Hornets Beware: 7 Biggest busts at pick No. 2 in NBA Draft history

Charlotte Hornets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Charlotte Hornets
Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons. Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images /

Draft Bust No. 2: Darko Milicic, 2003

If you thought the list of players the Sacramento Kings missed on drafting by taking Marvin Bagley III in 2018, hold on to your horses. By taking Darko Milicic in 2003, the Detroit Pistons missed on a number of Hall of Fame players who could have turned them from a one-time title winner into a dynasty.

Detroit shouldn’t have ever had a pick that high as a perennial contender, but a trade with the Vancouver Grizzlies dropped the top-1 protected pick right into their laps when it landed at No. 2. The 7-foot Serbian center looked like a long-time tower in the middle for the Pistons, but ultimately he proved to be something of a relic of a fading era.

Milicic was buried on a Pistons team that would go on to win the title that season, but even so, he wasn’t even able to carve out a small rotation role. He was a good defender, but his offensive game never developed, and after the Pistons gave up on him he bounced around the league for eight more seasons, a reserve center who occasionally found himself starting but never doing much to matter.

Just Missed: Buckle up. After LeBron James went first overall, the Pistons were still in line for a generational superstar. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were the next three picks. Those three players combined for 34 All-Star appearances.

Hornets this Draft: The 2003 NBA Draft was one of two to occur without an NBA team in Charlotte, in between the Hornets moving to New Orleans and the Bobcats getting their start.