Originally written on Sportz Assassin  |  Last updated 11/18/14
 Back in 2009, I ranked the top players picked with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000s NBA drafts.  Yep, 2009.  That was when Blake Griffin was just drafted ... but didn't play because of a knee injury.You can check out the list here.Now, four years later, we get some perspective.  The guys who were recently picked then have now four more years of their career.  One of them has retired.  Another may as well be.  Others we saw full of promise that just hasn't blossomed.  So let's reset our list.#10-Greg Oden, Trail Blazers 2007 (2009 rank: #6):  Oden is the cautionary tale of many books.  A high school phenom that got caught in the One-And-Done culture and suffered an injury.  Selecting size above everything (Kevin Durant was picked with the second pick that year).  Oden has played just 82 games in his five-year career.  Currently he is unemployed but still thinks he can play in the NBA again.  Oden is at the bottom of this list because his virtual one-season of play and the fact that Durant has made Oden's selection look Sam Bowie-esque.#9-Kwame Brown, Wizards 2001 (#10):  I had Brown at the bottom of this list back in 2009 because he was the biggest natural bust on this list.  Oden takes the spot just because he couldn't get on the court.  Brown just sucked.  Still, he is still in the League (with Philly right now) and does have a small value as a big man who can block a few shots.  Seven teams and a less than 7 ppg scoring average for his career isn't top pick worthy and won't make anyone forget that Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol were picked directly after him.#8-Andrea Bargnani, Raptors 2006 (#8):  His rank holds.  He hasn't been a bad player at all.  He has averaged 15.3 ppg for his career.  But as a 7-footer, he doesn't block shots, doesn't rebound the ball, can't pass and isn't a good defender.  He hasn't lifted his team to the playoffs since his first two years in the League.  The 2006 draft may be the worst one ever, so Toronto's misfortune may have been timing instead of selection.#7-Andrew Bogut, Bucks 2005 (#9):  This may be a bit controversial for me, but I moved Bogut ahead of Bargnani.  No, he doesn't average more points nor has he led his teams deep into the postseason.  He can't even stay on the floor.  But when Bogut does play, he is a difference maker.  He is a very good rebounder, blocks shots and shoots a high percentage.  He was also made the All-NBA third team.  Sure, he is no Deron Williams or Chris Paul (who were picked #3 and #4, respectively, in the 2005 draft) he isn't a bum.  Now, if I redo this list in a few years ...#6-Kenyon Martin, Nets 2000 (#5):  K-Mart's stats will never wow you nor is his leadership praised, but dude was a stud when he was right.  He helped lead the New Jersey Nets ... the Nets ... to two straight NBA Finals.  He was the toughness for the Denver Nuggets late in the decade.  Now he is a end-of-the-bench guy who just signed with the Knicks and chasing a title.  It may be above him, but I get it.  K-Mart was a very solid pro which is better than anyone behind him on this list.#5-Yao Ming, Rockets 2002 (#2):  Yao is the toughest to rank.  Do you rank his skill only?  Do you factor in his global appeal?  Let me say that Yao was a great selection for the Rockets -- not only averaging over 19 ppg and 9 boards -- but the fact that he got the Rockets name into China and blew up the League there.  Yao is the most important international player the NBA has had.  However, during Yao's career, injuries seem to always derail his and the Rockets seasons.  He is the only player on this list who is retired.#4-Blake Griffin, Clippers 2009 (#7):  Now, when I ranked these cats in 2009, Griffin hadn't even been officially selected as the Clips top pick ... though it was a given.  Not to mention that I underestimated him ... and that he would miss his would-be rookie season.  I'm not on Griffin as much as the masses are, but he is a star.  His dunks are video game legendary and his game is starting to be a bit more rounded out.  He still isn't a consistent shooter or defender, but there is no one more scary or exciting in the open floor.  Remember this: He has made the Clippers COOL!#3-Derrick Rose, Bulls 2008 (#4):  He is one of only two guys on this list who has won an MVP award.  He has had the Bulls among the best in the NBA over the last couple of seasons.  His knee injury has kept him out this year and it will be interesting to see how this affects his play, but Rose leads the next generation of great point guards.  Before, he was one of only a few players in this league that can truly carry a team on his own.#2-Dwight Howard, Magic 2004 (#3):  He eeks by Rose just because his overall impact on a game.  I mean, Howard was pretty much the lone wolf in Orlando and got them to the NBA Finals.  Sure, his stint as a Laker hasn't been all that great, but it isn't as bad as everyone is making it out to be.  Howard is a 7-time All Star, a 3-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 4-time rebounding champion and a 2-time blocks leader.  He has made the All-NBA first team five times.  He's legit.  18-points and 13-boards a game for his career is nothing to sneeze at.  #1-LeBron James, Cavaliers 2003 (#1):  Duh.  You know all his accolades so I won't even get into it.  What I will say is this: LeBron is the ONLY top pick in the 2000s who has won an NBA title.  Hmmmm.
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