Let’s face it, it’s not every year that you have a player whose talent can compare to LeBron James, Michael Jordan or Kevin Durant. But we have an NBA draft every year, and every year there are players who go at the number one, two, three and four spots, etc.
It’s hard to predict exactly how players will adapt to the NBA, how they play in the next two, five, ten or maybe 15 years. Is he really the player you expected him to be? Will he live up to the hype and expectation? Will the guy you draft at the no. 1 spot really be the key to reviving a franchise?
Right now, we don’t have the answers to these questions, and even in the hours, days and weeks after the draft we won’t know. We’ll have to wait and see how the next season plays out, and the one after that, and the following.
Really, the NBA draft is as much about scouting as guessing and hoping. Sometimes the players who will become the league’s next superstars are passed over, and don’t get drafted until later. Let us remind you that Stephen Curry was the no. 7 pick, Tony Parker was 28th in 2001 and Manu Ginobili wasn’t drafted until the very end, with the 57th pick of the 1999 draft. Nearly two decades later, Ginobili has four Championship rings and is still playing (actually we’re waiting to hear what the future holds for the guard).
But let’s be honest, even though there are a lot of hidden gems later in the draft, the more interesting players on draft day are the top 14. Some of them won’t go on to be superstars, and many of them actually go on to have mediocre, short-lived careers. We don’t wish this upon any player, but there are a ton who just fade away. They are the draft busts of the NBA, and these are the biggest ones:
Draft no.: 1st overall
Draft year: 2007
Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Greg Oden may be one of the first names you think of when you think of NBA draft busts, Darko Milicic is another. Oden was taken first overall in 2007, ahead of Kevin Durant. There was a ton of hype around Oden during the draft, but he had to sit out during his first season due to an injury. He would come back in 2008-09 and play two seasons, but both of those seasons were also riddled with injuries. Oden was hit by a series of injuries and surgeries that would sideline him for three seasons, and he was eventually waived by the Blazers in 2012. He signed a one year deal with Miami for 2013-14, but only played in 23 games.