These are the ten greatest NBA Draft busts of all time initially appeared on NBC Sports activities Boston
There is no such factor as a assure within the NBA draft.
Crew executives crunch numbers, consider potential and finally generally depend on intestine instincts in hopes of touchdown a future franchise participant, but it surely’s nonetheless only a sport of probability. Groups with coveted lottery picks attempt to keep away from the fated “bust,” when a excessive draft decide fizzles out and falls wanting expectations.
The 2022 draft will put these methods to the check, with a number of gamers within the combine to be the primary off the board. Taking a stroll down reminiscence lane can reveal a few of the greatest draft busts and what groups may search for to keep away from that very same destiny.
There are numerous lottery picks who by no means materialized however for the aim of this record, we’ll persist with gamers taken throughout the top-5. Listed here are the ten greatest NBA draft busts:
Greg Oden – No. 1 decide, 2007 NBA Draft
By beating out the Seattle SuperSonics for the No. 1 general decide, the Portland Path Blazers misplaced out in the long term.
Coming into the 2007 draft, the No. 1 decide was primarily a coin toss between two freshmen — polar opposites in type and finally experiencing very totally different fates on the skilled degree. In a single nook was Greg Oden, an omnipotent heart out of Ohio State who Steve Kerr as soon as described as a “once-in-a-decade sort participant.” Within the different nook was a man by the identify of Kevin Durant.
Oden’s profession was sadly marked by numerous accidents, lacking 4 entire seasons, together with his rookie 12 months, and a complete of seven knee surgical procedures in as a few years within the league. Having a look at a few of the gamers taken proper after Oden, a lot of which have loved sustained success, solely provides salt to the injuries of Blazers followers in every single place.
Oden spent a season taking part in within the Chinese language Basketball Affiliation earlier than returning to Ohio State to complete his diploma, however the basketball world will most likely at all times marvel what may’ve been had Greg Oden’s knees not given out.
Notable gamers taken after Oden: Kevin Durant (No. 2), Al Horford (No. 3), Mike Conley Jr. (No. 4), Marc Gasol (No. 48)
Anthony Bennett – No. 1 decide, 2013 NBA Draft
Oden appeared destined to occupy the spot of greatest bust amongst high draft picks in latest historical past till the Cleveland Cavaliers got here by to pick Anthony Bennett out of UNLV with their No. 1 general decide.
Not in contrast to Oden, Bennett was bodily a pressure of nature on the collegiate degree — checking in at 6-foot-8, 240 kilos. Ranked because the No. 7 recruits within the class of 2012, the Canadian averaged 16.1 factors and eight.1 rebounds in his one season with the Runnin’ Rebels. Nonetheless, the Cavs’ choice to pick Bennett was thought of of venture at finest, surprising your complete league, Bennett included. The Cavs saved Bennett for a 12 months earlier than buying and selling him to the Minnesota Timberwolves and making room for LeBron James to return to Ohio.
In 4 seasons with 4 totally different, Bennett made 4 begins and averaged 4.4 factors, 3.1 rebounds and 0.5 assists per sport earlier than finally being waived by the groups Brooklyn Nets halfway via the 2016-2017 season. He is spent within the G League and within the six years since, spent his time abroad knee surgical procedure and struggling to search out his rhythm with a crew. As of February, he was taking part in with the Kaohsiung Steelers in Taiwan.
In fact, the Cavs aren’t the one crew to misjudge the seemingly weak 2013 draft class. 13 different groups handed up on a lanky 18 12 months outdated from Greece who would go on to grow to be a six-time All-Star and league MVP.
Notable gamers taken after Bennett: Victor Oladipo (No. 2), CJ McCollum (No. 10), Steven Adams (No. 12), Giannis Antetokoumpo (No. 15), Rudy Gobert (No. 27)
Hasheem Thabeet – No. 2 decide, 2009 NBA Draft
Initially from Tanzania, Thabeet spent three years beneath Jim Calhoun at UConn. A 7-foot-3 heart, he averaged 10.3 factors, 8.5 rebounds and 4.2 blocks in his profession with the Huskies, main them to a Remaining 4 in 2009.
