NBA Draft Busts: Jay Williams
The former McDonald’s All-American went on to have a stellar four-year career at Duke. Williams was named ACC Rookie of the Year and NCAA National Freshman of the Year in his first year in Durham. The next year, Williams led his Blue Devils to a National Championship, becoming Duke’s single season scoring leader in the process. Williams had his best personal year during his final season at Duke, earning the National Player of the Year award. In 2002, Williams entered the NBA draft.
The Chicago Bulls selected the heralded senior with the second pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Williams had a solid rookie year, averaging 9.5 ppg and close to 5 asp while starting in 54 games. In June of 2003, just a week before the NBA Draft, Williams was involved in a motorcycle accident. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, didn’t have a valid license, and his contract forbade him to ride a motorcycle. As a result of the crash, Williams ruptured a major nerve in his leg, tore three knee ligaments including his ACL, and fractured his pelvis. Williams’ career was in jeopardy and the Bulls knew it, drafting point guard Kirk Hinrich in that year’s draft. The Bulls waived the Duke star before the start of the 2003 season.
During his time rehabilitating, Williams appeared on ESPN as a commentator for high school and college broadcasts. After three years away from the game, Williams showed enough progress for the Nets to sign him to a non-guaranteed contract in 2006. However, Williams never resumed his NBA career as the Nets released him before the start of the 2006 season. He then signed with the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League, but played only two months before being released due to nagging injuries. As of now, Williams’ NBA aspirations are on hold as he currently works for ESPN as a college basketball analyst. Williams is a bust not for his lack of talent, but for his poor judgement. It’s a shame.