Every NBA franchise has a draft pick they wish they could take back. That is what makes the draft such an interesting time, as nobody really knows how the young players being picked will turn out. Each pick in the draft is like rolling dice because you never can really know what type of player you are actually going to get in the years to follow. That is all part of the excitement. There is extremely high pressure placed on these young draft picks, as they are immediately expected to impact their team in a positive way. There is no way to tell how the player will handle the pressure, as some of them rise to the occasion, while others just can’t seem to adjust to the NBA grind. Whatever the reason may be, each NBA franchise undoubtedly has a draft pick that they wish they could just forget.
In this article, we will be looking at every NBA franchise’s worst draft pick, and where the pick has ended up today. This list will definitely bring up some serious regrets for these teams, as these players never lived up to the expectations set for them.
As always, feel free to leave any comments you have down below, as we would love to hear some more terrible draft picks that some NBA franchises have made.
Here is every NBA team's worst draft pick and where they are today.
30 30. Atlanta Hawks - Marvin Williams
Picked with the 2nd pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks went with the wing scorer from North Carolina in Marvin Williams. Expectations were high for Williams, but he never turned out to be the player the Hawks thought he would be. The Hawks are kicking themselves over this one, as they could have went with Chris Paul instead of Williams.
29 29. Boston Celtics - Kedrick Brown
Drafted with the 11th pick in 2001, Kedrick Brown was extremely ineffective during his short time with the Celtics. Shooting a very low percentage, the Celtics moved Brown to the Cavaliers, who quickly traded him to the Sixers, where he would end his career in Philadelphia. It's a shame that Kedrick was never able to have a successful career in the NBA, as he had a very successful career at Northwest Florida State, making many people believe he was ready for the NBA. While Brown wasn’t one of the worst busts we have ever seen, Brown didn’t contribute at all to any of the great Celtics teams of the new millennium.
28 28. Brooklyn (New Jersey) Nets - Dennis Hopson
Dennis Hopson was projected to be a dominant scorer inside, and the Nets took the small forward from the Ohio State University with the 3rd pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. Unable to hang with the big boys down low, Hopson never was able to be productive for the Nets. He only spent three years with the Nets, as he was out of the league completely after five years due to his lack of productivity on the court. This was definitely a disappointment for the Nets. Hopson’s basketball career continued for a while following his NBA departure.
27 27. Charlotte Hornets (Bobcats) - Adam Morrison
Even though Michael Jordan was one of the best players ever, his decision as the Bobcats’ owner to select Adam Morrison with the 3rd pick in the 2006 draft was a total miss. His college career at Gonzaga was impressive to say the least, but the talent displayed there never transitioned into the NBA. Playing only 161 games in his career, Adam Morrison didn’t pan out as expected. Somehow Morrison hit the jackpot before his career ended as he was fortunate enough to land on the Lakers, who won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Needless to say, Morrison is one of the worst players ever to win an NBA title.
26 26. Chicago Bulls - Eddy Curry
The Bulls luckily haven’t been plagued with terrible draft picks, which makes Eddy Curry the franchise’s worst draft pick. Drafted 4th in 2001 to the Bulls, Eddy Curry just couldn’t make the impact the Bulls wanted him to make. With a last name like Curry, you would think he would be a dead-eye shooter! Right? Okay, maybe not. Sometimes even the best predictions fail to come true. Curry lasted only four years with the Bulls before he wound up in New York, and then had brief stints in Miami and Dallas before leaving the NBA.
25 25. Cleveland Cavaliers - Anthony Bennett
This one is not only the worst in the history of the Cavaliers, but it is one of the worst of all time. In 2013, the Cavaliers went with the power forward out of UNLV, Anthony Bennett. The Cavaliers picked Bennett with the number one overall pick, and he has yet to prove at all he deserved being picked first. The Cavaliers were a miserable team during LeBron’s absence between 2010 and 2014 and picking Bennett sure didn’t help matters. It’s quite remarkable how quickly Bennett became universally known as a draft bust.
