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What was the worst draft class in NBA history?

Fans of NBA basketball debate endlessly about what was the greatest draft class in NBA history: was it the vaunted 1984 draft that produced the likes of Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton; was it the 1996 draft class that produced Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Steve Nash; or was it the 2003 draft class the produced Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony? But one thing NBA fans often over look is, what is the worst draft class in NBA history?

Right off the top of most NBA fans heads will be the much maligned class of 1986. The 86 class was fraught with absolute franchise changing bombs that would derail some of the greatest franchises in NBA history for decades. Of the top 10 picks in the draft only two, Chuck Persons and Ron Harper, would play more than 10 seasons in the NBA and two of the top 5 picks would play less than 2 seasons in the NBA.

The biggest tragedy of the 1986 draft class was that of number two overall pick Len Bias. The Maryland forward never played a minute of NBA basketball. Bias died of a cocaine overdose just days after being drafted by the Boston Celtics. His death lent a huge shadow over the entire class.

Other top picks too had issues with drugs. Number three overall pick Chris Washburn received a lifetime ban from the NBA for his drug use. Roy Tarpley, the number 7 overall pick was twice kicked out of the NBA for drug use.

The 1986 class, however, did have some bright spots to it which vindicates the class somewhat. Several second rounders became key players on championship caliber teams and 5 players, Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Jeff Hornacek, Kevin Duckworth and Dennis Rodman all became all-stars. Dennis Rodman became one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history leading the league in rebounds 7 times. Others such as Ron Harper, Chuck Persons, Arvydas Sabonis, John Salley, Dell Curry, Scott Skiles, David Wingate, Nate McMillan, Johnny Newman, and Drazan Petrovich all had very good NBA careers.

If the class of 1986 is not the worst than what class is the worst? What might surprise a lot of people is that the worst draft class in NBA history is more modern than you may think. The class of 2000 is by far and away the worst draft class in NBA history.

While the 2000 draft does not have the same tragic deaths like those of Bias and Petrovic, its on the court production is much worse. That is not to say that the 2000 draft does not have its own tragedy. Hawks center Jason Collier died of a heart attack in 2005.

The draft class was heavily betted on and lead to a lot of premature betting. If you are wondering what is permutation betting, it means making combination bets in order to lower the risk of losing

The on the floor production of the class of 2000 is among the worst in history. Only three players, Jamal MaGlore, Michael Redd, and Kenyon Martin made, all-star teams and only ten played a decade or more. Half the class played five seasons or less and 22 of them played less than 100 games.

The class of 2000 was not “cursed” like many claim the 1986 class was, the 2000 draft class just failed to produce like most other draft classes. None of the players in the draft class became franchise pieces. Redd and Martin got close, but both had short runs due to injuries and their teams quickly moved on from them.

Kenyon Martin, the top overall pick, had the greatest impact on his franchise. The Net acquired a lot of talent around the #1 pick including MVP candidate Jason Kidd. The Nets made back-to-back trips to the NBA finals and had their best few years in franchise history, but that had more to do with Kidd than with Martin.

Only four of the drafted players ended up being contributors on NBA championship teams, and only DeShawn Stevenson was even a starter on a championship team. Most other drafts have several starters on teams that win titles. The 1986 draft by comparison had Rodman and Harper who were started on multiple championship teams with multiple franchises.

The 2000 class did have several players who went on to become solid role players. Jamal Crawford for example has won 3 sixth man of the year awards and others like Hedo Turkoglu and Mark Madsen where very solid role players.

In the end the biggest detraction from the class of 2000 is that it did not produce any stars, where the classes that preceded and succeeded it produced hall-of-fame caliber players.