Top 50 NBA Draft Busts: Where Are They Now?
June 24th, 2013| by Lost Lettermen
50. Frederic Weis | No. 49 Fran Vasquez
Whatever happened to the biggest disappointments in NBA draft history? We rank the Top 50 NBA Draft Busts Ever and and scour the globe to track down their current whereabouts.
50. Frederic Weis (No. 15, 1999; pictured): Drafted ahead of the hometown Ron Artest by the Knicks, Weis decided to stay in France and never played in a single NBA game. But for taking up a mid-first round pick, he’s still considered a bust. Having retired in 2011, his legacy remains getting posterized by Vince Carter in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
49. Fran Vasquez (No. 11, 2005): Vasquez was a lottery pick by the Magic but, like Weis, never appeared in an NBA game. His playing career is not finished, as Vasquez is still a member of Unicaja Málaga of the Spanish ACB League, as of the end of 2014. There’s still hope, Orlando!
— Freddy Brown (@DTown_FBrown) January 20, 2015
48. Jay Williams | 47. DerMarr Johnson
48. Jay Williams (No. 2, 2002; pictured): The question “What if?” will always hang over Jay Williams after his career was destroyed due to a motorcycle accident in June of 2003 that ripped up his leg following his rookie year. He never played in an NBA game again. Williams has found a second career as a college basketball analyst for ESPN.
47. DerMarr Johnson (No. 6, 2000): A car accident in 2002 nearly paralyzed Johnson, but he returned to play in the NBA, NBDL and overseas. Never averaging double digits in a single NBA season, Johnson last played for Mexico’s Fuerza Regia in 2014.
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) November 18, 2014
46. Kent Benson | 45. Dennis Hopson
46. Kent Benson (No. 1, 1977; pictured): Benson forged a decent, 11-year NBA career – averaging 9.1 PPG and 5.7 PPG. But “solid yet unspectacular” is not what you want out the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Benson is back in Bloomington as an independent representative for Lightyear Network Solutions, Weddell Communications and Timber Buyer.
45. Dennis Hopson (No. 3, 1987): Hopson never became the lethal NBA scorer he was supposed to be, spending five years in the league (10.9 PPG) and another nine overseas. From 2009-14, Hopson was an assistant at Bowling Green.
44. Tyrus Thomas | 43. William Bedford
44. Tyrus Thomas (No. 4, 2006; pictured): The Bulls picked Thomas fourth overall but then watched him struggle to develop his immense talent at the next level. Thomas averaged double-digits just twice in his career. After two years away from the game, Thomas was playing in the NBDL for the Iowa Energy as of February 2015.
43. William Bedford (No. 6, 1986): Bedford’s NBA career was plagued by drug use and he averaged just 4.1 PPG over six NBA seasons. He has since turned his life around and was the president of operations for Memphis’ Bluff City Reign of the ABA before the team folded.
— Basket-Infos (@Basket_Infos) February 2, 2015
42. Jérôme Moïso | 41. Acie Law
42. Jérôme Moïso (No. 11, 2000): The freakish big man from France via UCLA was shipped out of Beantown after 24 games. He didn’t fare much better elsewhere, averaging a career 2.7 PPG. Moïso last played in 2013 for Puerto Rico’s Piratas de Quebradillas.
41. Acie Law (No. 11, 2007; pictured): Law’s NBA career was a flop from the beginning. “Captain Clutch” averaged just 3.9 PPG over seven NBA seasons. Fortunately, Law has found success overseas, winning two Euroleague titles. At the end of 2014, Law was a free agent after playing for Greece’s Olympiacos earlier in the year.
— Fersu Yahyabeyoğlu (@fersudeniz) September 28, 2014
40. Terrence Williams | 39. Jonny Flynn
40. Terrence Williams (No. 11, 2009): “T-Will” never found a true position between shooting guard and small forward in the NBA. He lasted six seasons and averaged a career 7.1 PPG. Williams has since played all over the globe and with Mexico’s Fuerza Regia at the end of 2014.
