The NBA Draft is always a special day in my household. In fact my brother Michael is an NBA Draft writer and scout over at NBADraft.net. Being a Portland Trailblazers fan I have been very aware of the definition of a bust. So I’ve compiled my personal list of the Top 5 NBA Draft Busts of the last 20 years.
Number 5: Greg Oden
This one hurts. For full transparency I was for this pick at the time. Greg Oden had the potential to be a great big man. Though he did have his wrist Injury during his freshman year at Ohio State, nobody could really predict the catastrophic injuries that would plague his career. The fact that stings worst is the meteoric career of Kevin Durant. Oden was even given the nickname Zaydeh by my grandparents based upon his looks and the fact that he was often injured. Also of note is the fact that my brother will still defend the Greg Oden Pick to this day. Oden played a total of 105 games with a career average of 8 points per game.
Number 4: Kwame Brown
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. His talent is undeniable, his ability to analyze talent on the other hand is highly questionable. Kwame Brown was the first high school player to ever be selected with the number 1 pick. This was the player Michael Jordan wanted to play with on his short lived comeback with the Washington Wizards. Getting to play along with MJ is something most players dream about, but this ended up becoming a nightmare for Kwame. With shattered confidence he stuck around the league for 12 season and averaged 6.6 points per game.
Number 3: Michael Olowokandi
“He has the upside of Hakeem Olajuwon” this was something that was said by ESPN about Michael Olowokandi. The classic lure of the NBA is the big man with some athletic ability and untapped potential.The fact that the Clippers were the perennial laughing stock of the NBA at the time also did not help. In a draft that featured Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki and many more NBA stars it makes this one burn the struggling Clippers that much more. Though he stuck around the NBA for 10 years he had a career average of 8.3 points per game.
Number 2: Jay Williams
This pick is not solely based on performance, this is also based on the disappointing self inflicted way in which his career ended. As much I don’t like Duke as a team, I did like Jay Williams a lot as player. He had the potential to be one of the top point guards in the league. Drafted to the “Baby Bulls” he had the chance to play with young bigs Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry. Following his rookie season got in a horrific motorcycle injury (even though it was against his contract) that derailed his career. He only got to play one year in the NBA. He now commentates college basketball for ESPN.
Number 1: Anthony Bennett
The future answer to the Jeopardy question of “He was the first Canadian to ever be selected with the Number 1 pick in the NBA Draft”. Most people to this day would still guess the answer as Andrew Wiggins. That honor does belong to Anthony Bennett. Luckily this draft was not the most start studded, but Bennett struggled to prove himself as a valuable player. A career spanning 4 years with an average of 4.4 points per game will always haunt the former Number 1 pick.