Top Five Biggest NBA Draft Busts of All Time

Jamie CantrellContributor IJuly 18, 2009

24 Jun 1998: A picture of the 1st Pick Michael Olowokandi by the Los Angeles Clippers shaking hands with David Stern the NBA Commissioner during the NBA Draft at the General Motors Palace in Vancouver, Canada. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY

This is my first article. I decided to go with the "Top 5 biggest NBA busts of all time" to get started. How original, huh? Some NBA teams strike gold in the NBA Lottery. Ask Chicago, landing MJ at No. 3, Portland landing Drexler at No. 14, even Detroit nabbing Hall of Famer Joe Dumars at No. 18.

Then other teams select not-so great players early and get the short end of the stick. Here are my top 5 biggest busts to ever roam the courts of the NBA.

In at No. 5

Shawn Bradley - Drafted: Second overall, 76ers (1993)

Although Bradley played 12 solid seasons in the league, he never lived up to expectations. Being chosen ahead of some quality players like Allan Houston, Vin Baker, Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Nick Van Exel, and Sam Cassell didn't help his case either. Shawn was an intriguing prospect out of BYU, after all he was 7'6.

You see 7'6 and you think "wow," then you notice he only averaged 6 rebounds, 8 points over his career, and you're like "wow..." in a pathetic way, that is. All Shawn is remembered for now is being a decent shot blocker and videos on YouTube of Bradley getting dunked on. This seemed to be a hobby for NBA players over Shawn's 12 year career.


At No. 4

Nikoloz Tskitishvili - Drafted: Fifth overall, Nuggets (2002)

Tskitishvili never amounted to anything in the NBA. Bouncing around four teams in his four-year career. He averaged just under three points per game, 1.8 rebounds per game, and a beastly 0.7 assists per game.

The only good that could of came from this is the Nuggets going an atrocious 17-65, which resulted in Denver landing Carmelo Anthony. Now with the addition of Billups last season, they're on the verge of a legit title run.

Now for No. 3

Kwame Brown - Drafted: First overall, Wizards (2001)

This may surprise some, because Kwame Brown is considered by some to be the worst pick ever. But I'm going to cut Kwame some slack. Kwame obviously never lived up to the hype. He should have gone to my Gators, instead of the NBA.

Although Brown hasn't put up top pick numbers, he still has managed to stay in the league for 8 seasons and counting. He's actually not exactly "horrible." He just gets more hate cause of where he was drafted.

Brown is a solid defender and role player. His basketball IQ and offensive skills could use some work, but I wouldn't mind having him on my team as a role player.

Coming in at No. 2

Ed O'Bannon - Drafted: Ninth overall, Nets (1995)

Okay, okay, I have some explaining to do. I know ninth is way different than first (Kwame) but there are good reasons why Ed O'Bannon is at No. 2. Any player drafted that high in a draft that included Kevin Garnett, Antonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse, Michael Finley, Theo Ratliff, and hell even Joe Smith, should atleast have had a decent career in the league.

O'Bannon was a great college player and won a championship at UCLA but only lasted two seasons in the NBA, averaging only 5 points and 2.5 boards. So he sits at No. 2 on my list. Now O'Bannon is a car salesman in Las Vegas, I believe. 

Finally the No. 1 biggest bust of all time is...

Michael Olowokandi - Drafted: First overall, Clippers (1998)

I know what you're thinking, he had to play for the Clippers. Trust me, I feel sorry for him. Having to go through that cruelty, but that's no excuse for his individual play. He had one relatively productive season. It was his last one with the Clipps (12 points, 9 rebounds) he went on to play small roles for Minnesota and Boston.

He ended his nine year career averaging 8 points and just under 7 rebounds. Olowokandi will not only be remembered as the worst pick ever from his mediocre career but also due to the fact he was selected infront of Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Antawn Jamison, Rashard Lewis, and Mike Bibby.

So there you have it. My top five biggest busts of all time in the NBA. You're probably wondering why Darko Milicic wasnt on the list. Well Darko was selected over Melo, Bosh, Wade, ect...because presumably they had Richard Hamilton, Rasheed and Ben Wallace, and Prince.

I assume they did not have a use for Melo or Wade. They went on to win the title that year and Darko is a decent player. Honorable Mentions: Bryant Reeves, Darko Milicic, Adam Morrison (depending upon what happens next to him), Danny Ferry, and Chris Washburn.