Lottery picks are supposed to translate into a benefit for NBA teams. The higher the selection corresponds with the decreased risk of the pick being a bust. This is not a guarantee as this article is about to illustrate. Before you are the five biggest bust the NBA has produced during the last ten years.
Big Man’s Disease
Physiology had more to do with his failure than heart, skills, or personal conduct. If he was anywhere but selected as the number one pick in the 2007 draft then people might give him a pass. This coupled with being chosen above Kevin Durant sealed his fate as being one of the top basketball draft picks of the last decade. Greg Oden had the same common characteristic that derailed players like Yao Ming in that he was too big for his breeches. The lower extremities are put under enormous stress due to weight and an NBA season that lasts for many months. Both knees suffered from micro fractures and the dread ACL injury also made an appearance. He missed entire seasons rehabbing his ailments but continued to come back. Where a player like Derrick Rose endured similar knee injuries and time out of action, Greg Oden’s size further decreased his mobility. The lumbering giant bounced around the league for years and finally went overseas in 2015 to play in the Chinese Basketball League.
What a Draft
2011 was remarkably resilient in terms of quality selections for lottery picks with one exception. Another seven foot player from overseas that could not cope with the length and physical nature of the NBA season. Jan Vesely was taken sixth by the Wizards and bounced around the league for four years not even reaching a career average of four points per game. Attrition took his toll here and he wisely went to the Turkish leagues where he is doing much better. Picks this high should not be associated with the term nondescript.
The Fighting City
Most of the recent first round draft picks were lumped in one selection as the individuals could easily dominate this list. Joel Embiid’s 2013 Kentucky team surpassed basketball NCAA odds by making it all the way to the Final Four title game. He was skipped by the Cavs when they found out he had a foot injury before the 2014 draft. Philadelphia elected to draft him. He rewards them by breaking the same bone in his foot twice. Two lost seasons and counting for him. In the same draft, Dario Saric was taken 12th by the Magic. Sixers trade for him and he decides to stay over in Europe. Jahlil Okafor might not be a bust in the physical sense but is doing no favors with the public relations department after a penchant for street fighting during Thanksgiving.
Absorbed This Bust
Cleveland went through a stretch where they had the number one pick three out of four years. 2013 saw most of the league shocked with the selection of Anthony Bennett from UNLV. Only five of the top selections failed to make the all rookie team. Combine that with him already being on three different teams is the nail in the coffin for this number one selection.
One year out of Kansas State was not enough to prepare Michael Beasley. He had the talent but the NBA life got to him. Second pick of the draft by the Miami Heat proved to be his own worst enemy. Love of marijuana and lack of a work ethic derailed a promising career.
These NBA busts failed for a variety of reasons. Some could not get over injuries while others were just thought of too highly. Even one person did not have enough mental discipline to resist peer pressure. Whatever the reason, the franchises that should have taken a pass on these players would be that much stronger during this NBA season.