Every June the NBA hosts a draft featuring the top collegiate and international players. It's an exciting time as 30 players will be drafted in the first round, assuring their NBA dream has come true. These 30 players sign guaranteed contracts. Some international players stay overseas to fulfill prior contracts with clubs, but for the most part these first round picks play in the NBA the season directly following their draft year. It takes time to actually play in the NBA, so this exercise will focus on players who have already completed two seasons. Guys like Mario Hezonja and Wade Baldwin IV have struggled, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Established NBA players from previous drafts up to the 2014 draft will be the focus of this list. Some of these players had really strong freshman seasons or dynamic NCAA tournaments that strengthen their draft status. A team drafted said player because the team saw unlimited potential. Situation and opportunity mean everything in the NBA.
Sometimes it takes time for a player to truly develop into a role in the NBA. Nik Stauskas would be on this list if it was done last year in his second season, but his game has improved dramatically. He definitely worked on his game, and it shows, but his skill was evident in college. Sometimes confidence plays a factor into why it takes certain players to figure out longer than other players. Players drafted towards the top of the draft who have not performed anywhere near their expectations were considered higher than late first-round picks. It goes without saying some of these players could still make a name for themselves, or carve out a roll in a certain situation, but for right now, they are the worst first-round picks in the NBA.
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15 Luke Babbitt - Miami Heat
Once upon a time Luke Babbitt was selected 16th overall in 2010. Babbitt has played for three NBA teams. He's known as a sharpshooter, connecting on a career 39 percent of his three-point attempts. Babbitt has a real NBA skill, so he should play for a number of more years. This season Babbitt plays 15 minutes a game, but only averages four points per game. He's started 33 of 46 games for the Heat this season, and Miami's playing super well recently. During Babbitt's career, he only has 5.3 win shares the worst among 2010 first round picks who still play in the NBA.
14 Jordan Hill - Minnesota Timberwolves
This list asks to rank the worst first rounders currently playing in the NBA, and even though Jordan Hill has had some NBA success, he's one of the worst first rounders currently in the NBA. Hill, out of Arizona, was drafted the pick after Stephen Curry and the pick before DeMar DeRozan by the New York Knicks. The Knicks could have had DeRozan easily, but that's for another time. Hill has played for five NBA teams and during his career he's averaged 7.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Hill's a hard worker but he's barely played after signing a contract with the Timberwolves.
13 Corey Brewer - Houston Rockets
Brewer wouldn't be on this list if conducted two seasons ago, but he has fallen off big time recently. The former Florida Gator was drafted seventh overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He's played for five teams in his career and averages 9.8 per game overall. Brewer had success during the Houston Rockets improbable conference final run in 2015, but his minutes continue to decrease this season in Houston. Brewer won the 2007 Most Outstanding Player during Florida's championship run. Brewer's known for his defense in the NBA, but for being such a high selection, he's disappointed overall. Nonetheless, Brewer's still playing in the NBA, and as Jalen Rose says, he's keeping on getting those checks.
12 Cole Aldrich - Minnesota Timberwolves
Cole Aldrich has been fine during his NBA career. He enjoyed a career season last year on the Clippers, prompting the Timberwolves to sign him. He hasn't done anything in Minnesota, however. Aldrich was picked 11th overall, and this list tries to highlight lottery picks who haven't quite panned out as well as a team hoped. Most first-round picks who fail do not get a second or third contract, so this list features players who have received second and third contracts. These are real NBA players, so of course they are much better than those not in the NBA. Aldrich defends decently well. He had a specific role in Los Angeles a year ago, and that's why he was sought-after free agent this summer. Sometimes the team surrounding a player can make all the different. Chris Paul can make anyone look good, and the Clippers, with so much talent, used Aldrich to the best of his strengths. Aldrich has not found that in Minnesota yet.
11 Trey Burke - Washington Wizards
Trey Burke actually played well during his last season in Utah. He's never going to be the guy people wanted him to be coming out of Michigan. Burke, like Ennis, was another special college player. Burke hit a game-winner against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. Burke's far from the worst NBA player, but the fact that he was selected ninth overall by the Minnesota, and immediately traded to Utah for the draft picks that became Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng. Burke was traded this summer to Washington. It's unfortunate Burke did not work in Utah. The Jazz needed a point guard to step-up last season, and Burke had some solid moments, but moving forward the Jazz acquired George Hill days before the 2016 NBA Draft, making Burke tradable.
10 Brandon Rush - Minnesota Timberwolves
Brandon Rush, like Cole Aldrich, went to Kansas. It's unfortunate Rush hasn't had much individual success in the NBA, but he has won a championship with the Golden State Warriors. Once upon a time Rush was a five-star recruit. He was the best player on the Kansas Jayhawks team that won the 2008 NCAA championship, but the season before that he tore his ACL. Rush was drafted 13th overall but the Portland Trailblazers and immediately was traded to the Indiana Pacers. Rush has never scored more than 10 points per game in his career. He's played for four teams, including the Warriors two separate times. Rush has carved a nice role as a back-up swingman capable of shooting from deep, but he was expected to be so much more. Rush joins Aldrich and Hill on this list from the Timberwolves. This list also features another teammate later on.
