Saturday, June 25, 2011

Worst NBA Draft Picks: 2000-2010

In recognition of yesterday's NBA Draft, The Canon Review has taken a look back at the worst draft picks for each of the past three decades. You can check out the worst of the 1980s here and the worst picks of the 1990s here. I would have had this done before the NBA Draft took place, but because of technical difficulties, this post was delayed a couple of days. So, without further adieu, here are the worst draft picks for each year since 2000.

2000: Take Your Pick

Ok, so this may seem like a bit of a copout, but seriously take a look at the first round here. There's Stromile Swift, the second pick in the draft who started 97 games in his career and averaged 8.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in his career. There's Darius Miles, a high school product and a world class headcase who showed glimpses of quality play, but had his career ruined by injury and drug use. There's Marcus Fizer, who just couldn't play and was out of the league by 2007 with a career field goal percentage of .435, not too good for a power forward listed at 6'9". There's DerMarr Johnson, who came out too early and struggled in his first two years for the Hawks (less than 40 percent shooting, more turnovers than assists), then nearly had his career ended after a car wreck. He recovered, but was nothing more than a reserve. There's Chris Mihm, Courtney Alexander, the immortal Jerome Moiso, and even more. Suffice it to say, the 2000 Draft may have been the worst draft class in the past 30 years.

2001: Kwame Brown, Center, Washington Wizards, 1st Pick

A high school product out of Brunswick, GA, Brown was the a surprising first pick in the 2001 draft by then Wizards owner Michael Jordan. Yes, Brown had an NBA-ready body (6'11". 270 lbs) with great athleticism for a man his size, but to say he was raw would be an understatement. Brown wasn't ready for the NBA, and to make matters worse his owner/teammate Jordan would constantly berate Brown, causing the youngster to lose his confidence. Also, Brown developed a reputation for being lazy and not wanting to put in the proper work in order to be great. So, after four years in Washington where he averaged in double figures in points just once, they traded him to the Lakers for Caron Butler. Brown played for the Lakers for two and a half years, wowing the Lakers fans with incompetent free throw shooting (.492 FT percentage as a Laker) and his hands of stone. Somehow, the Lakers traded Brown, along with three others, for Pau Gasol. Brown lasted 15 games in Memphis, then signed with the Pistons in 2008. In two years in Detroit, Brown averaged 3.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. Apparently, that was enough to impress the owner of the Bobcats, one Michael Jordan, who signed Brown to a one year deal. Last season, Brown started 50 games for the Bobcats, although his averages of 7.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game begs the question as to why Brown played so much. Yes, Brown's only 29, but if he hasn't turned into a good player by now, there's no reason to expect he will anytime soon.

2002: Jay Williams, Guard, Chicago Bulls, 2nd Pick

The Bulls picked Williams, an All-American at Duke, with the second pick in the draft, and many experts felt that Williams should of been picked first instead of Yao Ming. In fact, Bill Simmons predicted that "Years from now, we will remember Yao Ming over Jay Williams the way we remember Bowie over Jordan". To be honest, I also thought Williams would be a great pro and turn the then moribund Bulls around. In his rookie year, Williams struggled mightily with his shot (.399 field goal percentage, .640 free throw percentage), but then again, Kobe Bryant didn't have a great rookie year, and he turned out fine. Unfortunately, we'll never know how the rest of Williams's career would have played out, as he wrecked his motorcycle in June 2003, suffering career-ending injuries. Despite many comeback attempts, Williams never made it back to the NBA, leaving everyone to wonder what could have been.

2003: Darko Milicic, Center, Detroit Pistons, 2nd Pick

Considering how Milicic's career has played out, and the players selected directly after Darko, this could turn out to be the worst pick in the history of the NBA Draft. The Pistons selected the Croatian Sensation with ahead of future All-Stars Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The good news is that in Darko's first year, the Pistons won the NBA championship, although it's hard to argue that Milicic's 14 minutes in the 2004 postseason had any impact. Milicic spent the next two years buried on the Pistons bench, and started to publicly complain about his lack of playing time, arguing that he wasn't getting any better by sitting on the bench. Perhaps he had a point, but the Pistons didn't want to hear it, so they traded him to the Magic. In 2006-07, Darko finally got some significant playing time, and his 8.0 ppg and 5.5 rpg in 23.9 mpg must have impressed the Memphis Grizzlies, who signed him to a three year-21 million dollar contract. Darko started 64 games in 2007-08, but his play (7.2 ppg) was not exactly what the Grizzlies were hoping for, so he went back to the bench. In 2009, the Grizzlies traded Milicic to the Knicks, and in February of 2010, the Knicks sent him to the Timberwolves. After the 2010 season, Timberwolves GM David Kahn signed Milicic to a four year, 20 million dollar contract because, well, who the hell knows? Last season, Milicic did set a career high in points per game (8.8) and finished 10th in blocks per game (2.0), so there's still a slight bit of hope for the 25 year old. He has a long way to go before matching the exploits of Anthony, Wade, and Bosh, however.

2004: Shaun Livingston, Guard, Los Angeles Clippers, 4th Pick

I really don't want to include Livingston on this list, but since Jay Williams had a similar set of circumstances, I must also include Livingston, the 6'7" point guard who came straight from high school to the NBA. Since the Clippers had a point guard in Sam Cassell, Livingston spent the first two years primarily coming off the bench. He was given the starting point guard position in 2006-07, and while he wasn't great, he did show promise (9.3 ppg, 5.1 apg). However, he suffered a serious knee injury in February 2007 which nearly ended his career. Livingston came back, and bounced around the league for a while, playing with the Heat, Thunder, and Wizards before signing a two year contract with the Bobcats this past offseason. Livingston played a career high 73 games last season, although his numbers (6.6 ppg, 2.2 apg) weren't too impressive. A couple of days ago, Livingston was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, where presumably he will serve as Brandon Jennings's backup.

2005: Marvin Williams, Forward, Atlanta Hawks, 2nd Pick

All right, I'll admit I'm a little biased in making this pick. After all, it's not as if Williams has been terrible as an Atlanta Hawk. He's averaged double figures in scoring each of the past five seasons, and has improved in quite a few areas, including three-point shooting. However, his defense is questionable at best, his rebounding is poor for a man of his height (5.3 rpg), and during the Hawks latest playoff run, Williams was usually on the bench late in the game. Williams has seemed to fall out of favor with Hawks coach Larry Drew, which isn't good considering Williams has three years left on a five-year, 40 million dollar contract. What makes this pick even worse is, back in 2005, the Hawks already had forwards Josh Childress and Josh Smith, and needed a point guard to replace Tyronn Lue. Luckily for the Hawks, both Chris Paul and Deron Williams were there for the taking. Instead, the Hawks took Williams, yet another small forward, in a move that made little sense at the time and still doesn't, to be honest. Ever since then, the Hawks have tried a variety of solutions, including drafting Acie Law and trading for Mike Bibby and Kirk Hinrich. Perhaps young Jeff Teague will be the answer for the Hawks' point guard problems, but if the Hawks drafted Paul or Deron Williams, they could have become a power in the East right up there with Boston and Orlando. Then again, the Hawks have historically been run by fools, so I guess I should just be happy that at least they drafted a player capable of starting in the NBA instead of the next Doug Edwards or Sheldon Williams.

2006: Adam Morrison, Forward, Charlotte Bobacts, 3rd Pick

Morrison was the National Player of the Year at Gonzaga University and was frequently compared to Larry Bird, so when the Bobcats made him the third choice in the draft, many people, including me thought it was a good pick and that Morrison would be the man to turn the Bobcats' fortunes around. Well, we were wrong. Morrison's shot suddenly disappeared upon entering the NBA, and in his rookie year, he shot under 40 percent from the field (.376) and would eventually lose his starting spot due to poor defense. The next year, Morrison hurt his knee and missed the entire 2007-08 season. By the time he came back, Morrison was out of the Bobcats' plans, so he was traded to the L.A. Lakers. Morrison collected two championship rings as the Lakers' 12th man, so that's nice. Last year, Morrison was cut in training camp by the Washington Wizards, and it looks as if the 26 year old's NBA career is over, a fate that no one expected just five years ago.

