If you weren’t aware that Chauncey Billups was the 3rd pick in the 1997 draft you probably wouldn’t be surprised at all since Billups you know him as the tough sharp shooting clutch NBA champion but for his first few years in the league he was a journeyman that not only couldn’t stick on a team but was written off after just a couple season.
After dominating Colorado basketball in High School winning Player of the year twice and Mr Basketball 3 times he attended the University of Colorado where he played well for two seasons before entering the NBA draft.
The absolutely horrible (understatement) Denver Nuggets wanted him at the number 5 spot but the Celtics took him at 3. Interesting note about the 97 draft is that the Celtics had the worst record in the league and had the best odds at getting the #1 pick (Tim Duncan) but ended up with the #3 and #6 pick while the Spurs, who tanked the season before because they lost David Robinson to an injury, managed to win the Duncan sweepstakes.
Not only did the Celtics put the cuffs on Billups way too early by limiting his minutes they traded him midway through the season to the Raptors for aging vet Kenny Anderson. He then had a short not so memorable stint back in Denver before they traded him to Orlando where he never even suited up for a game. The next season he was signed to the TWolves to back up Terrell Brandon but lucky for Billups, Brandon would go down with an injury which allowed him to get some extra PT which eventually helped him get a spot on the Detroit Pistons roster in 2002.
The next thing you know the forgotten draft bust was winning Defensive awards, All Star spots and a NBA Finals MVP Award when they beat the new look Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.