When it comes to putting together an NBA team, its not the easiest task of an organization. Franchises might have to go through a drought before they build their teams to championship contenders again. The defending champion Golden State Warriors went to the NBA Finals last season for the first time since 1975. The San Antonio Spurs had never won a NBA Championship in their franchise history, but after some coaching changes and the addition of players through the draft and free agency, the Spurs won 5 NBA Championships in 15 years.
Now, some teams may take less time than others. When LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami in 2012, they had immediate success. They went to four finals in four years together and won two NBA Championships. When Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce in Boston, they won an NBA Championship their first season together. Although many teams have had success, many teams also have had a lot of failures as well.
Whether it’s acquiring players through the NBA Draft, free agency or trades between other teams, creating a championship or even a playoff contending team has a lot of planning behind it. Teams must consider what positions they need whether its a guard, forward, or big man. Then they must decide what they need out of those players, whether it’s multiple statistics or just a single attribute. For a big man, do they need an offensive big man or defensive? Maybe both? For guards, do they need a scorer or a passer? Once these questions are answered, they then have to decide on who they want. Many teams have done this process right, but many more have done it wrong. Some teams have acquired such bad players, that it sends their franchise back a couple of years for them to regroup. These are players that GMs wish they never brought to their rosters.
Atlanta Hawks – Shelden Williams
The Atlanta Hawks had not made the playoffs for 7 straight seasons and had the 5th overall pick in the 2006 draft. The Hawks selected Sheldon Williams who they would bring them size, but all he brought with him was … well, nothing.
His rookie season, Williams averaged 5.5 ppg and 5.4 rpg, which is nowhere close to what the Hawks expected out of a 5th overall pick. Williams only lasted 1.5 seasons with the Hawks after they sent him to the Sacramento Kings halfway through Williams’ second season in the league.
Williams was selected higher than players such as Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, and J.J. Reddick in the 2006 draft.
Boston Celtics – Kedrick Brown
In 2001, the Celtics drafted Kedrick Brown 11th overall but he wasn’t what they expected him to be. While in Boston, Brown averaged around 2 ppg his first 2 seasons. During his third and final season with the Celtics, Brown averaged about 5 ppg, his highest average with the team. In 2.5 seasons with the Celtics, Brown only started 20 games. During his draft year, Brown was selected higher than Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace, Tony Parker, and Gilbert Arenas.
Brooklyn Nets – Yinka Dare
After being knocked out of the first round in the playoffs the previous 3 seasons, the Nets selected Yinka Dare 14th overall in the 1994 draft. Listed over 7 ft. tall, the Nets thought they found a diamond and the ruff, but Dare was more of a needle in a haystack. In 4 seasons with the Nets, Dare only averaged 2.1 ppg and 2.6 rpg for his career. Dare played a total of 110 games in 4 seasons during his NBA career.
Charlotte Hornets – Adam Morrison
The greatest player ever Michael Jordan became part of the Charlotte Hornets ownership in 2006. With his first draft pick as a owner, Jordan selected Adam Morrison in the 2006 draft with the 3rd overall pick. Morrison only played three NBA seasons, 1.5 seasons with the Hornets and 1.5 seasons with the Lakers, where he averaged 7.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, and 1.4 apg.
Morrison was selected higher than Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, Rajon Rondo, Kyle Lowry, and Paul Milsap.
Chicago Bulls – Jack Haley
The Chicago Bulls wanted to surround a young Michael Jordan with some help so they could compete for a title. They drafted Jack Haley in 1987, who only was with the team for 1.5 seasons. While with the Bulls, Haley was a benchwarmer and was no help towards the team. The only good thing out of this is that the Bulls traded for a rookie by the name of Scottie Pippen, to overshadow the pick of Haley. Haley did not average more then 2 ppg with the Bulls. However, Haley did manage to gain a championship ring as part of the 1995-96 Bulls team.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Anthony Bennett
The Cavs worst player has to go to Bennett just because of the fact that they wasted a number one overall pick. It is rare that you see a number one overall pick not start right away with their teams, but Bennett is one of those rare occasions. Bennett only played one season with the Cavs, averaging 4.2 ppg and 3 rpg before being shipped off to the Minnesota Timberwolves the following season. Bennett is currently on his 3rd NBA team in 3 seasons and only has started 3 games in 126 games played. Bennett was selected over Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Nerlens Noel, C.J. McCollum, Michael Carter-Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Rudy Gobert.
