Eleven college players were rated better prospects than the Kiwi but several haven’t justified their early selection

On June 27, 2013, Steven Adams was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 12th overall pick in the NBA Draft.

The Kiwi has since matured into one of the best centres in the NBA, a player who will soon be paid around $22 million a season. But what of those 11 men picked before him?

1. Anthony Bennett
Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers
Averages: 4.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg

It took only a couple of months before Bennett was billed as the worst top pick in 20 years. An unimpressive rookie year was followed by a trade to Minnesota and an equally underwhelming sophomore season, before Bennett was waived and signed by Toronto. He then became the first No 1 pick to play in the NBA development league and was again released.


2. Victor Oladipo
Guard, Orlando Magic
Averages: 15.9 ppg, 4.0 apg

Oladipo enjoyed a much better start to his career, recording his first triple-double two months into his rookie campaign. The guard has since proven himself a consistent scorer in the NBA and has remained healthy, seeing Orlando exercise their fourth-year option on his rookie contract, the same move the Thunder made with Adams.

3. Otto Porter
Forward, Washington Wizards
Averages: 7.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Another player whose ability was enough for the Wizards to retain
him for at least their full four years, Porter took some time to mature into an NBA prospect. His first season was disrupted by injury and his second was largely spent coming off the bench, but the small forward started 73 games this year and provided adequate production.

4. Cody Zeller
Forward, Charlotte Bobcats
Averages: 7.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg

Zeller was another slow starter in Charlotte, starting only three games in year one and and 45 in year two. But he was used more in his third season and, as a result, his statistical output began to rise, but the once-Bobcats and now-Hornets have never threatened to contend during his tenure.

5. Alex Len
Centre, Phoenix Suns
Averages: 6.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg

Len, playing the same position as Adams, has so far shared none of
the impact. Injuries and his sluggish development have combined to see the centre start only 93 games in his NBA career and, while this season was his best, the Suns were still non-contenders with the Ukrainian in their line-up.

6. Nerlens Noel
Centre, New Orleans Pelicans
Averages: 10.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg

After a standout college career, Noel was picked later than first forecast before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, with concerns around his knee justified when he missed his entire rookie season. Noel, an American of Haitian descent, has since proven his athleticism but the centre is not rated as strong a long-term prospect as Adams.

7. Ben McLemore
Guard, Sacramento Kings
Averages: 9.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg

McLemore started all 82 games in his second season, averaging 12.1 points and displaying enough talent for the Kings to eventually pick up his fourth-year option. But injury saw McLemore fall away this season and the Kings continue to look a long way from challenging for the NBA title.

8. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Guard, Detroit Pistons
Averages: 11.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg

Caldwell-Pope was eased into action with the Pistons but has become an ever-present member of their starting five in the past two seasons, with his production rising every year. He has become a consistent scorer in the league but has yet to play much of a part in the playoffs.

9. Trey Burke
Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves
Averages: 12.1 ppg, 4.2 apg

Having been picked by the Timberwolves, Burke was immediately traded to the Jazz and, unfortunately for the guard, his career has gone backwards while in Utah. He signed a max rookie contract and started 68 games but Burke has since declined and didn't register a single start last season.

10. CJ McCollum
Guard, Portland Trail Blazers
Averages: 12.7 ppg, 2.4 apg

McCollum appears the real prize in the top tier of this draft. Injuries prevented the guard from making much impact in his first two years but he showed enough offensive promise for Portland to retain his services. And that was rewarded this season when he averaged 20.8 points across 80 starts and maintained that scoring streak in 11 playoff games.

11. Michael Carter-Williams
Guard, Philadelphia 76ers
Averages: 14.5 ppg, 6.1 apg

Carter-Williams claimed the initial contest, being awarded rookie of the year in 2014 after starting his career scoring 16.7 points per game. But that level of offence has since tailed away and, midway through the following season, the guard was traded to Milwaukee where his numbers have continued to decline.

12. Steven Adams
Centre, Oklahoma City Thunder
Averages: 6.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg

His raw stats fail to capture the leap Adams has made in this post-season alone. Given he's still only 22, having entered the NBA after only one year of college basketball in Pittsburgh, Adams' development is on a steep upward curve. Once every player in the top dozen of this draft has taken their last shot, perhaps only Oladipo or McCollum will rank above the big Kiwi, a true two-way player for a consistent contender.