Being picked first in the NBA draft is a huge honor and shows that your services are in demand. Straight out of college these players were expected to make their name in the NBA, but all struggled to perform in the big league. Not every player can be LeBron or Magic Johnson, and these players are the worst ever number one NBA draft picks.
Anthony Bennett, Cavaliers – 2013
Anthony Bennett made history when he was drafted to the Cavaliers in 2013. He was the first Canadian player picked at number one, but the way things turned out for him, he might be the last. The power forward was expected to make a big impact on the league, but he played for four different teams in his first four seasons in the NBA.
Bennett switched to Europe but is back in America playing in the G League. He will hope he has a late turnaround in form but as things stand he is one of the worst #1 picks ever.
Michael Olowokandi, Clippers – 1998
The future was promising for Michael Olowokandi after his college basketball career. At seven foot he was expected to dominate the basket oncourt, but it never happened. Just twice in his nine years in the NBA did he average double-digit points, and for a first draft pick that wasn’t good enough. The Clippers overlooked Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, and Paul Pierce in favor of the “Kandi Man” in one of the worst first picks in NBA history.
Kwame Brown, Wizards – 2001
Being the first pick adds a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the young athletes coming out of college. For some, that’s an incentive to repay the faith their teams show in them, but for others, the pressure is too much. Kwame Brown was the number one pick for the Washington Wizards, and hopes were high for the young player.
As soon as Brown stepped on the court, it became clear he wasn’t the player everyone thought he was. After four failed seasons with the Wizards Brown was traded to the Lakers, but instead of finding form in a new home Brown performed even worse.
Greg Oden, Trail Blazers – 2007
Back in 2007, the Trail Blazers had the first round pick, and they were torn between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. They settled for Oden as they thought Durant was a little skinny for the NBA. They really got this one wrong, and Durant was everything that Oden was not. Oden was injured months after being drafted to the Trail Blazers and was never able to make the impact his new team had hoped. He spent much of his career sitting games out through injury, and he barely made 100 NBA appearances in his career.
Potential is something we all have, but as we get older it’s up to us to make sure we live up to it. Despite having a great college career, these players couldn’t make the jump when they found themselves in the NBA and are the worst #1 picks in draft history.