Greg Oden and the Top 25 NBA Draft Busts of All Time

Allen KimSenior Analyst INovember 22, 2010

Greg Oden and the Top 25 NBA Draft Busts of All Time

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    The NBA draft is a curious affair as it can single handedly change the fortunes of an entire franchise. Just ask the Portland Trailblazers and countless other teams that have sunk their futures with these ripe blunders.

    If an organization gets the right pick, they can go on to enjoy years of success. Get the wrong pick and they can regret it for years—if not decades.

Greg Oden

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    PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 10:  Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers, who is out for the season after under going micro fracture surgery in his knee, sits on the bench to watch a pre-season game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Rose Garden on Oc
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 1 overall—Portland Trail Blazers (2007)

    Notable Players Available: Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Jeff Green, Joakim Noah, Aaron Brooks

    Greg Oden was touted as a game-changing center when he was drafted out of Ohio State.

    He was compared to David Robinson and not many challenged Portland's decision to take him over Durant.

    However, Oden's career got off to a tenuous start as he missed what was supposed to be his rookie season due to microfracture knee surgery. He spent the next two years playing a total of 82 games and just recently underwent another microfracture knee surgery.

    While Oden has been watching from the sidelines, Durant has gone on to become the next face of the NBA. Durant is already in the conversation for MVP and he has the Thunder ready to take the league by storm.

    Some will argue that it's too early to call him a bust, but when you can't even stay on the court to make any sort of an impact, it's safe to say that he has failed to live up to expectations.

    Oden is only 22 years old, so he still has time to prove his doubters wrong. But at this stage, it's hard to believe he'll ever make the sort of impact many were anticipating.

25. Ed O'Bannon

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    17 Nov 1995:  Forward Ed O''Bannon of the New Jersey Nets looks on during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won the game, 109-94. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 9 overall—New Jersey Nets (1995)

    Notable Players Available: Kurt Thomas, Michael Finley

    Ed was the focal point of a UCLA team that won a national title. He had high expectations, but had an incredibly short career in the NBA.

    O'Bannon was completely ineffective in the NBA as knee issues and a lack of a clear position kept him from making even a remote impact.

    In his second season, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks where he continued his inept play. Shortly after, he would be traded to the Orlando Magic where he was eventually released.

24. Bo Kimble

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    1990:  Guard Bo Kimble of the Loyola-Marymount Lions holds the ball during a game. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell  /Allsport
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 8 overall—Los Angeles Clippers (1990)

    Notable Players Available: Toni Kukoc, Tyrone Hill, Jayson Williams,

    Kimble played with the Clippers from 1990-92.

    Bo made little to no contributions while in Los Angeles.

    He was eventually traded to the New York Knicks where he played nine games. At the end of the season, he was released, effectively ending his NBA career.

23. Joe Smith

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24:  Joe Smith #32 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a third quarter three pointer against the Detroit Pistons in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 1 overall—Golden State Warriors (1995)

    Notable Players Available: Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse

    Joe Smith has had a long career in the NBA as a journeyman. He has jumped around from 11 different teams and is currently playing on the New Jersey Nets.

    Smith was a highly touted pick coming out of the University of Maryland, but failed to live up to the expectations that go along with being the first pick in the draft.

    Of course, it hurts even more that the Warriors passed up on one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game, Kevin Garnett.

22. Darius Miles

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 18:  Forward Darius Miles #23 of the Portland Trailblazers drives against forward Antoine Walker #8 of the Miami Heat on November 23, 2005 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 3 overall—Los Angeles Clippers (2000)

    Notable Players Available: Jamal Crawford, Mike Miller, Michael Redd

    Darius Miles had a ton of hype coming into the league. He was being called the next Kevin Garnett by many.

    He was incredibly athletic and was thought to the next big thing.

    He jumped around to four different teams, playing on the Clippers, Cavaliers, Trail Blazers and finally the Grizzlies.

    Miles ended his career due to a severe knee injury.

21. Stromile Swift

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    WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 4:  Stromile Swift #4 of the Memphis Grizzlies has the ball stolen from him by Larry Hughes #20 of the Washington Wizards during NBA action on February 4, 2004 at the MCI Center in Washington D.C. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Image
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 2 overall—Vancouver Grizzlies (2000)

    Notable Players Available: Jamal Crawford, Mike Miller, Michael Redd

    Stromile was an athletic freak that was expected to change the fortunes of the Grizzlies.

    Instead, he was just another athletic power forward that failed to make use of his athletic gifts to make any sort of impact.

    Swift went around the league to four different teams before going to China.

20. Marcus Fizer

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    16 Nov 2000: Marcus Fizer #21 of the Chicago Bulls walks down the court during the game against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  The Nuggets defeated the Bulls 89-85.   NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rig
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 4 overall—Chicago Bulls (2000)

    Notable Players Available: Jamal Crawford, Mike Miller, Michael Redd

    While the 2000 NBA draft was one of the weakest in NBA history, there were still some notable talents picked after Fizer.

