Tuck: #2 Overall NBA Draft Pick Disasters

The Orlando Magic had the worst record in the NBA this year, but it was the Cavs that won the draft lottery.  The Magic got the second pick and shivers went down the spines of every Magic fan.  Or at least that should have happened.

It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.  One pick later.  The second best player, or at least the second choice.  It’s better than say; third, or tenth, or 23rd.  Push that aside though, and you look at the cursed nature of the second pick, and you can’t help but hold your breath.


Darko Milicic was the No. 2 pick by Detroit in 2003.  He was terrible, and made to look worse because of the next three chosen right after him: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.  Adding to the drama, had the Pistons won the lottery, the pick would have gone to Memphis.

Jason Williams was the No. 2 pick by Chicago in 2002.  He had a decent rookie season, but on June 19, 2003, he crashed his motorcycle into a Chicago streetlight, suffering massive leg injuries that ended his promising NBA career.

Len Bias was the No. 2 pick by Boston in 1986.  Two days later, he was dead from a cocaine overdose.

Sam Bowie was the No. 2 pick by Portland in 1984.  Injuries doomed a so-so career, and Bowie is most famous for being the man the Trail Blazers chose instead of Michael Jordan.

Marvin Barnes was the No. 2 pick of Philadelphia in 1974.  His nickname was “Bad News” for a reason.  He played in both the ABA and NBA, but drug addiction sapped his career, led to numerous arrests, and for a time, left him homeless.

Neal Walk was the No. 2 pick of Phoenix in 1969.  The Suns chose him because they lost a coin toss for the top pick.  Walk had a good run in the NBA, but later developed a benign tumor on his spine that took away use of his legs. He became a player in a wheelchair league.  Oh, and the #1 pick that year went to Milwaukee, who selected Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Tom Stith was the No. 2 pick for New York in 1961.  He didn’t make it two seasons, forever sidelined by tuberculosis.

Recent success has been few and far between.  Since the year 2000, the #2 pick of the draft has given us one superstar (Durant), one all-star (Aldridge), and one outstanding role player (Chandler).

2012- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

2011- Derrick Williams

2010- Evan Turner

2009- Hasheem Thabeet

2008- Michael Beasley

2007- Kevin Durant

2006- LaMarcus Aldridge

2005- Marvin Williams

2004- Emeka Okafor

2003- Darko Milicic

2002- Jason Williams

2001- Tyson Chandler

2000- Stromile Swift

You can look at the complete history of #2 picks here.  As you can see, the Magic will hope for a 1990’s success rate.  Bad luck, bad players, and bad scouting have haunted the second spot.  Sure, there are some all-time greats and Hall of Famers in there too, but that hasn’t been what we’ve seen lately.  Orlando, cross your fingers and pray.