The NBA Draft is much different than the NFL Draft. In the NFL, you aren’t expected to contribute right away and franchises understand it might take a couple years to develop. There aren’t many total busts high in the NFL Draft.
In the NBA Draft if you miss on a high pick, it can be a nightmare and restrict the franchise from taking the next level for a few years.
The thing is we don’t know how No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett or the New York Knicks selection of Tim Hardaway Jr. or anyone selected in between will pan out. But for their respective franchises, they better work out, or there will be second guessing going on for years.
With that being said, here are some of the worst picks and biggest busts in the last 10 years. Some of these players never panned out when they were supposed to be a big part of the franchise’s future, while others really make you laugh. Hindsight is of course 20/20, but some of these picks really blew my mind. We will start from 2003 to now.
Darko Milicic: 2003 No. 2 Overall Pick, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons could have been a team like the Spurs or Lakers if they didn’t drop the ball on this pick. Not only did they drop the ball, but it hit them in the face and knocked them out. This Pistons were an Eastern Conference powerhouse 10 years ago and had this pick fall in their lap from a 1998 trade with the Grizzlies. We could have seen Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, or Chris Bosh team up with Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace.
Think about how the history of the NBA could have been altered. If Wade or Bosh is drafted here, they might have been successful right away and never left their teams. Wade would have never been on the Heat, could have battled with LeBron since the Pistons and the Cavs became rivals, and the Big 3 in Miami would have never happened. Carmelo Anthony would probably never been a Knick if the Pistons drafted him and thrown into a championship type atmosphere.
Safe to say Darko Milicic changed the NBA forever.
Shaun Livingston 2004 No. 4 Overall Pick, Los Angeles Clippers
When you look back on why the Clippers were so bad for so long, the Shaun Livingston pick has a lot to do with it. He was supposed to be a franchise point guard but it just never panned out. He had a gruesome knee injury, which pretty much wrapped up his career.
Passed up on: Devin Harris, Luol Deng
Josh Childress 2004 No. 6 Overall Pick, Atlanta Hawks
I don’t know who was running the Hawks for all these years, but the picks they made were mind blowing. Childress was drafted too high and was the first of a few terrible picks by the Atlanta Hawks.
Passed up on: Luol Deng