With the recently completed 2014 NBA Draft and 30th anniversary of one of the greatest NBA drafts of all time (the 1984 NBA Draft), it is only fitting to celebrate the Top 7 draft busts from the NBA’s Lottery Era. Many fans of basketball history will bring up the fact that Kentucky’s Sam Bowie was taken with the overall #2 pick in the 198 draft ahead of Michael Jordan with Jordan going on to..well become Jordan, while Bowie went on to a somewhat respected but significantly less, lauded career. As a result, we have made our choices for the seven worst picks since then….and we are giving the last few draft years some credit here before we start to take a look at adding any of those picks to our list!
Top 7 Draft Busts from the NBA Lottery Era
#7 – Marcus Fizer
2000 NBA Draft, #4 Pick by Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls picked Marcus Fizer with the third overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. During his six years in the NBA, he never managed to average more than 10
points and 5 rebounds during a game. He did manage to start 35 total games; however, he never played on a winning team or a team that earned a spot in the NBA Playoffs.
#6 – Andrea Bargnani
2006 NBA Draft, #1 Pick, Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors picked Andrea Bargnani with the #1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. Playing in Italy prior to the draft, he also has the distinction of being the last international player picked with the #1 pick in the NBA Draft. During his 8 seasons in the NBA, the big man has consistently shot beneath 50 percent from the field and never gone north of seven rebounds per game. Only one time in his eight seasons in the NBA has a team that Bargnani played on a winning team.
#5 – Darko Milicic
2003 NBA Draft, #2 Pick, Detroit Pistons
Unfortunately, Darko Milicic is known better for being picked after LebRon James and ahead of Melo, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Darko was never able to live up to his hype before the draft. He played for six teams over 10 total seasons in the NBA and was never able to average double digits in rebounds or points.
#4 – Jonathan Bender
1995 NBA Draft, #5 Pick, Toronto Raptors
Despite being named the MVP of the 1999 McDonald’s All American Game, Jonathan Bender has never really payed out in the NBA. Once he was picked by the Raptors, he was subsequently traded to the Indiana Pacers for Antonio Davis. His best season in the NBA was his third when he scored 7.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Bender was waved by the Pacers during the 2005-06 NBA season, and played briefly for the New York Knicks in the 2009 NBA Season.
#3 Kwame Brown
2001 NBA Draft, #1 Pick, Washington Wizards
Kwame Brown was the first player in NBA history to make the jump directly from high school to the overall #1 pick in the NBA Draft. At the time, MJ was the Wizards president who made the pick. Brown really never got going with the Wizards, and has since played for seven teams in 12 NBA seasons and is known as one of the biggest NBA Draft Busts in the modern draft era.
#2 Nikoloz Tskitishvili
2002 NBA Draft, #5 Pick, Denver Nuggets
Nikoloz Tskitishvili was selected with the overall #4 pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. He came in reputed to have shooting guard skills in a seven foot body. He was able to play for the Nuggets for four seasons while starting a total of 16 games during his NBA rookie year (he averaged 3.9 points per game). Unfortunately, he would never average that many points again!
#1 Michael Olowokandi
1998 NBA Draft, #1 Pick, Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers selected Michael Olowokandi with the overall #1 pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, the Clippers managed to bypass three future NBA Hall of Fame players with the pick (Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, and Dirk Nowitzki). Due to the NBA Lockout that followed the draft, Olowokandi played in Italy before returning for nine disappointing seasons in the NBA.