    Fizer spent four years with the Bulls and was not given another contract with Chicago after tearing his ACL. He jumped from the Bobcats to the Milwaukee Bucks where he spent a year before jumping around to various D-League and NBA teams.

    He eventually went overseas and is currently playing in Puerto Rico along with Antoine Walker.

19. Rafael Araujo

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    SAN ANTONIO - MAY 20:  Rafael Araujo #55 of the Utah Jazz looks on against the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 20, 2007 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly a
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 8 overall—Toronto Raptors (2004)

    Notable Players Available: Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, Jameer Nelson

    This is what happens when you go after size.

    Rafael had numerous red flags before coming into the NBA, but the Raptors ignored his past and decided to draft the 6'11" center with the eighth pick.

    Araujo was traded in 2006 to the Utah Jazz. He only lasted one season in Utah and went overseas.

18. Dajuan Wagner

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    LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 12:  Dajuan Wagner #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 12, 2004 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 89-79.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowled
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 6 overall—Cleveland Cavaliers (2002)

    Notable Players Available: Amar'e Stoudemire, Nene Hilario, Caron Butler, Carlos Boozer, Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons

    Wagner was touted as the next Allen Iverson.

    Dajuan lasted four seasons in the NBA, playing for the Cavaliers for three years and being waived by the Warriors weeks into the 2006-07 NBA season.

    His lone accomplishment in the NBA would be playing awful enough to land the Cleveland Cavaliers the No. 1 overall pick—LeBron James—in the 2003 NBA draft.

17. Pervis Ellison

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    1 Dec 1995:  Center Pervis Ellison of the Boston Celtics stands on the court during a game against the New Jersey Nets at the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Nets won the game 131-123. Mandatory Credit: Allsport  /Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 1 overall—Sacramento Kings (1989)

    Notable Players Available: Shawn Kemp, Tim Hardaway, Glen Rice, Vlade Divac

    Ellison spawned two of the greatest nicknames in NBA history: Nervous Pervis—an off-shoot of his collegiate nickname, Never Nervous Pervous— and Out of Service Pervis.

    Pervis was traded after his rookie season to the Washington Bullets. He had two All-Star worthy seasons while with the Bullets, but those would be the only notable seasons of his career.

    After his stint in Sacramento, he signed with the Bostons Celtics, where his career took a nose dive.

    Injuries and general lack of production derailed his career.

16. Jonathan Bender

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    INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 9:   Jonathan Bender #24 of the Indiana Pacers looks on against the Toronto Raptors during the game at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 9, 2004 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Pacers won 94-84.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges an
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 5 overall—Toronto Raptors (1999)

    Notable Players Available: Richard Hamilton, Andre Miller, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Ron Artest

    Bender was considered one of the most athletically gifted prospects coming into the league. He was selected fifth overall by the Raptors, but was quickly traded to the Indiana Pacers for Antonio Davis.

    Jonathan would go on to play seven injury plagued years with the Pacers before eventually retiring for the first time.

    Bender made a brief return to the league in 2009, playing a short stint for the New York Knicks. However, he failed to impress and appears to have retired once again.

15. Todd Fuller

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    26 Nov 1996: Center Todd Fuller of the Golden State Warriors and P.J. Brown of the Miami Heat fight for position during a game at the San Jose Arena in San Jose, California. The Heat won the game 107-88.
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 11 overall—Golden State Warriors (1996)

    Notable Players Available: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Peja Stojakovic, Jermaine O'Neal

    In arguably the richest draft class in NBA history, the Warriors passed on two Hall-of-Famers and several perennial All-Stars for Todd Fuller.

    Fuller lasted five seasons, playing with the Warriors, Jazz, Hornets and Heat before he continued his career overseas.

14. Robert Traylor

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    15 Jan 2001:  Robert Traylor #54 of the Cleveland Cavaliers rests on the court during the game against the Golden State Warriors at the Arena in Oakland in Oakland, California. The Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 107-101.   NOTE TO USER: It is expressly u
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 6 overall—Dallas Mavericks (1998)

    Notable Players Available: Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Antawn Jamison, Rashard Lewis, Mike Bibby

    While Dallas selected Tractor at No. 6, he was quickly traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for the rights to Dirk Nowitzki and Pat Garrity.

    Robert battled obesity throughout his career and played for four different teams before he finally got the boot from the NBA after the 2004-05 season.

