Honorable Mention Top 10 Worst NBA Draft Picks

Todd Fuller: Honorable Mention (NBA)

WHO YA GOT?

Todd Fuller Alternate Picks

Synopsis: In the 1996 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors selected Todd Fuller with the 11th overall pick. Despite being a lottery selection, Fuller didn’t live up to expectations. Of note, he finished his NBA career with 835 points and 674 rebounds. Even worse, the Warriors selected him over future Hall-of-Famers Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. As such, Fuller should be remembered as one of the all-time worst draft picks. Still, the former 1st Team All-ACC honoree shouldn’t be considered a Top 10 Bust. In particular, he just wasn’t drafted high enough to warrant the “honor.”


TODD FULLER: T10B HONORABLE MENTION (NBA)

Despite having a noteworthy college career at NC State, Todd Fuller failed to deliver as an NBA player. Still, he continues to be a memorable draft pick. Specifically, he went before future All-Stars Peja Stojakovic and Jermaine O’Neal. More noteworthy, he went before future Hall-of-Famers Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash as well. Based on this fact alone, I consider Fuller the 5th worst draft pick in NBA history. Regardless, I still don’t consider him worthy of being declared a Top 10 Bust.

As the following table shows, Fuller deserved to be drafted as a lottery pick in the 1996 NBA Draft.

TODD FULLER – CAREER STATS AT NC STATE
    Shooting % Per Game Averages
Season Games FG FT Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Points
1992-93 27 45.7% 77.3% 3.6 0.2 0.3 0.0 5.2
1993-94 30 48.2% 75.3% 8.4 1.1 1.3 0.4 11.8
1994-95 27 51.9% 84.1% 8.5 1.3 1.7 0.3 16.4
1995-96 31 50.6% 79.9% 9.9 1.3 1.8 0.3 20.9
Career 115 49.8% 80.0% 7.7 1.0 1.3 0.3 13.8

Fuller steadily improved each season and finished his senior year as a 20 & 10 player. In recognition of this production, he earned 1st Team All-ACC status. As a 6’11” center who could shoot well and defend, he deserved to be a top overall draft pick. Furthermore, Fuller seemed to have the body to play down low.

Todd Fuller at NC State
Already jacked

Despite Fuller’s success in college, he didn’t live up to expectations while playing for four different teams during his 5-year NBA career. He didn’t deserve to be around that long given his lackluster production. Then again, his size and prior success apparently earned him 2nd, 3rd and 4th looks.

TODD FULLER – NBA CAREER STATS
      Shooting % Per Game Averages
Season Team Games FG FT Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals

Points

1996-97

GSW 75 42.9% 69.1% 3.3 0.3 0.1 0.3 4.1
1997-98 GSW 57 42.0% 68.8% 3.4 0.2 0.1 0.3

4.0

1998-99

UTA 42 45.2% 60.0% 2.4 0.1 0.1 0.3 3.4
1999-00 CHH 41 41.8% 60.4% 2.7 0.1 0.2 0.2

3.3

2000-01 MIA 10 28.6% 100.0% 1.8 0.1 0.3 0.2 2.8
Career   225 42.2% 66.8% 3.0 0.2 0.2 0.3

3.7

Fuller averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks per game as a senior in college. However, he only averaged four points and three rebounds per game primarily coming off the bench during his NBA career. As an undersized big man, he just couldn’t compete at the next level.

GOOD LUCK TODD
Todd Fuller against Shaq
Apparently, not jacked enough

In absolute and relative terms, Fuller had a unproductive NBA career. 