The Memphis Grizzlies took Thabeet with the No. 2 general decide, however he spent his rookie season oscillating between the Grizzlies and their D-League affiliate, the Dakota Wizards. He bounced across the league for the following 4 years, averaging 2.2 factors in 224 appearances earlier than finally petering out after the 2013-14 season.
Most just lately, he was reported to be taking part in within the Taiwanese league earlier than being reduce close to the top of 2021.
Notable gamers taken after Thabeet: James Harden (No. 3), Stephen Curry (No. 7), DeMar DeRozan (No. 9), Jrue Vacation (No. 17)
Kwame Brown – No. 1 decide, 2001 NBA Draft
To borrow a line from TS Eliot, Brown entered the NBA with a bang, however left with a whisper.
In his first season as president of basketball operations with the Washington Wizards, Michael Jordan opted for a flashy decide — 19-year-old Kwame Brown out of Georgia. This marked the primary time in NBA historical past that the highest general decide was used on somebody getting into the league immediately out of highschool.
After a sluggish begin to his profession, Brown posted his most efficient season three years after getting into the league — averaging 10.9 factors and seven.4 rebounds. The Wizards’ entrance workplace reportedly provided him a 5-year, $30 million contract, which he turned down and was finally traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. In Los Angeles, Brown continued to be a strong position participant however was stricken by the rising sentiment that he was a draft bust. From 2008 to 2013, his manufacturing of him took a serious hit as he bounced from 5 totally different groups earlier than finally retiring after a one-year stint with the Philadelphia 76ers.
NBA executives proved undeterred by Brown’s underwhelming profession when drafting immediately out of highschool. Within the 4 years that adopted earlier than the NBA applied the one-and-done rule, two of the No. 1 general picks went to gamers coming immediately out of highschool — LeBron James (2003 NBA Draft) and Dwight Howard (2004 NBA Draft).
Notable gamers taken after Brown: Pau Gasol (No. 3), Joe Johnson (No. 10), Tony Parker (No. 28)
Jay Williams – No. 2 decide, 2002 NBA Draft
Let me be clear about one thing — bust is a harsh and doubtless unfair characterization of Jay Williams’ profession.
Taken 2nd general, behind solely Yao Ming, Williams offered a top quality rookie season for the Chicago Bulls, averaging 9.5 factors and 4.7 assists. His profession was tragically reduce quick, nonetheless, when he was concerned in a severe motorbike accident in the course of the offseason, leading to severe accidents, together with a fractured pelvis and three torn ligaments in his knee, successfully ending his basketball profession. Driving a bike was technically in violation of his contract with the Bulls, however Chicago nonetheless paid him $3 million to assist fund his rehabilitation efforts.
Williams finally parlayed his expertise right into a profitable profession as an analyst and commentator with ESPN, first primarily protecting school basketball earlier than extra just lately being moved to the NBA, however his taking part in profession will eternally be marked by what-ifs.
Notable gamers taken after Williams: Amar’e Stoudemire (No. 9), Caron Butler (No. 10), Carlos Boozer (No. 35)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – No. 2 decide, 2012 NBA Draft
The NBA buzz surrounding Michael Kidd-Gilchrist started properly earlier than the 2012 draft. Taking part in alongside Kyrie Irving at basketball powerhouse St. Patrick Excessive College, Kidd-Gilchrist was one of many high gamers within the class of 2011 and appeared poised to make a soar to the NBA after a fast pit cease at Kentucky.
Beneath John Calipari, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 factors and seven.4 rebounds en path to the nationwide championship. He and teammate Anthony Davis later made historical past as the one teammates to be drafted 1-2.
He posted respectable numbers with the Bobcats, averaging 8.6 factors and 5.5 rebounds, however by no means fairly lived as much as the expectations positioned on him as an newbie and was positively surpassed by gamers far down the draft.
