When an NBA team obtains a lottery pick, they are expected to draft a player who will become a game changer or perhaps even the face of the franchise. For example, in the 2012 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans were fortunate enough to find their cornerstone in Anthony Davis. In 2015, the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired their future star in Karl-Anthony Towns.
Davis and Towns were the best players of their respective draft classes and were expected to make an immediate impact - and they did not disappoint. But while Davis and Towns have rewarded New Orleans and Minnesota, respectively, not all high draft picks end up being golden like the two former Kentucky Wildcats. Moreover, there are players who end up being fool's gold.
Here, we take a look at fifteen recent draft picks who were expected to be major contributors but are instead looking more like busts.
15 Willie Cauley-Stein
First and foremost, Cauley-Stein landed in an unfortunate situation when he was selected sixth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. Listed at 7'0'' tall, he would be sharing a front court with arguably the most polished Center in the league in DeMarcus Cousins. Sometimes the twin towers experiment pays dividends and no example is better than that of Tim Duncan and David Robinson in San Antonio. But more often than not the experiment fails mainly because both bigs do not have enough room to operate on the offensive side of the ball. Cauley-Stein was the forth big man taken behind Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis. Cauley-Stein was almost taken before Porzingis; the Knicks sure must be glad they didn't select the self-proclaimed "trill" Cauley-Stein over "PorzinGOD", as Cauley-Stein only averaged seven points and five boards opposed to the Latvian unicorn's fourteen and seven.
14 Nik Stauskas
The former Michigan Wolverine by way of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada was selected eighth overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Kings soured on Stauskas extremely quickly as he was shipped out to the Philadelphia 76ers one year later for two players that aren't even in the NBA and the right to swap first round selections in 2016 and 2017. The Kings practically gave Stauskas away and indicated they weren't high on him by doing so. Stauskas who is now in his second season on a woeful Sixers team hasn't been able to prove that he is the Shooting Guard of the future for the team. For the season, the man once accidentally called "Sauce Castillo" via a sub title, is averaging 9.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 1.7 APG. Stauskas is showing improvement but has still been pretty unimpressive in his third season.
13 Derrick Williams
The number two pick of the 2011 NBA Draft spent a tad over two seasons in the Land of 10,000 Lakes with the Minnesota Timberwolves before he was hauled off to the Sacramento Kings for just under two seasons. He then spent a season with the New York Knicks before moving on to the Miami Heat where he currently is. The twenty-five year old La Mirada, California native has been shuffled around the starting lineup and off the bench throughout his career and as a result has never truly found his footing or the proper fit. Williams was drafted right after Kyrie Irving and both players have gone through vastly different paths. Williams has never averaged more than 12.0 PPG; Irving has never averaged less than 18.5 PPG. Irving is a 3X NBA All-Star; Williams has never made it to an All-Star game. At twenty-five, Williams has the youth to redeem himself.
12 Thomas Robinson
In the 2012 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings selected Kansas Jayhawk Power Forward Thomas Robinson with the fifth overall pick; the Portland Trail Blazers selected Damian Lillard with the sixth overall pick. Safe to say if the Kings could do it all over they'd swipe the Weber State product, Lillard. Robinson is now in his fifth NBA season and he is with his sixth NBA team. To be fair, Robinson hasn't gotten much of an opportunity to showcase his skill set as he's never averaged more than 18.5 MPG. However, teams don't seem to be too impressed with him as he's never been retained by a team for more than two seasons. But, Robinson just may have the capability to strive in the league as a double-double machine if given the proper opportunity. With the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014-2015 season, Robinson averaged 8.8 PPG and 7.7 RPG in just 18.5 MPG. Robinson may just need the proper coach to give him ample court time.
11 Dion Waiters
When you tell your collegiate teammates at Syracuse to call you "Kobe Wade", you better deliver. When you pride yourself, in a delusional manner by the way, in being better than Kyrie Irving, you better deliver. Waiters has never seen a shot he disliked whether from inside or outside of the arc. His three point percentage is especially dismal is evidenced by him hitting less than 30% from three point land in 2014-2015. Waiters absolutely has the capability of getting hot and scoring at will; but this is few and far between. Waiters also has quite the reputation of not being a willing passer and his career high assist average of three points to this being an accurate assessment. Waiters may or may not get buckets on any given night, but it's clear he isn't "Kobe Wade" or better than Kyrie Irving despite what he may think.
10 Wesley Johnson
The forth pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, Wesley Johnson, seemed like he was ready for the NBA after playing three years of collegiate ball under Jim Boeheim for the Syracuse Orange. Johnson who was initially drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves spent two seasons in Minnesota before he was shipped off to the Valley of the Sun to play for the Phoenix Suns. He then played a couple seasons in Los Angeles with the Lakers, and he now finds himself in his second season with the Clippers. Johnson has never averaged double digit scoring numbers (his high is actually just shy at 9.9 PPG). He's never grabbed more than 4.4 boards per game. He is also currently in the midst of his worst season yet as he's only averaging 2.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG.
9 Noah Vonleh
The former Indiana Hoosier was selected ninth overall by the Michael Jordan owned franchise from Charlotte, North Carolina, the Charlotte Hornets. Vonleh was plagued by the injury bug in his rookie campaign and only suited up for the Hornets in twenty-five contests. Despite being a top ten draft pick, he barely averaged ten minutes a game as he ended up averaging 10.4 per contest. Vonleh averaged 3.3 PPG and 3.4 RPG as a rookie. He was traded in the offseason to the Portland Trail Blazers after just spending one season in the Queen City. His surroundings may have changed but his statistics remain relatively unchanged. Vonleh averaged 3.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG as a sophomore in just over fifteen minutes a game and is currently averaging 2.9 PPG and 3.2 RPG in a tad over ten minutes a game in the 2016-2017 season.