Dallas Mavericks – Samaki Walker
The 1996 draft was one of the best in NBA history, but not thanks to the 9th overall pick in Samaki Walker. His rookie season, Walker averaged 5 ppg and 3.4 rpg. His second season, Walker averaged 8.9 ppg and 7.4, with both stats coming as career highs during his 10 season career (3 with the Mavericks). Walker has to be the worst Mavericks player just because of the people he was drafted ahead of that year. Walker was selected before Kobe Bryant, Peja Stojakovic, Steve Nash, and Jermiane O’Neal.
Denver Nuggets – Nikoloz Tskitishvili
The Nuggets had not made the playoffs the previous 7 seasons, they felt like they needed a big man to help their team. In 2002, they drafted 7 footer Nikoloz Tskitishvili with the 5th overall pick. Tskitishvili wasn’t what the Nuggets expected and the only good thing about it is that they remained bad enough to draft Carmelo Anthony the following season. Tskitishvili only lasted 3 season with the Nuggets and averaged a career high 3.9 ppg and 2.2 rpg, which came during his rookie season. In that 2002, Nene, Amare Stoudemire, Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince and Carlos Boozer were still left on the board at the time.
Detroit Pistons – Darko Milicic
The 2003 draft is arguably the best in NBA history. However, Darko Milicic was not part of the greatness. Milicic went 2nd overall. Despite this terrible pick, the Pistons still made the NBA Finals two years in a row and won an NBA Championship, with no help at all from Milicic. In 2.5 seasons with the Pistons, Milicic only played in 96 games. Milicic was selected over Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Chris Kaman, David West, Josh Howard, Mo Williams, and Kyle Korver.
Golden State Warriors – Ekpe Udoh
The Warriors were on a 3-year playoff drought and were in need of a big man, so they drafted Ekpe Udoh 6th overall in 2010 while DeMarcus Cousins was drafted 5th overall. Although they couldn’t get Cosuins, they must not have had a backup plan because Udoh was a terrible pick, considering who was left on the table. The Warriors passed on Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, and Hassan Whiteseide. Udoh only last 1.5 seasons with the Warriors and had a best average of 5.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, and 1.7 bpg.
Houston Rockets – Bryce Drew
The Houston Rockets selected Drew 16th overall in the 1998 draft but he had no impact at all on the franchise. Drew lasted just 2 seasons with the Rockets and averaged a best of 5.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, and 2.3 apg. Drew would also spend some time with the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornet, where he would again have no impact on either franchise.. In total, Drew would only play 6 seasons in the NBA.
Indiana Pacers – Scott Haskin
The Indiana Pacers had one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history in 1993. With the 14th overall pick, they selected Scott Haskin. Haskin was so bad in the league that his career didn’t even last a season. Haskin only played in 27 games for his entire career. Haskin couldn’t even last half a season before he was out of the league. The Pacers passed on Sam Cassell and Nick Van Exel that year while having to suffer through their decision to select Haskin.
Los Angeles Clippers – Michael Olowokandi
The Clippers had a chance to change their franchise around with the first overall pick in 1998 but failed miserably by selecting one of the worst top picks of all time. This pick set the Clippers back 7 seasons of not making the playoffs. Olowokandi played 5 seasons with the Clippers and had his best season with them during his last, averaging 12.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 2.2 bpg in 36 games. Players drafted after Olowokandi included Mike Bibby, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Jason Williams, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce, all who turned their franchises around in some way.
Los Angeles Lakers – Sam Bowie
When people hear the name Sam Bowie they think of him as the player that was drafted 2nd overall right before Michael Jordan in 1984. Bowie started his career with the Portland Trailblazers and the New Jersey Nets before coming to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1993. When he came to the Lakers, he only played two seasons averaging a best of 8.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, and 1.1 bpg. However, that is no where close to good enough for a player that was drafted above Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe, and Kevin Willis.
