Worst NBA #1 draft picks and Being picked first in the NBA draft is a huge honor and shows that your services are in demand. Straight out of college these players were expected to make their name in the league, but all struggled to perform in the big league. Not every player can be LeBron or Magic Johnson, and these players are the worst ever number one NBA draft picks.
Anthony Bennett, Cavaliers – 2013
Anthony Bennett made history when he was drafted to the Cavaliers in 2013. He was the first Canadian player picked at number one, but the way things turned out for him, he might be the last. The power forward was expected to make a big impact on the league, but he played for four different teams in his first four seasons in the NBA.
Bennett switched to Europe but is back in America playing in the G League. He will hope he has a late turnaround in form but as things stand he is one of the worst #1 picks ever.
Michael Olowokandi, Clippers – 1998
The future was promising for Michael Olowokandi after his college basketball career. At seven foot he was expected to dominate the basket oncourt, but it never happened. Just twice in his nine years in the NBA did he average double-digit points, and for a first draft pick that wasn’t good enough. The Clippers overlooked Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, and Paul Pierce in favor of the “Kandi Man” in one of the worst first picks in NBA history.
Kwame Brown, Wizards – 2001
Worst NBA #1 draft picks and Being the first pick adds a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the young athletes coming out of college. For some, that’s an incentive to repay the faith their teams show in them, but for others, the pressure is too much. Kwame Brown was the number one pick for the Washington Wizards, and hopes were high for the young player.
As soon as Brown stepped on the court, it became clear he wasn’t the player everyone thought he was. After four failed seasons with the Wizards Brown was traded to the Lakers, but instead of finding form in a new home Brown performed even worse.
Greg Oden, Trail Blazers – 2007
Back in 2007, the Trail Blazers had the first round pick, and they were torn between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. They settled for Oden as they thought Durant was a little skinny for the league. They really got this one wrong, and Durant was everything that Oden was not. Oden was injured months after being drafted to the Trail Blazers and was never able to make the impact his new team had hoped. He spent much of his career sitting games out through injury, and he barely made 100 NBA appearances in his career.
Potential is something we all have, but as we get older it’s up to us to make sure we live up to it. Despite having a great college career, these players couldn’t make the jump when they found themselves in the league and are the Worst NBA #1 draft picks in draft history.
Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers – 2017
For years, for decades, Fultz will be remembered as a historically colossal draft bust, with Bryan Colangelo enduring as a punch line. When the story of the Sixers’ “process” is told, it either will culminate in how it led to a championship or why inexplicable talent decisions caused it to collapse.
As for Brand, he didn’t draft Fultz. He wasn’t the mark at Danny Ainge’s card table. He was not made to believe that an in-between-sized guard who’d helped his team win only two conference games in his only college season was a developing superstar. He wasn’t the one swept up in draft mania gone horribly wrong. He just had Fultz bequeathed to him, so it was up to him to finance the inheritance tax.
“The goal there was that we expected him to be back sometime this season,” Brand continued to insist Friday. “But right now, we had a chance to add a player, to add some wing depth. So we decided to do it now.”
That explanation was as necessarily tactful as it was cleverly shielded by more relevant discussion. It was almost as if the Sixers waited until they completed their four-star starting lineup with the acquisition of Tobias Harris to allow the news of the Fultz trade to drip. By the time Brand formally surfaced Friday, the relevant and predictable questioning was about how the Sixers were able to add some key pieces, not about the piece that they had subtracted.
In that, Fultz’s Sixers career ended the same way it played out: In relative silence. Worst NBA #1 draft picks
“It is disappointing,” Brand said. “Because if he was the No. 1 pick that we thought at the time, we might not have made other moves. He is a likable person. We like him as a person. We wish him the best. But, yes, it was disappointing.”
Fultz gave the Sixers 33 games in parts of two seasons. He had enough opportunities, including some as a starter earlier this season, to show what he could do, but he was a frighteningly hesitant shooter whose passive style was a hindrance at the offensive end. His long arms often enabled him to dislodge the ball when it was rebounded by an opponent. And with his speed, he occasionally showed value at the point, particularly when provided with a running start that forced defenders into panicked retreat. Too often, though, he was barely guarded at all.