There’s nothing more embarrassing in the NBA than drafting a bust with a top pick. Since 2000, there have been plenty of teams who have made awful picks that are hilarious to look back at. To determine how bad a draft pick was we have to weigh in what pick he was taken at, who could’ve been taken instead and how bad that player really was. Here is a list of the top 10 worst draft selections made dating back to 2000.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves - Derrick Williams
With the 2nd Overall pick in 2011, the Timberwolves took Derrick Williams out of Arizona University. Williams was a can’t miss, athletic big man who was hyped up to be a similar player to the Clippers Blake Griffin. The Timberwolves selected Williams over big men Tristan Thompson and Jonas Valanciunas. Derrick Williams didn’t live up to that hype as after a little over 2 seasons with Minnesota, they dealt him to the Kings. During his time in Minnesota, Williams averaged 9.3 points on 43% shooting and 4.2 rebounds in 21 minutes per game.
Williams remains in the NBA today being a solid role player off the bench but, when you’re drafted 2nd overall, you’re expected to be a franchise player. Also, this pick looks worse seeing Thompson and Valanciunas succeed.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers - Anthony Bennett
The 2013 NBA draft class, is one of the worst draft classes in our recent memory. In correlation with one of the worst draft classes, the Cavaliers drafted one of the worst #1 overall draft picks in recent history. In his 1st and only season with the Cavs, Bennett averaged 4.2 points per game on 35% shooting and 3 rebounds. The Cavs taking Bennett was a mystery but, recently drafting Waiters and hopes for LeBron to return probably derailed them away from drafting Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter.
With not many amazing players behind him in this class, it doesn’t make the pick look as bad as it really was. Also, as we all know, this pick didn’t really harm the Cavs future as they are one of the best teams in the NBA now.
8. Toronto Raptors - Andrea Bargnani
With the 1st overall pick in 2006, the Raptors went with the Italian man Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani was a 7-foot shooting big man who was thought to be the next Dirk. During his time as a Raptor, Bargnani was considered a decent scorer but after Chris Bosh left in free agency and Bargnani’s role increased he was exposed as not only an awful defender but, an awful rebounder as well. Also, as his minutes increased Bargnani showed he couldn’t be the main scoring option and stay healthy. The Raptors eventually parted ways with him before the 2013 season began.
His career totals for them was 14.3 point per game on 44% shooting and 4.6 rebounds. The killer part of drafting Bargnani with the 1st pick was missing out on LaMarcus Aldridge who went 2nd.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jonny Flynn
In the 2009 NBA draft, the Timberwolves selected Ricky Rubio with the 5th overall pick and Jonny Flynn with the 6th overall pick. Rubio didn’t play the first 2 seasons after he was drafted, which was enough time for the Timberwolves to realize that Jonny Flynn wasn’t their answer at point guard. His rookie campaign was pretty good averaging 13.5 points on 42% shooting and 4.4 assists. It was downhill after that.
After his rookie season, he underwent hip surgery and never played the same again. His numbers dwindled to 5.3 points per game on 37% shooting and 3.4 assists. This led to him being traded during the 2011 draft. It wasn’t a huge loss that Flynn didn’t turn into the point guard they wanted because Rubio has proved himself as a solid starter. The worst part of this pick, though, right after Flynn was drafted, Curry was taken by the Warriors and Derozan by the Raptors.
6. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley
Coming into the 2008 NBA draft, Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley seemed like the consensus top 2 picks. Beasley was praised for his 2007-2008 season at Kansas State where he averaged 26.2 points per game in 31 minutes per game. Beasley averaged 13.9 points per game and 4 rebounds his rookie season. He started every game his 2nd season where he averaged 14.8 points per game 6.4 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. His high volume scoring in the NCAA didn’t translate to the NBA right away and despite his averaged his team offensive rating went down 2 points while he was on the court his 2nd season.
The Heat were a much better team in general with Beasley off the court; opposing teams were +5 points on their offensive rating with him on the court opposed to him off. After a disappointing playoff performance by Beasley and the Heat, the team parted ways with him to open up cap room for the big three. Since then, Beasley has been in and out of the NBA and other leagues. He can still be a serviceable bench option but, he will never live up to his old hype. The Heat selected Beasley over other top 5 picks Russel Westbrook and Kevin Love.
