NBA The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts  

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List Rules Only first round draft picks

The biggest first round NBA Draft pick busts are those highly anticipated players who were selected very early in the NBA Draft who never really lived up to their expectations. While many turned out to be very good players, for the most part they were expected to be legends and fell quite short of that.

Going into and right after each annual NBA Draft, the hype surrounding the top basketball prospects and those who are selected first in the draft is nearly endless. Former college basketball players are compared to the legends of the game and often said to be the next young star primed to take the game by storm. In many cases, these young players have great NBA careers. These are not those cases.

It's easy to name players like Andrew Bogut, Andrea Bargnani, Greg Oden, John Wall, Kwame Brown, Elton Brand and Michael Olowokandi as some of the worst NBA Draft picks of all time as each were selected first overall with massive expectations, few of which they fulfilled. But there are plenty more where that came from. Sam Bowie might perhaps be the biggest NBA Draft pick bust of all time. The 7'1" player our of Kentucky was selected second overall in 1984, ahead of best NBA player of all time Michael Jordan, and thought to have great potential however injuries repeatedly prevented his success and his career was ultimately deemed a flop.

So while these players are certainly not horrible, they all had expectations to be league leaders and Hall of Famers and simply failed to deliver. Which was the worst NBA player drafted in the first round? Have your say in that by voting, adding to or re-ranking this list of the biggest first round NBA Draft pick busts. When you're done here, head over and vote for the biggest first round NFL Draft pick busts too!
list ordered by

1
497 163
Kwame Brown is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kwame Brown Center

2
434 112
Darko Miličić is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Darko Miličić Power forward, Center

3
369 114
Adam Morrison is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Adam Morrison Shooting guard, Small forward

4
323 115
Michael Olowokandi is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

5
245 20
Anthony Bennett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
STLsportsMGH added Anthony Bennett Guard, Power forward

6
316 89
Hasheem Thabeet is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

7
411 232
Greg Oden is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Greg Oden Center

8
307 165
Sam Bowie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Sam Bowie Center

9
197 79
Chris Washburn is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

10
162 43
Nikoloz Tskitishvili is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Nikoloz Tskitishvili Power forward, Center

11
173 87
Yi Jianlian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Yi Jianlian Power forward, Center

12
142 65
Robert Traylor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Robert Traylor Power forward

13
116 45
Jonathan Bender is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Jonathan Bender Power forward

14
117 63
Joe Barry Carroll is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

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15
114 74
Darius Miles is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Darius Miles Shooting guard, Small forward, Power forward

16
128 76
Eddy Curry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
ChangesDownClub added Eddy Curry Center

17
105 46
LaRue Martin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
LaRue Martin Center

18
116 77
Sebastian Telfair is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Sebastian Telfair Point guard

19
98 34
J. R. Giddens is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added J. R. Giddens Shooting guard, Guard

20
102 44
Stromile Swift is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Stromile Swift Power forward

21
73 18
Rafael Araújo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
hookstyler added Rafael Araújo Center

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22
101 80
Jay Williams is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Jay Williams Point guard

23
72 46
Pervis Ellison is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Pervis Ellison Power forward, Center - #1 in 1989 by the Kings. Traded the following year and never lived up to expectations from his days at Louisville.

24
78 30
Richard Washington is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

25
61 26
Rick Robey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Rick Robey Power forward, Center - #3 in 1978 by the Indiana Pacers, 3 picks ahead of Larry Bird of Indiana Had a less than mediocre career as a journey man.

26
69 41
Benoit Benjamin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

27
47 8
Jonny Flynn is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Jonny Flynn Point guard

28
140 141
Michael Beasley is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Michael Beasley Small forward, Power forward

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29
75 39
Ike Diogu is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
ChangesDownClub added Ike Diogu Power forward, Center

30
56 26
Jan Veselý is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
StratosDiamantakos added Jan Veselý Forward, Power forward - 2O11 6th overall

31
69 43
Tyrus Thomas is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Tyrus Thomas Power forward - #4 in 2006, currently a free agent.

32
101 86
Shawn Bradley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Shawn Bradley Center

33
45 24
Kent Benson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kent Benson Center

34
54 35
Dwayne Schintzius is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
GeoffreyMay added Dwayne Schintzius Center

35
111 113
Andrea Bargnani is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Andrea Bargnani Small forward, Power forward, Center

36
39 18
Bill Garnett is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
MikeTrujillo added Bill Garnett

37
35 37
Jimmer Fredette is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Michael Mella added Jimmer Fredette Point guard

38
25 7
Keith Lee is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Hunter12 added Keith Lee Power forward, Center

39
42 42
Derrick Williams is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
JoeAzar added Derrick Williams

40
19 12
William Bedford is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Hunter12 added William Bedford Center

41
5 1
Michael Carter-Williams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
1518470830811 added Michael Carter-Williams Guard

42
5 12
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
1518470830811 added Michael Jordan Shooting guard, Small forward