2007: Greg Oden, Center, Portland Trailblazers, 1st Pick

Like Jordan and Bowie in 1984, the Trailblazers picked a big man in Greg Oden over the scoring sensation Kevin Durant. Yes, the pick was questioned at the time, but unlike Bowie, Oden didn't seem to have a history of leg injuries. But Oden quickly made up for lost time and underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee just before the start of his rookie season. In 2008-09, Oden suffered a lot of minor injuries, but he did play 61 games, although his 8.9 ppg and 7.0 rpg weren't exactly inspiring visions of Moses Malone. The next year, Oden got off to a decent start (11.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.3 bpg), but he fractured his patella and missed the rest of the season after playing 21 games. Last year, Oden missed the enitre season due to microfracture surgery on his left knee. So far, Oden's played 82 games in his career, while Durant's won two scoring titles and led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the conference finals this past year. I'm thinking that Trailblazers fans would like a do over.

2008: Joe Alexander, Forward, Milwaukee Bucks, 8th Pick

Nicknamed 'Vanilla Sky' for his leaping ability (and because he's white), Alexander was picked in the expectation that he would give the Bucks some much needed scoring punch in the frontcourt. In his rookie season, Alexander struggled on both ends of the court and was relegated to a bench role, averaging 4.7 points in 59 games. The Bucks became so disenchanted with Alexander that they traded him to the Bulls during his second season. Alexander would play a grand total of eight games in Chicago, and was cut by the New Orleans Hornets in November of 2010. Undaunted, Alexander spent the rest of the season in the NBA D-League, averaging 20.2 points a game for the Texas Legends and earning a spot on the All D-League first team. So maybe there's hope for Vanilla Sky after all.
2009: Hasheem Thabeet, Center, Memphis Grizzlies, 2nd Pick

Thabeet is a 7'3" center who was thought to be a bit of a project when the Grizzlies selected him second overall in the 2009 draft. As it turned out, Thabeet was so unprepared to play in the NBA that the Grizzlies sent him down to the D-League during his rookie season. Last year, Thabeet played 45 games with the Grizzlies, scoring a grand total of 47 points. Since the Grizzlies had Marc Gasol as their center of the future, they traded Thabeet to the Rockets in a deal for Shane Battier. So far, Thabeet's been a major disappointment, but the Rockets are hoping that Thabeet will fill the hole at the center position left by Yao Ming's injury problems.

2010: Cole Aldrich, Center, New Orleans Hornets, 11th Pick

Okay, it's a little early to call anybody from the 2010 draft a bust, but I'm sure that the Oklahoma City Thunder, who traded for Aldrich on draft day, were hoping for a little more from the big man from Kansas. Aldrich ended up bouncing around between the Thunder and their D-League affiliate in Tulsa. In 18 games last year, Aldrich put up a total of 18 points and 35 rebounds. It's not as if the Thunder needed Aldrich to come through last year, but they will need him to step up for the Thunder to realize their championship dreams. Whether he can remains to be seen.

Well, that's it for The Canon Review's worst NBA draft picks of the past 11 years. Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, then send them to me either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worst NBA Draft Picks: 1990-1999

In the second of a three-part series, The Canon Review takes a look at the worst draft pick for each year in the 1990s. While teams always hope they have the next superstar coming out of the draft, that's not always going to be the case. For every Kobe Bryant or Dirk Nowitzki, there's a Todd Fuller or a Michael Olawakandi on the draft board, providing nothing but disappointment and grief to their team's fanbase. So, without further aideu, here are the worst NBA draft picks of the 1990s.

1990: Felton Spencer, Center, Minnesota Timberwolves, 6th Pick

Spencer was a teammate of 1989's worst pick, Pervis Ellison, at the University of Louisville. Because of Ellison's presence, Spencer only started one year at Louisville. But the Timberwolves needed a better center than Randy Breuer, so they picked the 7'0" Spencer with their pick. Spencer proved quite early that he wasn't going to be an offensive force, but he did average 7.9 rebounds in his rookie year. However, the Timberwolves weren't satisfied, so they picked Luc Longley the next year. Spencer spent the next two years primarily on the bench for Minnesota, then was traded to the Utah Jazz for Mike Brown.

1991: Doug Smith, Forward, Dallas Mavericks, 6th Pick

Some people might have Billy Owens in this slot, but he did have a few good years in Golden State and Miami, so I'll give him a pass. Instead Smith, a 6'10" inch forward out of Missouri, gets the nod here. Smith held out and didn't sign until just before the 1991 season started, and when he showed up, he was out of shape and struggled most of his rookie year. Smith averaged a career high 10.4 points in 1992-93 for the 12-70 Mavericks, but lost playing time the next year. After the 1995 season, Smith was selected by the Toronto Raptors in the expansion draft, but was released soon after. Smith then signed with the Celtics and played 17 games in 1995-96 before getting released, ending his NBA career.

1992: Todd Day, Guard-Forward, Milwaukee Bucks, 8th Pick

1992 was a rather strong draft, but the Bucks didn't get exactly what they wanted when they picked Day with the 8th pick in the draft. Day, who finished his collegiate career as Arkansas' all time leading scorer, Day got a lot of playing time with the Bucks during his first three seasons and averaged 14.0 points a game, but was an inconsistent shooter, shooting .just over 41 percent from the field during his stay in Milwaukee. So off he went to the Celtics, where Day once held the franchise record for points scored in a quarter. However, he also shot .387 from the field in his two seasons in Boston. Day spent the next few years as a backup for three different NBA teams and then finished his basketball career playing in various locales, including the new ABA and a stint on the Harlem Globetrotters.

1993: Shawn Bradley, Center, Philadelphia 76ers, 2nd Pick

Yes, Bradley played over 800 games and made nearly 70 million dollars during his career (if only I were 7'6"), but his career as a whole came up short. The 76ers decided to make the big man from BYU the centerpiece of their franchise, and picked him over Anfernee Hardaway and Jamal Mashburn. Bradley proved to be an excellent shot blocker, and his 2.5 blocks per game rank ninth in NBA history. However, offensively he was limited at best, and his rebounding was rather lackluster for a man that stands 7'6". In his two plus years in Philly, Bradley averaged 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, and the Philadelphia fans and press turned on him. Traded to New Jersey, Bradley showed signs of competency, averaging 12.3 points and 8 rebounds a game. That's not great, but the Mavericks were impressed, and sent Jim Jackson, Sam Cassell, and others for a package centered around Bradley. Bradley would spend nine seasons in Dallas, but only averaged double figures in points for the first two seasons, gradually losing playing time and becoming little more than a better version of Jim McLlvaine. Bradley retired in 2005, finishing his career averaging 8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds a game, and also leaving behind a legacy of getting dunked on.

1994: Sharone Wright, Forward, Philadelphia 76ers, 6th Pick

Over the years, Clemson has produced some quality power forwards, like Larry Nance and Horace Grant, and Wright was supposed to be the next link in the chain. In his first year in the league, Wright was solid, averaging 11.4 points and 6.0 rebounds a game and was named to the All NBA Rookie 2nd Team. The next year, his play seemed to slip, and when Philadelphia decided to start all over, Wright was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Wright finished the 1995-96 season strongly for the Raptors, averaging 16.5 points in 11 games. The next year, Wright spent most of the season as a backup, averaging only 16.8 minutes and 6.5 points per game. During the 1997 offseason, Wright was seriously injured in a car wreck, and was never the same player. After playing seven games with the Raptors in 1998, Wright continued his career in Europe, and is currently a coach for a Dutch team in Amsterdam.

1995: Bryant Reeves, Center, Vancouver Grizzlies, 6th Pick

Reeves, nicknamed Big Country, was the first ever pick of the Vancouver Grizzlies, and the 7'1, 275 lb was positioned to be the franchise player of the expansion Grizzlies. In his first three years, Reeves wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible either, averaging 15.2 points per game. The Grizzlies were encouraged by Reeves' play, so they signed him to a six year, 65 million dollar contract extension. It is contracts like these that is the cause of the upcoming lockout. The only thing that improved after the contract signing was Reeves' waist size, as he got overweight and the Grizzlies saw his ppg average go from 16.3 to 10.8 to 8.9. In 2001, Reeves averaged 8.3 points a game, and chronic back pain forced him to retire in 2002. Meanwhile, Reeves continued to reap the benefits of his contract until 2005, so good for him.

