Throughout NBA history, we have seen a handful of lousy Draft selections that were somewhat disappointing. Amongst one of the most notorious ones of them all is Kwame Brown. Although far from the worst player, Kwame was expected to be the next big thing, and all the pressure on Brown shoulder's brought down the big man, who became more a subject of ridicule than a great player. One of his Draft-class mates, Gilbert Arenas, recently spoke about that Draft and offered an interesting take on where Kwame would get drafted if we had a redo in today's age.
The disappointing career of Kwame Brown
Coming out of high school, Kwame looked like a tremendous prospect. Big, agile, and strong with immense potential to develop an all-around game. Getting drafted to the Wizards alongside Michael Jordan seemed like a blessing in disguise, but that only put even more pressure on Brown, who struggled to get much playing time. And when he would play, the sloppy instincts and bad basketball IQ wouldn't help him earn any more run time.
The Wizards/Lakers episode for the first part of Kwame's career is the most known part of his career. The center went on to be a journeyman in the league, up until 2013, when he retired as a Sixer. Kwame would play 12 seasons in the NBA, averaging 6.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg. Pretty underwhelming, to say the least, as Kwame got labeled a bust and often the subject of mockery due to his sloppy reflexes and poor work ethic.
The underrated 2001 NBA Draft
When people think of the 2001 Draft Class, they mostly put it under the rug and label it bad because Kwame was the #1 pick. But if you look more closely at it, you can discover a handful of gems drafted after and even in the second round. One of those guys is Gilbert Arenas, who was picked 31st by the Warriors. "Agent 0" would go on to have one of the better careers amongst his peers, as he recently reflected on that class. Interestingly Arenas would explain why Kwame would still remain at the top despite his disappointing career.
"When it comes to high school, you have to grade them on a curve. It's the potential. Out of that class, he(Kwame) had the most potential out of all those high-school kids. If they redo the Draft today, and we put ourselves back knowing what we know now, he still goes Top 3."
Gilbert Arenas, ">VladTV
A very interesting and insightful take from Arenas, but quite honestly, I'm afraid I have to disagree with him. Sure, if you looked at the potential, Kwame is elite, but knowing what we know nowadays about how the careers of all the players in that Draft turned out, Brown would be a question mark for the lottery.
Arenas aside, this Draft had some ballers. Just to name a few that would definitely get picked before Kwame: Gilbert Arenas, Pau Gasol, Tyson Chandler, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, Gerald Wallace, and Mehmet Okur are all guys with good if not even great NBA careers. Picking Kwame ahead of any of these guys is highly unlikely. And to be fair, there is a couple of other names that would contend with Brown.
Sure the situation wasn't right for Kwame, as he never found a home and place where he would develop to the best of his abilities. But still, there is no question Kwame Brown's career was a disappointment. Maybe Arenas worded his argument wrong and tried to explain how a big man with a huge upside, like Kwame, is still getting prioritized in the Draft over a guard. That would make much more sense. But the fans have more fun theories like Arenas being afraid that Kwame will roast him in one of his infamous rants that have been trending for the past year.