39. Jonny Flynn (No. 6, 2009; pictured): The Timberwolves made the drastic mistake of picking Flynn one spot ahead of Stephen Curry. After averaging 13.5 PPG as a rookie, Flynn underwent hip surgery was out of the league entirely after just three more seasons. Flynn last played for Italy’s Orlandina Basket in 2014 and still hopes for an NBA return.
— MessinaSportiva (@MessinaSportiva) November 24, 2014
38. Shawn Bradley | 37. Harold Miner
38. Shawn Bradley (No. 2, 1993; pictured): The 76ers traded Bradley to the Nets midway through his third season, after which he was a role player for the rest of his playing days known for getting dunked on (8.1 career PPG). Bradley is now back in his home state of Utah, working as a cattle rancher while raising six children with his wife, Annette.
37. Harold Miner (No. 12, 1992): “Baby Jordan” won both the 1993 and 1995 NBA Slam Dunk Contests but chronic knee injuries forced him to walk away from the game at age 25 (9.0 career PPG). Miner now resides in Las Vegas, raising a family with his wife, Pamela.
— Meet the Mormons (@MeetTheMormons) October 11, 2014
36. Bryant Reeves | 35. Marcus Fizer
36. Bryant Reeves (No. 6, 1995; pictured): Known as “Big Country” from his playing days at Oklahoma State, Reeves lasted just six years in the NBA with the Vancouver Grizzlies due to chronic back pain (12.5 career PPG). He is now back in his hometown of Gans, OK, where he owns a cattle ranch. That’s as “Big Country” as it gets.
35. Marcus Fizer (No. 4, 2000): Though undersized by NBA power forward standards at 6-foot-8, Fizer put up decent numbers in his first three seasons. Unfortunately, he never averaged more than 26 MPG in any of his four seasons in Chicago and injuries derailed his career (9.6 career PPG). He’s since found peace as a born-again Christian and ordained minister in his native Louisiana.
Bryant Reeves pic.twitter.com/ND2U8TbrKV
— Pistols In Paradise® (@Road2ParadiseAZ) October 14, 2014
34. Eddie Griffin | 33. Shelden Williams
34. Eddie Griffin (No. 7, 2001): Known for his hot temper at Seton Hall, Griffin was selected by the nearby New Jersey Nets on his potential that was never realized during his time in the NBA. Months after being released by the Timberwolves in 2007 (7.2 career PPG), Griffin tragically died at the age of 25 in Houston after reportedly hitting a moving train with his SUV with more than three times the legal alcohol limit in his body.
33. Shelden Williams (No. 5, 2006; pictured): Williams became a journeyman in the NBA with stints with seven different teams (4.5 PPG). At the end of 2014, Williams was playing in China. Despite his lackluster NBA career, Williams has scored in one instance: He’s married to one of the best women’s basketball players alive, Candace Parker.
Did you know Candace Parker’s husband is Shelden Williams? pic.twitter.com/1NlBm280vN
— Doctor NBA (@DoctorNBA) September 20, 2013
32. Mike Sweetney | 31. Danny Ferry
32. Mike Sweetney (No. 9, 2003; pictured): Sweetney was badly undersized to play power forward in the NBA. Compounding his struggles at the pro level was a losing battle to keep his weight down (6.5 career PPG). Returning to the game in 2009, Sweetney was playing in Puerto Rico and working as a basketball trainer in the Washington, D.C, area at the end of 2014.
31. Danny Ferry (No. 2, 1989): Ferry averaged just 7.0 PPG in the pros compared to 22.6 as a senior in Durham. After ending his playing career by winning an NBA championship with the Spurs in 2003, Ferry transitioned into life as a NBA front office executive. He is currently the Atlanta Hawks’ general manager.
30. Pervis Ellison | 29. Michael Olowokandi
30. Pervis Ellison (No. 1, 1990; pictured): When Ellison got to the NBA, “Never Nervous Pervis” became “Out of Service Pervis” — so nicknamed by Danny Ainge due to his constant struggles with injuries during a largely-disappointing, 11-year NBA career (9.5 career PPG). He’s now the boys’ basketball coach at Life Center Academy in Burlington, NJ.
