The NBA is loaded with start studded talent from top to bottom. Some teams are obviously more stacked than others. Look at teams like the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics will have one of the best lineups in the NBA next year with Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford, assuming they are all healthy and around next season. The 76ers aren't so bad themselves, having Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, Joe Embiid, Dario Saric, and J.J. Redick. It is very convenient that these two teams are now squaring off in the Eastern Conference semifinals. It is also a coincidence that they have good young point guards that can be game changer's at a moment's notice.
There are a lot of good point guards in the league to date. Rajon Rondo has found his old self as "playoff Rondo" continues to show his presence. Steph Curry is one of the best shooting point guards we have seen in a very long time. Chris Paul shows that even with James Harden alongside him that he can excel in the role as floor general, setting his teammates up and hitting the occasional big shot. However, where there are the good point guards come also the very bad ones. We aren't just taking in today's game either. We are talking from back in the 1990's as well. Why not time travel a little bit, right? Let's take a look at 20 of the biggest NBA point guard busts since 1990.
20 Travis Mays
The 1990 NBA draft saw a lot of talent coming from the college ranks such as Derrick Coleman, Gary Payton, Chris Jackson, Dennis Scott, and Bo Kimble. Mays played at the University of Texas where he excelled. He made his way to the NBA to try to repeat the same success that he had in college.
He played with the Kings and Atlanta Hawks for five seasons, averaging 11 points a game.
With that career came unimpressive numbers and injuries. Eventually he played overseas in Europe before his career ended in 2002.
19 Eric Murdock
The 1991 NBA draft was also very good also. It might even be better than the 1990 draft when you see what players came out that year. Larry Johnson, Kenny Anderson, Dikembe Mutombo, Greg Anthony, and Dale Davis headline this phenomenal class. There are also the bad picks that took place just like with any draft. With the 21st overall pick that year, the Utah Jazz went with Providence's Eric Murdock. He was a consensus second team All-American and first team Big East guard in 1991.
He averaged 10 points a game during his NBA career. He also was quite the journeyman during his time in the league. He played for the Jazz, Bucks, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Heat, Nets, and Clippers before calling it a career.
18 Randy Woods
The Clippers owned the 16th overall pick in 1992, a draft where Shaquille O'Neal was the consensus number one pick in everyone's minds. They weren't getting Shaq, but they did get a point guard from La Salle in Randy Woods. He was the 1992 MAAC player of the year while averaging 27 points a game. That point production didn't go over to the NBA.
Randy Woods is seen as one of the biggest busts in Los Angeles Clippers history. He averaged two points a game for his whole career which lasted from 1992 to 1995. It is amazing to see just how much Woods dropped off from being a star at La Salle to being a huge bust in the NBA.
17 Lindsey Hunter
The 1993 NBA draft was not one of the stronger drafts. Yes, there are the notable names like Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn and others that went on to have decent to pretty good careers. One guy that didn't have that same success throughout his time in the NBA was Lindsey Hunter.
He was another small school player as he played his college basketball at Jackson State. He then was taken 10th overall by the Detroit Pistons.
Hunter averaged 9 points a game during his time in the NBA, which ended in 2010. He played for the Pistons on two different stints, along with the Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, and Bulls.
16 Khalid Reeves
The 1994 draft saw guys like Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Juwan Howard, and Jalen Rose find their way from college to the NBA. It also saw the Miami Heat have the 12th overall pick. They were looking for a guard that could help them build a foundation. They eventually ended up selecting point guard Khalid Reeves out of Arizona. Reeves was a big time scorer and helped the Wildcats get to the 1994 Final Four before losing to eventual champion Arkansas. He was then ready to take his talents to the NBA. Unfortunately, it didn't seem like the NBA was ready for him.
Reeves spent time with the Heat, Hornets, Nets, Mavericks, Pistons, and Bulls while playing for several European teams before he called it a career in 2007.
15 Randolph Childress
Wake Forest has seen their fair share of basketball success stories. Tim Duncan had a historic college career for the Demon Deacons before coming to the San Antonio Spurs and helping the Spurs win multiple NBA championships. Chris Paul is another guy that had a good career at Wake Forest and is still currently in the NBA pursuing a championship with the Houston Rockets. However, Randolph Childress, the 19th overall pick in the 1995 draft by the Pistons wasn't one of those success stories. He enjoyed playing with Tim Duncan, but probably didn't enjoy how his NBA career ended up.