Memphis Grizzlies – Hasheem Thabeet
In 2009, the Memphis Grizzlies selected Hasheem Thabeet 2nd overall because nobody is going to pass on a 7 ft 3 inches, 265 pound big man. He can’t be bad at that weight, right? Wrong. In his three seasons with the Grizzlies, Thabeet put up his best numbers during his rookie year, which was 3.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, and 1.3 bpg. The Grizzles overlooked James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, and DeMar DeRozan, who were all taken within the next seven picks. To add insult to injury thhe also passed on Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, and Ty Lawson.
Miami Heat – Khalid Reeves
In 1994, the Miami Heat used their 12th overall pick to select Khalid Reeves. Reeves only lasted one season in Miami before being shipped to the Charlotte Hornets the following season after averaging 9.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.3 apg and 1.1 spg. These are not bad numbers for a rookie PG, but those ended up all being career highs for his six seasons in the NBA. This draft did not have many worthy players after Reeves with the exception of Jalen Rose who was selected directly after Reeves at 13th overall.
Milwaukee Bucks – Joe Alexander
The Milwaukee Bucks needed some changes after missing the playoffs the last 3 of 4 seasons, and with the 8th overall pick in the 2008 draft they had their shot, except they missed, badly. The Bucks selected Joe Alexander who played in 59 games, averaging 4.7 ppg, and 1.9 rpg, which are all career highs. After just one season, the Bucks realized they had made a mistake and sent Alexander to the Chicago Bulls. In this draft, the Bucks skipped over Brook and Robin Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Ryan Anderson, Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, George Hill, DeAndre Jordan, and Goran Dragic.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonny Flynn
In 2009, the Timberwolves made a mistake they will never forget, picking Jonny Flynn 6th overall in the draft. The Timberwolves passed on reigning MVP Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, and Ty Lawson. Flynn had a good rookie season averaging 13.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.4 apg, and 1 spg, but after that it all went downhill. Flynn’s numbers dropped to 5.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 3.4 apg, and 0.6 spg, causing the Timberwolves to send him to the Houston Rockets after just two seasons. Flynn only lasted 3 seasons in the league.
New Orleans Pelicans – Kirk Haston
After being selected 16th overall by Cahrlotte, Haston only lasted one season with them, averaging 1.7 ppg and 1.3 rpg. To make matters worst, Zach Randolph was drafted 19th overall right after Haston. Haston was then shipped to New Orleans, where he averaged 0.5 ppg and 0.6 rpg in just 12 games. Haston was released after that season and has not played in the NBA since then, proving to be a major draft bust.
New York Knicks – Jerome James
In 2005, the New York Knicks signed Jerome James to a 5-year $30 million contract because of his postseason play with the Seattle Supersonics the previous season, averaging 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. The Knicks wasted their money and time as James only played in 90 games in 4 seasons. His best season came during his first with the Knicks, when he had 9 ppg and 2 rpg. While there was still promise in James, the deal would prove to be a flop.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Kyle Singler
Kyle Singler started his career with the Detroit Pistons where he was a decent player. Then the Thunder gave up Reggie Jackson for Singler and Enes Kanter, which was good on the Kanter part. Singler however has faded to black after starting in 18 games for the Thunder after the trade. This season, Singler is averaging some very low numbers. Will his play ever improve in Oklahoma? Time will tell but as of now, Singler must be considered the worst player to have ever worn a Thunder jersey.
Orlando Magic – Mark Acres
Mark Acres started his career with the Boston Celtics, but after just two seasons, ended up in Orlando with the Magic. His first season with the Magic, Acres started in 50 of his games, but only put up 4.5 ppg and 5.4 rpg. After just three seasons, the Magic followed suit of the Celtics and let Acres go, sending him to Washington where he would play a limited number of games before making his was over to Washington where his NBA career would come to an end at the conclusion of the season.