Imagine the Miami Big 3 with Love or Westbrook as well; maybe the big 3 doesn’t happen if the Heat draft one of these more promising players.
5. Denver Nuggets - Nikoloz Tskitishvili
The 2002 draft is most notable for prolific big men Yao Ming and Amar’e Stoudemire. If you ask anyone who Nikoloz Tskitishvili is, you will get blank stares. Nikoloz was a top prospect from Georgia coming into this draft. The foreign big was listed at 7’0’’ and seemed too good to pass up for the Nuggets with the 5th pick. The Nuggets didn’t get what they expected. In the 143 games that he played for them, he averaged 3.2 points per game on 30% shooting and 1.9 rebounds. This man clearly didn’t pan out in the NBA.
The Nuggets didn’t leave this draft completely empty handed. With the 7th pick, they took Nene, who gave them 10 solid seasons. Still, the Nuggets took Tskitishvili over all-star Amar’e Stoudemire, which is what really hurts when we look back at this.
4. Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet
Hasheem “The Dream” Thabeet was a 7’3’’ center coming out of Connecticut and had all the potential in the world. The Grizzlies took him 2nd overall in 2009. The Grizzlies thought they would get a big man who could send shots back at will and dominate in the paint. Sadly, they didn’t get what they hoped for. Thabeet played 113 games total for the Grizzlies. He averaged 2.3 points per game .9 blocks and 2.8 rebounds. Not being able to stay healthy didn’t really help his cause but, clearly you can tell by his stats that he didn’t last long with the team.
While drafting Thabeet with the 2nd pick, the Grizzlies passed up on other players like James Harden, Steph Curry and DeMar DeRozan. Thabeet was a major bust and all three of these players are dominant players in today’s NBA which is a huge reason why this pick is number 4 on my list.
3. Washington Wizards - Kwame Brown
“If you draft me, you’ll never regret it.” These are the exact words Kwame said to the Wizards before the 2001 NBA draft. The Wizards took the 6’11’’ center who was coming right out of high school with the 1st overall pick. Brown was consistently known as the best high school player at his time and at the time the Wizards loved his potential. Unlike what Brown told them, they regretted this pick. Brown had an awful rookie season but, showed a lot of good things his next two seasons. In his 4th season, he took a downward spiral. He couldn’t stay healthy only played 42 games and averaged 7 points per game on 46% shooting and 4.9 rebounds. This, plus feuding with teammates and his coach really raised a lot of scrutinies.
This was his last season as a Wizards and was sent off to Los Angeles. The worst part is that by drafting Brown with the 1st pick in 2001, the Wizards passed up on Pau Gasol, another big man who clearly panned out more than Brown did.
2. Portland Trail Blazers - Greg Oden
It hurts me to talk about Greg Oden being one of the biggest draft mistakes this century. The 7-foot big man, coming out of Ohio State, had all the talent and all the potential in the world. Portland drafted him with the 1st overall pick in 2007. He sat out the whole first season after getting microfracture surgery on his knee. If this wasn’t a sign for what was to come, I don’t know what is. He played 82 games for Portland before he fractured his left patella and sat out for three seasons. In those 82 games, he showed promise and it hurts to see someone with so much talent get so unlucky.
Unfortunately, he goes down as a huge mistake considering the next three draft picks were the future Hall of Famer Kevin Durant, All-Star Al Horford and Mike Conley who’s had an excellent career.
1. Detroit Pistons - Darko Milicic
Finally, the biggest draft mistake and bust of this century. Darko was taken 2nd overall by the Pistons in a draft that will probably go down as one of the best of all time. You can take a wild guess and say it wasn’t one of the best draft classes because of him. The 7-foot center from Serbia was able to win an NBA title with the Pistons with contributing the least to the team. He didn’t last long in Detroit, playing only 96 games for them. During that stint, he averaged 1.6 points per game on 47% shooting and averaged 1.2 rebounds.
A huge problem with Darko was his lack of motivation to be a great NBA player, where his mind was a lot more focused on the money. The Pistons really will go down as making one of the worst picks of all time, choosing Darko over future hall of famers Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. I would love to go back and see how good that Pistons team would have been if they drafted one of those guys. They could’ve probably dominated the east even longer and possibly have another title.