Every NBA team's biggest draft bust, from Adam Morrison to Hasheem Thabeet
There have been bad draft picks over the years, but these are the worst
The NBA Draft fills teams and their fans with promise -- hope that the player you select on Draft Day will become a franchise staple for years to come.
But then there are those other guys. The ones that never quite live up to their potential for one reason or another. Yup, we're talking about the B-word that nobody wants to hear anywhere close to Draft Day: Bust.
So before you get too excited about whomever your team selects on Thursday, just remember that his name could be added to this list in just a few short years. Here's a look at each NBA team's biggest draft bust since the advent of the draft lottery in 1985.
Biggest bust: Shelden Williams -- No. 5 in 2006
Career stats: 4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists
Why he's a bust: Williams was as solid as they come in his four-year career at Duke. The pedigree plus the skill set seemed like a very high-floor pick for the Atlanta Hawks , but clearly his "tweener" size never allowed him to carve out a place in the league.
Who they could have taken instead: Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay , JJ Redick , Rajon Rondo , Paul Millsap
Biggest bust: Kedrick Brown -- No. 11 in 2001
Career stats: 3.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.7 assists
Why he's a bust: The Boston Celtics have avoided major draft disasters, but Brown goes down as a gamble that just didn't pay off. Brown had only played at junior college before declaring for the draft, but the frame and athleticism for a young player showed unlimited upside. That being said, the Celtics surely knew that Brown being a bust was a real possibility.
Who they could have taken instead: Richard Jefferson , Zach Randolph , Tony Parker , Gilbert Arenas
Biggest bust: Ed O'Bannon -- No. 9 in 1995
Career stats: 5.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Why he's a bust: This was a top-heavy draft, so you can't really blame the Brooklyn Nets for taking O'Bannon, but he's the definition of a bust. A prolific scorer on a NCAA title team at UCLA Bruins , the 6-foot-8 O'Bannon looked like he'd be able to step right in and score in the NBA. Instead, he was out of the league after two seasons and is now more known for than his NBA career.
Who they could have taken instead: Kurt Thomas, Corliss Williamson, Brent Barry, Michael Finley
Biggest bust: Adam Morrison -- No. 3 in 2006
Career stats: 7.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Why he's a bust: Morrison was a flat-out scorer in college, averaging over 28 points per game as a junior at Gonzaga. As a 6-8 forward with a high release, Morrison at the very least profiled as a 3-point specialist who could stay in the league for a long time. Instead, he failed to even become a consistent role player in his three NBA seasons, partly due to a knee injury in his second year.
Who they could have taken instead: Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, JJ Redick, Rajon Rondo, Paul Millsap
Biggest bust: Tyrus Thomas -- No. 4 in 2006
Career stats: 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists
Why he's a bust: The Chicago Bulls have had bad luck with No. 4 picks -- Thomas is joined by Marcus Fizer and Eddy Curry on the bust list -- but Thomas had the worst career of all three. A 6-9 shot-blocking power forward, Thomas averaged 12.3 points and 9.2 rebounds in his only season at LSU, and seemed like the type of NBA athlete who could turn into an All-Star. Unfortunately for the Bulls, he never developed.
Who they could have taken instead: Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, JJ Redick, Rajon Rondo, Paul Millsap
Biggest bust: Anthony Bennett -- No. 1 in 2013
Career stats: 5.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists
Why he's a bust: In a draft with no clear No. 1, the Cavs opted to go with Bennett, whose NBA-ready body and soft shooting touch for a big man made him as projectable as any prospect. As it stands, the UNLV product has been on four NBA teams in four years and is now out of the league -- possibly for good.
Who they could have taken instead: Victor Oladipo , Otto Porter , CJ McCollum , Steven Adams , Giannis Antetokounmpo
Biggest bust: Randy White -- No. 8 in 1989
Career stats: 7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 0.6 assists
Why he's a bust: White was a double-double machine in his junior and senior seasons at Louisiana Tech, averaging 21.2 points and 10.5 rebounds his senior season, and he had also begun to extend his range to the 3-point line, which made him intriguing as a 6-8 power forward.