29. Michael Olowokandi (No. 1, 1998): The 7-footer from the University of the Pacific became another link in a long chain of disappointments for the Los Angeles Clippers (8.3 career PPG). Now living in anonymity in Dallas, Olowokandi’s longest-lasting contribution to the NBA is perhaps his ex-fiancée, Suzie Ketcham, who has been a cast member of VH1’s “Basketball Wives” since its 2010 inception.
— Eric Chumbler (@EricChumbler) January 10, 2015
28. Darius Miles | 27. Jon Koncak
28. Darius Miles (No. 3, 2000): Just when it appeared Miles was figuring out his game with the Portland Trail Blazers, microfracture surgery on his knee effectively crushed his NBA career (10.1 career PPG). Out of the league since 2009, Miles last made news in 2011 when he was arrested at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport with a loaded gun. Whoops.
27. Jon Koncak (No. 5, 1985; pictured): “Jon Contract” never averaged double digits in a single season and spent most of the time coming of the bench. Oh, and he was drafted ahead of Chris Mullin, Detlef Schrempf, Charles Oakley and Karl Malone. Koncak now lives in Jackson Hole, WY, and is president of the oil & energy company, Hawks Rest LLC.
— Jonathan Roth (@Jro_Chicago) December 16, 2014
26. Dajuan Wagner | 25. Kedrick Brown
26. Dajuan Wagner (No. 6, 2002; pictured): Nationally known since he scored 100 points in a high school game, “injury-plagued” isn’t strong enough to describe Wagner’s four-year NBA career (103 total games). Last playing pro in 2008, after which he returned to his native Camden, NJ.
25. Kedrick Brown (No. 11, 2001): Talk about taking a risk: The Celtics drafted Brown in the lottery straight out of Okaloosa-Walton Community College. The NBA proved more difficult than junior college, as Brown played in a total of 143 NBA games and averaged 3.6 PPG. He last played in 2013 for Turkey’s Antalya BŞB.
24. Trajan Langdon | 23. Chuckie Williams
24. Trajan Langdon (No. 11, 1999; pictured): Injuries and an inability to create his own shot limited the “Alaskan Assassin” to just three seasons with the Cavaliers. Langdon’s best years were with Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, with whom he captured two Euroleague championships. Langdon now makes his home in Arlington, VA, where he works as a San Antonio Spurs scout.
23. Chuckie Williams (No. 15, 1976): Poor Cleveland. The sharp-shooting guard from Kansas State couldn’t land the ball in Lake Erie once he arrived in Cleveland, averaging 29.8% in just 22 career NBA games. Williams currently lives in Greeley, CO, and works as a mortgage broker.
22. Sam Bowie | 21. Kwame Brown
22. Sam Bowie (No. 2, 1984): Bowie was a 1985 First Team NBA All-Rookie performer with the Portland Trail Blazers and spent 11 seasons in the league. But his basketball-playing legacy is largely defined by his constant injuries and being the player drafted immediately ahead of Michael Jordan. He has forged a successful second career as an owner and trainer of race horses in Lexington, KY.
21. Kwame Brown (No. 1, 2001): Brown became the first high school player to be drafted No. 1 overall and was Michael Jordan’s first big blunder as an NBA executive. Brown did last in the NBA until 2013 but only averaged double figures in scoring once in that span. Despite his lackluster career, Brown certainly isn’t slumming it in retirement. At the end of 2014, his home in Los Angeles was on the market for over $4 million.
Picture of me my brother and sister with Sam Bowie in Lexington Kentucky at the horse racing track pic.twitter.com/WQ9gGIbijv
— Chef Hollar (@AaronHollar3) February 25, 2015
20. Sean May | 19. Todd Fuller
20. Sean May (No. 13, 2005; pictured): Charlotte tabbed the home-state star as its first-round pick in 2005. What the team couldn’t have foreseen was the effect that injuries would have on May’s NBA career; he had microfracture surgery on his right knee in October of 2007 and played in just a total of 119 NBA games. Out of the NBA since 2010, May was playing in France as of the end of 2014.
