Being a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft grants you a big deal and a lot of hype entering the league as one of the allegedly most talented players in the world due to the talent, upside and skill set shown during your early years.
Nonetheless, more often than not, some highly ranked prospects wind up being merely flukes, either because of injuries, lack of playing time or just because they weren’t nearly as good as everybody expected to begin with.
Some of them actually wind up having decent or average NBA careers, but they’re still a major disappointment after entering the league as top-tier prospects that were supposed to be franchise-changing kind of players.
Furthermore, after a year of tanking and fans suffering from blowout losses, it’s pretty shameful to see all that go to waste by drafting the wrong guy. Today, we’re going to let you know about the 10 most disappointing top 5 pick of the past 10 years.
10. Markelle Fultz
1st Overall Pick - Philadelphia 76ers (2017)
We start off this list with this year’s 1st overall pick: Markelle Fultz. The Boston Celtics traded down to pass on Fultz and get Tatum and we’re starting to understand why they made this extremely bold move.
Fultz has barely been able to get some playing time at all and has been shut down until he can develop a steady shooting form again following a shoulder injury, and the footage we’ve seen over social media makes us think that he’s still pretty far away from it, and the Sixers are definitely regretting passing on Donovan Mitchell to get him.
9. Dragan Bender
4th Overall Pick - Phoenix Suns (2016)
After a very mediocre rookie season, Dragan Bender is finally starting to come together for the sluggish Phoenix Suns, but even for a very bad 2016 class, he’s been kind of disappointing as the 4th overall pick.
Still, it seems like he’s finding his shooting stroke and he may even become a reliable and consistent player, but if they wanted a white big man with range, they would be far better off just drafting Domantas Sabonis.
8. Jahlil Okafor
3rd Overall Pick - Philadelphia 76ers (2015)
It hasn’t been all his fault, but after spending most of his life as the highest ranked prospect of his class, Okafor’s career has taken a major downfall and it’s pretty safe to state that the Sixers are to blame for how badly he’s fared over the last couple of campaigns.
Jahlil isn’t nearly as good as everybody thought on the early going, but he’s still extremely gifted in the offensive end of the floor. Still, getting pretty much nothing out of him and passing on guys like Porzingis, Turner and Booker was a major mistake by Philly.
7. Dante Exum
5th Overall Pick - Utah Jazz (2014)
2014’s class has looked pretty solid despite the fact that Andrew Wiggins hasn’t been as good as expected and Jabari Parker has suffered a couple of major injuries, but truth to be told, it seems like the Jazz just dropped the ball with Exum.
Exum was extremely rough but had a lot of upsides, but even when he was healthy and capable of playing ball, he was vastly struggling in both ends of the floor. Also, they could’ve gone with Saric, LaVine, Nurkic, Harris, Capela or Smart instead.
6. Anthony Bennett
1st Overall Pick - Cleveland Cavaliers (2013)
Anthony Bennett is considered to be one of the worst 1st overall picks in NBA history and by a long shot, and he’s not even playing in the league anymore despite being drafted less than 5 years ago by the Cleveland Cavaliers in what looked to be one of the weakest Draft classes of the decade.
Bennett was kind of overweight, lacked range and confidence, was slow and careless with the rock on his hands and the league simply had no use for him, and he was drafted over Otto Porter JR, Steven Adams, CJ McCollum, Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway JR, Rudy Gobert and Victor Oladipo.
5. Thomas Robinson
5th Overall Pick - Sacramento Kings (2012)
The fact that the Sacramento Kings took Thomas Robinson 5th overall in 2012 can only be understood because we’re talking about the freaking Kings here, one of the worst franchises in all major competitive sports.
Robinson was never expected to be that good anyway, and he’s not even in the league anymore. To make things even worse, the Kings passed on Andre Drummond, Will Barton, Khris Middleton, Draymond Green and Damian Lillard in order to get him.
4. Derrick Williams
2nd Overall Pick - Minnesota Timberwolves (2011)
Truth to be told, this one was one of the weakest classes of the past decade if we talk about the top 5, but still, the Minnesota Timberwolves could’ve done a lot better than drafting a tweener big man with no range whatsoever.
Williams isn’t even playing in the NBA up to this date and he was a major bust, bringing nothing to the table other than an occasional flashy put-back dunk. Also, he was drafted over Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.
3. Wesley Johnson
4th Overall Pick - Minnesota Timberwolves (2010)
Entering his eight campaign, he’s already played for 4 different teams and he hasn’t been able to make a significant impact for any of them, struggling to get his shot to fall and never being the defensive standout everybody expected he would become.
Going as high as the 4th overall pick, we should have definitely seen way more than what we’ve seen so far out of Wesley Johnson a guy that went ahead of DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Hassan Whiteside, Avery Bradley and Eric Bledsoe.
2. Hasheem Thabeet
2nd Overall Pick - Memphis Grizzlies (2009)
There are few words to describe how much of a bust Hasheem Thabeet is, and he’s one of the main examples to demonstrate the fact that not just because extremely tall, you have what it takes to make it in the greatest basketball league in the world.
Thabeet is one of the worst players that has ever set foot on an NBA hardwood, and he hasn’t even been able to make a comeback to the league being stuck in the G-League with other below average ballers. To make things worse, he was drafted ahead of Ricky Rubio, Jeff Teague, Jrue Holiday, Stephen Curry, James Harden and DeMar DeRozan.
1. OJ Mayo
3rd Overall Pick - Minnesota Timberwolves (2008)
OJ Mayo was considered to be the most talented prospect in the world during his Highschool years, and he was always a walking bucket, but his indiscipline and lack of effort really took a toll in his career, up to the point where he’s been harshly suspended for constant violations to the league’s drug use policy.
Mayo is probably never going back to the league and nobody’s going to be willing to give him another shot, but what makes this even more regrettable is the fact that he went ahead of Russell Westbrook, George Hill, Serge Ibaka, DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Love.