13. Shawn Bradley

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    SAN ANTONIO - MAY 19:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots over Shawn Bradley #45 and Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game one of the Western Conference Finals during the 2003 NBA Playoffs at SBC Center on May 19, 2003 in San Anton
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 2 overall—Philadelphia 76ers (1993)

    Notable Players Available: Anfernee Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Isiah Rider, Allan Houston, Nick Van Exel, Sam Cassell, Vin Baker

    Bradley was selected with the second pick due to his size. He is one of the tallest players in NBA history standing at 7'6".

    Shawn was the target of high fliers and big men everywhere. Players practically made it their mission to dunk on him.

    Bradley wasn't an awful player. He was a great shot blocker, but that was mostly attributed to his sheer size.

    Due to his wire thin frame, he was unable to handle the more imposing centers of his generation.

    After developing knee issues, Bradley saw a steep decline in production before eventually retiring in 2005.

12. Darko Milicic

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    ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 28:  Darko Milicic #31 of the Orlando Magic walks back toward the Magic bench after comitting a turn-over late in the game against the Detroit Pistons in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs at
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 2 overall—Detroit Pistons (2003)

    Notable Players Available: Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, David West

    Since being drafted in 2003, Darko has played for five different teams.

    He's long been considered a joke of the NBA and the fact that he was selected No. 2 overall in such a celebrated draft class makes it all the worse.

    Minnesota's GM, David Kahn, made the questionable move of signing Darko to a deal nearly everyone believes to be far above his market value.

    Darko has actually shown signs of life recently in Minnesota. However, when you're playing for the Timberwolves, it's easy to fill up the stat sheet.

11. Nikoloz Tskitishvili

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    WASHINGTON DC - MARCH 9:  Nikoloz Tskitishvili #22 of the Denver Nuggets is fouled by Lonny Baxter #35 of the Washington Wizards as the Nuggets defeated the Wizards 117-87 during NBA action on March 9, 2004 at the MCI Center in Washington D.C.  (Photo by
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 5 overall—Denver Nuggets (2002)

    Notable Players Available: Amar'e Stoudemire, Nene Hilario, Caron Butler, Carlos Boozer, Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons

    Nikoloz was touted as the next Dirk Nowitzki, but his career has mirrored the exact opposite of Dirk. He went on to played for four teams in four years, doing absolutely nothing to help any of them in the process.

    Tskitishvili shows why it is such a gamble to draft a European player with such a high pick. He showed incredible athletic prowess prior to the 2002 draft, but failed to translate that onto the court.

    In 2006, he was signed and waived by the Portland Trail Blazers and the New York Knicks in a four month span before going overseas.

10. Steve Stipanovich

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    Draft Position: No. 2 overall—Indiana Pacers (1983)

    Notable Players Available: Clyde Drexler, Byron Scott, Dale Ellis, Doc Rivers

    The Pacers anticipated Steve coming into Indiana and becoming their franchise big man. However, his career was derailed by knee problems.

    Stipanovich lasted five seasons before he eventually retired.

9. Danny Ferry

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    19 Dec 1994:  Danny Ferry of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands on court during the Cavaliers 77-63 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.     Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 2 overall—Los Angeles Clippers (1989)

    Notable Players Available: Shawn Kemp, Tim Hardaway, Glen Rice, Vlade Divac

    When Ferry was drafted with the second pick, he chose to play overseas in Italy instead of with the Clippers.

    L.A. eventually traded his rights to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Ron Harper.

    Danny spent 10 years making absolutely no impact for the Cavaliers in his time there.

    Luckily, he'll be better known for being an inept GM that ultimately led to LeBron's departure.

8. Adam Morrison

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 15:   Adam Morrison #35 of the Charlotte Bobcats waits on defense during the game against the New Jersey Nets at Charlotte Bobcats Arena on October 15, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Bobcats won 96-86.  NOTE TO USER: User
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 3 overall—Charlotte Bobcats (2006)

    Notable Players Available: Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay

    Adam had a terrific year at Gonzaga before declaring for the NBA. He was selected as Co-Player of the Year and led the league in scoring.

    However, he had bust written all over him, but that didn't stop Michael Jordan from selecting him.

    Aside from being completely inept at the NBA level, he'll be best known for breaking down in tears during a loss to UCLA and sitting on the end of the bench for the Lakers during their championship run in 2009 and 2010.

    Adam may be the most undeserving player to own two championship rings.

7. Kwame Brown

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    CHICAGO - MARCH 24: Tyrus Thomas #24 of the Chicago Bulls tries to steal the ball away from Kwame Brown #38 of the Detroit Pistons on March 24, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pistons 99-91. NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 1 overall—Washington Wizards (2001)

    Notable Players Available: Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, Gerald Wallace, Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas

    Michael Jordan catches a lot of flak for his awful draft history—as he rightfully should—but Brown was widely considered to be one of the top prospects that year. If Jordan didn't select Kwame No. 1 overall, he would have surely been selected in the top five.

