2012, 18th overall pick: Terrence Jones → Jae Crowder (pick from Utah)
While not the best player on this list, Terrence Jones was a serviceable forward for the Houston Rockets for over four seasons. Taken two spots after White, this means the team passed on Draymond Green three times in the first round of the draft, but they also missed out on a talented 6-6 forward in Jae Crowder.
While Terrence Jones has only seen NBA action for five total games since February 2017, Crowder is still a 10 and 5.0 guy in the league and just made an appearance with the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Meanwhile, Jones last played in the Philippine Basketball Association in 2019 after failed attempts to remain in the league with the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets.
While Terrence is younger and had slightly higher averages with 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in his career, longevity shows that, in hindsight, Crowder would’ve been a better choice at 18 for the Rockets.
2014, 25th overall pick: Clint Capela → Nikola Jokic
While most of his rookie season was spent with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Clint Capela ended up being the perfect complement to James Harden. At 6-10, Capela became one of the best pick and roll big men in the league, often being an easy target for lobs with his ability to get to the rim.
Capela’s best season in Houston came in 2018-19 when he put up fringe All-Star numbers of 16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. This season, Clint was averaging 13.9 points and 13.8 rebounds before the Rockets decided to ship him out for Robert Covington. An argument can certainly be made as to if that was the right decision or not, considering Clint’s abilities.
While Capela was the best pick Houston made in the last decade, the rise of Nikola Jokic has dozens of NBA GMs suffering from drafter’s remorse. There were 40 different names read before the Denver Nuggets eventually selected the 7-footer in 2014.
Now five seasons later, Jokic is averaging near triple-double numbers as part of a double-headed snake in the Mile High City. Paired with Jamal Murray, Jokic helped the Nuggets stun everyone by completing a 3-1 comeback against Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers to make the Western Conference Finals this season.
Jokic will undoubtedly go down as the best passing big man of all time when all is said and done, and coming off two straight All-Star appearances, he’s just getting started.
Next: No. 5