19. Todd Fuller (No. 11, 1996): Drafted ahead of Kobe Bryant by the Golden State Warriors in ‘96, Fuller played just five NBA seasons and averaged 3.7 PPG. He is currently a math instructor at Queen’s Grant Community School in Charlotte.
18. Stromile Swift | 17. Robert Traylor
18. Stromile Swift (No. 2, 2000): Swift peaked in his second season with the Grizzlies, before a swift descent (pun intended) into obscurity that ended with a season-long stint in China in 2009–2010. Swift hit rock bottom when he plead guilty to charges of stalking a Shreveport woman in 2011, for which he received a suspended sentence of six months in jail.
17. Robert Traylor (No. 6, 1998; pictured): “Tractor” Traylor never played a game for the team that drafted him, the Dallas Mavericks. He was sent to Milwaukee in exchange for Pat Garrity and a then-unknown German prospect named Dirk Nowitzki. A seven-year NBA backup (4.8 career PPG), Traylor sadly died in May of 2011 of a heart attack at age 34 while playing in Puerto Rico.
16. Rafael Araújo | 15. Joe Alexander
16. Rafael Araújo (No. 8, 2004): The Brazilian never took to the NBA game, lasting just three seasons in the league. Araújo’s picked things up again since returning to his native Brazil in 2009, even making the Internet rounds after shattering a backboard on a dunk in January of 2011.
15. Joe Alexander (No. 8, 2008; pictured): A freak in the weight room, Alexander averaged just 3.5 PPG as a rookie – a dubious start to a career which so far has seen him bounce around the NBA, D-League and overseas. At the end of 2014, Alexander was playing for the NBDL’s Santa Cruz Warriors.
14. Jonathan Bender | 13. Robert Swift
14. Jonathan Bender (No. 5, 1999; pictured): Bender was a 6-foot-11 freak of nature drafted straight out of high school whose NBA career was ruined by constant knee injuries. He played in 60 games in a single season just once in his eight-year career (5.5 career PPG). In 2013, Bender’s business came out with the JB Intensive Trainer, a resistance-training device to strengthen knees. He lives in Houston.
13. Robert Swift (No. 12, 2004): Drafted straight out of high school, Swift became better known for his assortment of tattoos than anything he did on the court, averaging just 4.3 PPG in four NBA seasons. Swift made the news in October of 2014 when police seized drugs, guns and a grenade launcher from the Kirkland, WA, home he was residing in.
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) November 15, 2014
12. Luke Jackson | 11. Mouhamed Sene
12. Luke Jackson (No. 10, 2004): Injuries limited Jackson to only 46 games in his two seasons with the Cavaliers. From 2006–2011, he bounced around the NBA, D-League and overseas before hanging it up. Basketball is still Jackson’s life, however. The former Oregon Duck returned to Eugene, OR, and was named the men’s basketball coach at NAIA Northwest Christian University in 2013.
11. Mouhamed Sene (No. 10, 2006): We know what you’re thinking: “Who?!” Sene never played college basketball but the Sonics rolled the dice on the big man from Senegal in ‘06. He played in a grand total of 47 NBA games. Oops. Sene last played professionally in 2013 for France’s Sharks Antibes.
10. Adam Morrison
10. Adam Morrison (No. 3, 2006): After an all-world career at Gonzaga, Michael Jordan rolled the dice on the floppy-haired, iconoclast star forward with the third pick of the 2006 draft ahead of players like Rajon Rondo. Big mistake. Morrison lasted just four seasons in the league, although he did pick up two rings as a bench warmer for the Los Angeles Lakers (7.5 career PPG).
Morrison has returned to Spokane and is now an assistant video coordinator at Gonzaga.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 29, 2015
9. Chris Washburn
9. Chris Washburn (No. 3, 1986): Washburn failed three separate drug tests in three years, leading to a lifelong NBA ban in June of 1989 (3.1 career PPG). He struggled with cocaine addiction throughout the 1990s, only getting motivated to come clean after his father’s death in 2000.
