The 14 Biggest Draft Busts In NBA History

portland trail blazers player greg oden

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Some draft picks are destined to be great, like LeBron James in 2003 or Dwight Howard in 2004.Most of the time, though, the fortunes of draft picks are tougher to predict.

Although scouting seems to have gotten exponentially better over the last decade or so, NBA teams will regularly swing and miss on big-time prospects.

1972: Trail Blazers select LaRue Martin with No. 1 pick.

Career overview: Martin played just four seasons for the Trail Blazers, averaging seven points per game.

Selected before: Bob McAdoo, Julius Erving.

1977: Bucks select Kent Benson with No. 1 pick.

Career overview: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar punched Benson in his first ever pro game, breaking his own hand. Benson went on to play 11 seasons, averaging 9.1 ppg.

Selected before: Otis Birdsong, Marques Johnson, Bernard King.

1980: Warriors select Joe Barry Carroll with No. 1 pick.

Career overview: Carroll eventually went on to make one All-Star team in 1987, but was otherwise a mediocre player, scoring over 20 points in a game just four times.

Selected before: Kevin McHale.

1984: Trail Blazers select Sam Bowie with No. 2 pick.

Career overview: Sam Bowie went on to become a serviceable centre (he stood 7'1') for more than a decade, with career averages of over 10 points and seven rebounds a game.

That doesn't really matter, though, because Bowie was taken one pick ahead of the greatest player in the history of the game.

Selected before: Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton.

1989: Kings select Pervis Ellison with No. 1 pick.

Career overview: Ellison led Louisville to an NCAA title in 1986, but injuries kept him from ever becoming a dependable player in the NBA, earning the nickname 'out of service Pervis.'

Selected before: Sean Elliot, Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp.

1998: Clippers select Michael Olowokandi with No. 1 pick.

Career overview: Olowokandi was hyped as a project with immense, hall-of-fame potential, but he never panned out for the Clippers or Timberwolves.

This Stephon Marbury reaction to Amar'e Stoudemire posterizing Olowokandi says it all.

Selected before: Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter. Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce.

2001: Wizards select Kwame Brown with No. 1 pick.

Career overview: The first (but not last) of Michael Jordan's famously terrible draft decisions, Brown was a bust in the NBA from day one.

As a rookie, Brown averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Selected before: Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker.

2002: Bulls select Jay Williams with No. 2 pick.

Career overview: Williams had a tremendous college career at Duke, but really had a chance to develop as a player in the NBA, as a brutal motorcycle accident after the 2002-03 season all but ended his career.

Selected before: Nene, Amar'e Stoudemire, Caron Butler.

2002: Nuggets select Nikoloz Tskitishvili with No. 5 pick.

Career overview: Tskitishvili was a highly-touted big man from Georgia, but he became a cautionary tale for drafting international players after a four-career in which he averaged 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

Selected before: Nene, Amar'e Stoudemire, Caron Butler.

2003: Pistons select Darko Milicic with No. 2 pick.

Career overview: Milicic was drafted by a good team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals the year before, and could likely afford to risk a draft pick on a project piece. But Darko never became even a mediocre player.

Milicic is often overlooked because the Pistons went on to win the the title in 2004, but imagine that Pistons team with any of the three superstars drafted after Milicic.

Selected before: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade.

2005: Hawks select Marvin Williams with No. 2 pick.

Career overview: Marvin Williams was part of a super-team at North Carolina that won the 2005 national championship, and Williams was regarded as a hyper-athletic potential NBA star at the time.

Although Williams hasn't been bad in the NBA, just look at the list of players who followed him.

Selected before: Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger.

2006: Bobcats select Adam Morrison with No. 3 pick.

Career overview: Michael Jordan whiffed again in 2006 when the Bobcats took a chance on Adam Morrison, a prolific scorer in college who simply did not stack up against NBA competition.

Though a disappointment, Morrison managed to win two NBA titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

Selected before: Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo.

2007: Trail Blazers select Greg Oden with No. 1 pick.

Career overview: You can't really blame the Trail Blazers for taking Oden first, he was a true 7-footer who dominated the college game and had all the tools to succeed in the NBA -- except a healthy body.

Oden would miss his entire first season after microfracture surgery on his knee, then left his official debut a year later with a foot injury. It's been downhill from there.

Selected before: Kevin Durant.

2009: Grizzlies select Hasheem Thabeet with No. 2 pick.

Career overview: Thabeet was a defensive force at UConn with a very raw game, but at 7'3' he seemed like he could eventually become a Mutombo-like player in the NBA.

It might be too early to say he'll never improve, but Thabeet saw just seven minutes of action per game with the Trail Blazers this past season, averaging 1.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

Selected before: James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings.

Now see how the 2012 Draft could unfold.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.