24 24. Dallas Mavericks - Douglas Smith
The Mavericks went with the big man from Missouri in Douglas Smith with the 6th pick in the 1991 draft. Only playing five seasons in the NBA, Smith never turned out to be productive scoring-wise for the Mavericks, as he shot a low percentage and was bodied by other big men in the league. The mishap of picking Smith so early in 1991 makes Doug Smith the worst pick in Mavericks' history. Smith played in various leagues following his departure from the NBA. His last shot in the NBA was when the Toronto Raptors selected him in the 1995 expansion draft, but he was cut before even playing a game for them.
23 23. Denver Nuggets - Nikoloz Tskitishvili
I don’t want to keep having to write this guy’s name, so I’m going to keep this short. Drafted by the Nuggets in 2002 with the 5th pick, Nikoloz Tskitishvili turned out to be one of the worst foreign draft picks ever. At 7’0, Nikoloz couldn’t block anybody or score efficiently, and he was out of the league in four years. I guess the Nuggets felt he had a Dirk Nowitzki-type skill set, which turned out to be utterly untrue. The 2002 draft was pretty short on talent, but some great picks that were available were Amar’e Stoudemire, Caron Butler and Carlos Boozer. The Nuggets weren’t the only team that struck out in this draft year.
22 22. Detroit Pistons - Darko Milicic
Darko Milicic was a part of one of the best draft classes in NBA history. Milicic was drafted in front of NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Unfortunately, the Pistons totally missed on some great talent when they took Milicic with the 2nd pick in the 2003 NBA draft. With so much talent in the front of the draft, it’s a shame the Pistons got stuck with Milicic, who never turned out to be successful like a lot of his fellow draft-class members. The Pistons managed to win a title in 2004, but their mistake of drafting Milicic would bite them in the following years.
21 21. Golden State Warriors - Chris Washburn
The Warriors had no shortage of draft mistakes, so picking one to stand out above (or below) the rest was pretty tough. Needless to say, they weren’t your modern day Warriors. In 1986, the Golden State Warriors went with the center out of NC State named Chris Washburn with the 3rd overall pick. Washburn was not as polished as the Warriors thought he would be, and he was terribly ineffective in the NBA due to his lack of skill. He only managed to play 72 games in the NBA, making him a likely candidate for a player the Warriors would like to forget.
20 20. Houston Rockets - Royce White
Royce White was selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft, but never ended up playing a game for the Houston Rockets. Why? White wanted a contractual plan with the Rockets that would assess his anxiety disorder and OCD. He got the team to agree to cut back on his flying schedule, trying to alleviate any possible triggers for anxiety. The Rockets eventually sent White to the D-League and after White refused to play for the lack of protocol on his issues, the Rockets suspended him.
White was traded to the 76ers prior to the 2013-14 season, but was waived before the season began. He eventually signed a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings, playing in three games before his NBA career came to an end.
19 19. Indiana Pacers - Scott Haskin
Scott Haskin was picked with the Pacers 14th overall selection in 1993. He only managed to play 27 games in the NBA, as his injuries were just too much to handle. Averaging about two points a game during his short Pacers career, the Indiana Pacers would definitely like to have this one back. Unfortunately, hindsight is 20-20. It’s just about the worst case scenario when a first round pick of yours only manages to play one season. Maybe if Haskin had stayed healthy, he would have turned his career around, but the Pacers never got to see it play out that way.
18 18. Los Angeles Clippers - Michael Olowokandi
The Clippers sure did miss out on this one, as they wasted their 1st overall draft pick on Michael Olowokandi in 1998, which was a pretty stacked draft class. He never turned out to be the star the Clippers envisioned him to be, which totally stalled the Clippers thoughts of getting out of the rebuilding phase. Great players such as Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, and Vince Carter were picked behind him, and any of these players would have helped the Clippers become a more relevant team if drafted. The Clippers were the joke of Los Angeles for so long, struggling to even make the playoffs, while the Lakers of the late '90s were just starting to build a dynasty. That team could have been the Clippers if they had been better on draft day.
