The NBA draft is one of the most exciting times of the year for basketball fans. It’s a chance for teams to add new talent to their roster and potentially change the course of their franchise. Unfortunately, not every draft pick pans out the way teams hope. In fact, some players end up being massive busts, failing to live up to the expectations set for them. In this blog post, we’ll rank the top ten biggest NBA draft busts of all time.
RELATED: Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects in 2023
1. Kwame Brown (2001, Washington Wizards)
Kwame Brown was the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft, selected by the Washington Wizards. However, he failed to live up to his potential and was widely regarded as a bust. Brown played for multiple teams throughout his career, but never averaged more than 10 points per game in a season.
2. Darko Milicic (2003, Detroit Pistons)
Darko Milicic was selected second overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2003 NBA draft, ahead of superstars like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. Despite his size and potential, Milicic never found his footing in the NBA and only played for six seasons.
3. Anthony Bennett (2013, Cleveland Cavaliers)
Anthony Bennett was the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, he failed to make an impact in the league and was out of the NBA by 2017. Bennett’s lack of production was a major disappointment for the Cavaliers, who had hoped he would be a cornerstone of their rebuilding efforts.
4. Greg Oden (2007, Portland Trail Blazers)
Greg Oden was a highly-touted prospect when he was selected first overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 NBA draft. However, injuries derailed his career, and he only played in 105 games over five seasons. Oden was forced to retire from the NBA at the age of 28.
5. Hasheem Thabeet (2009, Memphis Grizzlies)
Hasheem Thabeet was selected second overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2009 NBA draft. However, he struggled to find his footing in the NBA and bounced around to multiple teams before leaving the league in 2014. Thabeet only averaged 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game during his career.
6. Adam Morrison (2006, Charlotte Bobcats)
Adam Morrison was selected third overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2006 NBA draft. However, his career was marred by injuries and inconsistent play, and he only played for four seasons in the NBA. Morrison averaged just 7.5 points per game during his career.
7. Michael Olowokandi (1998, Los Angeles Clippers)
Michael Olowokandi was selected first overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1998 NBA draft. However, he never lived up to his potential and only averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during his career. Olowokandi played for five different teams in nine seasons.
8. Nikoloz Tskitishvili (2002, Denver Nuggets)
Nikoloz Tskitishvili was selected fifth overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2002 NBA draft. However, he struggled to adjust to the NBA game and only played for four seasons. Tskitishvili only averaged 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game during his career.
9. Jonny Flynn (2009, Minnesota Timberwolves)
Jonny Flynn was selected sixth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA draft. However, he struggled with injuries and was unable to live up to his potential. Flynn only played for three seasons in the NBA and averaged 9.2 points and 3.9 assists per game during his career. Infamously, the Timberwolves passed up on Steph Curry multiple times during this draft.
10. Joe Alexander (2008, Milwaukee Bucks)
Joe Alexander was selected eighth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2008 NBA draft. However, he struggled to find his footing in the NBA and only played for two seasons. Alexander only averaged 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game during his career.
- LaRue Martin (1972, Portland Trail Blazers)
- Chris Washburn (1986, Golden State Warriors)
- Robert Traylor (1998, Milwaukee Bucks)
- Stromile Swift (2000, Vancouver Grizzlies)
- Jay Williams (2002, Chicago Bulls)
In conclusion, the NBA draft is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. Teams are looking for potential superstars that can change the trajectory of their franchise, but unfortunately, not every draft pick pans out. The players listed above are some of the biggest NBA draft busts of all time and serve as a cautionary tale for teams looking to make a splash on draft night.