their genius GM Joe Dumas passed on Anthony, Wade, and Bosh to invest in the potential of Milicic. That potential never materialized. When you are out drafted by the Clippers, who took Chris Kaman at number six, you officially had a horrible draft. When you pass on two guys that may eventually become Hall of Famers, you had one of the worst drafts in history. Is it Portland passing on Michael Jordan in favor of Sam Bowie? Not exactly, but it is pretty darn close.
Thabeet, however, has the potential to be an even more horrifying pick than Milicic. There wasn’t anywhere near the talent that there was in the historic LeBron James draft, but the Grizzlies did pass up on the front runner for Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans. The guy that was arguably the most talented player in the draft, and he played his college ball at Memphis for goodness sakes, but I guess that was too convenient for the Grizzlies. They were content on drafting a guy that was a “project” rather than a guy that could actually step out onto the court right away and help their team. The old mystic NBA fallacy of drafting size over the best player blew up in yet another team’s face.
Will Thabeet ever be able to be even a solid contributor to an NBA team down the road? We can’t be sure, but from the look of things, his chances of making it in the league for any extended period of time look grim. At least Darko was able to play a few seasons and contribute something to the handful of teams he was bounced around to. Thabeet does not even look capable of that. And When Darko Milicic’s career looks like Larry Bird’s compared to yours, to say you are a sad case is the understatement of a lifetime.