1996: Lorenzen Wright, Center, Los Angeles Clippers, 7th Pick

Wright was a journeyman center who wasn't an awful player, but when you're the seventh player in the draft and picked ahead of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, you're expected to be a little more than a big man that can provide 15-20 minutes off the bench each night. Coming out of Memphis, Wright was chosen by a Clippers team that needed help at the center position. But Wright wasn't the answer for the Clippers' problems, averaging 7.7. points and 7.4 rebounds during his three years in L.A. The Hawks saw some potential in Wright, so after the 1999 season, they traded two future first round picks for Wright and signed him to a six year, 42 million dollar contract. So imagine my frustration as a Hawks fan when Wright proceeds to average 6.0 points and 4.1 rebounds a game next year. Wright improved in 2001 (12.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg), so it was time for the Hawks to make another stupid trade and send Wright along with the pick that would become Pau Gasol for Shareef-Abdur Rahim. Wright spent five seasons playing for his hometown Grizzlies, averaging 9.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in 336 games. After the 2006 season, Wright signed again with the Hawks as a backup center, and was eventually part of the deal that sent Mike Bibby to Atlanta. After 18 games in 2008-09 with the Cavaliers, Wright retired. Sadly, Wright was found dead in July 2010, and the investigation into his murder is still pending.

1997: Antonio Daniels, Guard, Vancouver Grizzlies, 4th Pick

The 1997 Draft was not very good at all, as you had Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, Chauncey Billups, and a whole bunch of guys that were either decent or something less than that. Daniels was the fourth pick in this draft out of Bowling Green, and unlike Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury, Daniels actually wanted to play in Vancouver. But after struggling in his rookie season (7.1 ppg, 4.5 apg, .416 field goal percentage), the Grizzlies drafted Mike Bibby the next year and sent Daniels to San Antonio for Carl Herrera and Felipe Lopez. In San Antonio, Daniels developed into a decent role player, but not the star he was projected to become. After three years in San Antonio, Daniels has been a backup in Portland, Seattle, Washington, and New Oreleans, and just this past season, Daniels played four games for the Philadelphia 76ers. While Daniels is a consummate pro, the fact is that he's only had one season where he averaged double figures in points (11.2 with the 2004-05 Supersonics) and his career averages of 7.6 points and 3.4 assists per game are not the marks one hopes for out of a number four pick, hence, his appearance on this list.

1998: Michael Olowokandi, Center, Los Angeles Clippers, 1st Pick

The Clippers could have chosen Mike Bibby, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, or Paul Pierce with the pick. But in true Clippers fashion, they chose Olowokandi, a seven footer from Pacific who didn't start playing organized basketball until he was 17. To say that Olowokandi was raw would be an understatement, but in his first season, he wasn't terrible (8.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg). But Olowokandi didn't improve much after his rookie season, and his range was limited (.433 field goal percentage as a Clipper). After a 2002-03 season in which Olowokandi set a career high in ppg (12.3), and rpg (9.1, albeit in 36 games), the Timberwolves signed him as a free agent in the hopes that Olowokandi and Kevin Garnett would make an imposing front line. While Garnett lived up to his end of the bargain, Olowokandi struggled with injury and in his three years in Minnesota, he averaged a mere 6.1 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. After a trade to the Celtics in 2006, Olowokandi would last only one more season before finding himself out of the NBA after the 2006-07 season.

1999: Jonathan Bender, Forward, Toronto Raptors, 5th Pick 

The Raptors chose Bender straight out of high school in 1999, but didn't hold on to him long, as they traded him to the Pacers for Antonio Davis on Draft Night. That would prove to be a good decision for the Raptors. The Pacers, a team full of veterans, figured that they could wait a couple of years and allow Bender to develop and adjust to life in the NBA. At the time, it probably seemed like a good idea. But time makes fools of us all and Bender wasn't able to translate his athletic talent into a decent NBA career. He struggled shooting (career .417 field goal percentage) and while he was 6'11", he was too slim to bang with the power forwards of the league. Knee problems started to rob Bender of his elite athleticism, and the Pacers had to call it a day and release Bender at the end of the 2006 season. Remarkably, Bender came back and played for the Knicks in the 2009-10, but wasn't brought back after averaging 4.7 points in 25 games. For his career, Bender finished with averages of 5.5 points and 2.2 rebounds. However, he's only 30, so a comeback is theoretically possible.

Well, thanks for reading The Canon Review's Worst NBA Draft Picks of the 1990s. If you have any thoughts or disagreements about this list, then feel free to share those by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Worst NBA Draft Picks: 1980-1989

On Thursday, the 2011 NBA Draft takes place. In this year's draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are lucky enough to have both the first and fourth picks in the draft. However, this year's draft class is considered the weakest in years, and even the top players, such as Duke PG Kyrie Irving and Arizona F Derrick Williams, aren't considered likely to develop into superstars. Anyway, the Cavs are at least hoping that whoever they pick won't go on to have the careers of the following men, the worst NBA draft picks of the 1980s. In the first of a three part series, the Canon Review takes a look back at the men who had the hopes of an entire franchise pinned on them, and then proceeded to dash those hopes for any number of reasons. Some men got hurt, some men fell into drugs, while others just weren't good enough to live up to the hype. Whatever the reason, here are the worst NBA draft picks of the 1980s.

1980: James Ray, Forward, Denver Nuggets, 5th Pick

I suppose I could have gone with Joe Barry Carroll or Kelvin Ransay in this spot, but at least those men had a few stretches of solid play in their careers. The same can not be said about Ray, a 6'8" forward from Jacksonville University. After the Nuggets selected him ahead of Mike Gminski, Andrew Toney, and Kiki Vandeweghe, Denver coach Donnie Walsh said that Ray "may be the best out of all the player's in this year's draft" and "There's no doubt in my mind that he's going to be a very good player in the NBA for a very long time." So, what happened? Well, Ray started to have knee problems almost as soon as he entered the league, and never stayed healthy long enough to develop his game. As a result, he lasted only three years in Denver, playing 103 games and scoring 334 points. After that, it was off to Europe for Ray.

1981: Al Wood, Guard-Forward, Atlanta Hawks, 4th Pick

Picked over Tom Chambers and Rolando Blackman, among others, Wood was a second-team All American for the North Carolina Tar Heels and helped lead his team to the championship game in 1981. The Hawks decided that was good enough for them, and were so impressed that they traded him after 19 games to the Clippers for the immortal Freeman Williams (who would become part of the deal that landed Dominique Wilkins for Atlanta). Wood lasted two seasons with the Clippers with mixed results, and was soon sent to Seattle along with Tom Chambers for James Donaldson, Greg Kesler, and Mark Radford. While this would turn out to be yet another bad trade for the Clippers, it wasn't because of Wood. Wood had his moments as a Supersonic, though, and in 1984-85 Wood averaged 15.0 a game. By 1986, the Sonics were looking for someone with a little more range, so they traded Wood to the Mavericks for Dale Ellis. While Ellis blossomed in Seattle, Wood languished on the Dallas bench, averaging 6.6 points in 54 games for the Mavericks in 1986-87 before being waived in November. Wood went on to continue his career in the CBA and in Europe, never to regain the glory of his college days.

1982: Bill Garnett, Forward, Dallas Mavericks, 4th Pick

1982 turned out to be a three player draft (James Worthy, Terry Cummings, and Dominique Wilkins). Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they picked fourth that year. So they took Garnett, the 1982 WAC Player of the Year out of the University of Wyoming. Garnett spent two seasons in Dallas, and proved to be too inconsistent to get major minutes on a Dallas team that was desperate for front court help. In two seasons in Dallas, Garnett averaged 5.7 points and 4.8 rebounds. When he was traded to Indiana prior to the start of the 1984-85 season, he was referred to as a "liability" by Dallas GM Norm Sonju. Garnett did little to prove Sonju wrong, lasting two seasons in Indiana and averaging a mere 5.3 points per game. By 1986, Garnett was out of the NBA for good.

