Every team in the NBA has made a draft pick that they regret. Most of these players bust out of the league after a handful of seasons, only costing a franchise a little bit of pride and some cash along the way.
Then there are the epic draft busts in NBA history which everyone remembers for all of time. Do you agree with this list?
#1. Sam Bowie, Portland Trail Blazers
Most people don’t remember that Michael Jordan was picked third in 1984. The Houston Rockets got a good deal with Hakeem Olajuwon since they needed a center. As for the Blazers, well… they took Bowie. He was always injured, never played well, and couldn’t even put together a full season of play. He averaged 10.9 points during his career.
#2. Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons
The number of players that came after Milicic in 2003 who went on to have Hall of Fame careers is astounding. You’ve got Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony all picked after him. LeBron James was selected right before him. Milicic could play Euro basketball well, but the physical nature of the NBA wasn’t his style. He became a valuable sixth man instead.
#3. Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers
Oden got bit by the injury bug after being taken as the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft. He was dominant in college, but then he had microfracture surgery on both knees coming into the professional game. He only played in 82 games during the first five years of his career because of all the injuries.
#4. Michael Olowokandi, Los Angeles Clippers
This player was the No.1 pick in the 1998 draft. It was a pick which cemented the franchise’s reputation in a negative light, as he averaged over 10 points during a season just twice in his career. He may have been 7 feet tall, but he couldn’t shoot worth anything. Now think about who the Clippers could have picked: Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Antwan Jamison, or Dirk Nowitzki.
#5. Shawn Bradley, Philadelphia 76ers
The 1990s ran through a series of draft picks that were all tall 7-footers. Each player was expected to dominate around the rim. Most did not. Take Bradley, for example. He played 12 seasons, by at 7’6”, he only averaged 6.3 rebounds per game over his career. Although the historic levels of talent for the 1993 draft were low (only Chris Webber, Sam Cassel, and Bruce Bowen are notable), they could have still done better.
#6. Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies
Even though Thabeet is 7’3” tall, his best minutes-per-game average in the NBA is 13. That means he’s spending more time riding the pine than he is grabbing boards. By 2015, he was playing in the NBA’s development league with the rookies. In September 2017, he washed out completely and went to the Yokohama B-Corsairs in Japan.
These are just some of the draft pick busts that have happened in NBA history. What are some of the picks that you wish your favorite team had never done?