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Community Advocacy Organization

The Biggest NBA Draft Busts in Recent History


The Biggest NBA Draft Busts in Recent History

The NBA Draft is volatile and can make or break certain franchises. If your favorite team was unfortunate enough to commit one of the biggest NBA Draft busts in recent history, you know the following pain and suffering. Note: these selections are post-Darko Milicic, arguably the bustiest of busts ever busted, considering he got sandwiched between LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.


Derrick Williams

All it takes to be a top pick in the NBA Draft is to have a memorable game against Duke in the NCAA tournament. That happened for Derrick Williams when he and his Arizona Wildcats stomped Kyrie Irving’s Duke Blue Devils 93-77 in the Sweet 16 of the 2011 tourney. Williams had 32 points on 11/17 shooting, including a memorable put-back slam that acted as the exclamation point for the game.


Williams followed Kyrie Irving as the number two overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2011 NBA Draft. He had a decent career with several teams during his NBA tenure. But when this draft class included Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and Kemba Walker, the T’Wolves swung and missed.


Anthony Bennett

You know those years of the Academy Awards where you don’t recognize a single movie up for “Best Picture?” That’s what the 2013 NBA Draft class is equivalent to. The only gold star from this draft is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who, at the time, was a lottery ticket that the Bucks got to cash. But other than Giannis, it’s a few role players and the worst number-one overall pick ever, Anthony Bennett. The UNLV prospect only lasted four years in the league, averaging an abysmal 4.4 points a game for four separate teams.


Adam Morrison

Some players are college legends that can’t seem to make the jump to the NBA. Adam Morrison of Gonzaga is the perfect example of that notion. Morrison is one of Gonzaga’s most prominent alumni, giving the Bulldogs two great seasons before Michael Jordan and company took him with the third pick in the 2006 Draft.


Morrison showed promise in his rookie year for Charlotte, averaging over 11 points a game. However, it was all downhill after that, unless you count his two NBA championships while riding the pine for the Lakers. Overall, the draft class was rather weak, so Morrison’s failures aren’t as crushing.


Hasheem Thabeet

It’s easy for general managers to look at someone’s size and imagine them becoming the next Shaquille O’Neal. One must presume that’s what Memphis’s brass thought they were getting when they selected Hasheem Thabeet.


The UConn big man was coming off a dominant collegiate career, and his post presence was desirable for all NBA teams. Unfortunately, Thabeet struggled immensely in the Association for Memphis and others. What makes matters worse is that James Harden and Stephen Curry soon followed Thabeet’s selection.


Greg Oden

The Portland Trail Blazers and NBA Draft failures go together. Sam Bowie was infamously taken before Michael Jordan, casting a dark cloud over a franchise that never won a championship—but Greg Oden was supposed to fix that.


Portland opted for the Ohio State big man over Kevin Durant, a move that most everyone agreed on. Sadly, everyone knows how this story panned out. Oden battled injuries his entire career, whereas KD became one of the best players in the history of the NBA. Let’s hope Portland fares better when they use their lottery pick on one of this year’s best college prospects.


Many of the biggest NBA Draft busts in recent history were unavoidable. With 20-20 hindsight, however, playing devil’s advocate is easier when all the information is present.

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