1983: Russell Cross, Center, Golden State Warriors, 6th Pick

I suppose I could have gone with Steve Stipanovich, who was picked second by the Pacers, but at least Stipanovich was a decent center for five seasons in Indianapolis. Instead, the choice here is Cross, who came out a year early out of the University of Purdue. Even though he had a history of knee injuries, the Warriors drafted him anyway and teamed him up with Joe Barry Carroll in the hopes that they could become a pair of stalwarts in the Warriors' frontcourt. However, Cross only played one year in Golden State, playing 45 games and scoring a grand total of 166 points. The Warriors released him before the 1984-85 season, and Cross signed with Denver shortly after. But Cross's knees acted up again, and he never saw any action for the Nuggets, or any other team, for that matter.

1984: Sam Bowie, Center, Portland Trailblazers, 2nd Pick

Like Cross, Bowie was a center who had a history of knee problems. Unlike Cross, Bowie at least lasted more than one season and proved to be a halfway decent player on the rare occasions where he stayed healthy. In his first year, the All-American from Kentucky made the NBA All-Rookie Team and finished third in blocked shots per game (2.7). Then the injuries started happening, and over the next four years Bowie played a total of 63 games before Portland traded him along with a first round pick for Buck Williams. While in New Jersey, Bowie actually stayed healthy to play 280 games over the next four seasons, and was a solid player for the Nets (12.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.64 blocks per game). After playing two seasons with the Lakers, Bowie retired in 1995. On one hand, Bowie fought his way to have a decent career that lasted over a decade in the NBA. On the other hand, he never stayed healthy and his selection has been question by every basketball fan ever since, mainly because the Trailblazers took him one pick ahead of Michael Jordan, only the greatest player in NBA history.

1985: Benoit Benjamin, Center, Los Angeles Clippers, 3rd Pick

If you look at Benjamin's stats, you might come to the conclusion that all in all, he wasn't a bad player. After all, for his career he averaged 11.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 2.0 bpg. During his days with the Los Angeles Clippers, he was constantly in the top 10 in the league in blocked shots, and in 1987-88 Benjamin averaged 3.4 blocks per game to finish second in the NBA. However, stats are only part of the story, as Benjamin was one of the most frustrating players to ever put on a uniform. He constantly struggled with his weight, put in inconsistent effort, and nearly every coach he ever had despised him for his attitude and lackadaisical play. During his 15 year career, Benjamin played for nine teams, as every one of them tried to convince themselves that they were the team that could turn Benjamin around. As it turns out, no one could, and Benjamin, who had all the talent in the world, is remembered today as a bust and as a cautionary tale.

1986: Len Bias, Forward, Boston Celtics, 2nd Pick

The 1986 Draft class is one that is full of heartbreak and disappointment. Just in the top 10 alone, there's Chris Washburn, Kenny Walker, William Bedford, Roy Tarpley, and Brad Sellers. All those guys, for a number of reasons, were colossal disappointments, but at least they suited up for their teams. The same can not be said for Bias, as I'm sure most of you know. Coming out of the University of Maryland, Bias was supposed to be the man that challenged Michael Jordan's status as the best player in the league and would be the next star of the Celtics' dynasty. Instead, just two days after being drafted, Bias died of a cocaine overdose. Sadly, we'll never know what kind of player Bias would have been in the NBA.

1987: Dennis Hopson, Guard, New Jersey Nets, 3rd Pick

Hopson was an All-American guard at Ohio State who averaged 29 points a game his senior season. The Nets, in dire need for backcourt help, picked Hopson with the third pick in the Draft over Scottie Pippen and Kevin Johnson. Hopson was supposed to be the Nets' version of Michael Jordan, even wearing the number 23 during his first year in the NBA. However, he played more like Michael Ruffin, shooting just over 40 percent from the field in his first season. In 1989-90, Hopson was the Nets' leading scorer with 15.8 ppg. But his shot continued to be inconsistent (.434 field goal percentage) so they traded him to the Bulls for a first round pick. Hopson won a ring in Chicago, but was buried on the bench and fell out of favor with coach Phil Jackson, so off he went to Sacramento, where he average 10.7 ppg coming off the bench for the Kings in 1991-92. After that season, Hopson went on to play in Spain, and over the next eight years traveled the world, playing for 10 different teams in six different countries.

1988: Tim Perry, Forward, Phoenix Suns, 8th Pick

1988 was actually a pretty decent year for draft picks, so we had to go all the way down to number eight to find a selection that didn't quite work out. That pick was Perry, a 6'9" power forward from Temple. In his first three seasons with the Suns, Perry spent most of the time on the bench, averaging 4.2 points a game in those first three years. In 1991-92, Perry stepped up his game somewhat, starting 69 games for the Suns and averaging 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds a game. After the 1992 season, Perry was one of three players traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Charles Barkley. While it would be unfair to suggest that the 76ers expected Perry to become the next Charles Barkley, it would be fair to say that Perry was a bit of a disappointment for the 76ers. As the Great Book of Philadelphia Sports Lists put it; Perry "was a tall guy who couldn't pass, couldn't shoot, couldn't rebound". That may be overestimating things slightly, but Perry averaged a mere 7.3 ppg and 4.3 rpg during his four years with the Sixers. After that, Perry finished his career with the New Jersey Nets, getting released by the team in 1996.

1989: Pervis Ellison, Center, Sacramento Kings, 1st Pick 

Ellison was the MVP of the Final Four as a Freshman at Louisville in 1986 and picked up the nickname "Never Nervous" for his play. Even though at 6'9", he was undersized for a center, the Kings picked him first anyway and figured at the worst, he could play at the power forward spot. After an injury plagued rookie season, the Kings shipped Ellison to the Washington Bullets in a three team trade in which the Kings ended up with Eric Leckner, Bobby Hansen, and some low draft picks. I'm not sure what the Kings were exactly thinking here, but Ellison turned into a heck of player in 1991-92, averaging 20 points and 11.2 rebounds per game and winning the NBA's Most Improved Player award. However, Ellison couldn't stay healthy after that season long enough to repeat that year's success, and in 1994 the Bullets let Ellison go. Ellison signed with the Celtics during the 1994 offseason, and spent the next six years either backing up at center or on the injured list. Had Ellison's body held up, it's likely that he would have been an All-Star at least once in his career and Danny Ferry would have been on this list. But instead, here we are, and Ellison is just one of many who couldn't reach greatness due to injury.

Well, that's it for the Worst NBA Draft Picks of the 1980s. Tomorrow we'll have the Worst NBA Draft Picks of the 1990s and rest assured there's a whole lot of centers to be featured. Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this list, then feel free to share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Canon Movie Review: The Proposal

Sorry about the delay. I would have done this earlier, but then the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup and I had to go out and everyone started rioting, so I chose to watch stupid people tip over cars and jump onto burning cars. Anyway, this is the last installment of the Ryan Reynolds Extravaganza, and after this I can say to all those that have shunned me before that yes, I have watched Ryan Reynolds movies. The movie featured today is not one that I would say is in my wheelhouse, so to speak, the 2009 romantic comedy The Proposal. Produced by Touchstone Pictures and directed by Anne Fletcher, The Proposal stars Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, Mary Steenburgen, the one and only Craig T. Nelson, Malin Akerman, and Betty White. In The Proposal, a pushy editor at a giant publishing company (Bullock) is shocked to find out that she's about to be deported back to Canada. In order to keep her job and stay in the country, she forces her assistant Andrew (Reynolds) to fake an engagement with her. During this facade, Andrew and his new fiance go back to his home in Alaska, where hijinks ensue. A few notes about this film.

- I'm trying to start this review on a positive note, so I will first mention that I thought the dog was the best part of the film. Kevin, a half Eskimo half Samoyed breed (which was actually played by several dogs), nearly managed to steal the show from his human costars. Heck, if it wasn't for Betty White, Kevin would have provided the few laughs this film had, although I guess I should give credit to Bullock for playing so well off of the dog.

- Now that I've tried to be positive, let's shift to the negative. I'm going to assume that most of you reading this probably have a good idea of what happens at the end, the mystery is just how the ending came about. Well, I'm still trying to figure that out to, because at no point in this movie was there a real turning point between Andrew and Margaret's (Bullock). Oh sure, they might have got to a point where they could stand each other instead of Andrew out and out despising Margaret after a rendition of Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock's "It Takes Two". But still, there was no point in this whole movie where you really saw the two of them connect. Then I guess you're supposed to suspend your disbelief that Andrew would start to fall for the woman he once referred to as "Satan's Mistress" over a wacky weekend. I guess we are left to assume that somewhere along the way, Andrew forgot about all the misdeeds this evil woman performed on him over the years, even holding him back as an editor for her own personal gain, and somehow fall head over heels for her.

