A couple of days ago it was announced by the Philadelphia 76ers that number three pick from the 2014 NBA Draft Joel Embid would miss his sophomore season just as he did his rookie season due to another surgery on his foot. This is a big blow for one of the bottom teams in the league as they rely on their high draft picks to catch up to the rest of the pack. So when they do not pan out it sets them back years. Now, I am not saying the Kansas centre Embid is a complete washout, but it does seem like he has a black cloud of injury hanging over his head that might lead to the premature end to his career or that he will not live up to his promise. There is still a chance that Embid will end up a star in the NBA but there are other top draft choices that have been busts. Either due to poor play or injuries these guys have been wastes of draft picks for their teams.
Here are my top ten 10 NBA Draft busts:
10) Jay Williams: Team Who Drafted Him: Chicago Bulls. Year of Draft: 2002. Selected by the Bulls with the 2nd overall pick in a weak draft year Jay Williams was pegged as a can’t miss prospect. His first season went as expected and he made a solid contribution to the team. A combination of a boneheaded decision and probably some bad luck Williams chose to violate his contract and ride a motorcycle. He got into a big accident that ended up ripping his ACL and severing a nerve in his knee. Williams’ rehab did not bring back to his original form and so he never returned to the basketball court again. A debacle.
9) Adam Morrison: Team Who Drafted Him: Charlotte Hornets (were called the Bobcats back then). Year of Draft: 2006. After a big NCAA career with Gonzaga the Bobcats selected Adam Morrison 3rd overall in the 2006 draft. After underachieving in his rookie year (shot under 40% and only averaged 11 points per game which was a big dip from the 28 points per game he averaged in college) and sitting out his sophomore season due to a knee injury, Morrison was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and won two rings as a bench player that rarely contributed. Then quietly he was out of basketball in 2010.
8) Shawn Bradley: Team Who Drafted Him: Philadelphia 76ers. Year of Draft: 1993. This is an example of the height of a player blinding people. Philadelphia selected the 7’6” centre who was as slight as a piece of grass 2nd overall in the 1993 draft. Over his career he became best known for being dunked on. I am sure that there are plenty of posters and pictures of him being crushed underneath a monstrous dunk. Even though he did end up with a career average of 2.5 blocks per game it did not make up for the number of times he was posterized. Ended up not being the lynchpin in Philadelphia’s defense…or anyone’s for that matter.
7) Nikoloz Tskitishvili: Team Who Drafted Him: Denver Nuggets. Year of Draft: 2002. The centre with the unpronounceable family name was selected 6th overall in 2002. Never panning out he was with four teams in four years. He is now playing far away from the spotlight in the UAE league.
6) Sam Bowie: Team Who Drafted Him: Portland Trail Blazers. Year of Draft: 1984. Ok, any player who was drafter higher than the great Michael Jordan did have a lot of undue pressure heaped upon them, but even taking that into account this guy was a bust. Bowie played at Kentucky and missed two complete seasons due to stress fractures in his knees. The fact that the centre was 7’1” was too tempting so he was still selected 2nd overall. Over his four years with Portland he only managed to play 139 games. His final five seasons in the NBA with the Nets he was solid. The damage was already done and his reputation as a bust was cemented as Jordan dominated the league. Maybe Portland should just never waste high draft picks on centres?!?
5) Chris Washburn: Team That Drafted Him: Golden State Warriors. Year of Draft: 1986. The draft of 1986 is considered to be one of the weakest over the last 30 years so there were not huge expectations for many players coming out of it. That plus the warning signs were there in regards to the maturity and character of NC State player Chris Washburn. While at school he was caught stealing a stereo. Still his talent and potential was too much of a temptation for Golden State not to use their 3rd pick overall on him. In his three years he failed three drug tests then was banned for life from the NBA. What a waste.
4) Michael Olowokani: Team Who Drafted Him: Los Angeles Clippers. Year of Draft: 1998. Unless you are a big NBA fan you won’t recognize the name of this player who was selected 1st overall in the 1998 draft. Though you will recognize the names of those selected after him. Names like Paul Pierce, Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki. Maybe some alarms should have gone off with the fact that he only started playing organized basketball at the age of 18. He managed to stay in the NBA for 10 seasons and was a decent defensive player but an average of 8.3 points per game is not what you want from a 1st choice overall.
3) LaRue Martin: Team Who Drafted Him: Portland Trail Blazers. Year of Draft: 1972. Another weak draft class allowed LaRue Martin to be selected 1st overall by the Portland Trail Blazers. Even coming out of that week year he still manages to be one of the worst 1st choices ever. Over the mere four years he played in the NBA he only managed a paltry 5.3 points per game average. Over his career he could never even crack the starting line-up. The centre who was 7’0” but only 208 pounds did not have talent that translated to the NBA and an abysmal shooting percentage of 41.6%.
2) Greg Oden: Team Who Drafted Him: Portland Trail Blazers. Year of Draft: 2007. In 2007 there was a debate as to whether centre Greg Oden or Kevin Durant should be the first player picked in the draft. Once again Portland, who has made several disastrous choices over the years, made the wrong choice picking Oden. His promising future was derailed by a series of knee injuries whereas Kevin Durant went on to become one of the best players in the NBA. Oh the sting. After several frustrating seasons due to injuries the Trail Blazers released him in 2012. He spent the entire 2012-13 season rehabbing his knees (microfracture and orthoscopic) and then signed with the Miami Heat though only playing sparingly.
1) Kwame Brown: Team Who Drafted Him: Washington Wizards. Year of Draft: 2001. So this 1st pick overall did manage to play for 12 seasons, but even that is a mystery to me. Especially when you find out his career average is 6.6 points per game. The 7’0” centre was clearly not deserving of a 1st pick and maybe even to be selected in the 1st round. He has small hands for a man of that size, had a bad reputation (as a person) and weak basketball fundamentals. All add up to a bust of large proportions. Controversy followed him off the court as well as he was arrested in 2007, accidentally hit a fan with a cake (??) and was accused of rape.