Back in 2013, the newly-crowned basketball king Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted in a relatively low 15th place in the NBA draft class of that year.
Eight years later, one could easily wonder why Giannis had to wait so long to be chosen. But, more importantly, what actually happened to all those supposedly promising players who were drafted above Giannis?
The NBA Draft of 2013: The players taken before Giannis Antetokounmpo
A total of fourteen promising players who were drafted before Giannis were eager to conquer the basketball world at the time, but as we now all know, it was Number 15 who did the unthinkable.
So what happened to all these players who started their careers with what looked like higher chances of succeeding than Giannis? Some of them are still relevant and offer much to their teams. Others, however, are now competing in foreign lands, far away from the glitz and drama of the NBA.
Let’s start this basketball journey, by taking a look at what the basketball Fates had in store for those players.
Anthony Bennet is a Canadian professional basketball player who now plays for the team of Cangrejeros de Santurce in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional in Puerto Rico. Now, as some round ball aficionados may remember, Bennet was drafted number one in 2013 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This is because during his College years, he was a great basketball player, and many saw great potential in him. However, when he began his NBA career, everyone was disappointed. It took him five games to record his first NBA field goal, and he only averaged four points in the first season. All these disappointing results led him to change several teams, ending up now playing in Puerto Rico.
Victor Oladipo is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the NBA. He played college basketball for the Indiana Hoosiers, and in the 2012-2013 season he was named the Sporting News Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year.
Oladipo was drafted with the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic and went on to be named to the NBA All-Rookie first team. However, an injury-riddled 2018–19 season, including a season-ending injury in January 2019, prevented him from becoming the absolute NBA player of our times.
Otto Porter Jr. is an American professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the NBA. He played college basketball for the Georgetown Hoyas and was selected with the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards.
He used to be one of the top college basketball players before entering the NBA. Following years of respectable but not extraordinary performance, he averages approximately 10 points per game, offering solid results to his team.
Cody Zeller is an American professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets for the NBA. He played college basketball for the Indiana Hoosiers, and was selected with the fourth pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the then-Charlotte Bobcats. He is the brother of NBA players Tyler and Luke, and the nephew of former NBA player Al Eberhard.
Unfortunately, Zeller is very injury-prone, however, he remains a solid player who knows how and when to help his team. This is why he still remains in the same team that drafted him, showing how loyal this player actually is.
Alex Len is a Ukrainian professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards of the NBA. Before being drafted, he played two seasons for the Maryland Terrapins, which was then in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as well as a season with Dnipro in Ukraine’s top professional basketball league.
However, his career didn’t go as many had expected it to go. After playing for four seasons with Phoenix, he averaged only 7 points, he moved to Atlanta in 2018, where his performance got considerably better. However, after that season, he kept changing teams.
Nerlens Noel is an American professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the NBA. Noel was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, nine spots above Giannis Antetokounmpo. His rights were later traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
He plays center and power forward, and was one of the top high school basketball players in the class of 2012. After spending a couple of years with respectable performance, his defensive-oriented way of playing held him back. Noel also expressed publicly his dissatisfaction with the limited time he was allowed to play, something that was indicative of the downturn of his performance. Currently, he plays for the New York Nicks and averages 5 points per game.
Ben McLemore is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. was the seventh pick of the 2013 draft and he played college basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks.
He was known for his athletic ability complemented by his outstanding jump shot. His size, style of play and unique set of basketball abilities had offered him comparisons to former NBA All-Star Ray Allen. Unfortunately, when he played for the Sacramento team, he simply didn’t manage to be as good as he wanted to be. After Sacramento, he played for the Huston Rockets before moving to Los Angeles.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. He was named a McDonald’s All-American as one of the top high school basketball players in the class of 2011. He played college basketball for a total of two years with the Georgia Bulldogs in the Southeastern Conference.
Caldwell-Pope was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He played four seasons with the Pistons before joining the Lakers as a free agent in 2017–18. He won his first NBA championship with the Lakers in 2020. He is an excellent player, however, many believe that his performance lacks consistency.
Trey Burke is an American professional basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA. He was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft and immediately traded to the Utah Jazz. As a freshman at Michigan, he earned the 2011–12 Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year award and was named to the 2011–12 All-Big Ten 2nd team.
After changing many teams, including the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks, he currently plays in Dallas, where he averages a total of seven points per game.
C. J. McCollum is an American professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. During his third year in the league in 2015–16, he was named the NBA Most Improved Player, showing how determined he was to get better in his game.
McCollum played college basketball for the Lehigh Mountain Hawks and was named the Patriot League Player of the Year in both 2010 and 2012. He was selected by Portland with the tenth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. However, he was a reserve in his first two years. He managed to become a full-time starter for the Trail Blazers in his third season after moving to shooting guard.
Michael Carter-Williams is an American professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the NBA. He was drafted in the first round with the 11th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. During his College years, ye played for the team of Syracuse Orange. During his career, he changed many teams.
He was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2014, and he has also played for the Milwaukee Bucks along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets, and his current team, the Orlando Magic. After his season with the Bucks, a series of injuries and misfortunes led him to a downward trajectory.
Steven Adams is a New Zealand professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA. After playing one season with his hometown team Wellington Saints in 2011, Adams moved to the United States in 2012 to play college basketball for Pittsburgh. In June 2013, he was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, three places above Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In 2017 he had his best season with an average of 13 points per game, something that gave him a huge 4-year 100-million dollar contract. In the last season in New Orleans, he averaged eight points per game.
Kelly Olynyk is a Canadian professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the NBA. After forgoing his senior year, Olynyk was selected with the 13th overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2013 NBA draft, before being immediately traded to the Boston Celtics. During his College years, he played for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, where he earned NCAA All-American honours in 2013. He has also played for the Canadian national basketball team.
After playing in the LEague for eight years, everyone knows what a consistent player he is, knowing what to expect from him: Decent results. On July 7, 2017, Olynyk signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Miami Heat.
Shabazz Muhammad is an American professional basketball player for the Shenzhen Aviators of the Chinese Basketball Association. Muhammad went to Bishop Gorman High School, where he was named ”Mr. Basketball USA” and Naismith Prep Player of the Year in his senior year.
He was one of the top-rated basketball recruits in the class of 2012 during his College years. In his only season with UCLA, he earned the ”All-American honors” and was named to the all-conference first team in the Pac-12; he was also voted Pac-12 co-Freshman of the Year. Muhammad has played one season of college basketball for the UCLA Bruins before being selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. In 2018 Muhammad signed with the Milwaukee Bucks and played along with Giannis Antetokounmpo.