3. Marcus Camby, 1996-97
The key piece to John Calipari’s UMass teams and one of the best shot-blockers in NBA history, Camby was such a hyped prospect that Toronto took him with the No. 2 overall pick in the competitive 1996 draft when names like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Stephon Marbury, and Jermaine O’Neal were on the board.
Camby averaged a career-high 14.8 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contest. When his sophomore totals took a slight downturn, the Raptors made the egregious error of trading him despite the fact he averaged an astounding 3.7 blocks per game.
Marcus Camby had a great career after leaving the Toronto Raptors.
Camby was traded to the Knicks for Sean Marks and Charles Oakley. Marks barely played, and the 35-year-old Oakley looked much less effective than the physical bulldozer he was alongside Patrick Ewing. Camby, meanwhile, embarked on a lengthy career with the Knicks, Nuggets, Clippers, and Trail Blazers.
Despite playing until he was 38, Camby averaged 9.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. A Defensive Player of the Year, Camby led the league in blocks four times and averaged at least 3.0 blocks five times, all while topping 10.0 rebounds per game nine times in a 10-year span.
That might’ve been a better investment than a few years of Oakley near the end of his career.