Randolph Childress was voted the ACC male athlete of the year in 1995. He went to the Pistons and didn't end up helping much. He averaged two points a game in two seasons with the Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers. Injuries and arguments with coaching staffs led Childress be out of the NBA earlier than he expected.
14 Tony Delk
What a class the 1996 NBA draft was. Several players had long and meaningful careers in the NBA. Players like Allen Iverson from Georgetown and Ray Allen from UCONN came out and had legendary careers. One guy that could have had a better career was Tony Delk. Delk played his college basketball at Kentucky. But being selected 16th overall by the Hornets showed he had a high level of expectations. He wasn't as advertised.
To think that Tony Delk was selected three picks after Kobe Bryant is amazing considering the career we all saw Kobe have.
He was another journeyman point guard as he played for the Hornets, Celtics, and a bunch of other teams before he was done. He only averaged nine points per season while playing in the NBA.
13 Antonio Daniels
The 1997 NBA draft is looked at as a draft that had one big prize and then the rest were skeptical at best. Tim Duncan was the prize everyone wanted. The Boston Celtics thought they were going to get him, but they didn't. The Spurs did. Other notable players in that draft were Keith Van Horn as well as Chauncey Billups and Tracy McGrady. The Vancouver Grizzlies had the fourth overall pick that year and got Antonio Daniels, a point guard out of Bowling Green to be taken.
Daniels racked up the college awards in 1997 by being the MAC Player of the year as well as First Team All MAC. His success did not come over to Vancouver with him. He won a championship with the Spurs in 1999, but that was the pinnacle of his NBA career. He averaged only eight points a game and played with a number of different NBA organizations.
12 Brevin Knight
Brevin Knight was the 16th overall selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1997 NBA draft. He played his college career at Stanford University. He enjoyed a lot of success at Stanford as he is the all time leader in assists and steals. He played for all four of his college seasons before trying to continue his success at the NBA level. But that success didn't happen for him when he went to the NBA.
With nine different NBA organizations, he averaged eight points and seven rebounds a game. Knight was on the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1997. But, his game never kept up consistently like it did in that first season.
11 Bryce Drew
Some guys could end up being better coaches than they were NBA players. Look at a guy like Doc Rivers. He was an average point guard and then became an NBA champion head coach. This next former NBA point guard bust is now enjoying the coaching game. Before he got into coaching, he was a star at Valparaiso. Bryce Drew certainly accomplished a lot in college. He was Mr. Basketball in Indiana in 1994. He was also a two time MCC Player of the Year in 1997 and 1998. He then went on to be the first player selected in the NBA draft out of Valparaiso.
He was selected 16th overall in the 1998 draft by the Rockets, who were past the prime years of winning with guys like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler leading the way.
His NBA career was nowhere near like his college career.
Drew played for the Rockets, Bulls, and Hornets before his playing career was over.
10 William Avery
The 1999 NBA draft can be looked at as a weird one when it is all said and done. There were definitely some good players in that draft. But, there wasn't a franchise changer or anything of that nature. There was one guy that definitely wasn't a game changer in any sense of the word. Avery went to Duke University to play under the legendary Coach K. He spent three years in the Blue Devils basketball program and got to experience a national championship, only to lose to UCONN.
Avery spent four years in the NBA total. He was selected 14th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He spent his whole career with the Timberwolves and did basically nothing. When it was all said and done, Avery averaged three points and one assist a game in three NBA seasons.
9 Mateen Cleaves
The 2000 draft class is well...bad. Kenyon Martin was the number one pick and he certainly didn't play like a number one pick. The Detroit Pistons had the 14th overall pick and decided to go with Mateen Cleaves from Michigan State. Cleaves was one of the most notable players to ever play basketball for the Spartans. He was a three time All-American player and three year team captain. He was also named Big Ten player of the year twice. He had his number retired at Michigan State in 2007. He will not be having his NBA jersey retired anytime soon.
He played for four NBA organizations while also spending time in the D-League. He averaged four points and two assists a game during his time in the NBA. He clearly did not pan out.
8 Jay Williams
If the 2002 NBA season could be summarized with one phrase, it would probably be "Year of the Yao". Yao Ming was a 7-foot-6 center that was bound to be the number one pick after playing professionally in China. That left the Chicago Bulls at number two. They decided to go with a Jay Williams out of Duke. Williams had the honor and privilege to play for Coach K at Duke. He won a title in 2001 and was voted player of the year in 2002. It was obvious the Bulls would take him at number two overall. They did and at the time felt good about the pick. Now, that probably isn't the case.
