Biggest NBA Draft Busts
The 10 biggest NBA draft busts of all-time might not be guys that come right to your mind. At NBA Overview we love to make predictions. But what about looking at the past? We don’t have many articles about former NBA players.
So we decided to compile a complete list of NBA players who drastically underperformed. The funny thing is that some of them were drafted ahead of the likes of guys like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Stephen Curry.
Chris Washburn’s short stint in the NBA was nothing short of disastrous. Drafted at number three by the Golden State Warriors, Washburn only lasted two seasons in the NBA, averaging only three points per game. Unfortunately for Washburn, his struggles on the court carried over into his personal life.
He is the only player on this list to be exiled from the NBA, failing three drug tests in the span of three years. His draft class was weak; therefore, the odds of the Warriors landing an All-Star caliber player were very slim.
Therefore, Washburn gets the nod at number 10 on our list of the biggest NBA draft busts.
Drafted Before: Dell Curry (16)
Checking in at number 9 on our list of biggest NBA draft busts is the man who refused to shower. Much like his hygiene ability, Morrison’s offensive skillset did not translate to the NBA. His inconsistent shooting and terrible defense helped him lose his starting job during his rookie season.
After sitting out 2007 with an injury, the Bobcats traded Morrison to the Lakers in the middle of the 2008-2009 season. He spent the rest of his NBA career with the Lakers as a bench player, before his release after the 2010 season.
Drafted before: Brandon Roy (6), Rajon Rondo (21), Kyle Lowry (24)
Larue Martin Jr. was the first of terrible big man draft picks by the Portland Trailblazers. He arguably had the most unproductive career out of any number one draft pick in NBA history, averaging just over five points in four years in the NBA.
His underwhelming draft class keeps him out of the top five, but his career was so bad we had to find a spot for him somewhere.
Drafted Before: Julius Erving (Dr. J.) (12)
Olowokandi did not begin playing basketball until he was eighteen years old. Despite his lack of experience, the Clippers decided to draft Olowokandi at number one in the 1998 NBA Draft. Olowokandi had a couple of solid years with the Clippers before injuries derailed his career.
He was an extraordinary athlete who could run the floor and block shots. But in no way, shape or form was Olowokandi suited to be the number one in the NBA Draft.
Take into account that Mike Bibby, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce were drafted after him, Olowokandi did more than enough to earn his way to our number seven spot.
Drafted before: Mike Bibby (2), Antawn Jamison (4), Vince Carter (5), Dirk Nowitzki (9), and Paul Pierce (10)
How About Some Recent NBA Draft Busts
Arguably one of the greatest Duke college players of all time, the two-time national player of the year was drafted at number 2 in the 2002 NBA draft by the Bulls. But unfortunately for Williams, a motorcycle accident after his rookie season proved to be the end of his NBA career.
The Bulls promptly released him and went on to take Kirk Hinrich in the draft a week after the accident. He made an appearance in the D league in 2006 for the Austin Toros but never played another minute in the NBA after his injury.
Drafted before: Mike Dunleavy Jr. (3), Amar’e Stoudemire (9), Tay’shaun Prince (22), Carlos Boozer (35)
Checking in at number five on our list is UCON product Hasheem Thabeet. Drafted at number 2 by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009, Thabeet’s 7-3 frame had scouts raving about his potential; however, he was just a guy who happened to be 7-3.
He completely lacked the offensive skill set to make him a superstar in the NBA. Plus, he lacked the physical presence required of an NBA big man.
It took him less than a year to be sent to the Memphis development team, making him the highest pick ever to be sent D-League (eventually surpassed by Anthony Bennett).
Drafted Before: James Harden (3), Stephen Curry (7), and DeMar DeRozan (9)
I hope you are as shocked as I am that it took this long for a Dan Gilbert draft pick to make it on this list. The number one pick of the 2013 NBA checks in at number 5 on our list. Following his tenure at UNLV, Bennett was receiving Larry Johnson comparisons.
But unfortunately for Bennett, the more accurate comparison was well…definitely not Larry Johnson. He shipped to Minnesota in the trade involving Andrew Wiggins and Kevin following his rookie season. From there he went from Toronto to Brooklyn before finding himself out of the league.
Although there is still a chance for Bennett to become a productive player in the NBA, this Dan Gilbert gem checks in at number four on our list.
Drafted before: Victor Oladipo (2), CJ McCollum (10), Giannis Antetokounpo (15)
The Three Worst NBA Busts of All-Time
In a draft that featured, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh, the Pistons walked away with Darko Milicic. Let that sink in Pistons fans.
But in all seriousness, the number 2 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft never averaged more than 8.8 points per game throughout his tenure in the league. Scouts left the combine thinking there was no weakness to Milicic’s game.
He was a 7-1 European that could shoot, so therefore he must be the next Dirk right? As it turns out, the Dirk comparisons were 100000% inaccurate. Although Milicic did find a way to last ten seasons in the NBA, Milicic only averaged six points per game in his career, landing him at number three on our countdown of the biggest NBA draft busts of all-time.
Drafted Before: Dwayne Wade (3), Carmelo Anthony (4), and Chris Bosh (5)
Often compared to the likes of Bill Russell and David Robinson, Greg Oden was destined to become the next all-time great NBA center. Following his lone season with the Buckeyes in which he led the team to a second-place finish in the NCAA tournament, Oden was drafted number one by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2007 NBA draft.
But unfortunately for Oden, knee injuries derailed his career. He appeared in only 105 games throughout his six years on an NBA roster.
To make matters worse, he was selected one spot ahead of future Hall-of-Famer Kevin Durant, landing him at number two on our list.
Drafted before: Kevin Durant (2), Al Horford (3), Mike Conley (4), Marc Gasol (48)
As the third and final Portland Trailblazer center to make the cut, Sam Bowie will forever be known as the guy who was drafted right before Michael Jordan. To add insult to injury, Bowie’s college years resembled his professional years from an injury standpoint.
The 7-1 big man missed two seasons due to injury while at Kentucky and continued to have problems during his five-year stint in Portland. He did have a couple of decent years with the Nets, but nothing suggests he was worthy of the number two pick in the draft.
His injury history combined with the overall strength of the 1984 draft is more than enough for Bowie to take the top spot on our countdown.
Drafted Before: Michael Jordan (3), Charles Barkley (5), John Stockton (16)
We hope you enjoyed this list of biggest NBA draft busts! Please leave us a comment and tell us who you think we left out. If you like our content please like us on social media so you can keep up with everything we’re doing at NBA Overview!