The Detroit Pistons have a long history of drafting bust year in and year out as many believe that this is the year where the Pistons will get a star. Others believe that the Pistons will have bad luck once again. So let’s start with the bad news first rather than the good news. Here is a list of the ten worst Piston draft picks in the last 20 years.
10. Lance Blanks
Lance Blanks was a late first round pick in the 1990 NBA Draft. Blanks only played for three total seasons including two seasons in Detroit. In his short career, Blanks only played 142 games and scored 289 total points in his career. Later in life, Blanks was worked in the front office for the Suns and Cavs.
9. Rodney Stuckey
At the beginning of his career, Stuckey was a key bench player for the latter half of the “Goin to Work” Pistons. Stuckey, in the first couple of years, was developing into a solid player for the Pistons. But as the team regressed, so did Stuckey. He never honestly was a bad player but never got to the next step from being a solid player to a great player.
8. Greg Monroe
Greg Monroe was not a bad pick at the time for the Pistons. At the start of his career, he showed himself to be an elite big man, including being on the all-rookie second team in 2011. But as the game turned into more of a shooters league. His style of play was not in sync with the modern game, which caused him to struggle towards the middle half of his career. Monroe played in the wrong era of basketball and never reached his full potential.
Brandon Knight simply was not the best available player in that draft class. Knight was chosen over Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, and Kawhi Leonard.
In his first couple of years, he showed some promise including being on the all-rookie team. Pistons fans do not remember his game rather they all remember how exposed he was on the court.
Knight was most famous when DeAndre Jordan dunked right over Knight. It was one of the coldest dunks in NBA history. Also, never forget when Kyrie broke his ankles during The Raising Stars Game in 2013.
6. Austin Daye
There was nothing special about Austin Daye. Daye was selected 15th overall in the 2009 draft by the Pistons. He is one of the most forgotten players in Pistons history. Daye’s career was short with the Pistons as it only lasted four seasons. He would bounce around the league after being with the Pistons. Including riding the bench on the 2014 Spurs championship team.
5. Mateen Cleaves
After being a massive contributor to the Michigan State national championship team in 2000. Cleaves was supposed to be a big part of the early 2000s rebuild. As a Piston, Cleaves only averaged 5 points in his rookie year, and the Pistons the next season would trade him. Cleaves was known to be an incredible college player and never was a great pro.
4. Henry Ellenson
Henry Ellenson was a horrible pick by the Pistons in 2016. The Pistons kept sending him down to the G-League in Grand Rapids and didn’t show much improvement at all. He later would sign with multiple teams, including the Knicks, Nets, and Raptors. Today, Ellenson is currently playing in Europe in the Spanish League.
3. Stanley Johnson
Stanley Johnson was one of the most disappointing Pistons. Johnson was a five-star recruit and was 3rd overall by scouts in high school in 2014. His freshman year at Arizona, Johnson was the freshman of the year in the PAC-12. After his freshman year, he was selected by Detroit with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft.
Johnson was supposed to be one of the critical pieces to the Pistons as the team was trying to build a competitive team in the Eastern Conference. He truly never hit his ceiling as a player. Johnson was a complete bust.
He was selected over Devin Booker at the time. Just imagine the Pistons with Booker and not Johnson. Who knows how good or different this team would have been?
2. Rodney White
Rodney White was the second-worst draft pick in Pistons history. White was supposed to come in and be the guy for the Pistons after the departure of Grant Hill. Instead, he turned out to be a big disappointment. White only averaged 3.5 points per game in his rookie year, a massive drop-off after averaging 18.7 points per game in college. After his rookie year, White was traded to Denver, and he lasted for five seasons in the league.
1. Darko Milicic
Darko Milicic is the biggest draft bust in Pistons history. Joe Dumars at the time had a lot of prospects that he could have taken, including Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade.
At the time, the Pistons took Darko because Dumars thought he would be the next great big man in the league. He turned out to be a bust for the Pistons. Later in life, Darko became a kickboxer in his home country of Serbia.
To this day, Pistons fans are still sad by the decision to draft Darko. Not only was it the worst pick in Pistons history, but it ranks as one of the worst picks in NBA history! Hopefully, in this draft, the Pistons get some luck and get their generational talent added to this young core.