#1 – Derrick Coleman — 1990 No. 1 overall, Nets
Coleman is considered by many to be an NBA disappointment. But he played 15 season with career averages of 16.5 PPG and 9.3 RPG. An NBA team will take that every night, no questions asked.
Sure, the player picked directly after Coleman was Gary Payton — and while Payton was a better player, he never won a championship in Seattle. The rest of the Top 10 in 1990 was Chris Jackson, Dennis Scott, Kendall Gill, Felton Spencer, Lionel Simmons, Bo Kimble, Willie Burton and Rumeal Robinson. So the Nets clearly made an okay pick with Coleman.
#2 – Al Horford — 2007 No. 3 overall, Hawks
Greg Oden and Kevin Durant were the obvious top two picks entering the 2007 draft. So Atlanta was kind of screwed sitting third. But they did about as well as they could do with the pick, taking Horford who has developed into a solid NBA player. Not great. Maybe not even good. But solid. Yes, it's tough missing out on Durant by one pick but Atlanta could have done worse probably. Right? Sure.
#3 – Akeem Olajuwon — 1984 No. 1 overall, Rockets
If you want a sort-of-okay pick, you want Akeem Olajuwon. Olajuwon turned into one of the greatest centers of all-time with a dizzying array of low-post moves. He also one two championships. The only problem is that he won those two championship because the guy taken two picks after him, Michael Jordan, took time off from winning six NBA championships to play some baseball.
As far as consolation prizes go, though, the player who became Hakeem Olajuwon is as good as they get. YAY!
#4 – Jamal Crawford — 2000 No. 8 overall, Cavaliers
The 2000 NBA Draft was essentially a roll call of crap. Kenyon Martin was picked No. 1 overall and it quickly went downhill from there. Seriously. Look at the draft. Stromile Swift at No. 2? Darius Miles. Marcus Fizer. Turds all. You could take every player in the draft and you still wouldn't have a competitive NBA team.
But one nice respite from the stink was at No. 8 when the Cavaliers took Jamal Crawford. Crawford has had a long career as a solid scorer. That's a superstar for this draft. Unfortunately, Cleveland flipped him to Chicago for the awful Chris Mihm. But for the brief time they held Crawford, it was a strong C+ pick for the Cavaliers.
#5 – Marcus Camby — 1996 No. 2 overall, Raptors
Camby was picked immediately after Allen Iverson and immediately before four other players who became All-Stars: Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen and Antoine Walker. Yet the case can be made that Camby, who never made an All-Star team, has had a better career than most of those guys. In a way, it wasn't a sort-of-okay pick — it was a good pick.
Oh, wait. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash were taken later in the first round. Scratch that good pick thing. It was merely sort-of-okay.