Who they could have taken instead: Nick Anderson, Mookie Blaylock, Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp
Biggest bust: Nikoloz Tskitishvili -- No. 5 in 2002
Career stats: 2.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists
Why he's a bust: International players were becoming much more popular in the draft, so the Denver Nuggets opted to take Tskitishvili, a 19-year-old 7-footer who projected as a stretch-four, with the No. 5 overall pick. Things just never came together, however, and Tskitishvili returned to Europe after five seasons in the NBA.
Who they could have taken instead: Amar'e Stoudemire , Caron Butler , Tayshaun Prince , Carlos Boozer
Biggest bust: Darko Milicic -- No. 2 in 2003
Career stats: 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists
Why he's a bust: The Detroit Pistons were in the unique spot of drafting at No. 2 with a roster pretty much in place. For that reason, they chose Darko, who they knew would take longer to develop but possessed a sky-high ceiling as a 7-footer capable of hitting 3-pointers. Milicic never worked out, and he'll forever be known as the man taken between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony .
Who they could have taken instead: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh , Dwyane Wade
Golden State Warriors
Biggest bust: Chris Washburn -- No. 3 in 1986
Career stats: 3.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.3 assists
Why he's a bust: In an era when big men were coveted, the 6-foot-11 Washburn came out of NC State after averaging 17.6 points and 6.7 rebounds as a senior. One of the top recruits in his high school class, Golden State thought Washburn could be a franchise center for years to come. Instead, he only played two NBA seasons.
Who they could have taken instead: Chuck Person, Ron Harper, Scott Skiles, Mark Price, Dennis Rodman
Biggest bust: Eddie Griffin -- No. 7 in 2001
Career stats: 7.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Why he's a bust: It's unfortunate to have to list Griffin here, as his career was derailed by substance abuse issues before he died in a car crash in 2007. The Houston Rockets have done very well with their high draft picks over the years, so Griffin has to be the biggest bust, no matter the tragic reasons. A 6-10 do-everything forward, Griffin was considered one of the prospects with the highest upside in the draft after averaging 17.8 points and 10.8 rebounds in one season at Seton Hall.
Who they could have taken instead: Joe Johnson , Richard Jefferson, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas
Biggest bust: Jonathan Bender -- No. 5 in 1999
Career stats: 5.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists
Why he's a bust: The only top-five pick the Indiana Pacers have had since 1988 is also their biggest bust. Bender was an intriguing 6-11 small forward who broke Michael Jordan 's record for points in the McDonald's All-American game as a senior in high school and then decided to skip college and enter the draft. Bender was long, athletic and had a solid shooting stroke for a player his size. Injuries ran their course, however, cutting Bender's career to just 262 games over 11 seasons.
Who they could have taken instead: Rip Hamilton, Andre Miller , Shawn Marion, Jason Terry , Corey Maggette, Metta World Peace
Los Angeles Clippers
Biggest bust: Michael Olowokandi -- No. 1 in 1998
Career stats: 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists
Why he's a bust: Olowokandi ended up having a decent career, but the fact that the No. 1 overall pick never became a star reiterated the idea of the "Clipper curse" that permeated the franchise. A mobile, rim-protecting 7-footer, Olowokandi averaged 22.2 points and 11.2 rebounds before declaring for the draft after his junior year at Pacific.
Who they could have taken instead: Mike Bibby, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter , Dirk Nowitzki , Paul Pierce
Los Angeles Lakers
Biggest bust: George Lynch -- No. 12 in 1993
Career stats: 6.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Why he's a bust: It's hardly fair to say that a No. 12 pick in the draft who ended up playing 12 seasons in the NBA is a bust, but the Los Angeles Lakers ' draft history is pretty much spotless. With the few high picks they've had, they've basically hit home runs. Lynch qualifies as their biggest bust after coming to the team during their post-Magic, pre-Kobe/Shaq years when they were in need of scoring. Lynch had just led North Carolina to the NCAA title, averaging 14.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, when the Lakers selected him.
Who they could have taken instead: Chris Mills, Sam Cassell
Biggest bust: Hasheem Thabeet -- No. 2 in 2009
Career stats: 2.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.8 blocks
Why he's a bust: At 7-foot-3, Thabeet was one of the most intriguing big man prospects in years. An elite shot-blocker, Thabeet was a project, but one that the Memphis Grizzlies hoped would solidify the middle for years to come. He averaged 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game in his final season at UConn, but was never able to figure things out in the NBA.