17 17. Los Angeles Lakers - Javaris Crittenon
It’s a good thing the Lakers were a great team in 2007 because they went with Javaris Crittenton with the 19th pick, which ultimately turned out to be the wrong choice. Javaris Crittenton only spent two years in the league, and is now serving 23 years of prison time after accepting a plea deal in a murder case -- not exactly the kind of guy a team wants representing them. This pick isn’t on the list from a basketball standpoint. It’s that someone of Crittenton’s nature actually represented perhaps the most iconic franchise in basketball. The only positive side of selecting him was that the Lakers eventually packaged him in a deal for Pau Gasol.
16 16. Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet
The 2009 NBA Draft is quickly becoming one of the best in NBA history. Stars picked behind Thabeet, such as Stephen Curry, James Harden, and DeMar DeRozan, continue to make names for themselves in the league. Hasheem Thabeet, on the other hand, only managed to play 224 games in his five-year NBA career, as he was out of the league by 2014. The Grizzlies really missed out on some great players in this draft, as they wasted their number two pick on the 7’3 center from UConn. By 2011, the Grizzlies had realized their mistake and traded him to Houston in a deal that got them Shane Battier and Ish Smith. He would also have stints in Portland and OKC.
15 15. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley
It looked as though Michael Beasley was the correct selection by the Heat with the 2nd pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, but now, the Heat definitely would have gone with someone else if they knew what type of career Beasley would have. Problems off of the court hurt Beasley during his career, which really didn’t allow him to blossom into a star.
14 14. Milwaukee Bucks - Yi Jianlian
Yi Jianlian was not the product the Bucks thought they would be getting with their 6th pick in the 2007 draft. Moved from the Bucks after only one year, Yi played for four teams during his five-year career, as he couldn’t adjust to the NBA. Yi has since found some very impressive success in the CBA, as he averaged 27.7 ppg last year on the Guangdong Southern Tigers. Luckily for Jianlian, he’s found tremendous success in China, as he is a four-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, and eight-time All-Star.
13 13. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jonny Flynn
Boy, this must sting for the Timberwolves. The Wolves had not one, but two top-10 picks in the 2009 NBA Draft, which they used on two point guards in Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn with the 5th and 6th picks. While both players haven’t had close to the success as the 7th pick in the draft has had in Stephen Curry, Jonny Flynn was definitely the worst pick in Wolves' history. After only three NBA seasons, Jonny Flynn ended his career when he proved he obviously couldn’t be productive in the league.
12 12. New Orleans Pelicans - Austin Rivers
An amazing high school player, the struggles Rivers had in college should have been a warning sign for the Pelicans, who drafted Austin with the 10th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He is an average back-up point guard at best, who did have some solid games, not for the Pelicans of course, but for the Clippers, with his father, Doc Rivers, as the head coach. Rivers wouldn’t have been a bad second round pick, but the fact that he was drafted so high is what lands him on the list. The 2012 NBA Draft isn’t looking like a star studded class, but Draymond Green was available at the time of the Pelicans’ selection.
11 11. New York Knicks - Rolando Blackman
Drafted with the 20th pick in 2006, Renaldo Balkman’s NBA career did not go as expected. Renaldo only played two seasons for New York, as he averaged about four points a game with them. Bouncing around from team to team, Balkman ended his career back in New York, but with no resurgence of production the second time around sadly -- a major disappointment for New York. Some names that were available for New York at the time were Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap. Heck, even Rajon Rondo, despite his bad reputation around the league, would have been a better pick.
10 10. Oklahoma City Thunder - Cole Aldrich
In the interest of keeping things current, we'll stick with the OKC Thunder's history in Oklahoma, rather than going back to the SuperSonics.
It’s a shame the Thunder got the underachieving Aldrich with the 11th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, as anybody else would have probably been a better asset to the rising superstar in Kevin Durant. What’s even worse about this pick is Cole has had success with other teams, as he was a solid player for the Clippers last season. Whatever it was about OKC, Aldrich couldn’t be very productive there, making him the worst pick in the Thunder’s short history. The Thunder’s window of opportunity may have now closed on their championship hopes with the expected departure of Kevin Durant. A better pick in 2010 may have been what would have put them over the top.
