Sports

The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time  

Ranker NBA
2.9k votes 396 voters 3k views 34 items

List Rules Only first overall NBA draft picks.

After ranking the best number one draft picks in NBA history, it's time to rank the biggest NBA busts of all time. Featuring former and active players, this list of the worst NBA number one draft picks includes players who played in China, players who retired early, and those who eventually became useless in the league. Who is the worst number 1 draft pick in NBA history?

Drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013, Anthony Bennett is widely considered to the biggest draft bust ever. After a mediocre rookie season, Bennett was passed around teams until he landed in the G League. More recently, 2017 number one pick Markelle Fultz had an underwhelming debut due to a shoulder injury messing up his shooting form. Although he became the youngest player to record a triple double in NBA history, his shooting form never improved, and many speculate the problem has more to do with his mentality. Other bad NBA draft picks include Greg Oden, Andrea Bargnani, and Andrew Wiggins. 

Vote up the most disappointing NBA players, and feel free to add any other bad number one picks who deserve to be on this list.

list ordered by
1
Anthony Bennett is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time

Drafted by Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013

Anthony Harris Bennett (born March 14, 1993) is a Canadian professional basketball player for the Agua Caliente Clippers of the NBA G League. He played college basketball for the University of ...more
2
Darko Miličić is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
henrychandlerderick added
Darko Miličić is a Serbian former professional basketball player. Standing at 2.13 m, he played the center position. He was selected by the Detroit Pistons as the second overall pick in the 2003 ...more
3
Kwame Brown is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Kwame James Brown is an American professional basketball player. The 6 ft 11 in, 290 lb center was the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards, and was the first ...more
4
Adam Morrison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
bigulcards added
Adam John Morrison is an American retired professional basketball player. Morrison played for three years at Gonzaga University and was considered to be one of the top college basketball players ...more
5
Michael Olowokandi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time

Drafted by Los Angeles Clippers in 1998

Michael Olowokandi is a retired professional basketball player. Born in Nigeria, he attended college on a basketball scholarship in the United States, and was the number one pick in the 1998 NBA ...more
6
Sam Bowie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
henrychandlerderick added
Samuel Paul "Sam" Bowie is a retired American basketball player. A national sensation in high school and outstanding collegian, Bowie's professional promise was undermined by repeated ...more
7
Greg Oden is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time

Drafted by Portland Trail Blazers in 2007

Gregory Wayne Oden, Jr. is an American professional basketball player who last played for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association. Oden, a 7 ft 0 in, 273-pound center, played ...more
8
Andrea Bargnani is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time

Drafted by Toronto Raptors in 2006

Andrea Bargnani is an Italian professional basketball player who currently plays for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association. He was selected first overall in the 2006 NBA ...more
9
Hasheem Thabeet is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
sfdgsdfgsfg added
Hasheem Thabeet is a Tanzanian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League. He played college basketball for Connecticut before ...more
10
LaRue Martin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
LaRue Martin is a retired American professional basketball player. Martin was taken first overall by the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers in 1972, drafted ahead of future ...more
11
Markelle Fultz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time

Drafted by Philadelphia 76ers in 2017

Markelle N'Gai Fultz (born May 29, 1998) is an American professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the ...more
12
Pervis Ellison is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time

Drafted by Sacramento Kings in 1989

Pervis Ellison is an American former NBA basketball player. Ellison was nicknamed "Never Nervous Pervis" for his play with the University of Louisville. At 6 ft 9 in and 242 lb, he ...more
13
Jimmy Walker is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time

Drafted by Detroit Pistons in 1967

James "Jimmy" Walker was an American professional basketball player. A 6'3" guard, he played nine seasons in the NBA as a member of the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and ...more
14
Kent Benson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Michael Kent Benson is a retired American collegiate and professional basketball player. Having had a prolific career during the 1970s and 1980s, he scored a career high of 38 points, playing ...more
15
Joe Barry Carroll is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time

Drafted by Golden State Warriors in 1980

Joe Barry Carroll is a retired American professional basketball player who spent ten seasons in the NBA. After retiring he became a wealth advisor, philanthropist, artist, author of the memoir ...more
16
Jimmer Fredette is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
bigulcards added
James Taft "Jimmer" Fredette is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association. Fredette is a native ...more
17
Bill McGill is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Bill "The Hill" McGill was an American basketball player. His life is chronicled in "Billy 'The Hill' and the Jump Hook," as told by him to Eric Brach
18
Charlie Share is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added Charlie Share
19
Andy Tonkovich is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Andrew Edward "Andy" Tonkovich was an American basketball player. He was selected first in the 1948 BAA draft by the Providence Steamrollers. He attended Marshall College.
20
Dick Ricketts is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Richard James Ricketts, Jr. was an American professional basketball player. A 6 ft 7 in forward from Duquesne University, Ricketts was selected by the St. Louis Hawks with the first pick of the ...more
21
Gene Melchiorre is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Eugene "Gene" "Squeaky" Melchiorre is a retired American basketball player. He was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets and was the first overall pick in the 1951 NBA Draft, ...more
22
Howie Shannon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Howard Shannon was an American basketball player and coach. He played professionally in the Basketball Association of America and the early years of the National Basketball Association and ...more
23
Mark Workman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Mark Cecil Workman was an American professional basketball player. Born in Logan, West Virginia, Workman grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, leading the Charleston High School Mountain Lions ...more
24
Fred Hetzel is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Fred W. Hetzel is a retired American basketball player.
25
Clifton McNeely is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Biggest NBA Busts Of All Time
BEASTMODER34 added
Clifton McNeely was an American basketball player and coach. McNeely graduated from Slidell High School in Slidell, Texas. After serving with the United States Army Air Corps in World War II, ...more