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
511 169
Kwame Brown is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center

2
449 117
Darko Miličić is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward, Center

3
379 119
Adam Morrison is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Shooting guard, Small forward

4
263 21
Anthony Bennett is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
STLsportsMGH added Guard, Power forward

5
332 119
Michael Olowokandi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

6
327 90
Hasheem Thabeet is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

7
419 239
Greg Oden is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center

8
311 172
Sam Bowie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center

9
200 84
Chris Washburn is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

10
167 46
Nikoloz Tskitishvili is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward, Center

11
178 90
Yi Jianlian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Power forward, Center

12
145 68
Robert Traylor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward

13
120 49
Jonathan Bender is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward

14
120 67
Joe Barry Carroll is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

15
110 48
LaRue Martin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center

16
117 80
Darius Miles is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Shooting guard, Small forward, Power forward

17
131 82
Eddy Curry is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
ChangesDownClub added Center

18
121 79
Sebastian Telfair is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Point guard

19
102 37
J. R. Giddens is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Shooting guard, Guard

20
106 46
Stromile Swift is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Power forward

21
76 20
Rafael Araújo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
hookstyler added Center

22
103 83
Jay Williams is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Point guard

23
75 49
Pervis Ellison is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added 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
80 31
Richard Washington is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

25
63 27
Rick Robey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added 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
52 8
Jonny Flynn is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Point guard

27
72 42
Benoit Benjamin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts

28
144 145
Michael Beasley is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
wiabux added Small forward, Power forward

29
77 40
Ike Diogu is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
ChangesDownClub added Power forward, Center

30
59 26
Jan Veselý is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
StratosDiamantakos added Forward, Power forward - 2O11 6th overall

31
71 44
Tyrus Thomas is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Power forward - #4 in 2006, currently a free agent.

32
104 88
Shawn Bradley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center

33
46 26
Kent Benson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Center

34
55 37
Dwayne Schintzius is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
GeoffreyMay added Center

35
115 114
Andrea Bargnani is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Small forward, Power forward, Center

36
39 38
Jimmer Fredette is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Michael Mella added Point guard

37
28 7
Keith Lee is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Hunter12 added Power forward, Center

38
40 19
Bill Garnett is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
MikeTrujillo added

39
46 42
Derrick Williams is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
JoeAzar added

40
21 12
William Bedford is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
Hunter12 added Center

41
7 3
Michael Carter-Williams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
1518470830811 added Guard

42
7 25
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Biggest First Round NBA Draft Pick Busts
1518470830811 added Shooting guard, Small forward