Sports

The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts 

Ranker Sports
Originally by
Updated May 10, 2019 9.3k votes 1.2k voters 30.2k views 41 items

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
Kwame Brown is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center from Charleston, South Carolina
2
Darko Miličić is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward and Center from Novi Sad, Serbia
3
Adam Morrison is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Shooting guard and Small forward from Glendive, Montana, United States of America
4
Hasheem Thabeet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
5
Anthony Bennett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
STLsportsMGH added Guard and Power forward from Toronto, Canada
6
Michael Olowokandi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Michael Olowokandi Center from Lagos, Nigeria
7
Greg Oden is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center from Buffalo, New York
8
Sam Bowie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center from Lebanon, Pennsylvania
9
Chris Washburn is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center from Hickory, North Carolina
10
Nikoloz Tskitishvili is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward and Center from Tbilisi, Georgia
11
Yi Jianlian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Power forward and Center from Heshan, Guangdong, China
12
Robert Traylor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward from Detroit, Michigan
13
Jonathan Bender is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward from Picayune, Mississippi, United States of America
14
J. R. Giddens is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Shooting guard and Guard from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
15
Eddy Curry is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
ChangesDownClub added Center from Harvey, Illinois
16
Joe Barry Carroll is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center from Pine Bluff, Arkansas
17
Stromile Swift is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward from Shreveport, Louisiana
18
LaRue Martin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center from Chicago, Illinois
19
Sebastian Telfair is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Point guard from Coney Island, New York City, New York, United States of America
20
Darius Miles is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Shooting guard and Small forward from USA, Illinois, Belleville
21
Rafael Araújo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
hookstyler added Rafael Araújo Center from Curitiba, Brazil
22
Richard Washington is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center from Portland, Oregon
23
Ike Diogu is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
ChangesDownClub added Power forward and Center from Buffalo, New York
24
Tyrus Thomas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Power forward from Baton Rouge, Louisiana
#4 in 2006, currently a free agent.
25
Jan Veselý is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
StratosDiamantakos added Forward and Power forward from Ostrava, Czech Republic
2O11 6th overall