    Of course, that doesn't excuse the pick entirely. Kwame Brown has been nothing short of awful since coming into the league. The fact that he's still in the NBA shows you why there is such a premium on size in this league.

    Brown was a highly touted prospect coming out of High School. However, his career has turned into a sort of running joke.

    The 2001 draft class was stocked with talent and close to a dozen players selected after Brown were voted into at least one All-Star game.

    Kwame has bounced around the league, going from Washington, Los Angeles, Detroit and is currently rotting in Charlotte on their bench.

    His days in the NBA are numbered and this may be his final stint in the league.

6. Dennis Hopson

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    LOS ANGELES - 1990:  Dennis Hopson #2 of the New Jersey Nets holds the ball at the perimeter against defender Larry Drew #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California in 1990. NOTE TO USER: User ex
    Ken Levine/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 3 overall—New Jersey Nets (1987)

    Notable Players Available: Scottie Pippen, Kevin Johnson, Mark Jackson, Reggie Miller, Horace Grant, Muggsy Bogues

    Hopson was considered to be one of the first in the wave of the next Michael Jordans, but failed in nearly every aspect of living up to such a lofty title.

    He spent three years in New Jersey before being sent to the Chicago Bulls.

    In Chicago, he won a championship ring as a bench warmer and eventually finished his career out the following year with the Sacramento Kings.

5. Rick Robey

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    Draft Position: No. 3 overall—Indiana Pacers (1978)

    Notable Players Available: Larry Bird, Reggie Theus, Maurice Cheeks, Michael Ray Richardson, Michael Cooper

    For some reason, Indiana decided to pass up on the hometown product, Larry Bird, in favor of Rick Robey.

    Robey had lackluster stats in college and he was even worse in the NBA. He was traded halfway through his rookie season to the Boston Celtics, and then traded a few years later after that.

    The only contribution he made to the Celtics was that his trade landed the team Dennis Johnson, one of the all-time great Celtics.

4. Michael Olowokandi

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    4 Dec 2001:  Portrait of center Michael Olowokandi #34 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the NBA game against the Miami Heat at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers defeated the Heat 87-83.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledg
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 1 overall - Minnesota Timberwolves (1998)

    Notable Players Available: Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Antawn Jamison, Rashard Lewis, Mike Bibby

    The Kandi Man was drafted first overall by the Clippers in a stacked draft class. While he was a surprise pick at No. 1, he showed a lot of promise in his collegiate career at University of the Pacific.

    His first five seasons all showed brief flashes of the potential attached to a former No. 1 overall pick, but he failed time and time again to live up to expectations.

    In 2002, Michael signed with Minnesota in what the organization hoped would be a dominant front-court spearheaded by Kevin Garnett.

    They were sadly mistaken.

    Michael somehow managed to stay in the league for nine seasons before the league as a whole just gave up on the notion of him as a basketball player.

3. Chris Washburn

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    Draft Position: No. 3 overall—Golden State Warrios (1986)

    Notable Players Available: Mark Price, Dennis Rodman, Chuck Person, Ron Harper

    The 1986 draft class was a disaster. While there were some strong candidates, tragedy struck at all corners.

    Chris had red flags all over him coming out of college, yet he was still chosen in the top five.

    Washburn amassed 222 total career points in three years.

    After failing several drug tests, Chris was banned for life from the NBA in 1989.

2. LaRue Martin

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    Draft Position: No. 1 overall—Portland Trail Blazers (1972)

    Notable Players Available: Bob McAdoo, Julis Erving

    Martin actually showed a ton of potential coming out of Loyola. However, his rail thin frame was not made to battle in the paint with the bruisers of the NBA.

    Portland continued to be an awful team with LaRue, and they eventually landed the No. 1 overall pick again in 1974. The team selected Bill Walton with the pick, essentially signaling the demise of Martin's career.

    LaRue only lasted four seasons before he eventually retired. Portland would go on to win their first NBA championship the year after he left.

1. Sam Bowie

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    INGLEWOOD, CA - 1989:  Sam Bowie #31 of the Portland Trail Blazers battles for position during a game in the 1988-89 NBA season against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Draft Position: No. 2 overall—Portland Trail Blazers

    Notable Players Available: Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Sam Perkins, Kevin Willis, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe

    Portland selected Bowie ahead of Michael freaking Jordan.

    The organization made the costly error of drafting for need instead of talent.

    While Bowie's career wasn't awful, he was plagued by injuries early on and failed to make any sort of meaningful impact throughout his career.

    Jordan, on the other hand, would go on to become the greatest to ever play the game while Bowie is known for, well, being drafted ahead of Jordan.

    Michael may have been the worst overlook, but it doesn't stop there as the team passed up on multiple Hall-of-Famers.

    The Trail Blazers may have the single worst track record in the draft.