- The scriptwriter for The Proposal is a man by the name of Peter Chiarelli. Well, I refuse to believe that he wrote a script as much as borrowed every romantic comedy cliche he could think of and ram it into one movie. Let's see, there's a grandmother who likes to talk about inappropriate subjects for comedic effect (White), there's a doting mother who desperately wants grandchildren (Steenburgen), and there's a gruff father that doesn't agree with his son's career choice and wants him to lead a lifestyle similar to the father's (Craig T. Nelson). The makers of this movie also throw in the old flame that's happy to see Andrew once again (Akerman), but at least her character is mature enough to know that life goes on and she has successfully moved on with her life instead of waiting like an obsessive ex-lover for her beau's return, which some other movies might have done. The most forced of these cliches was definitely the father-son feud between Andrew and Craig T. Nelson, as it seemed to be thrown in there just to introduce another obstacle.

- As far as the acting goes, White is easily the standout of this movie as Gammy, as she brings a few laughs to the table here. Steenburgen and Akerman weren't too bad in supporting roles, although they had little to do, while Craig T. Nelson is still Craig T. Nelson, so your mileage may vary. Meanwhile, the leads in The Proposal weren't able to overcome a shoddy script and a scatter shot premise. Bullock really didn't seem mean enough as the proverbial ice queen, and even though she was nominated for a Golden Globe for this movie, this was not one of her better performances. Meanwhile, Reynolds seemed to fall back to his typical sarcastic wise-ass character a bit too much in this film, and didn't seem to have a whole lot of chemistry with Bullock in the film.

- The town that the movie was set in (Sitka, Alaska) was supposed to be small, but was it so small that one guy has four different jobs? Well, I guess so, as Ramone (Oscar Nunez) is not only serving food at a party for the returning Andrew, he also runs to general store and is the priest at the wedding. Not only that, but he's also the town's lone male exotic dancer. I can honestly say that I could have gone my whole life without seeing Oscar from The Office shaking his ass in a thong in Sandra Bullock's face. Yeesh.

Overall, while I'm willing to admit that this film isn't exactly catered to people like me, there's not a lot in The Proposal that I would consider good or even average. Not to mention that I talked to other people who are big Ryan Reynolds fans about this movie, and they weren't very high on it either. The Proposal is a cliche ridden film where the two leads in the film show very little romantic spark and seem to fall for each other for no reason other than it was called for in the script. Even with Kevin the dog, I'd give this a 2.3 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have thoughts about this movie or feedback on The Canon Review in general, then share those thoughts either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Canon Movie Review: The Nines

The next movie featured in the Canon Review Ryan Reynolds movie extravaganza is the 2007 British film The Nines. Distributed by Newmarket Films and directed by John August, The Nines stars Reynolds, Hope Davis, Melissa McCarthy, Elle Fanning, and David Denman (Roy from The Office). The story of The Nines follows three different people, Gary, a troubled actor under house arrest, Gavin, a television show producer starring in his own reality show, and Gabriel, an accomplished video game designer. Somehow, these seemingly three different lifestyles are connected. A few notes about this film:

- The movie is basically split up into three parts. The first part is called The Prisoner and has television actor Gary (Reynolds) under house arrest after going on a crack binge and burning his house down. At first, this seems like a slightly humorous tale of a down-and-out actor trying to adjust to life confined in someone else's house 24/7. Then he meets one of his neighbors, a sultry housewife named Sara (Davis) comes around and the two make out. For some reason, Sara does a musical number during the middle of the scene, but whatever. However, Gary starts hearing noises around the house, and one day he gets so freaked out that he takes a walk outside, only to get arrested. After the arrest, Gary's publicist (McCarthy) moves in. The two seem to become close friends, which concerns Sara more than it should. Also, the number nine appears a lot in this part, as Gary keeps seeing it in the local paper and in a game of backgammon, he rolls nothing but nines, which I imagine would start to become inconvenient after a while.

- The second part of the movie is titled "Reality Television" and features Reynolds as a showrunner named Gavin who is trying to get his show 'Knowing' put on by a network. Also returning are Davis, this time as a cut throat executive producer named Susan, and Melissa McCarthy as herself. Gavin has cast his good friend McCarthy as the lead actress in his show, a choice that doesn't seem to sit well with Susan. After Gavin finishes shooting his pilot, he returns to his home, which just happens to be the same house Gary was holed up in (and just happens to be the actual home of the director John August). I must say that I have mixed feelings about this segment. Sure, the acting was fine, and it was compelling to see Gavin fight for his friend Melissa before ultimately choosing to save his own show. However, the segment was so focused on the backdoor shenanigans behind a television show that it kind of pushed aside the main storyline for a while. Also, there were some points where it seemed like August was more interested in letting off steam (he had a TV show cancelled a few years prior to the film) then advancing the story or the characters in any way.

- The third scene is titled "Knowing", and this time Reynolds plays a video game designer named Gabriel whose car dies in the middle of nowhere. Having to leave his wife Mary (McCarthy) and daughter Noelle (Fanning) behind, Gabriel runs into a mysterious stranger named Sierra (Davis) who offers to help but sure has an odd way of going about it. That's really all I can say about this part of the film without ruining the whole plot for you. As far as the connection between the three and the twists in the storyline go, I will say that the writers and August attempt to make everything perfectly clear, so even idiots like myself can figure out what's going on as long as you pay attention throughout the film. Actually, I wonder if August made it too easy to figure things out, although I'm sure that viewers still had a few questions about the movie and the 'nines' at the end of the film.

- With three different actors playing three different parts, the whole movie could fall apart if just one of these actors were unconvincing in their roles. Fortunately, this does not happen here, as all three main actors do rather well in this film. Reynolds was good in this movie, although oddly enough I felt his weakest acting came when he played the actor in the first part of the movie. But overall, I can't really complain about his performance. Davis turns in the best performance here, at least in my opinion, but McCarthy wasn't too far off either. I found it interesting that the film painted both Davis and McCarthy as a contrast of the other, each one fighting for what they believe is best for Reynolds's various characters.

Overall, The Nines is a good thriller mystery that sometimes seems to get in the way of itself by veering off into different subjects, such as the evils of television producers. Still, there's enough here so that most people will end up at least enjoying the film. Overall, I'd give The Nines a 6.45 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and remember that if you have a comment or a future idea for a post, then send those along to me either by reading a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Canon Movie Review: Buried

The second movie to be featured in The Canon Review's Ryan Reynolds week is the 2010 picture, Buried. Distributed by Lions Gate and directed by Rodrigo Cortes, Buried stars Ryan Reynolds, Samantha Mathis, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Erik Palladino. In Buried, Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, an American truck driver working in Iraq in 2006. One day, Conroy has the great misfortune of waking up in a coffin, with nothing but a cigarette lighter and a cell phone. While the cell phone gives him contact to the outside world, it doesn't help Conroy too much, as it proves to be hard to find a coffin buried in an Iraqi desert. So Conroy must find some way to get out of the coffin and emerge from the ground or else, he dies. A few notes about this film:

- Cortes, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock films, made the interesting decision of having every shot of the film take place in the coffin, with Reynolds being the only actor we see throughout the whole movie. So, throughout the entire movie, the audience is basically stuck in the coffin with Paul Conroy, adding more suspense to the film and a sense of frustration and powerlessness when it looks impossible for Conroy to get out.  What also helps is that as a director, Cortes is talented enough to use what little light there is to work with in the coffin to add different emotions to each scene. Also, Cortes uses various camera angles to both show the isolation of Conroy and the claustrophobic, closed-off atmosphere in which Conroy is struggling to deal with. All in all, Cortes proves to be quite a talented director, getting every bit out of the limited scenery provided.

- Coming into this movie, I was skeptical about Reynolds's chances to pull off a role such as this one. After all, he's mainly been in comedy movies or flashy action features. However, Reynolds proves to be more than capable of playing the role of Conroy, delivering a gripping performance with great emotional range that makes the audience root for Conroy to eventually be rescued. Even though I must admit that I haven't seen a lot of Reynolds' work (which is the main reason I watched this film in the first place), I will say that this is easily the best work that I've ever seen him in. In a very demanding role, Reynolds pulls it off with aplomb.

