NBA The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
8.3k votes 1k voters 28.6k views 42 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
488 156
Kwame Brown is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kwame Brown Center

2
422 109
Darko Miličić is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Darko Miličić Power forward, Center

3
362 110
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
316 111
Michael Olowokandi is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

5
306 89
Hasheem Thabeet is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

6
230 18
Anthony Bennett is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
STLsportsMGH added Anthony Bennett Guard, Power forward

7
403 226
Greg Oden is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Greg Oden Center

8
300 163
Sam Bowie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Sam Bowie Center

9
196 79
Chris Washburn is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

10
161 42
Nikoloz Tskitishvili is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Nikoloz Tskitishvili Power forward, Center

11
170 86
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
141 65
Robert Traylor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Robert Traylor Power forward

13
115 45
Jonathan Bender is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Jonathan Bender Power forward

14
113 74
Darius Miles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Darius Miles Shooting guard, Small forward, Power forward

The Greatest Lakers of All Time

15
126 75
Eddy Curry is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
ChangesDownClub added Eddy Curry Center

16
116 63
Joe Barry Carroll is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

17
113 77
Sebastian Telfair is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Sebastian Telfair Point guard

18
104 46
LaRue Martin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
LaRue Martin Center

19
96 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
101 44
Stromile Swift is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Stromile Swift Power forward

21
98 78
Jay Williams is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Jay Williams Point guard

The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

22
72 18
Rafael Araújo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
hookstyler added Rafael Araújo Center

23
71 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
77 30
Richard Washington is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

25
60 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
136 137
Michael Beasley is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Michael Beasley Small forward, Power forward

27
68 41
Benoit Benjamin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

28
43 8
Jonny Flynn is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Jonny Flynn Point guard

The Best NBA Buys for the Money

29
74 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
55 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
68 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
98 85
Shawn Bradley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Shawn Bradley Center

33
44 24
Kent Benson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kent Benson Center

34
53 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
109 113
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
38 18
Bill Garnett is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
MikeTrujillo added Bill Garnett

37
24 7
Keith Lee is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Hunter12 added Keith Lee Power forward, Center

38
30 37
Jimmer Fredette is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Michael Mella added Jimmer Fredette Point guard

39
19 12
William Bedford is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Hunter12 added William Bedford Center

40
38 42
Derrick Williams is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
JoeAzar added Derrick Williams

41
1 0
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
2 6
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