Just two lottery picks never played in the NBA:
Len Bias tragically died of a cocaine overdose two days after the Celtics picked him No. 2 in the 1986 NBA draft.
Fran Vazquez, the No. 11 pick by the Magic in 2005, never signed with Orlando. He just stayed in Europe year after year, gradually reducing hope he’d come stateside.
Now, the Magic – who still hold Vazquez’s rights – can really give up.
In 2005, Orlando was on the ascent behind a center drafted the previous year named Dwight Howard. It’s unclear how Vazquez – a big forward – would’ve fit with Howard and Rashard Lewis (who really complemented Howard as a stretch four). Really, it’s unclear whether Vazquez would’ve been good enough to contribute in the NBA in any role. Though he was good in Europe, Vazquez never rose to a can’t-miss level.
But the Magic got nil from a prime asset.
At least Orlando probably has minimal reason for second-guessing. The next five picks after Vazquez: Yaroslav Korolev, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Antoine Wright, Joey Graham.
Then again, Danny Granger went No. 17 to the Pacers. If the Magic had a sense how he’d pan out, they really missed an opportunity. He would’ve been awesome on those good Orlando teams.
At minimum, the Magic could have traded the pick for positive value at the time.
Instead, Orlando got a trivia answer.