Philadelphia 76ers – Leo Rautins
In 1983, the 76ers selected the Canadian Leo Rautins with the 17th overall pick. Rautins came in and did absolutely nothing to help the 76ers. The rookie only played in 28 games and had a season average of 1.7 ppg and 1.2 rpg. After just one season, the 76ers shipped off Rautins to the Atlanta Hawks. After his season with the Hawks, they shipped him out of the league, for good. Rautins played in a total of 32 games in his NBA career. Rautins will be best remember as a broadcaster for the Toronto Raptors where he has worked since the team’s inception.
Phoenix Suns – William Bedford
The Phoenix Suns were in need of a big man and needed some help after missing the playoffs the previous season. So, in 1986 they drafted big manWilliam Bedford with the 6th overall pick, which did not work out too well. In 50 games, Bedford averaged 6.7 ppg and 4.9 rpg. That was not not enough for the Suns, causing them to ship him to the Detroit Pistons after just one season. Bedford’s numbers dropped drastically, but he did win a ring with the Pistons in 1990.
Portland Trailblazers – Greg Oden
The Portland Trailblazers had not made the playoffs for four straight seasons and were knocked out the first round of the playoffs the previous 3 years before that. In 2007, they received the opportunity that every struggling team wants, the first overall pick in the draft. The Blazers selected Greg Oden, a decision that they will never forget, mainly because of the fact that a player by the name of Kevin Durant went second overall. In 6 seasons with the Blazers, Oden played in a total of 82 games. During his second season he averaged 11.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 2.3 bpg, which were all career highs. In addition to Durant, Al Horford, Jeff Green, Mike Conley, Joakim Noah, Thaddeaus Young, and Marc Gasol were left on the board at the time as well.
Sacramento Kings – Pervis Ellison
The Sacramento Kings drafted Pervis Ellison first overall in the 1989 draft, a decision that would set them back for years. Ellison played in just 34 games his rookie season and averaged 8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.9 apg and 1.7 bpg. The following season Ellison was with the Washington Wizards. Since Ellison was drafted, the Kings failed to make the playoffs for 6 straight seasons. The Kings passed on Sean Elliot, Glen Rice, Mookie Blaylock, Tim Hardaway, Dana Barros, Shawn Kemp, B.J. Armstrong, Vlade Divac, and Cliff Robinson that draft year.
San Antonio Spurs – Alfredrick Hughes
With the 14th overall pick in the 1985 draft, the San Antonio Spurs had a tough decision to make since Karl Malone was selected 13th overall. So, the Spurs went with Alfredrick Hughes which was not the best choice at that time. Hughes only played in 68 games for his entire NBA career and put up 5.2 ppg and 1.7 rpg. Hughes was picked higher than Joe Dumars, A.C. Green, and Terry Porter.
Toronto Raptors – Rafael Araujo
Not making the postseason the previous two seasons, the Raptors had a lottery pick in the 2004 draft to try and change their team around. With the 89th overall pick, the Raptors selected Rafael Araujo, who changed their team around for the worst. Araujo had his best season during his rookie campaign, averaging 3.3 ppg and 3.1 rpg in 59 games. The following season he put up 2.3 ppg and 2.8 rpg, and was shipped off the the Utah Jazz. The Jazz parted ways with Araujo and he has not been in the NBA since 2007.
Utah Jazz – Luther Wright
The Utah Jazz selected Luther Wright 18th overall in 1993 which was not their best draft choice. Wright only played in 15 games his rookie season, averaging 1.3 ppg and 0.7 rpg. Wright would play in a total of 15 games for his entire career because the Jazz released him and he was not picked up by another team. This is one player and draft selection the Jazz wish they could get back. As a result, we must consider Wright as the worst player in Jazz history.
Washington Wizards – Kwame Brown
Guess we saved the best for last or in this case I guess the worst for last. In 2001, the Wizards had a chance to turn their franchise around after missing the playoffs the previous four seasons. In 2001, they selected one of the biggest first overall busts in history with Kwame Brown. During his third year, Brown had his breakout season, averaging 10.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg and 1.5 apg, which ended up being the best numbers of his career. After 4 seasons with the Wiz, they shipped him over to the Los Angeles Lakers. Brown was drafted before Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson, Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace, Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas, and Mehmet Okur.
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