The 3 Worst NBA Draft Picks in NBA History

In basketball more than about any other sport, a single draft pick can determine a franchise’s success for years to come. General managers spend many restless nights thinking about whom they want to be the future for their team. There are never any sure picks, and some draft sleepers have haunted GMs for the rest of their careers. There are three picks in NBA history that have crushed coaches and fans alike. The list is based on the player’s production versus the production of players who could have been picked above him.

Greg Oden
Oden stood at 7′ and 280 pounds. The Portland Trail Blazers selected him 1st overall in the 2007 NBA draft. In his one season at Ohio State, he led the Buckeyes to the national championship, only to lose to the Gators. Oden’s 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks in the game attracted everybody’s attention (they should have been more concerned with the fact that he missed the beginning of the season to recover from surgery).

Unfortunately for Oden, his career has resembled the beginning of his college career more than its fabulous end. In the 6 years since he was drafted, Oden has played a total of 82 games, averaging only 22 minutes and 9 points in those games. Rather than Oden, the Trail Blazers could have picked Al Horford, Mile Conley, Jeff Green, Joakim Noah, Marc Gasol, or… Kevin Durant. Durant is highly regarded as the 2nd best player in the league, and while he was drafted in the same year as Oden, he has played in 461 games averaging 26.6 points per game. Durant was the franchise changing player that Portland needed. However, their choice of Oden left a void that the franchise has not been able to fill.

Darko Milicic
The 2003 NBA Draft is considered to be one of the best drafts the sport of basketball has ever seen. The prize of the draft was high school phenom Lebron James, the best player in the NBA. However, there was not a decisive favorite for the number 2 spot. Carmelo Anthony was a favorite, but the Detroit Pistons shocked many with their choice of Darko Milicic. Milicic was a 7′ Serbian center who showed real promise. However, since he was drafted, Milicic has been on 6 different NBA teams and averaged only 6 points over his 10 year career. The Pistons chose Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, David West, Mo Williams, and many other significant NBA players. The star-studded 2003 NBA draft featured some of the biggest names in basketball. Unlike so many drafted, Milicic will be remembered for his inefficiency rather than his greatness.

Sam Bowie
The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Bowie 2nd overall in 1984 NBA draft. He played for 3 different teams in his 10 year career, averaging 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and almost 2 blocks per game. Having the most illustrious career on the list, it seems odd that Bowie should top the list of biggest draft busts, but let’s take a look at who the Blazers passed up to take Bowie. Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon was the number 1 pick, followed by Bowie. After Bowie, the Chicago Bulls went on to pick a shooting guard from North Carolina named Michael Jordan. That’s right, the Blazers chose Sam Bowie over the greatest basketball player ever. They also passed up on 2 future hall of famers in Charles Barkley and John Stockton. Sam Bowie is the biggest draft bust in the history of the NBA because the Blazers passed up 3 of the best players in the history of the NBA.