NBA Draft: The 15 Biggest Busts of the Last 10 Years
Hope springs eternal for the fans of all the NBA teams that weren't good enough to make the playoffs this year.
New Jersey could barely make it to double digits in the win column, but that also gives them the best chance to draft John Wall.
The Timberwolves were forced to go through the season without their top draft pick, Ricky Rubio, because he'd rather stay in Spain than come play for such a terrible team. Rubio taking a pass on the season has the Timberwolves in line for the number two pick and Player of the Year favorite Evan Turner.
The Milwaukee Bucks showed that one pick can turn a team around when they selected Brandon Jennings last year. The Kings and Grizzlies proved that a series of strong drafts can make you a potential contender.
Obviously it isn't all roses though. Teams with a high pick shoulder a large burden. The wrong pick will be ridiculed for years, including in slideshows like this one that highlight the biggest busts of the last decade.
#15 - Greg Oden (2007 - 1st Overall)
Don't take this the wrong way. We think Greg Oden could be a perfectly fine NBA center, heck, he might even become an above average center. Unfortunately, he may also never play more than 40 games in a season again.
At this point the Blazers would be ecstatic to get 50 games out of Oden until his contract is up. In his short career, he's appeared in only 82 games, while the number two pick from the same year, Kevin Durant, has become one of the best players in the game.
Having Oden as our 15th biggest bust has as much to do with the success of Kevin Durant as it does with the failures of Oden. Going back in time the Blazers have to think they made the wrong choice. Because of Oden's injuries and Durant's rise to stardom, Greg hits our list at number 15.
#14 - Joe Alexander (2008 - 8th Overall)
If on the night of the 2008 NBA Draft we told you the Buck's would be fighting for a playoff birth in 2010, you'd tell us that Joe Alexander was a huge contributor to the team. You'd also be completely wrong because Alexander isn't even a member of the team anymore.
Alexander wowed NBA scouts and GMs at individual workouts with his athleticism and scoring prowess. He did the 185 pound bench press 24 times, had the second highest max touch (12 foot 5 inches), and the second fastest three quarter sprint (2.99 seconds). On paper, he appeared a lock to contribute for years to come.
Sadly for Bulls fans (Alexander was traded to the Bulls earlier this season) none of the above mentioned drills really have anything to do with playing basketball. Alexander is an absolute liability on defense and doesn't bring much to the table on offense. He has only appeared in eight games this season for Chicago, averaging less than four minutes an appearance.
#13 - Jay Williams (2002 - 2nd Overall)
Jay Williams could definitely be higher on this list, but we have a soft spot for players whose failed career wasn't due to lack of talent, but rather because of injury. Williams was one of the highest touted college players ever when he entered his name for the 2002 NBA Draft. As a junior at Duke, Williams averaged 21 points and 5 rebounds, and was selected 2nd overall by the Chicago Bulls.
On June 19, 2003 Williams' nearly lost more than his playing career. He wrapped his motorcycle, which he was unlicensed to drive, around a pole and suffered incredibly serious injuries. Williams attempted to come back, but his comeback failed when he was waived by the Austin Toros due to injury.
He now works for ESPN covering college basketball.
#12 - Dajuan Wagner (2002 - 6th Overall)
Dajuan Wagner scored 100 points in a high school game, was a McDonald's All-American, averaged more than 20 points in his lone year at Memphis, and then was selected 6th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2002. Everything was pointing to a long and successful career.
What happened next for Wagner is unknown to most casual NBA fans. Wagner was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, that eventually required his entire colon being removed. After rehabbing and working hard to get back to the court he attempted a comeback with the Golden State Warriors in 2006.
Two months after signing the deal he was released, ending his NBA career. He went on to play a season for Prokom in Poland, but no longer plays professional basketball.
#11 - Rafael Araujo (2004 - 8th Overall)
Rafael Araujo was supposed to be the first international big man who wasn't soft. After all, he had no problem hitting Jerel Blassingame in a game against UNLV or swinging an elbow at the head of Utah center Andrew Bogut. He may not have been soft, but he also wasn't very skilled...at all.
After two mediocre years with the Raptors, he was traded to the Utah Jazz where he played his third and final year in the NBA. After his NBA career, he signed with a professional team in Russia for a season. He currently plays professionally in his native Brazil.
#10 - Rodney White (2001 - 9th Overall)
Rodney White was thought to be another do-it-all forward from a smaller college, much like Lamar Odom, only two years earlier. Obviously Odom lived up to the billing, where White fell flat on his face. Making White appear to be an even bigger bust was the fact he was taken one spot ahead of All-Star Joe Johnson.
His NBA career lasted only five seasons, his best coming with the Nuggets in 2002 after being traded by the Pistons. After being waived by the Warriors, he has played for various teams internationally including Euroleague power Maccabi Tel Aviv and, most recently, Zhejiang Guangsha in China.
#9 - Marcus Fizer (2000 - 4th Overall)
Marcus Fizer certainly could have been in our top five biggest busts, but can you really blame the Bulls for taking him? The draft class was so weak that no other pick would have been significantly better.
Fizer came into the draft looking like a can't miss power forward. He was the Big 12 Player of the Year and a consensus First Team All-American as a junior at Iowa State. The Bulls picked him fourth overall; just one pick ahead of Rookie of the Year Mike Miller.
After a five year career in the NBA, Fizer took his game international. He played for Maccabi Tel Aviv before injuring his knee and being cut by the Israeli club. He currently plays with Antoine Walker in Puerto Rico.
#8 - Eddy Curry (2001 - 4th Overall)
Yes, Eddy Curry is one of the few busts on this list that is still in the NBA, but I think the Knicks would rather him be playing in China with Marbury. Selected 4th overall by the Chicago Bulls, big things were expected of Curry and his fellow draftee Tyson Chandler. Both came out of high school and were supposed to revitalize the city of Chicago.
They appeared on an ESPN cover together despite having done nothing on the NBA level. To date, Curry has appeared in 504 games, but only three this season for the Knicks. It's safe to say that when his contract expires after the 2010 season he won't be in the league anymore. Curry could be the number one on this list if his contract stops the Knicks from landing a second maximum contract free agent this summer.
#7 - Nikoloz Tskitishvili (2002 - 5th Overall)
Who would have guessed that a player who could only manage to score six points per game in Italy wouldn't have a profound impact in the NBA? Obviously Nikoloz was taken as a high upside pick, but he never reached that potential in his NBA career.
The players the Nuggets could have had don't make the pick any easier to swallow. Caron Butler and Amare Stoudemire went within five picks of Nikoloz.
After four seasons of limited play in the NBA, Tskitishvili returned to play overseas. He most recently was playing in Greece.
#6 - Yaroslav Korolev (2005 - 12th Overall)
The fact that this picture, with Korolev nearly completely out of frame, is the best we could do should tell you something about his NBA career. Taken 12th overall in the 2005 NBA draft by the Clippers, Yaroslav was certainly considered a project.
That project never really got started because he only appeared in 34 regular season NBA games for the Clippers. After playing overseas, Korolev attempted a comeback of sorts, being drafted in the 4th round of the D-League draft.
Anytime a player goes from NBA lottery pick to a D-League 4th rounder, you have to include them on the biggest bust list.
To see who were our Top 5 biggest busts of the last 10 years, check out: The Rookie Wall!