- Luckily for Conroy, he was provided a cell phone, not only for his captors to reach him, but he can also call for help as well. This seems like a bit of a misstep for the kidnappers, but the main reason they leave the phone in there is so Conroy can make a hostage video to be sent out across the airwaves. I've got to say, even though Conroy is buried in a coffin, the cell phone gets some great coverage. I mean, I can't even pick up reception on my cell phone in my own house, and Conroy's able to call anywhere in the world with service only dropping out one time. I wonder what his cell phone carrier is?

- Not only does Buried attempt to recreate the experience of being buried alive, it also seems to be making a point about how frustrating it must be to be buried alive and having to rely on others to get you out. The first few minutes of the film is dedicated to Conroy trying to find someone, anyone, to believe his story and report it to the proper authorities. However, not everybody is so willing to believe that somebody could be buried in a coffin in Iraq. Conroy also has a frustrating conversation with a friend of his wife, who actually hangs up on him because she felt Conroy was a bit rude before finally giving him the number to the state department a second time. When Conroy finally reaches the proper authorities, he gets frustrated that they seem to be more interested in not letting the story leak to the press then rescuing Conroy or finding his captors. To make matters worse, Conroy actually gets fired by his employers for some violation of his contract in order to get out of paying his insurance. Now, I know that the writers were trying to display the greed of corporate America and the modern practice of companies covering their own butts instead of caring about their employees, but come on, this was a little too far. Imagine the PR nightmare that would take place after an employee got out of a terrorist situation and it comes out that he was fired by his contractor before hand for a petty and unrelated reason. That company would have employees quit on them left and right. I get what the filmmakers were going for, but for me, it felt like they were just piling on.

Overall, this is a movie that could have been an experimental disaster, but Cortes and Reynolds are able to pull it off and make Buried a compelling film. Buried is a film full of suspense and will tug at the audience's heart strings while making them think "what would I do in this situation" Overall, I'd give Buried a 7.6 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this movie, or future ideas for this blog, then send those along either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Canon Movie Review: The Amityville Horror (2005)

This movie review is actually the start of a mini Ryan Reynolds marathon here at The Canon Review. See, the other day I was chilling in the pool with a few peeps, and when the topic of Ryan Reynolds came up, I mentioned that I had not seen many of his movies at all. Well, they laughed at me and called me names, and vowed to never speak to me again unless I watched at least four of his movies and wrote up a review on each one. So, in an effort to win back the respect I have lost, here is the first of four Ryan Reynolds movies to be reviewed this week, the 2005 remake The Amityville Horror. Distributed by MGM and Dimension Films, and directed by Andrew Douglas (a first time director who hasn't directed another film since), The Amityville Horror stars Reynolds, Melissa George, Phillip Baker Hall, Jesse James, Chloe Moretz, and Rachel Nichols. In The Amityville Horror, the Lutz family (with Reynolds as George Lutz and George as Kathy) stumble across what they consider to be their dream house. Despite hearing that a brutal murder took place in the same house years ago, the Lutzes decide to buy the house anyway, figuring what's the worse that can happen? Well, as the movie illustrates, a lot can happen. A few notes about this film:

- Although the book 'The Amityville Horror' is supposedly based on a true story, this version bears little resemblence to the original source material.  Yes, the characters are still named the Lutzes and they live in a haunted house in Long Island, but this version has the father go crazy a la Jack Torrance in The Shining, to the point where I kind of expected Reynolds to chop through the door with an ax and yell "Here's Johnny!" The actual George Lutz wasn't really pleased with Reynolds' portrayal of him, so he decided to sue the makers of the movie. I don't really know what the result of the lawsuit was, but Lutz passed away not long after filing suit.

- The Amityville Horror was directed by Andrew Douglas, but it was also produced by Michael Bay, and this film has Bay's influence all over it. As such, the film looks sharp and there are lots of special effects thrown in there seemingly just to throw them in there. Since the movie's script was kind of thin, Douglas decided to compensate by throwing nearly every horror movie cliche in that he could think of. From maggots on the wall, to visions of blood spewing everywhere, to an attack by a bunch of flies, to George nearly being drowned in the bathtub for whatever reason, this film tries hard to fit in as much cliches as possible. Also, the script writers decided that a ghost of one of the murder victims, a little girl named Jodi, would make a great addition to the story, so they threw her in there so she could torture a mean babysitter from her life. What fun!

- As far as the acting goes, I'll be kind and say that it wasn't too bad. Reynolds was decent as George Lutz. Yes, he was basically doing an impression of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, but at least he was halfway convincing as a man that had lost his mind. Although I get the feeling that he was cast not only because of his acting talents, but because of his abs, as he is shirtless for almost half the movie. Also, for some reason, George begins to have an obsession with chopping firewood, which I guess is meant to be a sign that a man is losing his mind. As Kathy Lutz, Melissa George was competent enough, although the script mainly portrayed her as little more than a hapless victim throughout the majority of the film. The child actors (James, Moretz, and Jimmy Bennett), aren't too bad, I suppose.

- However, if I was George Lutz and I had inherited a brood like that after marrying Kathy, I might go insane after a while myself. Michael (Bennett) is a strange little kid, but he's the least of George's problems. The oldest one, Billy, is not very fond of George and spends most of the movie whining about how he's old enough to do this or that or whatever, while the daughter Chelsea is seemingly possessed by a dead girl to the point where she nearly jumps off the damn roof, and then screams at her mother after she denies the existence of the dead girl. Worse yet, the dang dog won't stop barking and somehow finds his way into the boathouse every night. Yeah, the house being haunted may not have helped George's state of mind, but the kids and the dog did him no favors either.

- One of the more ridiculous sideplots of the movie involved the babysitter (Nichols). It starts will Billy quibbling about not needing a babysitter to the point where you want George to send Billy out to cut some more firewood so he can get the hell off the screen, and then here comes the babysitter, looking as if she came out of the pages of Young Hooker Monthly. Instead of sending this girl away, George makes some crack to Billy about wanting a sitter now and the couple goes on their merry way. While at the house, the babysitter smokes some pot, hangs out on Billy's bed and seems to want to jump the little tyke's bones before telling Billy about the murders that took place here. She then goes up to Chelsea's room, and she's saying something about Jodi not liking her or something, and eventually Billy makes a dare with the sitter to go into the closet where Jodi was murdered. Well, she goes in there, and here's Jodi. Naturally, the door will not open, so the sitter's in there with a crazed Jodi, whom for some reason makes the sitter feel her bullet hole and causes all sort of fast-cut chaos before the sitter is wheeled out shaking on a stretcher. You know what? Describing it isn't enough, so WHO WANTS TO SEE IT?

Overall, I'm not a fan of this movie. At times, the movie jumped around at a breakneck pace, so you never got any real sense of what George and Kathy were like before all the craziness started happening. The movie relied way too much on special effects and horror cliches, and the actors had little to do but just react to whatever CGI madness they were supposed to react to. Also, for what is supposed to be a 'true story', there are way too many elements of the story that are too remarkable to be true. At the end of the day, what you get is a mediocre at best horror film that is short on story and horror, but not short of special effects. I'd give it a 3 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future posts on this blog, or thoughts about this movie, then share those either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Canon Video Game Review: Suikoden 2

Over the past three weeks or so, I have been immersed in playing the Role-Playing Game Suikoden 2. Released by Konami in Japan in 1998, and in North America in 1999, Suikoden 2 takes place three years after the events of Suikoden 1. In Suikoden 2, you control a young hero that seems to always find himself in the middle of some very tough situations. At the beginning, the hero and his friend, Jowy Atreides, are caught in an ambush of their unit in the Highland Army Youth Brigade. They escape by jumping into a river, only to be separated. The hero finds himself taken prisoner in a mercenary camp, but eventually Jowy frees him and the two go back to their hometown of Kyaro to reunite with the hero's sister Nanami. Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, you can't go home again, and the two are captured as spies for the City-State army. Just before they are to be executed, the three are freed by the hero's former captors, Viktor and Flik, and they head back to the City-State to prepare for war against the Highland army led by the evil Luca Blight.

