Hasheem Thabeet went unclaimed after the Sixers waived him this week, putting the No. 2 pick from 2009 on a free agent market in which he has plenty of company. Lottery picks are supposed to turn into stars, or at least players capable of holding NBA roster spots. Still, there are dozens of lottery picks since 2000 who are out of the NBA, and perhaps more surprising is how many of them had NBA contracts just within the past 12 months.
It’s no shock not to see names like Luke Jackson and Julian Wright on NBA rosters, since that’s been the case for years now. Still others are like Thabeet, who’s consistently remained in the NBA up until now, and are left to scramble for contracts of some kind as the offseason grows short.
Greg Monroe stands out among those on this list, but his continued presence on the market has more to do with the fact that he’s a restricted free agent than any on-court shortcomings. All the other names below are unrestricted free agents, so teams are free to scoop them up if they see fit. That simply hasn’t been the case for Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum, Charlie Villanueva, and others.
The list would grow further if we took it back a few more years, and it would include 1999 No. 1 overall pick Elton Brand, who’s still unsigned after spending last season with the Hawks. Still, Brand, like all the other lottery picks from the 20th century, is nearing retirement, so his continued free agency isn’t earth-shattering.
Here are the lottery picks since 2000 who remain free agents after having been on regular season or preseason NBA rosters within the past 12 months:
- Greg Oden, No. 1, 2007
- Kwame Brown, No. 1, 2001
- Hasheem Thabeet, No. 2, 2009
- Michael Beasley, No. 2, 2008
- Emeka Okafor, No. 2, 2004
- Greg Monroe, No. 7, 2011
- Charlie Villanueva, No. 7, 2005
- Joe Alexander, No. 8, 2008
- DeSagana Diop, No. 8, 2001
- Patrick O’Bryant, No. 9, 2006
- Andrew Bynum, No. 10, 2005
- Andris Biedrins, No. 11, 2004
- Melvin Ely, No. 12, 2002
- Earl Clark, No. 14, 2009
- Ronnie Brewer, No. 14, 2006
Five more veterans from the 2013/14 campaign have struck deals to play overseas:
- Jan Vesely, No. 6, 2011 — signed to play in Turkey
- Josh Childress, No. 6, 2004 — signed to play in Australia
- Ike Diogu, No. 9, 2005 — signed to play in China
- Anthony Randolph, No 14, 2008 — signed to play in Russia
- Hilton Armstrong, No. 12, 2006 — agreed to play in Turkey