Who they could have taken instead: James Harden , Stephen Curry , DeMar DeRozan
Biggest bust: Michael Beasley -- No. 2 in 2008
Career stats: 12.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Why he's a bust: Beasley was considered the second-best prospect in the draft after averaging a ridiculous 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds in his only season at Kansas State. It's not that Beasley hasn't had a decent career -- he has -- but when you look at expectations, plus the players who were taken behind him, he definitely goes down as a bust.
Who they could have taken instead: Russell Westbrook , Kevin Love , Brook Lopez
Biggest bust: Robert "Tractor" Traylor -- No. 6 in 1998
Career stats: 4.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists
Why he's a bust: It's unfortunate to have to discuss Traylor in this light after his untimely death in 2011, but the main reason that Traylor was a bust is the fact that he was traded for Dirk Nowitzki on Draft Day. That's not something that can be easily forgotten. A bruiser power forward out of Michigan (he averaged 16.2 points and 10.1 rebounds in his junior season), Traylor's game just never translated to the NBA.
Who they could have taken instead: Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis
Biggest bust: Wesley Johnson -- No. 4 in 2010
Career stats: 7.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Why he's a bust: Minnesota has had some big busts (Jonny Flynn, Derrick Williams , Felton Spencer), but the players taken behind Johnson make him the franchise's biggest bust. Johnson has turned into a serviceable role player, but nothing close to what the Wolves had in mind when they took him No. 4 overall. Although older than other prospects in the draft, Johnson's athleticism and ability to play multiple positions made him an attractive prospect. He averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in his only season with Syracuse after transferring from Iowa State.
Who they could have taken instead: DeMarcus Cousins , Greg Monroe , Gordon Hayward, Paul George
New Orleans Pelicans
Biggest bust: Julian Wright -- No. 13 in 2007
Career stats: 3.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Why he's a bust: The New Orleans Pelicans ' history only dates back to 2003, so they haven't had much time for major busts. Wright is as close as it gets, although the 13th pick isn't necessarily expected to be a star. Wright was particularly futile as an NBA player, after coming out of Kansas as a nightly double-double threat. He played just four seasons in the NBA.
Who they could have taken instead: Rodney Stuckey , Nick Young , Wilson Chandler , Arron Afflalo
New York Knicks
Biggest bust: Mike Sweetney -- No. 9 in 2003
Career stats: 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists
Why he's a bust: For as much as New York Knicks fans boo and complain about their draft picks every year, they don't actually have that many busts. Sweetney was the worst of the bunch, putting together two forgettable seasons in New York before being traded to the Bulls in exchange for Eddy Curry. Sweetney was a talented power forward who averaged 22.8 points and 10.4 rebounds at Georgetown his junior year before declaring for the draft.
Who they could have taken instead: Nick Collison , Luke Ridnour , David West , Boris Diaw , Kendrick Perkins
Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle SuperSonics
Biggest bust: Robert Swift -- No. 12 in 2004
Career stats: 4.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 0.2 assists
Why he's a bust: The SuperSonics knew that taking an 18-year-old Swift straight out of high school was a gamble, but they probably expected to get a little more out of their investment. A true 7-footer, swift dealth with injuries and only played 97 games in five seasons with the franchise.
Who they could have taken instead: Al Jefferson , Josh Smith , J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson
Biggest bust: Fran Vazquez -- No. 11 in 2005
Career stats: 0.0 points, 0.0 rebounds, 0.0 assists
Why he's a bust: When you use the No. 11 pick in the draft on a player, you probably expect him to play for your team at some point. There are conflicting reports as to whether Vazquez did or did not tell the Magic he was willing to play in the NBA before they drafted him -- but he never did. The Orlando Magic still own his draft rights, but at 34 it appears his NBA window has probably closed.
Who they could have taken instead: Danny Granger , Gerald Green , Nate Robinson, David Lee
Biggest bust: Sharone Wright -- No. 6 in 1994
Career stats: 9.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists
Why he's a bust: The Sixers have a good draft history, even before "The Process." Even Wright actually put up decent numbers for the Sixers, but they traded him to the Toronto Raptors during his second year in the league. Wright's performance dropped considerably before a car accident in 1997 essentially ended his NBA career. He went on to play for many years overseas, however.