1996 NBA DRAFT: NOTABLE PLAYERS
Draft Pick Team Player Position Games Points Rebounds Assists PPG RPG APG Win Shares
#1 PHI Allen Iverson PG 914 24,368 3,394 5,624 26.7 3.7 6.2 99.0
#2 TOR Marcus Camby C 973 9,262 9,513 1,837 9.5 9.8 1.9 81.6
#3 VAN Shareef Abdur-Rahim SF 830 15,028 6,239 2,109 18.1 7.5 2.5 71.2
#4 MIL Stephon Marbury PG 846 16,297 2,516 6,471 19.3 3.0 7.6 77.5
#5 MIN Ray Allen SG 1,300 24,505 5,272 4,361 18.9 4.1 3.4 145.1
#6 BOS Antoine Walker PF 893 15,647 6,891 3,170 17.5 7.7 3.5 38.1
#7 LAC Lorenzen Wright C 778 6,191 4,943 622 8.0 6.4 0.8 30.5
#8 NJN Kerry Kittles SG 507 7,165 1,983 1,295 14.1 3.9 2.6 44.8
#9 DAL Samaki Walker PF 445 2,376 2,089 252 5.3 4.7 0.6 14.2
#10 IND Erick Dampier C 987 7,309 7,005 817 7.4 7.1 0.8 52.7
#11 GSW Todd Fuller C 225 835 674 46 3.7 3.0 0.2 2.2
#13 CHH Kobe Bryant SG 1,255 31,973 6,653 5,963 25.5 5.3 4.8 173.0
#14 SAC Peja Stojakovic SG 804 13,647 3,782 1,408 17.0 4.7 1.8 82.6
#15 PHO Steve Nash PG 1,217 17,387 3,642 10,335 14.3 3.0 8.5 129.7
#17 POR Jermaine O’Neal PF 1,011 13,309 7,261 1,369 13.2 7.2 1.4 66.0
#20 CLE Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 843 10,976 6,191 955 13.0 7.3 1.1 66.3
#24 LAL Derek Fisher PG 1,287 10,713 2,658 3,804 8.3 2.1 3.0 62.3
TODD FULLER: WORTHY #11 PICK?

No excuses need to be made for Fuller’s lack of production. However, it deserves mention that three other centers went with top 10 overall picks. In comparison, only one center (Bryant Reeves) went in the top 10 one year earlier, and only two centers (Tony Battie and Adonal Foyle) went that high in the next draft. Assuming Fuller fell to a 16th-20th pick (as typical for the 4th center in a draft), his NBA career would have come and gone without much fanfare.

Perhaps, Golden State took Fuller because of need instead of talent. If the front offices of Portland or Detroit drafted players based on talent instead of need, they might have avoided the two biggest all-time NBA Draft blunders. Specifically, Portland took Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan in 1984, and Detroit took Darko Milicic instead of Carmelo Anthony in 2003. Coming directly from high school to the NBA, Kobe understandably fell outside of the top five. Still, at least six other teams (besides the Warriors) made a big mistake.

TOP THREE NBA DRAFTS

Based on its four likely Hall of Famers (#1 Allen Iverson, #5 Ray Allen, #13 Kobe Bryant, and #15 Steve Nash), the 1996 Draft deserves consideration as one of the best three drafts in NBA history. So far, only the 1984 Draft has four actual Hall of Famers (#1 Hakeem Olajuwon, #3 Michael Jordan, #5 Charles Barkley, and #16 John Stockton). The 2003 Draft also deserves consideration as an elite draft because of its four potential Hall of Famers (#1 LeBron James, #3 Carmelo Anthony, #4 Chris Bosh, #5 Dwyane Wade).

As a quick aside, the following table shows my ranking of these three draft classes.

 Draft Ranking Best Player 2nd Best Player 3rd Best Player 4th Best Player
#1 – 1984 Michael Jordan Hakeem Olajuwon Charles Barkley John Stockton
#2 – 1996 Kobe Bryant Allen Iverson Steve Nash Ray Allen
#3 – 2003 LeBron James Dwyane Wade Carmelo Anthony Chris Bosh

Ultimately, the 2003 Draft class should eclipse the 1996 Draft class (assuming LeBron gets at least one more title), but not the 1984 Draft class (unless Melo also wins a championship).

[Within three months of this post, LeBron led the Cavs to the 2016 NBA Championship. Based on my previous comment, his draft now eclipses the 1996 Draft to move into the 2nd best of all-time. By leading a Cleveland team to the city’s first professional sports title in over 50 years, “The King” earns bonus points. As of now, the top four players from the 2003 Draft have won eight rings. That total equals the total from the top four players from the 1984 Draft. Regardless, there’s still a gap. At least, LeBron et al still have time on their side.]  

CONCLUSION

Taken outside of the first ten overall picks, Fuller “earned” an exemption from being declared a Top 10 Bust. For support of my rationale, click on the following link regarding the The Acie Law.  Regardless, Fuller disappointed enough to earn a T10B Honorable Mention. 

While the circumstances aren’t ideal, Fuller won’t be forgotten any time soon. Overall, he was a great college player and high draft pick who couldn’t cut it in the NBA. Well, at least he got there.

TODD FULLER: T10B HONORABLE MENTION (NBA)
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