Players that are selected in the top ten of the NBA draft, better known as lottery picks, are players that teams expect to have an impact on their respective teams right away. Before NBA teams choose, they watch film, check scouting reports, and do plenty of homework on the players in question. They look for players with specialties such as shooting, defense, court visions, rebounding or the rare all-around player. Although teams put all this blood, sweat and tears into this pre-draft process, some still get it wrong and choose a player that is not relevant within the next three years.
Now, there is a lot of pressure that goes into picking a future star or role player to add to an NBA roster. It’s not like the General Managers can change their mind and choose a different player after they see how poorly their draft pick played during the season.
Some teams take chances on players, like the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007 with the number one overall pick, who end up not making it in the league but do make it onto this list, if that helps them with anything.
The players that make this list are players that coaches, teammates and GMs have nightmares about until this day. Not only the fact that they drafted these players, but also the fact they passed up on others breakout players and basically screwed their franchises for years to come. Everybody has moments they wish they could take back or at least go back in the past and change. Well this is how GMs feel about these players.
15. Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers (2013)
Anthony Bennett is the most recent mistake to make our list. The only reason Bennett is last on this list is because he’s still young (22) and may have a chance down the road, but for now he can already be labeled as a draft bust.
Bennett was the first overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Cavaliers , surprising most fans, coaches, players and other franchises. Everyone assumed the Cavs found something in Bennett that nobody found in him during pre-draft scouting. Well, the Cavs took a swing and whiffed miserably.
Bennett has played for a different team in each of his first three seasons already. For his career, Bennett is averaging 4.5 ppg and 3.3 rpg, only starting in three games out of the 116 games he has played.
The Cavs passed on Victor Oladipo, Nerlens Noel, and Michael Carter-Williams. Ouch.
14. Chris Wilcox, Los Angeles Clippers (2002)
During his 11 year career, Chris Wilcox played for seven different teams, including three team in one season at one point. After a rough start to his NBA career, Wilcos showed some signs of life in 2005/06, averaging 14.1 ppg and 8.2 rpg for the Seattle SuperSonics over 29 games. However, it went all down hill from there. For his career, Wilcox averaged 8.2 ppg and 4.9 rpg.
To make matters worse, the Clippers chose Wilcox 8th overall, one pick before Amare Stoudemire, who was picked immediately after by the Phoenix Suns.
13. Ekpe Udoh, Golden State Warriors (2010)
This is one of the worst lottery picks in NBA history because of the players the Warriors decided to pass on.
Udoh was picked 6th overall in the 2010 draft, with the Warriors passing over a flood of potential All Stars and great role players. The Warriors passed on Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward, and Paul George, who all went within the next four picks.
Compared to these players, who currently play huge roles on their current teams, Udoh has a career average of 4.0 ppg and 3.2 rpg and is not even on a NBA roster this season.
12. Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee Bucks (2007)
Every NBA teams knows the risk of drafting overseas players. Yi Jianlain was a pick the Bucks should have never even considered. In his short five year professional career, Jianlain played for four different teams, with his last team being the Dallas Mavericks in 2012.
Jianlain drew comparisons to Yao Ming when he was drafted, but he wasn’t even good enough to even stay on an NBA team for more than two seasons. Sadly for the Bucks, Jianlian was chosen before guys like Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, and Thaddeus Young.
11. Shelden Williams, Atlanta Hawks (2006)
Shelden Williams was drafted fifth overall by the Hawks, though the Hawks likely wish they could have that pick back. The Hawks knew they had made a mistake after just two seasons, letting Williams go.
In his short six-year NBA career, Williams played for eight different teams. In those years, Williams averaged 4.5 ppg and 4.3 rpg and Williams has not played for a team since 2012.
Williams was selected higher then players such as Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, and J.J. Redick, making this error really sting for Hawks fans.
10. Jan Vesely, Washington Wizards (2011)
The Wizards are sick to their stomach about their 2011 pick. Not only did Jan Vesely not do anything to help the team, but they also passed on a plethora of players that are pretty good.
Vesely only played for three seasons in the NBA. After two and a half seasons, the Wizards parted ways with Vesely, sending him to the Denver Nuggets. After just 21 games with the Nuggets, the Nuggets noticed the same thing as the Wizards and let him go.
To show just how bad this pick was, Vesely was selected over Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Alec Burks, Markieff and Marcus Morris, Kwahi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic, Iman Shumpert, Tobias Harris, Kenneth Faired, Reggie Jackson, Jimmy Butler and Chandler Parsons. That’s a lot of good players, even if it isn’t reasonable to have expected them to choose most of them.
