The days leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft certainly make fans think back on past draft experiences. While this year’s draft class has been deemed “weak” by many draft experts and analysts, it is still sure to produce a number of steady and, most likely, memorable players in the future.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the top 10 busts in the history of the NBA Draft.
10. Jonathan Bender – No. 5 pick, 1999 draft, Toronto Raptors (traded to Indiana Pacers)
Bender was drafted out of high school, fifth overall in 1999 by Toronto. Bender had unlimited potential as a 6-foot-11 forward with length, ball-handling skills and athleticism. He posted his best season statistically in his third year, playing in 78 games for the Indiana Pacers.
However, Bender would only appear in a combined 76 games over the next four seasons due to serious knee issues. Bender then shut himself down for three seasons, making one final attempt to play in 2009-10 with the New York Knicks. He played in 25 games that season before retiring for good.
In parts of eight seasons, Bender averaged 5.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.6 blocks, 14.7 minutes in 262 games.
Drafted before: Wally Szczerbiak, Richard Hamilton, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Ron Artest, Andrei Kirilenko.
9. Keith Edmonson – No. 10 pick, 1982 draft, Atlanta Hawks
Edmonson was a 6-foot-5 guard drafted 10th overall in 1982 by the Hawks. He played alongside Joe Barry Carroll at Purdue University – one whom some consider to also be an NBA bust. Together they led the Boilermakers to the 1980 NCAA Final Four. Edmonson averaged 21.3 points per game as a senior at Purdue. He went on to play in just 87 games during two seasons in the league.
During those two seasons Edmonson averaged 6.0 points, 1.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 10.7 minutes in 87 games.
Drafted before: Lafayette Lever, Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, Ricky Pierce, Mark Eaton.
8. Yi Jianlian – No. 6 pick, 2007 draft, Milwaukee Bucks
Yi Jianlian ended up being a journeyman over five NBA seasons after being drafted sixth overall by Milwaukee. He was compared to Yao Ming – the Houston Rockets’ towering All-Star center – leading up to the 2007 draft. Jianlian was more athletic than Ming, but wasn’t a pure center. He posted decent averages in points and rebounds in his first three seasons. He faded off the map however in his last two seasons with the Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks. He returned to China after the 2012 season.
In five NBA seasons, Jianlian averaged 7.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 blocks and 22.2 minutes in 272 career games.
Drafted before: Joakim Noah, Arron Afflalo, Thaddeus Young, Rodney Stuckey, Marc Gasol.
7. Marcus Fizer – No. 4 pick, 2000 draft, Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls chose Fizer with the fourth overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. He was the third of three consecutive draft busts, following Stromile Swift and Darius Miles, taken second and third respectively. The 6-foot-9 forward played his best games during his second season, but never fully reached his potential. Fizer never played a full 82 games and thus didn’t last more than six seasons.
In his six seasons, Fizer averaged 9.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.3 blocks and 20.9 minutes in 289 career games.
Drafted before: Mike Miller, Jamal Crawford, Hedo Turkoglu, Jamaal Magloire, Morris Peterson, Michael Redd.
6. Adam Morrison – No. 3 pick, 2006 draft, Charlotte Bobcats
Michael Jordan took Morrison with the third overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft out of Gonzaga. Surprisingly, he had his best days during his rookie year with averages of 11.8 points and 2.9 boards a game. Morrison didn’t play a minute in his second season and split his third year between Charlotte and the Los Angeles Lakers. He saw action in 31 games in his fourth season before calling it quits after that.
In parts of four seasons, Morrison averaged 7.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 20.4 minutes in 161 career games.
Drafted before: Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, Thabo Sefolosha, Rajon Rondo, Steve Novak, Kyle Lowry.
5. Michael Olowokandi – No. 1 pick, 1998 draft, Los Angeles Clippers
Olowokandi landed in the top spot in the 1998 draft. The Clippers passed on the likes of Antwan Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to take the big fella. Olowokandi posted sub-par career averages of 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds a game. He wouldn’t play close to a full season during his last five years in the NBA. He is a shining example of wasted potential.
In parts of nine seasons, Olowokandi averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 26.3 minutes in 500 career games.
Drafted before: Mike Bibby, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis.
4. Darko Milicic – No. 2 pick, 2003 draft, Detroit Pistons
Milicic could arguably be the biggest draft bust of all time. Detroit took him with the second pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He was sandwiched in the draft between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, both current NBA superstars. Milicic, on the other hand, has played 10 seasons with six different teams and has career averages of six points and 4.2 rebounds.
In 10 NBA seasons, Milicic current carries averages of 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 0.9 assists and 18.5 minutes in 468 career games.
Drafted before: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, David West, Kendrick Perkins, Josh Howard, Mo Williams, Kyle Korver.
3. Sam Bowie – No. 2 pick, 1984 draft, Portland Trail Blazers
Portland selected Bowie with the second pick in the 1984 draft. Although his career averages are pretty solid, he never played a full season. The worst part of Bowie’s career was that Portland passed on a ton of future stars to select him, including Michael Jordan, who was selected directly after him.
In 10 seasons, Bowie averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 blocks and 27.6 minutes in 511 career games.
Drafted before: Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, John Stockton.
2. Kwame Brown – No. 1 pick, 2001 draft, Washington Wizards
Brown was taken first overall in the 2001 NBA Draft as a 19-year old with room to grow. Now 30, Brown has played 12 seasons in the league with career averages of just 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. This past season, he was playing on his seventh NBA team with the Philadelphia 76ers. Brown always had issues with his hands, catching the ball in the post. The most news he made in the league came when he was part of the trade that sent Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers.
In his 12 seasons, Brown hold averages of 6.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.6 blocks and 22.1 minutes in 607 career games.
Drafted before: Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace, Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas, Mehmet Okur.
1. Greg Oden – No. 1 pick, 2007 draft, Portland Trail Blazers
I apologize to Portland fans in advance, but I had to put Oden and Bowie both in my top three. Oden went No. 1 to the Trail Blazers in 2007. He was thought to have the potential to be one of the best centers the NBA had ever seen. Extreme knee injuries have thus far limited his career to just 82 games combined in two seasons. Portland was forced to decide between Oden and Kevin Durant, who ended up turning into one of the best players in the league. Oden hopes to attempt an NBA comeback in the near future.
When he was healthy, Oden actually showed flashes of being a very good NBA player, but he barely saw the floor.
In parts of two NBA seasons, Oden has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 22.1 minutes in 82 games.
Drafted before: Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Thaddeus Young, Rodney Stuckey, Marc Gasol