The 2017 NBA Draft takes place on June 22 -- just over a week from now — and the Syracuse Orange are likely to send yet another first round pick to the league. This time, it’s Tyler Lydon, who’d make it six straight years of first rounders for the Orange.
Since Carmelo Anthony went third overall to the Denver Nuggets in 2003, 10 former Syracuse players have been drafted in the first, all with varying levels of success. Because Melo would obviously top this list, we decided to rank all 10 first-rounders drafted AFTER him.
1. Dion Waiters, fourth pick, Cleveland Cavaliers (2012)
The now infamous “Waiters Island” was first located in the middle of the Great Lakes, but has since relocated to someplace near the Gulf of Mexico, and most recently, the Atlantic Ocean. Waiters struggled for consistency in his early days in Cleveland on a young team, but always managed to find the net. After being traded to Oklahoma City, it took him some time to find his place on a team of shooters, but his 2015-16 playoff performance might have revitalized his career. He signed a short deal with Miami this past season, and became a folk hero on a rebuilding Heat team. Waiters also wrote this article. He’s going to be swimming in cash this offseason.
2. Hakim Warrick, 19th pick, Memphis Grizzlies (2005)
Warrick’s athleticism displayed in college propelled him into the first round, and he managed to carve out a niche for himself early with the Grizzlies. He shot well from the floor (at least 49 percent in three of his four seasons in Memphis), and showed upside as a rebounder and defender. Over time, however, he was increasingly pegged as a reserve player, with opportunities to contribute becoming scarce by 2012. He’s since found success playing abroad.
3. Michael Carter-Williams, 11th pick, Philadelphia 76ers (2013)
Things were supposed to go a little differently for the 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year. MCW started 70 games for the young Sixers back then, and looked to be a potential rising star in the league. But #TheProcess got in the way, and he was dealt to Milwaukee mid-way through the next season. That fit issue gave way to eventually heading to Chicago. He’s dealt with quite a few injuries of late, and he continually ends up on rosters completely filled with starting-caliber guards already. Carter-Williams still has a shot in the NBA, but opportunities are dwindling a bit and production’s decreased over the years.
4. Wesley Johnson, fourth pick, Minnesota Timberwolves (2010)
In the early part of his career, Johnson had a lot of weight on him as a high draft pick on a young T-Wolves team — a trend that continued when he headed over to Phoenix and the Lakers. But since joining the Clippers, that trend should’ve changed on the veteran squad. And yet, he just had his worst season to-date. Injuries have trailed Wes, though he once carved out some room as a three-and-D type reserve. After a very rough 2016-17, his future’s probably up for debate.
5. Tyler Ennis, 18th pick, Phoenix Suns (2014)
Ennis is another player that’s fallen victim to injuries and a fit issue. He was drafted by Phoenix, a team that was playing with tempo at the time, but was also swimming in guards. Before his first season was done, he was traded to Milwaukee, another team that had plenty of guards. His next stop, the Rockets, was a similar story but at least the pace of play was advantageous. With more opportunities to contribute in the latter part of this past season with the Lakers, he actually showed glimmers of the promise he was drafted on. We’ll see if that translates to a roster spot next season.
6. Donte Greene, 28th pick, Memphis Grizzlies (2008)
Traded twice before he even played a game, Greene went from Memphis to Houston to Sacramento in a very short amount of time. His final landing place, the Kings, was probably the worst fit — a young and disorganized team that has long lacked the ability to develop homegrown talent effectively. He played just four years in the NBA, averaging six points on 40 percent shooting. Greene’s found plenty of success abroad in the years since, however.
7. Jonny Flynn, 6th pick, Minnesota Timberwolves (2009)
Flynn actually had a strong debut for the Wolves, playing in 81 games during the 2009-10 season, while scoring 13.5 points per game. But staff mismanagement of injuries and a fluctuating guard situation would quickly bury him on the bench. After some shorts stays with Portland and Houston, he was out of the league. Flynn’s since found some success in Australia and Asia.
8. Malachi Richardson, 22nd pick, Charlotte Hornets (2016)
Richardson dealt with injuries while shuttling back and forth between Sacramento and the D-League’s Reno Bighorns, so he has a limited sample size so far. But in 22 games, he averaged nearly four points per game in nine minutes or so per night of action. With Reno, he was actually showing a ton of progress as a scorer. Part of this ranking is hedging that he probably has more room to grow than all of the names in front of him.
9. Chris McCullough, 29th pick, Brooklyn Nets (2015)
McCullough actually excelled in the D-League last year, but his NBA luck has not been as strong. After a couple years of spot play for the Nets, he was traded to the veteran-laden Wizards in 2016-17. The Wiz are contending for a conference title and have little time to develop young talent at this point. He’s not necessarily a fit in Washington, so his ceiling may be created by circumstance, versus talent.
10. Fab Melo, 22nd pick, Boston Celtics (2012)
The late Fab Melo played in just six games in the NBA, then spent time in the D-League before heading back to Brazil. Sean wrote up a look at how he was chewed up and spit out by the American basketball system before his sad death earlier this year.
Feel like this list is completely wrong or right? Log your praise or complaints below.