Cavs Bust Pick: Dajuan Wagner
In 2002, the Cavs drafted Dajuan Wagner in the first round with the No. 6 pick. He, like Bates, started his college career at Memphis. He was a guard and loved to put up shots. He never shied away from them and loved to have the ball on offense.
The Cavs were lousy back then and needed players that could score but also play defense and that was never Wagner’s strong suit.
When Wagner did play in that first season in 2002 the other starters for the Cavs included Rickie Davis, Tyrone Hill, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Milt Palacio. At that point, a future NBA star Carlos Booker was getting 10 minutes of playing time off the bench.
In that first game, Wagner scored 17 points. He continued to produce buckets for the team the rest of the season but the team was really bad. By 2003, he was getting injured and missing most games by the time March rolled around.
He continued to be injured and struggled to regain any confidence on the court and was out of the league by 2006. Wagner was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and despite him ultimately having surgery to address that, his NBA comeback effort would fall short.
In Bate’s case, he was drafted much further down the draft board at No. 49, but both Wagner and Bates were considered real legitimate NBA prospects when they were coming out of high school. While the fall for Bates from the height of his fame has probably hit home a bit more because of the recent low draft pick, Wagner’s fall from fame happened in a blink of an eye too and probably wasn’t what Wagner had thought would happen.