9 Wesley Johnson - Los Angeles Clippers
Like Derrick Williams, who appears later on this list, Wesley Johnson had a failed stint in Minnesota. Johnson was considered a safe pick coming out of Syracuse, but he never made a name for himself in Minnesota after the Timberwolves drafted him fourth overall in 2010. He had an OK rookie season, securing a second team All-Rookie spot, but Johnson was considered a polished offensive player with unlimited defensive potential. He's on his fourth team, and enjoy his most success with the Lakers. He averaged 9.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in a career high 29.2 minutes per game in 2014-2015. The Clippers have needed a three and D small forward since acquiring Chris Paul years ago, but Johnson hasn't been the answer for the Clippers
8 Noah Vonleh - Portland Trailblazers
The next five guys had lots of hype building up to their drafts. The Charlotte Hornets ended up drafting Vonleh ninth overall, but Vonleh was rumored to go as high as fourth overall. Vonleh is only 21, but he hasn't panned out at all. It's his second season in Portland. He was included in Charlotte's trade for Nic Batum. Vonleh averages 3.3 points per game while playing 12 minutes a game. Vonleh could turn into a solid NBA rotation player, but it's hard to trust him in his third season. He doesn't have a specific NBA skill. He was labeled as a stretch-four type after his lone season at Indiana, but doesn't take many of them, and when he does shoot threes he makes less than 30 percent of them. Vonleh has plenty of time to figure out how his role in the NBA, but right now he's pretty bad.
7 Ben McLemore - Sacramento Kings
Ben McLemore was considered a sure thing after being drafted seventh overall in 2013. He's only been on the Kings' roster during his NBA career. He averaged 12 points per game during his sophomore year, but this year he's averaging 6.3 points while shooting 33.7 percent from three. McLemore was supposed to be an above average three-point shooter in the NBA, but that hasn't been the case. Another team will take a chance on McLemore because he had so much potential before entering the league, but it's hard to imagine McLemore ever really figuring it out.
6 Tyler Ennis - Houston Rockets
Tyler Ennis left after his freshman year at Syracuse. The Phoenix Suns took him 18th overall. Ennis was successful in college but Ennis's lack of NBA success is proof of the two leagues differences. Ennis has been on three teams already and he's only 22. Ennis has barely played this year, buried deep on Houston's bench. Maybe he'll carve a nice role for himself down the line, but right now that's hard to see. Ennis could be a senior at Syracuse right now, leading the Orange as far as he'd like. He was a special collegiate player, and it's a shame he didn't stay at Syracuse longer. You can't blame Ennis for leaving, though.
5 Alexis Ajinca - New Orleans Pelicans
Alexis Ajinca was drafted back in 2008 by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 20th overall pick. He's the only player drafted in that year to appear on this list. Ajinca has played for four NBA teams, with the most success on the Pelicans. He's a capable defender but he's really regressed this season for the Pelicans. This season Ajinca has played 21 total games, averaging 14.1 minutes and 4.3 points per game. He's flashed a nice touch, connecting on 80 percent of his free throws during his career, but this year he's shooting a shade above 71 percent. Ajinca's time in New Orleans could be coming to an end soon. He's rumored in a couple of trades. Ajinca could probably find a useful role elsewhere, but for right now he's one of the worst first-round picks in the NBA.
4 Derrick Williams - Cleveland Cavaliers
Believe it or not, there was a real argument that Derrick Williams should have been selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Instead Cleveland wisely chose Kyrie Irving, who helped win them its first championship ever. Williams, who had a wonderful season at Arizona, was then selected second overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Williams was a failed draft pick. He's bounced around since being drafted in 2011. He's currently on a 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is ironic since Cleveland now has three of the top four picks from 2011 (Tristan Thompson, too). Williams played two college seasons, and he was able to shoot above 56 percent from three during his sophomore year. Many people envisioned him as a star in the NBA because of his ability to defend and score from all over. It just hasn't panned out that way for the swingman. Only one time in his career has Williams reached double-figures, and that happened his second year in the league. He shoots under 30 percent from three for his NBA career.
3 James Young - Boston Celtics
Young's only 21. He's yet to have a real opportunity with Boston because the Celtics have so much depth. In two and a half seasons Young has played 76 total games, averaging 2.1 points per game. Young was drafted 17th overall, and many considered him a steal. Young, a lefty, drew some James Harden comparisons, especially as the Kentucky Wildcats made it all the way to the National Championship during Young's freshman season. It probably won't be in Boston, but Young has plenty of time to carve a nice roll in the NBA. It's unfortunate he hasn't had success yet, which is why he's on this list.
2 Thomas Robinson - Los Angeles Lakers
Thomas Robinson had plenty of success at Kansas. He led the Jayhawks to a National Championship berth, losing to Kentucky. Robinson was able to overpower defenders in college, but he's just had a tough time adjusting to the even more physical NBA. Robinson has played on six teams and he'll be 26 in March. It's unfortunate that Robinson hasn't found a permanent NBA home. He has demonstrated flashes of rebounding success in the NBA. He's averages 4.8 in only 13.4 minutes per game in his career, but for a top-five pick he just hasn't had the success to warrant that selection.
1 Adreian Payne - Minnesota Timberwolves
Yet another Minnesota player to make this list. Payne was traded from the Atlanta Hawks after only playing three games his rookie season. The Timberwolves thought they acquired someone who would thrive in today's NBA because Payne could shoot the three, but Payne has been an overwhelming disappointment. In his career the former Michigan State Spartan averages 4.1 points per game while shooting a lowly 23.5 percent from three. Payne has struggled with the NBA's athleticism. He only averages 7 minutes per game this season and has only played 12 games. At age 25 it's hard to see Payne ever finding a permanent role on a NBA roster. Some guys on this list remain in the NBA long after many expect them to last. It's hard to see Payne being one of those players.
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