These are players that were good enough to get drafted in the NBA but just did not pan out there. Most of these players make the list for who was drafted after them.
the starters (top 5 busts)
PG: Jimmer fredette
Drafted Before: Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Morris Twins, Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler
The Naismith Award winner was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks. Later was traded to the Sacramento Kings in a 3-team trade which involved Tobias Harris, Stephen Jackson, and Bismack Biyombo. In the league, he played a total of 5 seasons for 4 teams with his top season points per game average of 7.6. He also didn’t surpass 2 assists per game throughout his whole career. For him to go from a star at BYU averaging 28.9 points per game and an All-American in his senior year to being on this list must be a disappointment.
SG: jay williams
Drafted Before: Mike Dunleavy, Amar’e Stoudemire, Caron Butler, Carlos Boozer, Luis Scola
The player drafted right after Yao Ming, was Jay Williams out of Duke University by the Chicago Bulls second overall. The 2-Time All-American only played 75 games throughout his whole career. He was injured in a near-death motorcycle accident which caused his career to end. He played the 11th least amount of games by players drafted in that 2002 NBA Draft. Now you can catch him analyzing college basketball for ESPN.
SF: Darko milicic
Drafted Before: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Kyle Korver, Nick Collison
Darko has the nickname, The Human Victory Cigar, because he was only in if the game was a blowout. He was drafted by, the soon to be NBA Champions, Detroit Pistons 2nd Overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. He is now part of one of the most mysterious What Ifs ever. Imagine if the Pistons had drafted one of the other Top 5 players in that draft. They could have been a dynasty with multiple championships.
Pf: anthony bennett
Drafted Before: Giannis Antetokounmpo, CJ McCollum, Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo, Rudy Gobert, Otto Porter
Honestly, this was one of the most surprising picks I’ve ever experienced. He was a nobody from UNLV. He was a Wooden Award finalist but did not even get an All-American spot. I do think this was one of the worst decisions made in the NBA. Right now, it looks like he was drafted before a future HOFer, the Greek Freak.
C: Sam bowie
Drafted Before: Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Jerome Kersey
Obviously, he was drafted before the greatest player ever to hit the hardwood which kind of puts him in a bad spot. The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Sam Bowie, the All-American Center out of the University of Kentucky. In his 10 year career, he averaged 10.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. He was drafted after Hakeem and before Jordan, only if he could have been a Hall of Fame caliber player he would not be looked on as a bust.
The role players (players 6-10 on my all-time bust list)
Drafted Before: Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Joakim Noah
The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Greg 1st Overall out of Ohio State University. It looked like, when drafted, he had some upside. The Second-Team All-American and Wooden Award Finalist played only one year an Ohio State. But, when he got to the league, he did not do great to say the least. His career high in points was 24. He played a total of 3 seasons and had a 3 year break between his first 2 and his last. His career points per game was only 8.0 and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Drafted Before: Kyle Lowry, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Paul Millsap, Rajon Rondo, JJ Reddick
The Gonzaga Bulldog was drafted 3rd Overall, after LaMarcus Aldridge, by the Charlotte Bobcats. He was compared to Larry Bird by some people. Let’s just say, that didn’t work out. He played 3 seasons for 2 teams. He missed a whole year due to a knee injury in his second year. He started a total of 28 games in his career and averaged 7.5 points per game with 2.1 rebounds per game. Larry’s worst season was 6 games long with 19.3 points per game. That was not a good comparison at all.
Drafted Before: Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Jason Williams, Antwan Jamison
With the first overall pick, the Clippers selected Michael Olowokandi out of the University of the Pacific. He played exactly 500 games in the league and averaged 8.3 points per game with 6.8 rebounds per game. He had a 9 year career, but, compared to his draft class, that’s nothing. Vince and Dirk are still playing with their 21st season going on now. Pierce had a lot of success as a Celtic and was a Finals MVP in the 2007-08 championship run. Jason Williams is the greatest passer to ever play in the NBA. Antwan was the 6th Man of the Year in 2003-04 season and had a decent career of 1083 games played. So, it’s not that he wasn’t good, it’s just who was drafted after him were great.
Drafted Before: Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, Tyson Chandler, Gilbert Arenas, Brian Scalabrine, Zach Randolph, Joe Johnson
Kwame Brown, the Glynn Academy graduate, was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 1st overall pick. He was drafted because people thought Jordan would make him into an All-Star player and have him replaced when Jordan finally retired. But, that didn’t even come close to happening. At the end of his career, he had only the 20th greatest amount of points in the draft. If they were to have picked a different player, just imagine what MJ would do with them. Not sure if Pau Gasol would be Pau Gasol if he was drafted by the Wizards to be mentored by Jordan. A tough position to be in for Brown.
Drafted Before: James Harden, Steph Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, Patrick Beverly
When it was time for the draft to begin, it was clear that Blake Griffin was going first to the Clippers. With the second overall pick, the Grizzlies picked UCONN Huskie, Hasheem Thabeet. It was clear he had the height to play in the NBA being a 7 foot 3 inch center. He had the defense in college, a 2-time NABC Defensive Player of the Year and a Wooden Award Finalist. In the league, he played 5 years for 4 teams. The Grizzlies could have been a completely different team if they had Harden or Curry. A dynasty could have been made through this draft.
The reserves (players who are not looked on as busts)
Besides Mourning and O’Neal the 1992 Draft was not that great. But, Christian Laettner was supposed to be a savior type player like he was at Duke. In the league, he had played 12 seasons for 6 teams and averaged 12.8 points per game. The former Blue Devil would be a different player if he were to be playing now. That would be entertainment.
The former champion was drafted first by the Bucks ahead of Chris Paul. If CP3 was in his position, that would shake a lot of things up. I wouldn’t say that Bogut is a bad player. But, he practically has 1/3 of Chris Paul’s total points. I would just say that his career is kind of a disappointment.
the coach: Rick Pitino
The NBA definitely did not pan out for Pitino. In his first, and only, two years as a head coach at New York, he made the playoffs but never made it far. Then he went to become the head coach at Kentucky and had some success there. But, when he came back to the NBA, he did not succeed to say the least in Boston. He had a losing season each season in Boston and never could really control his team. He was an alright coach in college, but in the pros, he gets the position as the coach of the All-Time Bust Team.