3. Michael Olowokandi
Draft class: 1998
Clipper stats: 9.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Up until recently, big men have always hunkered down low, ran the floor, blocked shots, and essentially scored all of their points in the paint. With Michael Olowokandi, he fit that description beautifully.
Although Pacific has never been known for producing high-quality NBA players, Olowokandi seemed to be different. In year one though, he was pretty pathetic, averaging just four points and 3.4 rebounds. But, by the time he got a few more years under his belt in college, Olowokandi morphed into arguably the best big man in the country. With averages that consisted of 22.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks – the Clippers grabbed the nearest napkin they could find to clean up their drool.
Without much hesitation, although there should’ve been, the Clippers nabbed him with the number one overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. Olowokandi’s first year was promising as he averaged 8.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game on his way to grabbing a spot on the All-Rookie squad.
Defensively, he was great, averaging as much as 2.9 blocks per game with the Clips. The problem, ultimately, was his middling offense. Throughout his five seasons in LA, only twice did Olowokandi average double figures in the scoring column.
All in all, Olowokandi was a colossal bust but his horrendous play was exacerbated by Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce – all of whom were taken after him in the draft.