The NBA Draft is very important for the teams in the league looking to contend. While most teams in the lottery won’t contend in the immediate future, it is the best chance to add future Superstars. LeBron James, Kevin Durant and the other elite stars in the league are not going to sign with a losing team in free agency. The best bet is hoping you make the right pick in the draft. This has been most recently shown with the Philadelphia 76ers seeing the combination of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons make them relevant after being terrible for many years.
Other teams have paid for trading away their draft picks. The Brooklyn Nets' rebuilding process is taking longer than expected due to past trades sending their picks away up until this very season. However, not every lottery pick is going to give you a Superstar. In fact, there are more disappointments than stars drafted in the top ten each year. It all comes down to having good talent scouts to evaluate the right personnel that can thrive in the NBA. We will look at some of the worst selections in recent memory with the worst top ten pick from each year going all the way back to 2000.
18 2017: Jonathan Isaac
The 2017 NBA Draft is still fresh with everyone selected playing their rookie season. Many would argue that Lonzo Ball looks like the biggest bust, but he has had enough standout games to provide some hope. Markelle Fultz has dealt with injury issues, so we don’t know how he will look. Jonathan Isaac looks like the biggest bust out of the top ten picks right.
17 2016: Dragan Bender
Aside from having a cool name, Dragan Bender has done nothing of note in the NBA. The product of Croatia was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Bender showed great potential overseas before making the jump to the NBA. The three players selected before him are the only ones that look like obvious success stories going forward, but Bender is the worst of everyone in the top ten.
16 2015: Mario Hezonja
Mario Hezonja was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the fifth pick in the 2015 Draft. Orlando felt he was going to be the steal of the draft slipping under the radar playing in Spain. Hezonja has failed to adapt to the NBA landscape. Currently in his third season, Hezonja has not yet averaged over 20 minutes per game and struggles to get playing time.
15 2014: Noah Vonleh
The 2014 NBA Draft gave us some players that are tearing it up today. Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid and Aaron Gordon all proved to be worthy of their top ten spots in this draft class. Most of the players in the top ten are still contributing to their team today with signs of getting better. The biggest bust was the ninth overall pick Noah Vonleh.
14 2013: Anthony Bennett
You can’t have a list about recent NBA Draft busts without mentioning Anthony Bennett. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Bennett with the first overall pick in 2013. Most top overall picks will at least provide some sort of production. Bennett seemed lost from day one and never showed any signs of getting it together.
13 2012: Thomas Robinson
The 2012 NBA Draft is one of the most underrated in recent years. Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond all have had strong careers with All-Star contention. Harrison Barnes, Dion Waiters and a few others will be in the league for many years. One top ten pick stands out for the wrong reasons.
12 2011: Jan Vesely
Jan Vesely is one of the worst decisions made by the Washington Wizards in recent years. The international success in Serbia convinced Washington Vesely was good enough to take with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Sadly, he couldn’t cut it in the NBA and struggled during his first few seasons in the league. Vesely was bad enough to convince Washington to get rid of him after three seasons never topping more than 20 minutes per game.
11 2010: Ekpe Udoh
The Golden State Warriors hit home runs with the draft picks of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green over the past decade. However, even the smart management team in Golden State made some mistakes. 2010 saw them select Ekpe Udoh with the sixth overall pick in the draft with the hopes of him becoming their center of the future.
10 2009: Hasheem Thabeet
Hasheem Thabeet will haunt the Memphis Grizzlies fan base for many years. Memphis selected Thabeet with the second overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. This was back when teams still believed size was more important than athleticism or shooting. Thabeet somehow got drafted with the second pick despite being less impressive than other names heading into the draft.
9 2008: Joe Alexander
Joe Alexander is not a name many fans remember and that is why he deserves to be considered the worst pick of his draft class. The 2008 NBA Draft saw future All-Stars like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Brook Lopez become great top ten picks. Alexander was selected with the eighth overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in the draft.
8 2007: Greg Oden
There are few draft stories as depressing as Greg Oden’s. The 2007 NBA Draft featured both Oden and Kevin Durant as the two elite prospects expected to have legendary careers. Durant was selected second and is still dominating the NBA with a Hall of Fame worthy career. The Portland Trail Blazers made the poor decision to go with Oden over Durant with the first overall pick.
7 2006: Adam Morrison
The college success of Adam Morrison at Gonzaga convinced the Charlotte Bobcats that he was going to be a huge star. Michael Jordan made many terrible decisions in the draft while running the Bobcats. This was among the top ones as Morrison would get selected by Charlotte with the third pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.
6 2005: Ike Diogu
Chris Paul was the only major success story from the 2005 NBA Draft with other players like Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut having strong careers. Of the disappointing top ten picks, Ike Diogu stands out as the worst pick. The Golden State Warriors selected Diogu with the ninth overall pick hoping he would bring them to relevance many years before they formed the dynasty we see today.
5 2004: Rafael Araújo
The Toronto Raptors made the worst draft pick of 2004 when taking Rafael Araújo with the eighth overall pick. Araújo was a big man and this was the era where teams would rather take the chance of a mediocre center in hopes of striking gold. During three seasons in the NBA, Araújo never averaged more than 3.3 points per game.
4 2003: Darko Milicic
Darko Milicic is the biggest disappointment from arguably the greatest draft in NBA history. LeBron James being selected first overall makes it an iconic draft alone as it gave us the best player of his generation. Milicic was selected with the second overall pick by the Detroit Pistons. Detroit lucked into the pick from a prior trade and were already contenders. They felt Milicic was the best choice to join the roster of veterans to contend now.
3 2002: Nikoloz Tskitishvili
The career of Nikoloz Tskitishvili is forgettable despite his potential getting drafted in 2002. Tskitishvili was selected fifth overall by the Denver Nuggets after they scouted him in Italy. The big man struggled right away and could never find his way to success in the NBA. Denver tried to give him a few seasons to mature into the NBA landscape, but his best numbers were 3.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
2 2001: Kwame Brown
There is no other choice for the 2001 NBA Draft when it comes to the biggest bust. Kwame Brown was drafted out of high school as the top overall pick by the Washington Wizards. Michael Jordan was running the Wizards and decided the potential of Brown was worth banking on. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady were all proving not every star needed college and it fooled Jordan.
1 2000: DerMarr Johnson
The 2000 NBA Draft is considered the worst in NBA history by many basketball experts. Kenyon Martin, Michael Redd and Jamaal Magloire were the only players from the draft class to make an All-Star team, and none of them are viewed as memorable stars today. Most of the top ten picks were disappointments, but DerMarr Johnson stands out as the biggest bust.
The Atlanta Hawks selected Johnson with the sixth overall pick expecting his athleticism to make him a superstar. Johnson did nothing of note during his two seasons in Atlanta. He bounced around the leave as a role player for the next few seasons. There was not a good fit for Johnson as he would get end up out of the NBA faster than expected. Johnson played overseas for the rest of his professional career before recently retiring.
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