8 Ben McLemore
The 2013 NBA Draft featured a slew of names that were rumored to go number one such as Victor Oladipo, Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter and this man, Ben McLemore. When McLemore fell to seventh in the draft most felt that the Kings had not only landed the potential rookie of the year, but also the steal of the draft. In what seems like a trend for the Kings, McLemore has proven to be nothing more than another underwhelming lottery pick. Asides from getting buckets (and he doesn't do this in dominating fashion or anything), McLemore is lackluster. In three seasons, his career high rebound average is a measly 2.9 per game. He's never averaged more than 1.7 APG. He's also been given plenty of time to showcase his worth as he averaged 26.7 MPG as a rookie and 32.6 MPG as a sophomore. McLemore may prove not to be a bust; but he won't be able to prove that in Sacto.
7 Doug McDermott
The eleventh selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, Dougie McBuckets, was drafted by the Denver Nuggets, but was traded in exchange for the sixteenth and nineteenth picks which belonged to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls received McDermott and the Nuggets received Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris. It's a pretty safe bet to say that the Bulls would gladly give up McDermott today for either one of those players. In his senior season at Creighton, McDermott averaged 26.7 PPG and 7.0 RPG. In the NBA, McDermott has never averaged more than 10.3 PPG (his current average in the 2016-2017 NBA season) and more than 2.8 RPG, also his current season average. McDermott comes off the bench and hasn't proven to be the scorer the Bulls thought they were getting when they traded up for him.
6 Mario Hezonja
Hezonja was taken fifth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic who believed they had a pressing need at the Shooting Guard position. Little did they know they had an impressive Frenchman who played the two on their own roster in Evan Fournier. Fournier ended up starting seventy-one of the seventy-nine games he played in for the 2015-2016 season while averaging a career high 32.5 MPG. Hezonja on the other hand was only able to accumulate 17.9 MPG while putting up 6.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG and 1.4 APG. His minutes have fallen to 11.6 per contest in the 2016-2017 season and he's only averaging 3.9 PPG to go along with a 1.5 RPG and 0.6 APG average. Hezonja may not be a bust, but with Fournier ahead of him in the home of Mickey Mouse, Orlando, Florida, he doesn't stand a good shot to showcase his worth.
5 Austin Rivers
More so than anyone on this list, Rivers was looked at as an absolute reach when the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans), selected him tenth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Pelicans hit a home run when they snagged Anthony Davis nine picks earlier, but they struck out with the Rivers pick. Rivers spent two and a half seasons in the Big Easy before daddy Doc Rivers came to the rescue and traded for him to be a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. Rivers never proved to be capable of starting duties in the Big Easy and even with daddy dearest by his side in the City of Angels he'd be delusional to think he's starting over CP3. Despite being a PG, Rivers has never averaged more than 2.5 APG. He is yet averaged double digits in a season either as his career-high for a season is 8.9 PPG.
4 Ekpe Udoh
An interesting fact about Udoh is that his middle name is actually Friday (he was born in 1987, eight years before the popular movie came out). Udoh was selected sixth overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2010 NBA Draft. He was expected to be the presence in the paint that the Warriors coveted; he ended up being a bust. Udoh averaged 4.8 PPG and 3.5 RPG for a little under two years while he was with the Bay Area team. Udoh then had stints with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite a new scenery, Udoh's play was relatively the same. Udoh never averaged more than 5.7 PPG and 4.7 RPG. He currently finds himself in the Euroleague where he plays for the Turkish ball club, Fenerbahce.
3 Jimmer Fredette
During his tenure at BYU, fans were delighted to experience what was dubbed "Jimmer Mania". But, college success doesn't always translate to the NBA. I'm looking at you, Tyler Hansbrough! In Jimmer's case, he struggled to deliver in the NBA like he did in college. Fredette played in the NBA from 2011-2016 and spent time with the Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans, Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks D-League affiliate) and the New York Knicks. Fredette never averaged more than 7.6 PPG and had a career average of 6.0 PPG. His career rebound and assist average were both below two and he never averaged above 1.2 and 1.8 for either category respectively. Fredette now finds himself overseas as he's playing ball in China for the Shanghai Sharks.
2 Anthony Bennett
There is no debate here; Anthony Bennett is an absolute bust and lthe biggest bust of the decade that was selected number one overall. The 2013 NBA Draft featured a weak class, but despite this, many were still shocked when the Cavaliers selected Bennett number one overall as it was looked at as a reach. Bennet is in his forth season and he is already on his forth team (not including the two D-League franchises he has played for). Bennett put up 4.2 PPG and 3.0 RPG in Cleveland. In Minnesota, Bennett averaged 5.2 PPG and 3.8 RPG. Playing for his hometown Toronto Raptors, Bennett put up a career low 1.5 PPG and 1.2 RPG. Bennett is now playing for the Brooklyn Nets and he's been bouncing back and forth between the Brooklyn based franchise as well as their D-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets. Brooklyn doesn't seem to have much faith in Bennett and based on his track record, it is hard to have faith in him.
1 Jan Vesely
The Washington Wizards selected the Czech big man with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. What is Vesely best known for, you ask? Well, he once said "Blake Griffin is the American Jan Vesely". Last I checked, I didn't know Griffin had paltry career averages of 4.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 0.6 APG. Vesely only lasted four seasons in the NBA, with the first three of those seasons being spent in the nation's capital with the Washington Wizards and the final season being spent with the Denver Nuggets. He is only twenty-six and is currently still playing basketball overseas for the Turkish club Fenerbahce, where he is averaging a double-double, but that does little to change the fact that he was a massive bust in the NBA.
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