Photo Courtesy of

One of the strengths of Suikoden 2 is the amount of characters involved in the story. For one, you can recruit up to 108 members for your army, each characters offering different strengths and weaknesses. Remarkably, almost each character has a rather detailed background and, while some are more featured than others, each character has their own distinct personality. You also can find out more about each characters by having an in-game private investigator named Richmond 'investigate' them for a small fee. While this isn't necessary to complete the game, it does add something to the gaming experience as a whole. However, not every character will be available for fighting, as some can only be used in the 'battle mode' and others are just there to serve specific purposes. For example, one person opens an armor shop in your castle, while another is responsible for storage of objects that aren't needed at that time.

There are three different modes of combat in Suikoden 2. The majority of battles will take place in a regular battle system that is similar to other RPGs, where a party of up to 6 people will fight off random enemies and bosses. Each character can be assigned runes to perform magic spells and special attacks, while some characters will pull off a combo attack. For example, the hero and Jowy have a combo in which they attack every member of the opponent's party at once, while a trio of circus performers can pull off a 'fire-breathing' attack that will result in major damage, but unfortunately will leave one of the performers unbalanced for the next turn. Also, instead of buying new weapons for each of your characters, you can get each one sharpened by a blacksmith, which can be found in various towns. The second battle mode is a duel mode, in which the hero squares off mano-a-mano against an opponent. The battle screen offers three choices (attack, defend, wild attack), and you must choose which option to do based off of clues given by the opponent's words in a text box. It kind of works like rock, paper, scissors, as for example, if you choose defend of a wild attack, the wild attack will fail and you will score major hit points. This is probably the simplest battle mode in this game, especially once you can figure out what each player is going to do. The third mode is a battle mode that is somewhat similar to Advance Wars, and will take place during major battles. In this mode, you lead various units composing of up to three characters and their armies into battle against the Highland army. Some of your units will have different abilities, as one unit may be composed of archers while another may attack with magic, depending on which character is in which unit. While this is an interesting mode and a nice change of pace to the regular battle mode, the one problem I had with this is that each battle's outcome is predetermined, so even if you're kicking the other side's head in, you may have to withdraw because, well, that's what the story calls for. I kind of wish they made these battles more open-ended instead of having a pre-determined outcome. That way, I could have more of an impact in these battles through using the right strategy and tactics instead of just going through the motions and waiting for the end.

Another interesting aspect of Suikoden 2 is that, as your army grows bigger and bigger, so does the castle that houses the army. As the castle evolves, your character goes from sharing a little bedroom with Nanami, to having your own penthouse suite on the top floor. Also, different stores will open up as you get more characters, so you can buy all your armor, runes, and equipment at your own headquarters. There are also mini-games to play at the castle, from fishing in the docks to playing wack-a-mole in the garden to having Iron Chef style cookoffs in the kitchen. Yes, you can have your own cooking competitions, offering up a variety of meals based on recipes you've collected throughout your travels and cooking up three meals to be judged by four random party members. Let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've competed in a cookoff with a unicorn and a bald antique collector serving as two of the judges.

Graphics wise, Suikoden 2 is kind of lacking when compared to the Final Fantasy games that came out during the same time, as the game is done in 2D. Even so, at least the graphics are crisp and well-organized for the most part. The sound is a strength in the game, especially the score, as there are quite a few tracks that are well done and will stay with you for awhile. Plus, the game offers a wide variety of tracks, so you don't hear the same song over and over again. Although this game isn't a direct sequel of Suikoden 1, players of the first game will recognize some of the characters from the first game, including Flik, Viktor, and Kasumi. Also, if you loaded up the save from a completed Suikoden 1 game at the beginning, there are a few bonus scenes, and you can even play as the hero from the first game, McDohl. If this game has a weak point, it's the translations of the text from Japanese to English, as sometimes it seems as if the characters are speaking in some form of broken English, and on one occassion, a female character is accidentally called 'he'.

Overall, despite some minor quibbles, Suikoden 2 is a great game. The storyline is engrossing and has enough twists and turns that will put you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. The battles in this game aren't too tedious, and with such a wide variety of characters to use, you'll have fun mixing and matching runes to each character. Add to that the minigames, the excellent soundtrack, and multiple endings, and Suikoden 2 is one of the finest RPGs of its era, if not of all time. Overall, I'd give it a 9.25 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this post, or ideas for future posts, then share them with me either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Friday, June 3, 2011

Worst MLB Draft Picks: 2000-2010

On June 6, the MLB Draft will take place, and players such as Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Trevor Bauer, and Sonny Gray are expected to be selected high in the draft as teams hope they can pick the next superstar. But the draft is by no such thing a certanity. Yes, Joe Mauer, Prince Fielder, and Evan Longoria are high draft picks that have become superstars, but players such as Matt Bush and Bryan Bullington have also been chosen early in the draft, with results that have been less than stellar. In the third of a three-part series, The Canon Review takes a look at the worst MLB Draft Picks in each year since 2000. If you want to look at the other parts of this series, well you can check out the worst picks of the 1980s here and the worst picks of the 1990s here.

2000: Adam Johnson, Pitcher, Minnesota Twins, 2nd Pick

The 2000 Draft wasn't exactly chock full of All-Stars. Of the top ten picks that year, only five ever reached the major leagues, and only two of those players had careers of any significance. Johnson did reach the big leauges, although it seems to be more because of where he was picked than anything he did. The Cal-State Fullerton pitcher reached the Twins in 2001 after a decent, but not spectacular season at AA New Britian (5-6, 3.82 ERA, 8.8 K/9). Johnson pitched in seven games that year, starting four, and was shelled by American League batters, allowing six home runs and 23 earned runs in 25 innings (8.28 ERA). The next spring, Johnson expected to make the big club on opening day, but after the Twins sent him back down to the minors, Johnson got into a heated argument with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, which is not the best way to win friends and influence people. Johnson spent the majority of the next three years in Triple-A, and had a combined ERA of 5.52. In 2003, the Twins gave Johnson another cup of coffee, and in 1 and a 1/3 innings, Johnson managed to allow seven earned runs. In 2005, the Twins gave up on their former top prospect, and after a stint in the Independent Leagues, the Athletics signed him. However, Johnson again struggled in the minors, so Oakland cut him loose the next year. Johnson last pitched in 2009 for the Orange County Flyers in the independent Golden League, and after going 2-5 with an 8.21 ERA that season, it's doubtful we will see Johnson pitch for a major league organization any time soon.

2001: Dewon Brazelton, Pitcher, Tampa Bay Rays, 3rd Pick

Brazelton was an All-American at Middle Tennessee State when the Rays drafted him ahead of Mark Teixeira, among others, in the 2001 draft. Brazelton was rather effective in 2002 at Double-A (3.33 ERA) and the Rays gave him a few starts with the big club that year. In 2003, Brazelton started the year in Triple-A, made five starts, then was called up by the then Devil Rays in May. Brazelton made 10 starts there, and was shelled so badly (1-6, 6.89 ERA) that Tampa Bay sent him all the way down to single-A. In 2004, Brazelton fought his way back to the big club, primarily because the Rays' rotation wasn't exactly stocked with quality arms. Brazelton did okay that year (6-8, 4.77 ERA, 95 ERA+) and seemed to be on track to at least become a solid mid-rotation starter. The next year, Brazelton's numbers went nuclear, as he put up a 7.61 ERA and walked 60 batters in 71 innings. After the season, the Rays traded him to San Diego for Sean Burroughs, with each team hoping they could turn around the other's failed prospect. As it turns out, they couldn't. Brazelton pitched 18 innings for the Padres in 2006, and allowed 6 homers and 24 earned runs. Since then, Brazelton has bounced around the Pittsburgh and Kansas City organizations and was last seen pitching for the Kansas City T-Bones in the Northern League, where he suffered a shoulder injury in 2010. Instead of becoming a star, Brazelton was one of the many young phenoms that were rushed to the bigs too soon.

