Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

    The 5 Biggest Draft Busts in Recent NBA History

    Players who fumbled high hopes at the draft.

    Throughout the history of the NBA draft, there have been many extraordinarily talented players drafted that have gone on to have successful careers. However, for every successful pick in the draft, there’s probably half a dozen players that didn’t work out at the NBA level. These players are granted the ignominious title of being a “draft bust.” Let’s take a look at the five biggest draft busts in NBA history.

    #5 Markelle Fultz (2017 Pick 1, 76ers)

    Philadelphia traded up to the No. 1 pick in the draft to procure the consensus top prospect in the draft in Markelle Fultz. However, injuries and shooting inconsistency plagued the early part of Fultz’ career and he never evolved into the elite talent he had the potential to be.

    #4 Greg Oden (2007 Pick 1, Trail Blazers)

    The seven-foot-tall Oden was the top big man in the 2007 draft, and he was on track to becoming a force in the paint after being drafted by an up-and-coming Blazers team. Unfortunately, Oden never lived up to his potential due to repeated injuries he sustained to his right knee, and his career was cut short. He remains one of the biggest what ifs in NBA history.

    #3 Marvin Bagley III (2018 Pick 2, Kings)

    In the star-studded 2018 draft, the Kings decided to go after a positional need at center and draft the top center in the draft, Marvin Bagley. Looking back, this was not a great pick given the talent available in this draft and the fact that Bagley was more of a project than other prospects. Bagley has bounced around from team to team and has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career.

    #2 Ben Simmons (2016 Pick 1, 76ers)

    Simmons was the consensus top prospect in the 2016 draft: a 6’10” point guard with elite passing ability. Simmons had a couple years in Philly where he looked like a future star, making three straight all-star selections. However, Simmons’ shooting is what ultimately held him back from blooming into a superstar. His bad attitude also led to him being traded to a rebuilding Nets team in 2022.

    #1 James Wiseman (2020 Pick 2, Warriors)

    In 2020, Steph Curry and the Warriors looked to fill a positional need and evolve with the trends of an ever-changing league. The 7’0”  Wiseman was supposed to be the instrumental aspect of this change. Wiseman unfortunately never blossomed into the player the Warriors needed him to be due to knee injuries. Wiseman was traded to the pistons in 2022, ending is short career with the Warriors.

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