Dallas Mavericks

Draft duds: Mavs top 5 worst No. 1 picks

Mavs owner Mark Cuban speaks ahead of Dirk Nowitzki's celebrity baseball game

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke to the media ahead of Dirk Nowitzki's celebrity baseball game on Friday, June 8, 2018.
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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke to the media ahead of Dirk Nowitzki's celebrity baseball game on Friday, June 8, 2018.

Have the Dallas Mavericks been the worst-drafting team in NBA history or does it just feel like that?

Whatever the case, when perusing the team's top picks over the years it quickly becomes evident that they have a strong case to make. To drive home that suggestion, we've compiled the Mavs' top five worst No. 1 picks.

To make sure you're reading the list correctly, let's be as clear as possible. These are the five worst No. 1 picks the Mavs have made. Players taken higher in the first round are weighed heavier than, say, a guy taken late in the first round. Only the top pick taken in the first round was considered, so those years when the Mavs' first pick came in the second round were ignored.

More recent picks also were given more leeway since the jury is still out on some of those careers. This is about draft busts and the Mavs have had plenty.

The five worst top picks in Mavericks' draft history:

5. Roy Tarpley, No. 7 in 1986

You could argue that Tarpley deserves to be higher on this list based primarily on what could have been and unfulfilled promise. Alcohol and substance abuse led to multiple suspensions and two bans from the NBA, the last coming in 1995. Tarpley was supremely talented and made the All-Rookie team in 1987 and was named the Sixth Man of the Year in 1988. You wonder how he would have been treated today when clubs and leagues try to offer recovery help along with the discipline.

4. Doug Smith, No. 6 in 1991

The power forward was out of the league after a little more than four seasons, the first two coming with the Mavs. His best season was 1992-93 when he averaged 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 61 games. He played 17 games with the Celtics in 1995-96 but never played again after being taken by the Toronto Raptors in the 1995 expansion draft.. The next seven players drafted after him had longer careers, including Luc Longley (10 years), Stacey Augmon (15 years), and Dale Davis (16 years).

3. Randy White, No. 8 in 1989

The Cowboys' legend with the same name probably could have had a similar career. Ten players drafted in the first round after White lasted longer than his five-year career, including Nick Anderson, Mookie Blaylock and Tim Hardaway, who all played 13 years. In fact, six players in the second round played longer than White, including Sherman Douglas and Clifford Robinson. He averaged 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 281 games and never matched his numbers at Louisiana Tech.

2. Jim Farmer, No. 20 in 1987

Yes, you're never sure what you're getting with a 20th pick, but the Mavs had to expect more than what Farmer, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Alabama, offered. He was out of the league after playing parts (very small parts) of five seasons, including just one with the Mavs, who waived him before his second season.

1. Bill Garnett, No. 4 in 1982

This is a no-brainer. Sort of like when it happened but for different reasons. Of the 19 first-round players taken after Garnett in the 1982 draft, 14 had longer careers. In total, 28 players drafted after Garnett played longer than Garnett, who averaged 5.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 300 games over four seasons in the NBA, including the first two in Dallas.

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