2002: Bryan Bullington, Pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1st Pick

The Pirates' choice of Bullington was questioned from the beginning as many thought that the small market Pirates chose Bullington because he'd be easier to sign than other, more talented players such as B.J. Upton and Prince Fielder. Bullington did have some promise though, as he was an All-American at Ball State. Bullington started out strong in A-Ball in 2003 (13-5, 2.52 ERA), and seemed to be making his way to the big leagues when in 2005, Bullington suffered an arm injury. He missed the entire 2006 season recovering. In 2007, Bullington came back and pitched decently at AAA (4.00 ERA), but not so well in a short cameo with Pittsburgh (5.29 ERA in 17 IP). The next year, after a 5.52 ERA in Triple-A, the Pirates waived Bullington in mid season. Bullington bounced around the Cleveland and Toronto organization for the next two seasons before signing with the Royals in 2010. Last year, Bullington pitched a career high 42.2 innings in the big leagues, and even got his first victory in a start against the New York Yankees. However, he also had a 6.12 ERA, so the Royals let him go. During the offseason, Bullington signed a deal to pitch with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, so we may not have seen the last of him.

2003: Kyle Sleeth, Pitcher, Detroit Tigers, 3rd Pick

A tall right hander from Wake Forest, Sleeth tied the NCAA record for most consecutive wins without a loss (26) as a Demon Deacon. The Tigers made him the third pick in the draft. Sleeth started pitching the next year in A-Ball, and got off to a good start (3.31 ERA, 8.6 K/9) before getting called up to AA in midseason. He didn't do so well there (6.30 ERA), then he got hurt and missed the entire 2004 season. When Sleeth came back in 2006, he wasn't the same pitcher, posting an 11.90 ERA in 8 starts at Single-A Lakeland, with 21 walks and 26 earned runs in 19 2/3 innings. The next season, Sleeth lowered his ERA, to 7.62. During the spring of 2008, Sleeth announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 25, never pitching above Double-A.

2004: Matt Bush, Shortstop, San Diego Padres, 1st Pick

Scared off by the potential price tags of top prospects Jared Weaver and Stephen Drew, the Padres made a 'signability' choice and picked Bush, a high school shortstop from the San Diego area, first overall in the draft. Two weeks after, Bush started his career by slugging a patron in a nightclub and earning a suspension. The Padres put him in rookie ball that year, and Bush struggled, hitting .181/302/.236. The next year, Bush spent the entire year playing for Fort Wayne in single A ball, and didn't do much better. Not only did Bush struggle at the plate (.221/.279/.276), he also made 37 errors at shortstop. In 2006, Bush broke his ankle, and in 2007, the Padres tried to salvage their selection by making the strong-armed Bush a pitcher. He threw less than eight innings before injuring his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery. After an incident involving Bush beating up high school lacrosse players, the Padres finally gave up on him in 2009. In 2010, the Rays took a chance on Bush, and with a mid-90s fastball, Tampa Bay brass believes that Bush could become an effective reliever one day. Currently with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, Bush has a 5.00 ERA thus far in the season, with 25 strikeouts in 18 innings.

2005: Jeff Clement, Catcher, Seattle Mariners, 3rd Pick

A three-time All Pac-10 catcher from USC, the power hitting Clement was expected to become a star for the Mariners. Clement started strong for the Mariners in A-Ball in 2005 (.319/.386/.522) and, despite suffering some injuries, move his way to Triple-A Tacoma in 2007 and did quite well (.275/.370/.497, 20 homers). The Mariners called him up that year, and in 2008 Clement made the club. However, he didn't do so well against major league pitching, hitting .227/.295/.360 and striking out nearly once in every three at bats. The next year, Clement was traded to the Pirates in a seven player deal, and in 2010, the Pirates gave Clement a shot as their everyday first baseman. As is often the case in Pittsburgh, Clement did not impress, hitting a less than robust .201/.237/.368 in 153 at bats last year. Currently, Clement is recovering from microfracture surgery, and it remains to be seen if he can even contribute as a bat off the bench at this point.

2006: Greg Reynolds, Pitcher, Colorado Rockies, 2nd Pick

While it's true that 2006's 1st pick Luke Hochevar hasn't exactly set the world on fire, at least he's been a constant major league starter, which you can not say about Reynolds. A starting pitcher out of Stanford, Reynolds did well enough in the minors for the struggling Rockies to give him an audition in 2008. That audition did not go to well, as Reynolds went 2-8 with an 8.13 ERA and allowed 14 home runs in 62 innings. The next year, Reynolds pitched all of four innings as a shoulder injury shut him down, and in 2010 Reynolds suffered through elbow problems after being hit by a line drive during spring training. This year, Reynolds has split his time between the Rockies and Triple-A Colorado Springs, and his big league numbers (2-0, 4.08 ERA in 17 2/3 innings) suggest that perhaps he can be a contributer after all. But for now, he has to rank as the worst pick of the draft, if only because the Rockies picked him over Evan Longoria, who was the next pick in the draft. Imagine an infield with Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki. Yikes.

2007: Josh Vitters, 3rd Base, Chicago Cubs, 3rd Pick

Now, the five or six of you that will stumble across this post are probably question my decision to include the 21 year old Vitters among the worst draft picks of the decade. After all, it's possible that five years from now, Vitters will be the National League MVP and lead the Cubs to their first World Series win in over a decade. For now, though, it's doubtful whether Vitters will become a star or not. Yes, Vitters hit well in A-Ball (a .295 average across three different A-Ball leagues), but he lacks patience and didn't adjust well to pitching in Double-A last year (.223/.293/.383 line which included 13 walks in 228 plate apparences). This year, Vitters is hitting a bit better (.266/.306/416), but his defense has been horrendous (an .851 fielding percentage in 35 games at third base). The Cubs may have to move Vitters across the diamond, and at this point it is very questionable if he'll have a strong enough bat to be a quality starter at first base. Yes, Vitters is still young, but for now he has to be considered at least a mild disappointment.

2008: Kyle Skipworth, Catcher, Florida Marlins, 6th Pick

Another youngster, the 21 year old Skipworth was the Gatorade High School Baseball player of the year in 2008. Skipworth signed quickly and spent the last two months of the 2008 season in rookie ball, hitting a less than stellar .208/.263/.340. Moved up to A ball in 2009, Skipworth didn't do much better (.208/.263/.348). Repeating single-A in 2010, Skipworth did slightly better (.249/.312/.426 with 17 homers), but with AA Jacksonville in 2011, Skipworth has done very little. So far, Skipworth has hit .178/.245/.308, with 51 strikeouts in 148 at bats. Yes, Skipworth is still young and had plenty of time to improve, but thus far, Skipworth looks like a potential backup catcher at best.

2009: Matthew Hobgood, Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles, 5th Pick

Hobgood, like Skipworth, was also the Gatorade High School player of the year. He was also considered a 'signability' pick, and even signed for lower than the recommended amount for a 5th pick. Hobgood was thought to throw a fastball in the mid-90s, but once he started pitching in the rookie leagues, his fastball was usually in the mid to high 80s. As such, he has struggled slightly in both rookie ball (4.72 ERA) and A ball (4.40 ERA, 16 wild pitches in 94 innings). This year, Hobgood has yet to pitch due to a shoulder injury. Despite his young age, many scouts do not consider Hobgood a top prospect, and at this point it looks questionable that he'll even reach the major leagues.

2010: Barrett Loux, Pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks, 6th Pick

Loux,a pitcher out of Texas A&M, was considered a bit of a reach when the Diamondbacks made him the 6th pick in last year's draft, but that's not why he's here. The reason why he's on this list is because the Diamondbacks decided not to sign Loux after discovering a torn labrum in his right shoulder and bone chips in his elbow. So instead, the Diamondbacks get an extra pick in this year's draft as compensation, and Loux became a free agent. The Rangers gave him a contract and assigned Loux to their high A-ball team in Myrtle Beach. Thus far, Loux's done pretty well, with a 3.75 ERA in 10 starts, and an average of 10 strikeouts per nine innings. It remains to be seen if Loux can stay healthy, but if he does, the Rangers have found themselves a first round talent on the cheap. If Loux keeps it up, he'll play himself right off this list, and some other pick that didn't make it will replace him.

Well, thanks for reading about the Worst Draft Picks over the past 11 years. If you have any comments or issues with this post, than feel free to express those in the comments section. Also, if you have an idea for a future post or ways to make this blog better, then shoot me an e-mail at