Comparing a rookie coming into the NBA to a current or former NBA player is a ubiquitous sight to see on Draft night. It helps the fans get more familiar with the players coming into the league and gives a perspective of their capabilities and potential career. More than often, they are correct and representative, but from time to time, we get horrendously wrong and funny comparisons that prove to be way off in the long run. Here are some of the worst draft day comparisons in NBA history:
Adam Morrison-Larry Bird
Coming into the 2006 Draft, Adam Morrison was one of the most sought-after prospects and with sound reasoning. The Gonzaga star averaged 26 points and 8 rebounds in his final season and got drafted third by the Charlotte Bobcats. Expectations were significant, especially after getting the Bird comparison. At the time, it seemed relatively justified, as Adam was a white small forward, similar in size to Bird with a sweet stroke and knack for scoring. After a solid rookie season in which he averaged 12 points per game, Morrison would tear his ACL and never be the same again, being mostly known for warming the bench during the Lakers championships runs, before eventually going overseas and retiring. If he didn’t suffer the injury, Morrison could have had a better career, but I’m pretty sure nowhere near Birds’.
Eddy Curry-Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq is the most dominant force the NBA has ever seen. So how do you even compare anyone coming into the NBA to “The Diesel.” But Eddy Curry came in the 2001 Draft right out of high school as a 7’0”, 300 lbs center. That frame would instantly compare him to Shaq and even have proclaimed a better version, with a finesse game and jump-shot. Sounds pretty good. Curry would have a few good seasons and even average 20 points per game one year, but come far off being anything close to what people predicted for him. The so-called “Shaq with a jump shot” battled major weight problems through his career and eventually retired from the NBA in 2013 at 30-years old.
Markelle Fultz-James Harden
Fultz and his NBA career are one of the more confusing and unexplainable stories in recent history. The first pick of the 2017 Draft came into the NBA with the reputation of an all-around scorer and ready NBA player. But after a mysterious shoulder injury, Fultz’s jump shot simply disappeared and became too ugly to look at. Something we have never seen before, especially with an #1 pick. The comparison he was constantly receiving before the Draft was James Harden due to his scoring ability and strength. But as fate would have it, Fultz would be the polar opposite of Harden. Nowadays, Fultz has managed to turn things around for the better in Orlando before tearing his ACL. Still, if he continues to improve after getting healthy, Markelle could be a valuable NBA player. But nowhere near Harden or a #1 pick.
Darko Miličić-Dirk Nowitzki
Getting drafted ahead of Wade, Carmelo and Bosh already made Darko one of the biggest busts in NBA history. But getting compared to one of the best power forwards ever didn’t help his case. Even though there was a mystery around Darko and tons of potential, with his size and skill, things would just never click for the Serbian. The poor work ethic mixed with an overhyped skillset had Darko ride the pine with the Pistons, but before the Draft, Pistons executives fell in love with his mobility and soft touch for a big man. Naturally, that compared him to another similar European big man Dirk Nowitzki. But as things would turn out, that comparison was pretty wrong and more based on appearance and nationality. Darko would manage to stick around in the NBA for some time and even get a ring but still remain a huge draft miss for the Pistons.