9. Joe Alexander, Milwaukee Bucks (2008)
Most people are probably looking at this pick and not knowing who it is. Introducing the 8th overall pick in the 2008 draft, Joe Alexander. There is probably a good reason you have never heard of this player because Alexander only played 67 games in his entire NBA career. Alexander played for the Bucks and Bulls in just two NBA seasons.
In his short lived NBA career, Alexander averaged 4.2 ppg and 1.8 rpg and never started a game. In this draft, the Bucks skipped over Brook and Robin Lopez, along with Roy Hibbert, who were all taken shortly after him.
8. Luke Jackson, Cleveland Cavaliers (2004)
This is another player most people likely won’t recognize. During his short four-year NBA career, Jackson played for five different teams and Jackson only played 73 total games, not even the length of an NBA season in four years. Selected 10th overall in 2004, the Cavs showed again why they are not the best at drafting players, unless it’s Lebron or Kyrie.
Jackson averaged 3.5 ppg and 1.2 rpg and was drafted over Josh Smith and Al Jefferson.
7. DeSagana Diop, Cleveland Cavaliers (2001)
Yes, we have another bad Cavaliers draft pick on our list. DeSagana Diop was selected eight overall in the 2001 draft. The sad part about this draft is that there was actually a lottery pick worse then Diop in this draft, but we’ll get to that later.
Diop played for four NBA teams in his 12-year NBA career, which is not that bad, except for the fact that he did absolutely nothing for those teams. Diop averaged 2.0 ppg and 3.7 rpg for his NBA career.
The Cavs selected Diop over players like Joe Johnson and Richard Jefferson..
6. Adam Morrison, Charlotte Bobcats (2006)
Many people are probably looking at this name and thinking: “Hey I remember him. What ever happened to him?” Well, Adam Morrison had one good season and was not what Michael Jordan thought he was going to be when he drafted him.
Morrison only played three NBA seasons, for two different teams, where he averaged 7.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 1.4 apg.
Morrison was taken a couple of picks ahead of Shelden Williams, who we mentioned earlier, so the Bobcats also missed out on players like Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay.
5. Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzles (2009)
When you come out of college at 7’3″ and are selected second overall behind Blake Griffin, you have to be pretty good, right? Well, not exactly. Shawn Bradley can attest to that, as can Hasheem Thabeet.
For his career, Thabeet averaged 2.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg and 0.8 bpg. These are absolutely terrible averages for a seven footer. The Grizzlies passed on so many players that it’s sickening. To draft Thabeet, the Grizzles overlooked James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, and DeMar DeRozan, who were all taken within the next seven picks.
4. Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers (2007)
Greg Oden was actually not that bad a player, but he missed more game than the Blazers team combined. Oden was selected first overall in the 2007 draft and had to make this list just because of the fact that he was selected right before Kevin Durant, who went second.
Since being drafted in 2007, Oden has only played 105 games and has not been on an NBA roster since 2013. In addition to missing on Durant, the Blazers also passed on guys like Al Horford, Mike Conley and Jeff Green.
3. Michael Olowokandi, Los Angeles Clippers (1998)
This pick goes a little far back, but he had to make the list because he was the first overall pick in a pretty great draft class. Michael Olowokandi only played nine NBA seasons with three teams, where he averaged a merely 8.3 ppg and 6.8 rpg and only reached the post season once.
Players drafted after Olowokandi include Mike Bibby, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Jason Williams, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce.
2. Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards (2001)
Michael Jordan might have been the best player in NBA history, but that didn’t translate well to the first office. He selected Kwame Brown first overall in 2001 and he played for seven teams during his putrid 12-year career. Brown averaged 6.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg, which is nowhere near good enough for the first overall pick.
Instead of Brown, the Wizards would’ve been better off picking the next two players off the board, Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol, who are both NBA Champions.
1. Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons (2003)
Darko Milicic was drafted in arguably the best draft class in NBA history. While the Cavaliers got their draft pick right by selecting LeBron James first overall. the Pistons made the worst lottery draft pick in NBA history, selecting Milicic second overall in the 2003 draft.
Before the list of superstars, stars and other players that are just better than Milicic is revealed, it’s time for some stats to show how bad Milicic really was. In his ten seasons in the NBA, Milicic played for six different team and never averaged double digit points in a single season. Milicic finished with a career average of 6.o ppg and 4.2 rpg.
Now for the list of players that the Pistons never want to see again. In this epic 2003 draft, Milicic was drafted above Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade. That hurts.
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