With the NBA Draft kicking off in an hour, why don’t we take a trip down memory lane and look back at a draft class 14 years ago that culminated to be one of the worst classes in NBA history. Former Iowa State player, Marcus Fizer, was in that class.
The top 15 players that were drafted back in 2000 ended up being busts or players that didn’t love up to potential. It was good enough to be the 10th biggest draft busts of all-time according to Sports Illustrated.
Most of the GMs in ’00 got their picks right; this was just a bad group of players. Here was the top half of the first round: Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, Mike Miller, DerMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm, Jamal Crawford, Joel Przybilla, Keyon Dooling, Jerome Moiso, Etan Thomas, Courtney Alexander, Mateen Cleaves and Jason Collier. Particularly unfortunate for the Clippers, who wound up with three of the top 18 picks.
Fizer highlights one of the biggest busts ultimately in that list. During the course of his six year career in the NBA, he played for the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, and just three games for the joint New Orleans/Oklahoma City team in 2005-06 after the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
In his career, Fizer started just 35 games. 20 of them came in the 2001-02 season, his best one, and averaged career highs of 12.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He played 25.8 minutes per game. Over the course of his career, Fizer averaged 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Injuries plagued Fizer’s career, but he even takes the blame for it. He admitted in an interview with Ridiculous Upside last year that he didn’t train properly. He ultimately tried making a comeback in the last couple years despite recovering from three ACL surgeries.
His goal wasn’t to be one of the top players in the game, but to bring some of his wisdom to a team while contributing in bits on the court.
Fizer wasn’t able to make a comeback last year. So far there haven’t been any efforts to do it again this offseason.
Despite not being able to get back into the big league, Fizer should be both an inspiration and cautious reminder that it’s incredibly hard to break into the league and be successful. Lots of people just like to point at injuries as the reason, but a lot of times players could have prevented the injuries that they get.