9 9. Orlando Magic - Fran Vazquez
8 8. Philadelphia 76ers - Shawn Bradley
This 7’6 center from BYU was supposed to be one of the most dominant centers in the NBA. He was drafted second by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1993 NBA Draft, but Bradley never turned into the star the Sixers envisioned him to be. The Sixers haven't always had the best of luck with centers, and Bradley was no exception with this problem. He averaged 8.1 points per game, and 6.3 rebounds in his 14 seasons in the NBA. Shawn Bradley now works at West Ridge Academy, a private school in West Jordan, Utah. He is the vice principal, counselor, and basketball coach.
7 7. Phoenix Suns - William Bedford
William Bedford may have had the height to compete in the NBA, but his problems off the court were just too much to handle, as he never had a successful NBA career. While the talent was there physically, the talent wasn't there mentally to keep him performing in the league. His problems with substance abuse made him miss the entire 1988-89 season, which pretty much summed up his career in the league. One word could describe Bedford’s career… unproductive.
6 6. Portland Trail Blazers - Sam Bowie
If you’re a basketball fan, you probably have heard of Sam Bowie. If you don’t know who he is, well in the legendary 1984 NBA Draft, he was drafted with the second pick to the Portland Trail Blazers. Okay big deal, he was drafted with the second pick and didn’t turn out to be a superstar. In reality, he wasn’t that bad in the NBA, but he will forever be remembered because of who was picked after him; none other than the greatest basketball player of all time in Michael Jordan. Bowie wasn’t terrible in the NBA, but considering the Trail Blazers could have selected Michael Jordan, Bowie was a complete bust of a player.
5 5. Sacramento Kings - Pervis Ellison
This pick just shows the luck the Kings had in the late '80s and early '90s, as they chose Pervis Ellison with the 1st pick in the 1989 NBA Draft. Ellison couldn’t stay healthy, as injuries hindered his playing time so much in his rookie campaign that he was traded from the Kings after just one season. Unfortunately, he was just one of many unlucky picks for the Sacramento Kings. The 1989 NBA Draft was a deep one and the Kings could have used it to turn their franchise around. Among the names available for them were Shawn Kemp, Glen Rice and Tim Hardaway. Any of those guys would have instantly upgraded the Kings’ roster and they could have been a respectable team in the early '90s.
4 4. San Antonio Spurs - Alfredrick Hughes
The Spurs have usually been great with draft picks, as they know how to get value out of the late picks in the draft, since they never have high picks thanks to their success. Selected with the 14th pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, Hughes is an exception. He only played one season with the Spurs until he was waived due to his lack of talent. The Spurs probably don’t mind the pick that much, considering they have had some serious success even with making this mistake. Still, knowing Hall of Famer Joe Dumars was taken just a few picks later has got to sting for Spurs fans. Perhaps they could have started their winning ways a lot sooner.
3 3. Toronto Raptors - Rafael Araujo
We sure have seen this a lot – a team believes they are getting a talented big man who actually turns out to be a total bust. Rafael Araujo fits this perfectly, as the 6’11 big man from Brazil never turned out to be even an average player in the league. His three years in the NBA were bad to say the least. Picked with the 8th pick in 2004, Araujo’s stats look nothing like what a top ten pick’s stats should look like. Andre Iguodala went with the very next pick to the 76ers and has become a force for the Warriors, and even won the Finals MVP two years ago. As the Raptors sit at home, they could only wonder, what if? In 2012, Araújo decided to retire, though he was open to return to basketball if he had a good proposal.
2 2. Utah Jazz - Enes Kanter
1 1. Washington Wizards - Kwame Brown
The perfect embodiment of an NBA bust, Kwame Brown is the worst NBA draft pick of all time. As the first ever high school player drafted with the first overall pick, Kwame Brown never lived up to the potential he showed in high school. Michael Jordan was a great player, but as the team president for the Wizards at the time, he made a poor decision drafting Kwame Brown in 2001. Kwame showed a lack of production and especially a lack of maturity as he finished his rookie year, averaging 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds a game. Over the next 12 years, he moved from team to team, as he limped his way to the end of his miserable career.
After being waived by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2013, Kwame Brown went off the radar and his whereabouts are unknown. He did manage to make about $60 million in his playing days, so he is probably doing fine for himself, wherever he may be.
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