NBA Draft Busts
Hasheem Thabeet, Grizzlies
The NBA is littered with busts at or near the top of the first round. Here is just a sampling of the worst (in reverse chronological order), starting with Thabeet, who has already been passed from Memphis to Houston to Portland to Oklahoma City in only three seasons. The former UConn center was always thought to be a long-term project, and perhaps he'll develop into a solid NBA center. But so far, he's a benchwarmer with career averages of 2.4 points and 3 rebounds in 10.8 minutes.
Joe Alexander, Bucks
Alexander hasn't played in the NBA since 2010 after averaging 4.2 points in 67 games. Ryan Anderson, Serge Ibaka and Nicolas Batum were among the fellow forwards who were taken after Alexander in the first round.
Greg Oden, Trail Blazers
Oden still has time to shed the bust label. Injuries (namely, five knee surgeries) are to blame for Oden's presence on this list, as he played only 82 games in five seasons with the Trail Blazers before they parted ways with him in March 2012. The 25-year-old Oden, who was taken ahead of Kevin Durant, holds out hope of an NBA comeback as he recovers from his third microfracture surgery.
Adam Morrison, Bobcats
Five years after missing on Kwame Brown, Michael Jordan fared no better with Morrison. The former Gonzaga star averaged 11.8 points as a rookie but shot only 37.6 percent. He missed the next season with a knee injury, was traded to the Lakers in 2009 and quietly fell out of the league in 2010.
Fran Vazquez, Magic
This isn't about the Spanish big man's NBA body of work -- after all, there is none. It's about the fact that Orlando used a valuable lottery pick on a player who hasn't even suited up for them. Vazquez is now 30 with over a decade under his belt in the Spanish league.
Rafael Araujo, Raptors
He went about 10 spots higher than was expected, and about 25 spots higher than was deserved. The 6-11 center from BYU was a three-year washout in the NBA.
Darko Milicic, Pistons
LeBron James, Milicic, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade -- which top five pick from 2003 doesn't belong? In fairness, the 28-year-old Milicic showed flashes of strong play. But overall, in ten seasons Milicic has averaged 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds while playing for six teams. He played only 5 minutes with the Celtics in the 2012-13 season. Joe Dumars and the Pistons whiffed on this one.
Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Nuggets
Skita created a buzz with his predraft workouts, and that was that. Four teams discarded him in four seasons. Then-GM Kiki Vandeweghe and the Nuggets did better with the other 19-year-old they acquired two picks later: Nene.
Kwame Brown, Wizards
Now 31, Michael Jordan's handpicked choice has played for seven teams in 12 seasons and sports career averages of 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds. Brown, however, did experience something of a rebirth after reuniting with Jordan in Charlotte in 2010-11, when the 6-11 center averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds. Those were his best numbers since 2006-07. He was hurt for most of 2011-12 after signing with Golden State and put up abysmal numbers with the 76ers in 2012-13.
2000 first round
Most of the GMs in '00 got their picks right; this was just a bad group of players. Here was the top half of the first round: Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, Mike Miller, DerMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm, Jamal Crawford, Joel Przybilla, Keyon Dooling, Jerome Moiso, Etan Thomas, Courtney Alexander, Mateen Cleaves and Jason Collier.
Jonathan Bender, Pacers (via Raptors)
Indiana acquired the draft rights to the preps-to-pros, Kevin-Garnett look-alike for solid big man Antonio Davis. Bender showed tantalizing flashes of his potential but never put it together before cutting short his career because of knee injuries in February 2006. Bender had a 25-game comeback with the Knicks in 2009-2010.
Michael Olowokandi, Clippers
Bust-worthy on so many levels. The Kandi Man was taken before future All-Stars Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce and a host of more suitable selections. Even the final pick of the first round, Nazr Mohammed, has had a much more distinguished career in the pivot.
Robert Traylor, Bucks (via Mavs)
In a prearranged draft-night trade that turned into one of the most lopsided deals in history, the Mavericks sent Traylor to the Bucks for Nowitzki and Pat Garrity, whom Dallas dealt to Phoenix for Steve Nash. Nowitzki was named MVP in 2007 and led the Mavs to the 2011 title with an epic postseason performance. Meanwhile, the Tractor averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in seven seasons.
Joe Smith, Warriors
Average in name and game, Smith was serviceable while playing for 12 teams over 16 years, but later selections Antonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and (especially) Kevin Garnett enjoyed better careers.
Ed O'Bannon, Nets
The older and better of the brothers who led UCLA to an NCAA championship in 1995, O'Bannon is the perfect example of a player who had multiple talents but none that rose to an NBA level. He lasted only two seasons, playing with the Nets and Mavericks.
Shawn Bradley, 76ers
Find him on a poster near you. To his credit, Bradley developed into a so-so big man who ranks 14th on the all-time list in blocks. He's the perfect example of a player whose draft position colors the perception of his career.
Bo Kimble, Clippers
A high-scoring, high-profile college star at Loyola Marymount, Kimble was out of the league after 105 NBA games split between the Clippers and Knicks.
Danny Ferry, Clippers
Ferry had no interest in playing for the Clippers so he toiled for a season in Italy before Los Angeles agreed to trade his rights. Well-respected Cavs GM Wayne Embry made one of the worst moves of his career by sending scoring machine Ron Harper to the Clippers for Ferry, who spent 10 nondescript seasons in Cleveland. (Incidentally, the player taken before Ferry, Pervis Ellison, makes many "bust" lists, though he did have a couple of strong seasons before injuries wrecked his career.)
Dennis Hopson, Nets
The first in a series of "Next Jordans" flamed out before producing a fraction of what MJ accomplished. Hopson averaged 10.9 points in five seasons.
Chris Washburn, Warriors
The North Carolina State product totaled 222 points in 72 career games, as good a represenative as any for a draft full of busts.
Jon Koncak, Hawks/Joe Klein, Kings
Koncak and Klein spent the bulk of their time in the NBA cashing in on their right to commit six fouls per game.
Sam Bowie, Trail Blazers
His selection underscores the cardinal rule behind NBA Draftology: You can't draft for need. The Blazers, flush with Jim Paxson and Clyde Drexler on the wings, needed a center and passed on drafting Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton. Bowie (pictured left, with commissioner David Stern and 1984 No. 1 pick Hakeem Olajuwon) struggled with injuries throughout his 10-year run and finished with career averages of 10.9 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Bill Garnett, Mavericks
The former Wyoming star (shown here with Larry Bird) split four pedestrian seasons (5.5 points, 4.3 rebounds) between Dallas and Indiana.
Kent Benson, Bucks
It never got better for Benson than winning the national title at Indiana. He did stick in the NBA for 10 seasons but produced only three double-digit scoring campaigns.
LaRue Martin, Trail Blazers
Portland passed on future Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo to take fellow big man Martin, who never averaged more than seven points in his four NBA seasons. The Loyola product retired in 1976, a year before the Blazers won their first and only championship.
Ken Durrett, Cincinnati Royals
Durrett (pictured in the background, with the 76ers)) had more fouls (197) than field goals (192) in his four-year career, during which he averaged 10 minutes a game and never started.