Looking back at the Indiana Pacers‘ top draft busts over the years will take you on a trip down memory lane.
At first glance, you’d think these guys had what it took to excel in the Association.
Lo and behold, they unraveled as the years went by and eventually faded into oblivion.
For the purposes of this article, we will simply rank these players according to how much they failed to live up to lofty expectations.
3. George McCloud, 1989
If you’ve been following Pacers basketball all these years, you know those guys languished on the bench during their careers.
George McCloud wasn’t a fixture on the Pacers bench.
However, he didn’t live up to the massive hype during his time with the Blue and Gold.
The Pacers made the former Florida State Seminoles hotshot the seventh overall pick of the 1989 NBA Draft.
McCloud’s scoring average hovered around the 20-point mark as a junior and senior at FSU.
John Starks of the Knicks blocks George McCloud on a Pacers fast break in the final two minutes of New York's 101-91 Game 2 win over Indiana in the 1993 NBA Playoffs. Starks finished with 29 points and 11 assists.
May 2, 1993. pic.twitter.com/XkEKoC5n3o
— NBA Cobwebs (@NBACobwebs) July 10, 2020
Unfortunately, McCloud averaged 5.5 points for the Pacers from 1989 to 1993.
McCloud played out of position – he was more of a shooting guard who played point guard for Indiana.
That was one of the reasons for his downfall.
To McCloud’s credit, he bounced back from his sluggish start in the NBA.
He even averaged 15.2 points in three seasons with the Dallas Mavericks from 1994 to 1997.
However, McCloud never completed an 82-game NBA season in his 12-year NBA career.
Long story short, McCloud was the Malcolm Brogdon of his era.
McCloud once sprained his ankle while talking on the telephone during his tenure in Indianapolis.
It was a clear sign McCloud wasn’t a good fit for the Pacers.
2. T.J. Leaf, 2017
T.J. Leaf was one the most disappointing big men the Indiana Pacers have ever drafted.
Indiana made Leaf the 18th overall selection of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Leaf averaged 16 points and eight rebounds as a true freshman with the UCLA Bruins in the 2016 NCAA season.
He could’ve been a player in the mold of a Schrempf or Austin Croshere – guys who could wreak havoc down low, in the perimeter, or in transition.
Instead, Leaf brought back memories of Brezec, Dreiling, and Haskin.
Leaf was mired in Pacers head coach Nate McMillan‘s doghouse for the entirety of his three-year stint in Indy.
Sadly, he was a garbage-time fixture when he played for the Pacers.
It was quite obvious Leaf, who’s now strutting his wares overseas, left school too early for the NBA.
Leaf showed some potential, but he was much too raw for the pro game.
1. David Harrison, 2005
Pacers president of basketball operations tried to trade up for UConn Huskies guard Ben Gordon in 2004.
Alas, the plan never materialized.
Gordon wound up with the Chicago Bulls with the third overall selection.
They plucked Colorado Buffaloes big man David Harrison 29th overall.
Harrison showed some promise – he even outplayed Milwaukee Bucks big man Andrew Bogut several times during his short-lived, four-year NBA career.
However, Harrison was a dud for the most part.
We will have former #Pacers center, David Harrison on Tuesday nights show.
If you have any questions (outside of the brawl) that you’d like us to ask, send them our way! pic.twitter.com/n5BcYjdDIh
— Setting The Pace🏀🎙 (@SettingThePace3) December 10, 2018
He averaged just 5.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per game when he donned Pacers Blue and Gold from 2004 to 2008.
Back then, Indiana sorely needed more scoring in the frontcourt to take the load off Jermaine O’Neal‘s shoulders.
Sadly, he never lived up to the hype.
Harrison’s demise prompted the Pacers front office to draft Georgetown Hoyas center Roy Hibbert in 2008.
Harrison gets the slight edge over Leaf because the latter was supposedly more NBA-ready because he played in college for three years.
Harrison has been the Pacers’ biggest draft bust so far.