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June 23, 2009
by Jeff Briggs
It’s a given that a white big man will be drafted in the first round of Thursday night’s NBA Draft who will be terrible. It happens almost every year. In fact, everyone who knows anything will say, ‘Hey, that guy sucks, why’d they draft him?’
And this year is no different, with two prospects looking to join this group.
UNC PF Tyler Hansbrough is one such guy, but he is not the highest rated big white guy destined to disappoint. No, that title goes to Ohio State’s B.J. Mullens, who supposedly has athleticism as his upside, but somehow was unable to appear more athletic than most players in the Big Ten last year as a freshman. Yet he still decided it was best to go pro now, and capitalize on a season of being amazingly mediocre in college (8.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg).
Sounds like a horrible guy to waste a first round pick on, yet Mullens is projected to go somewhere in the 15-20 range on Thursday.
What other white guys drafted too high in the first round will he be joining? And are white big men as bad in the NBA as everyone thinks they are? I decided to take a look at every white big man who attended college and was drafted in the first round since 1999 to see if they are as big of disappointments as I always assume they will be.
So of the 23 players on this list (and Rafael Araujo may or may not count, as he is Brazilian) there are zero all-stars, a few promising young guys, some solid role players, and a whole lot of disappointment. Particularly when you look at the 15-20 range, where Mullens is projected to join such great names as Cal Bowdler and Kirk Haston.
Of course this isn't to say that just because Mullens and Hansbrough are white they are destined for mediocrity or worse, but fair warning has been given to interested teams.