He completed the 2019-20 season in Dallas however has but to signal with a crew since.
Notable gamers taken after Kidd-Gilchrist: Bradley Beal (No. 3), Damian Lillard (No. 6), Draymond Inexperienced (No. 35), Khris Middleton (No. 39)
Darko Milicic – No. 2 decide, 2003 NBA Draft
You might make a case that the highest of the 2003 Draft class was the most effective ever, however they do not have Darko Milicic to thank for that honor.
The primary-round decide landed within the Detroit Pistons’ lap through a commerce from the then-Vancouver Grizzlies six years prior. A crew relocation and several other personnel adjustments later, that decide out of the blue misplaced most of its protections. Nonetheless, the ping pong balls went the Pistons’ approach they usually ended up with the On the. 2 decide regardless of making the Japanese Convention Finals that season. In the meantime, NBA Commissioner David Stern put his thumb on the size, granting eligibility to the 17-year-old Milicic by altering the age-minimum rule to permit gamers turning 18 throughout the calendar 12 months to declare for the draft.
Regardless of profitable an NBA Championship in his first season with Detroit, Milicic struggled to search out his rhythm with the Pistons and by no means earned substantial taking part in time. He managed to remain within the league for 12 seasons however by no means met expectations of his loaded draft class led by the No. 1 general decide, LeBron James.
After taking part in one sport for the Boston Celtics in 2012 and retiring from basketball in 2013, Milic elected to pursue a kickboxing profession earlier than returning to Serbia along with his household and dealing as a farmer.
Notable gamers taken after Milicic: Carmelo Anthony (No. 3), Chris Bosh (No. 4), Dwyane Wade (No. 5), Kyle Korver (No. 51)
Derrick Williams – No. 2 decide, 2011 NBA Draft
Williams is an unlikely addition to this record. Coming off two dominant years at Arizona, the Timberwolves chosen Williams with the No. 2 decide. He made a right away affect, averaging 8.8 and 12.0 factors in his first two seasons and being named to the Rising Stars sport throughout his rookie marketing campaign.
He continued to bounce across the league, serving primarily as a task participant, however noticed a lower in manufacturing and minutes as time went on. By 2018, he was taking part in overseas and has been there ever since.
Notable gamers taken after Williams: Kemba Walker (No. 9), Klay Thompson (No. 11), Kawhi Leonard (No. 15), Jimmy Butler (No. 30), Isaiah Thomas (No. 60)
Michael Olowokandi – No. 1 decide, 1998 NBA Draft
The Kandi Man belongs with Eddie the Eagle and Eric the Eel as athletes who’re unlikely to ascend to the best degree of sports activities.
Born in Nigeria and raised in London, Olowokandi first picked up basketball on the age of 18. Checking in at 7-foot-1 and boasting a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he finally made his technique to California the place he spent three years taking part in on the College of the Pacific.
Believed to have unbelievable untapped potential, Olowokandi shortly emerged as a entrance runner to go because the No. 1 general decide, and the Los Angeles Clippers took the gamble. In 5 seasons in Los Angeles, Olowokandi remained a starter however struggled to provide and was hampered by knee accidents.
He had two extra stops in Minnesota and Boston earlier than ending his profession after a decade within the league. He averaged 8.3 factors and 6.8 rebounds in 500 appearances.
Notable gamers taken after Olowokandi: Vince Carter (No. 5), Dirk Nowitzki (No. 9), Paul Pierce (No. 10), Brad Miller (undrafted)
LaRue Martin – No. 1 decide, 1972 NBA Draft
Martin entered the league off a prolific school profession at Loyola Chicago, averaging a double-double of 18.2 factors and 15.9 rebounds.
In 4 seasons with the Path Blazers, Martin averaged 5.3 factors and 4.6 rebounds. He went on to have a profitable company profession, served on a number of group boards and continues to play an lively position within the NBA.
Notable picks taken after Martin: Bob McAdoo (No. 2), Julius Erving (No. 12)