Some of the Worst NBA Draft Picks of All-Time

By: Kevin Sinatra April 2, 2020

Throughout the history of the NBA, there have been some bargain draft picks, as well as some pretty questionable selections. While its hard to hit on every pick, there was some serious talent left on the board to choose from in most cases. Here are some of the worst draft NBA Draft picks since 1998:

Greg Oden No. 1 (2007)

In the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers drafted big man Greg Oden out of Ohio State. I can’t say anyone was surprised about this, as Oden and current NBA star Kevin Durant were projected to go in the top two picks. Coming off of an amazing run and finishing as the runner-up in the National Tournament, Ohio State, as well as Greg Oden and teammate Mike Conley, who would get drafted only a few picks later, had really made names for themselves. However, Greg Oden suffered from a couple of big injuries that would eventually lead to him having an early exit from the NBA. Safe to say that the Trail Blazers were probably devastated after draft mates Kevin Durant, Mike Conley, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Thaddues Young, Jeff Green, and many others went on to have long, successful careers.

Eddy Curry No. 4 (2001)

Another big man that just couldn’t stay healthy and never panned out, Eddy Curry was drafted 4th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. Having just come off an amazing decade during the 90s, the Bulls were looking for their next big star. Come to find out Eddy Curry wasn’t it. The Bulls passed on Jason Richardson, Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, Brendan Haywood, Zach Randolph, Shane Battier, Tony Parker, and Gilbert Arenas, some big names throughout the league’s history. All of whom went on to have a ton of success in the NBA.

Adam Morrison No. 3 (2006)

After a decent Gonzaga run in the 2006 National Tournament, Adam Morrison was definitely one of the breakout players of the tournament. The crafty, awkward, not-very-athletic, long-haired wing forward really emerged and made a name for himself during his college career. Although Morrison was now on the map, I don’t think anyone would have expected him to get drafted where he did. Getting drafted third overall in the 2006 NBA Draft to the Charlotte Bobcats, Morrison was chosen over some very talented players such as Sheldon Williams, Kyle Lowry, Tyrus Thomas, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, JJ Redick, Paul Milsap, and PJ Tucker, most of which still play in the league today. But it seems that Morrison’s college days were in fact his best, going on to have an early exit from the NBA after only three seasons.

Darko Milicic No. 2 (2003)

This was definitely one of the most surprising picks out of the bunch. Although Milicic was the top international prospect in that draft, many people could not believe that he had gotten drafted over Carmelo Anthony. After leading his team to a National Championship, Melo was projected by most people to be the No. 1 pick, followed by high school prodigy LeBron James projected to go No. 2. But instead Cleveland chose hometown hero Lebron James and Detroit decided to go with Milicic with the No. 2 pick, which would eventually go on to alter the future of the franchise. Drafting Melo would have made Detroit a powerhouse for at least a few years, having had a starting lineup consisting of Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Carmelo Anthony, Rasheed Wallace, and Ben Wallace, all of whom besides Melo were already in their prime. Some say that the Detroit team (with Melo) would have gone on to win at least 2-3 rings. Milicic was also drafted over Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Kirk Hinrich that year. 

Raef LaFrentz No. 3 (1998)

In my opinion this is arguably the worst draft pick of all time. Although LaFrentz was ahead of his time, being a big man that could stretch the floor and shoot, we knew coming out of Kansas that his NBA potential was limited. Apparently Denver didn’t see it that way. Selecting LaFrentz with the third overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, Denver left three hall-of-famers on the board in Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, and Vince Carter. Denver also passed up on Larry Hughes, Antawn Jamison, Rashard Lewis, and Jason Williams. All of whom went on to have much more NBA success than LaFrentz who dealt with injuries most of his career.  

Anthony Bennett No. 1 (2013)

Although many argue that this is in fact the worst draft pick of all time, I definitely agree that this could arguably be the most unexpected. In the 2013 NBA Draft, I think every basketball fan felt as though Victor Oladipo was going to be the clear cut number one overall pick. However, Cleveland threw a wrench in the draft when they selected UNLV Forward, Anthony Bennett. Not only passing on the highly expected number 1 first pick, Cleveland also passed on Otto Porter, Nerlens Noel, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, CJ McCollum, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk, Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway Jr, Rudy Gobert, and most importantly, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. I can imagine Cleveland is regretting that pick, after Bennett went on to play only 4 seasons, most of which were in the D-League. 

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