Washburn is now back in his hometown of Hickory, NC, where he owns and operates an eponymous wings restaurant. His son, Julian, transferred from UTEP to TCU in 2014 to play basketball for the Horned Frogs.
8. Ed O’Bannon
8. Ed O’Bannon (No. 9, 1995): Hampered by balky knees, O’Bannon lasted just two seasons in the NBA (5.0 PPG) — after which he embarked on a journeyman foreign career that took him to five different countries.
Now working at Findlay Toyota in Henderson, NV, O’Bannon’s greatest contribution to sports came off the court: He was the lead plaintiff in a landmark lawsuit against the NCAA over player likeness.
7. Jan Veselý
7. Jan Veselý (No. 6, 2011): Jan Veselý‘s biggest NBA highlight was kissing his girlfriend after being selected by the Washington Wizards. He was never heard from again, averaging just 3.6 PPG in three seasons.
By the end of 2014, Veselý was playing for Fenerbahçe Ülker of the Turkish Basketball League.
FOTO | Jan Vesely pic.twitter.com/tPjYfk4jBh
— Fener’in maçı var! (@fenerinmacivar) March 2, 2015
6. Nikoloz Tskitishvili
6. Nikoloz Tskitishvili (No. 5, 2002): Another European big man that fooled NBA executives into thinking he was the next Dirk Nowitzki, Tskitishvili averaged a measly 2.9 PPG over six NBA seasons.
After fizzling out in the league, Tskitishvili headed back to Europe. At the end of 2014, he was playing in Lebanon.
Nikoloz Tskitishvili wore a suit that actually fit, probably the worst possible way to prep for an NBA career pic.twitter.com/IWmtuevjwW
— adam figman (@afigman) June 26, 2014
5. Patrick O’Bryant
5. Patrick O’Bryant (No. 9, 2006): O’Bryant had the ignominy of being the first lottery pick ever sent down to the D-League; it was less than two months into his rookie season.
The former Bradley star was out of the league by 2010 (2.1 career PPG) and playing in Taiwan as of the end of 2014.
4. Darko Milicic
3. Darko Milicic (No. 2, 2003): Infamously picked one spot behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, Milicic averaged a measly 6.0 PPG during his career.
Milicic has since taken up a kickboxing career and made his debut in the sport on December 18, 2014 in Novi Sad, Serbia; he lost in the second round.
— Sportando (@sportando) December 16, 2014
3. Hasheem Thabeet
4. Hasheem Thabeet (No. 2, 2009): Seen as too big to fail coming out of Connecticut, the 7-foot-3 Thabeet has averaged just 1.2 PPG during his NBA career so far.
At the end of 2014, Thabeet was playing for the NBDL’s Grand Rapids Drive, an affiliate of the Pistons.
— SPORTSPROImages (@sportsproimages) January 2, 2015
2. Greg Oden
2. Greg Oden (No. 1, 2007): A dominant, all-everything season at Ohio State had many thinking that Oden could be the next Bill Russell. Much to the horror of the Blazers and their fans, however, he was Sam Bowie 2.0.
Three separate season-ending knee injuries limited Oden to a total of 82 NBA games in his first five seasons. After a comeback attempt with the Miami Heat during the 2013-14 season in which he averaged just 2.9 PPG, it appears Oden’s basketball days are officially over.
1. LaRue Martin
1. LaRue Martin (No. 1, 1972): The predecessor to Sam Bowie and Greg Oden in “Blazers Big Men Bust” lore, the Loyola star lasted just four seasons in the NBA and averaged a paltry 5.3 PPG. But unlike Bowie and Oden, Martin didn’t have injuries as an excuse.
As a result, ESPN once named Martin the worst draft pick of all time among all four major professional sports.
Returning to Chicago, Martin has worked in UPS’ corporate offices for decades — currently as the community services manager of the Illinois district.