Who they could have taken instead: Brian Grant, Eddie Jones, Jalen Rose
Biggest bust: William Bedford -- No. 6 in 1986
Career stats: 4.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.5 blocks
Why he's a bust: Bedford was a lanky 7-footer out of the University of Memphis who averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. The Phoenix Suns traded Bedford after just one season as he struggled with substance abuse issues. Although his career was short, he did win an NBA title with the Pistons in 1990.
Who they could have taken instead: Ron Harper, Dell Curry, Scott Skiles, Mark Price
Portland Trail Blazers
Biggest bust: Greg Oden -- No. 1 in 2007
Career stats: 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks
Why he's a bust: Oden was fine when he played -- he just couldn't stay on the court -- so he goes down as one of the biggest busts of all time. The Blazers catch flak for taking Oden over Kevin Durant , but Oden was the consensus No. 1 player in the 2007 draft after leading Ohio State Buckeyes to the national title game as a freshman. Oden's six-year NBA career was ravaged by injuries (he played just 105 games), but he did manage to win a ring with the Miami Heat in 2014.
Who they could have taken instead: Kevin Durant, Al Horford , Mike Conley , Joakim Noah
Biggest bust: Thomas Robinson -- No. 5 in 2012
Career stats: 4.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists
Why he's a bust: Robinson, who averaged nearly 18 points and 12 rebounds per game at Kansas, was so disappointing in his rookie season that the Sacramento Kings traded him just 51 games into his career. He's since bounced around and has never found a home in the NBA as an undersized power forward who can't shoot. Making matters worse is the fact that Damian Lillard was drafted directly behind him.
Who they could have taken instead: Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes , Andre Drummond
San Antonio Spurs
Biggest bust: Alfredrick Hughes -- No. 14 in 1985
Career stats: 5.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.9 assists
Why he's a bust: Searching for a bad San Antonio Spurs draft pick is like trying to find a smile in one of Gregg Popovich's sideline interviews -- not gonna happen. That being said, we had to pick someone, so Hughes gets the dubious distinction. He averaged 26.3 points and 9.5 rebounds a game at Loyola Chicago, but played just one season in the NBA before finishing his career overseas and in the CBA.
Who they could have taken instead: Joe Dumars, A.C. Green, Terry Porter
Biggest bust: Rafael Araujo -- No. 8 in 2004
Career stats: 2.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists
Why he's a bust: A Brazil native, Araujo averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds at BYU before being taken with the eighth overall pick. He was about as big a bust as you can be in the NBA, making virtually no impact in two seasons in Toronto before being shipped off to the Utah Jazz . He played one season there before heading overseas to finish up his career.
Who they could have taken instead: Andre Iguodala , Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith
Biggest bust: Kirk Snyder -- No. 16 in 2004
Career stats: 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Why he's a bust: The jury is still out on Dante Exum , but he could get this honor in a few short years if he doesn't pick things up. The Jazz haven't gotten a lot of high draft picks over the years, and they've done well with the few they've had ( Deron Williams , Gordon Hayward , Enes Kanter ), so Snyder is the biggest bust even though he was the 16th pick. Snyder averaged 18.8 points per game in his junior year at Nevada, but could never figure things out in the NBA. He was out of the league after just four seasons.
Who they could have taken instead: Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen , Kevin Martin
Biggest bust: Jan Vesely -- No. 6 in 2012
Career stats: 3.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists
Why he's a bust: People are going to complain and say that Kwame Brown should be the pick here, but Vesely was basically non-existent in three seasons with the Washington Wizards . Brown, although bad, at least carved himself out a 12-year NBA career. Which one would you rather have?
Plus, none of the players behind Brown were "I can't believe we passed on that guy" type of talents, so it's hard to say he was a total bust. Vesely, a 6-11 forward out of the Czech Republic, had several All-Stars taken behind him. The most publicity Vesely got as an NBA player was when he kissed his girlfriend at the draft.
Who they could have taken instead: Kemba Walker , Klay Thompson , Kawhi Leonard , Jimmy Butler
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