NBA Draft Busts: Michael Olowokandi
The Los Angeles Clippers once again had the first overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft and once again they made the wrong choice. The Clippers chose 7-0 footer Michael Olowokandi aka “The Kandi Man” out of the University of the Pacific. Olowokandi signed with played for Kinder Bologna of the Italian League because of the NBA lockout before eventually signing with the Clippers. Olowokandi was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team averaging 9 ppg and 7 rpg during the shortened 1998 -1999 season. Knee injuries and a hernia hindered his production during the latter half of the 2002 -2003 season raising a red flag to the Clippers and forcing them to pass up on resigning him in the off-season. The native of Nigeria, who spent his first 5 seasons with the Clippers, eventually signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a free agent during the 2003 off-season. During his 3 injury plagued and inconsistent seasons with the T-Wolves Olowokandi averaged a horrid 6 ppg and 5 rpg. Midway through the 2005 -2006 season The Kandi Man was traded to the Boston Celtics. Again, injuries plagued the 7-0 footer and limited him to only 40 games during his 2 year stint in Boston. Olowokandi decided to call it quits and retired after the 2006 -2007 season at the age of 31.
Olowokandi is just one of the many draft disasters of the Los Angeles Clippers. Here are some of the notable players the Clippers have chosen when they had a lottery pick and who they passed up on since 1990.
1990 – chose Bo Kimble 8th overall, Toni Kukoc was still on the board
1995 – chose Antonio McDyess 2nd overall but traded him with others for Brent Barry, could have drafted Kevin Garnett
1996 – chose Lorenzen Wright 7th overall, could have chosen Kobe Bryant
1998 – chose Michael Olowokandi 1st overall, Dirk was still available
2000 – chose Darius Miles 3rd overall and Keyon Dooling 10th overall, Hedu Turkoglu and Michael Redd were still on the board
2002 – chose Chris Wilcox 8th overall and Melvin Ely 12th overall, could have drafted Tayshaun Prince and Carlos Boozer
2004 – chose Shaun Livingston 3rd overall, Devin Harris was still on the board
2005 – chose Yaroslav Korolev 12th overall, Danny Granger was still available