TEveryone remembers the best ‘draft picks’ of history, the young prospects who truly lived up to the intense and often overwhelming expectations of the NBA, players like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Larry Bird… the list goes on. These are the players who actually left a indelible mark on the basketball court. Players who will be talked about for decades and even centuries.
However, there are some players who have failed to make their mark, players who, for whatever reason, have been blindsided by the unforgiving nature of the most competitive and demanding professional basketball league in the world, the NBA. Some players can’t handle the pressure, others get carried away by a lifestyle with a lot of fame and money, and some just aren’t as good as expected. Here are some of the worst draft first picks in history.
Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers, Draft 2013
Despite not being the best ranked, Bennett ended up being the first election in 2013. It turned out to be a disastrous decision. His rookie season set the tone for the rest of his NBA career: he averaged disappointing 4.2 points and three rebounds per match. The ‘power forward‘, who coincidentally was the first Canadian to be chosen first in the history of the NBA draft (Andrew Wiggins would come later), came to play only 151 games in four years in the NBA.
In the season 2016-2017, his contract was terminated after playing alone 19 games with the Brooklyn Nets. He was forced to go play Europa in the Fenerbahce after finding himself without a team. He didn’t last long in Europe either… he currently plays in Taiwan for the Kaohsiung Steelers.
Kwame Brown, Washinton Wizardsm, Draft 2001
Kwame Brown is considered by many to be one of the worst first draft picks in history. It was the first choice of Washington Wizards en 2002 and it was given a lot of hype, especially because a certain Michael Jordan wanted him on his team. He had a couple of tough seasons in Washington, made even tougher by what turned out to be a difficult relationship with Jordanwho is said to he “intimidated” him and made his life miserable.
In 2005, he was transferred to the Los Angeles Lakers and did not give any sign of quality. The rest of his career was divided between 6 clubs more, since it could not really establish itself anywhere.
Michael Olowokandi , Los Angeles Clippers, Draft 1998
Olowokandi turned out to be a big flop, and the decision of Clippers is further aggravated by the fact that they had the opportunity to sign Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce o Antawn Jamison before him. The first three are now part of the Hall of Fame. A really incomprehensible decision. Olowokandi averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.7 assists in the 500 games he played in the NBA. Very poor stats.
Sam Bowie, Portland Trail Blazers, 1984
Bowie is by no means the worst player on this list, but he has to be included for the players he was chosen after. believe it or not, The Blazers chose Bowie over the greatest player in NBA history, Michael Jordan. as well as of Charles Barkley y John Stockton. All three, of course, are now Hall of Famers. The center averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game throughout his career, which, as is known, was riddled with injuries. What could have been for the Blazers…
After the closing of the NBA 2021-2022 with the extraordinary victory of the Golden State Warriors Over the Boston Celtics in the final, the league has started its preparations for the next season being the nba draft the first major event of the 2022-2023 campaign. As with all drafts, this year there is no shortage of talent. Players like JSmith, Jaden Ivey, Paolo Bachero, Chet Holmgren and Shaedon Sharpe, to name a few, they will hope to follow in the footsteps of NBA greats both past and present. It remains to be seen if they will succeed. After all, the NBA waits for no one.