Jay Williams played one season with the Bulls and averaged 10 points along with five assists a game.
He then got into a horrific motorcycle accident that basically ended his career. He tried to make a comeback, but it just never happened.
7 T.J. Ford
The 2003 NBA draft had more talent than you knew what to do with. You had LeBron James. You had Carmelo Anthony. You also had Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to round out the top five. There was a point guard however from Texas that was looking to make his way into the top 10. T.J. Ford was picked eighth overall by the Bucks.
Being an eighth overall pick usually means that the player is going to help a ton. T.J. Ford did well in his rookie year when he was voted to the All-Rookie second team in 2004. He also was the Naismith Player of the Year in 2003. He eventually finished his career with an average 11 points and six assists a game which wasn't what the Bucks or his other three NBA teams were looking for.
6 Marcus Banks
The 2003 draft is one of those drafts that unfortunately has multiple busts in the first round. One of those other busts that surfaced is Marcus Banks. Banks spent two years at UNLV after he spent his first two college basketball seasons playing in junior college. He was taken with the 13th overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies. He never played for the Grizzlies as he was immediately traded to the Boston Celtics. He was known as a decent defender in his time with the Celtics. But overall, he was a bust.
He averaged six points and two assists a game during his time in the NBA. He even tried to continue his career in the Greek League where he was a part of the Greek League club Panathinaikos Athens who won the Greek Cup in 2013.
5 Sebastian Telfair
In 2004, the one-and-done rule still didn't exist and it might have cost this next point guard bust. The 13th pick overall belonged to the Portland Trail Blazers and they went with a point guard from Coney Island, New York in Sebastian Telfair.
Telfair was one of the most highly recruited guards in the nation in 2004. He was contemplating between going to Louisville to play for coach Rick Pitino or go to the pros.
Eventually, Telfair chose to go the pro route and the Trail Blazers took a chance on him. Telfair ended up playing in the NBA for seven different teams. He averaged seven points and four assists per game throughout the duration of his career.
4 Marcus Williams
The 2006 draft can easily be seen as one of the worst drafts that we have seen over the past 20 years. One of the more unrecognized busts came with the 22nd pick overall by the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets. He played at UCONN and had an okay career when he was actually playing. In the NBA, he simply didn't pan out. His name is Marcus Williams.
Marcus Williams spent his college days with the UCONN Huskies. He was kicked off the team junior year for selling stolen laptops. He was still taken 22nd overall by New Jersey. He started off well with an NBA All-Rookie Second team nomination in 2007. He averaged six points and three assists a game, while playing for three NBA teams in four seasons. He also spent time overseas.
3 Acie Law
There aren't many players that can shoot the ball well with either hand. Acie Law spent his college days playing for Texas A&M. He was eventually drafted 11th overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
He didn't spend his whole career with the Hawks and was a journeyman like a lot of the other point guards on this list.
Law averaged four points and two rebounds per game for five different teams in seven overall NBA seasons. The NBA was simply too much for him. So what ended up happening next was a blessing for Law. He went to play in Europe and became a two time EuroLeague champion.
2 Javaris Crittenton
In that same 2007 draft, there was a point guard out of Georgia Tech named Javaris Crittenton that looked like a lock to be a middle to late first round pick. Crittenton took advantage of the one and done rule as he left after one season with the Yellow Jackets to pursue his dream of being an NBA player. He was selected 19th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. He definitely could not recapture the magic that the Lakers had with their "Showtime" teams of the 1980s.
Javaris Crittenton played in the NBA from 2007-2011. He spent time with the Lakers, Grizzlies, Bobcats, and Wizards. He then headed over to China and ended by playing in the D-League. In his NBA career, he only averaged five points and two assists a game.
1 Bobby Hurley
One of the biggest NBA point guard busts has to be Bobby Hurley. Hurley spent his high school days playing at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. He played for his father, Bob Hurley, who was known for being incredibly tough on his players. It all paid off as Bobby ended up going to Duke. Hurley helped run the point guard position to lead Duke to back to back national championships in 1991 and 1992. When the time to turn pro came, the Sacramento Kings came calling.
Hurley spent his NBA career with the Kings and with the Grizzlies. He played from 1993-1998. He averaged four points and three assists a game, which was a huge disappointment after being a big star at Duke.