The NBA Draft takes place on November 18th this year, and it is a time that many fans get excited for. But if you are a Knicks, Suns, Kings, or Timberwolves fan, every year the draft is complete uncertainty, considering these teams typically do awful in the draft, with a few good picks sprinkled in. And it doesn’t help that these teams typically have high draft picks, making the picks even worse. These teams have drafted some extreme busts over the years, many of them in the last ten years. Each draft has its fair share of busts, but there can only be one biggest bust per year.
2010: Wesley Johnson, Timberwolves, 4th Pick
Johnson was a hot commodity around the time of the 2010 NBA Draft, coming off a stellar senior season at Syracuse, where he averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.8 blocks. This prompted the Minnesota Timberwolves to select him with the 4th overall pick in the draft, and for good reason. Johnson showed a lot of promise, as scouts though his athleticism and defense would smoothly transition to the NBA. They were wrong, and after a disappointing stint in Minnesota, Johnson was traded to the Suns, where he didn’t show much. He then has stints with the Lakers, Clippers, Pelicans, and Wizards, and has not played in an NBA game since 2019. He finished his career with averages of 7 points and 3.2 rebounds
Honorable Mentions: Evan Turner, Ekpe Udoh
2011: Jan Vesely, Wizards, 6th Pick
Vesely was not your typical European big man. He was athletic, strong, a good post player, a good rebounder, he had good hands, and was extremely efficient. This led to the Washington Wizards selecting Vesely with the 6th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Vesely’s stint in the nation’s capital was more than disappointing, as in two and a half years with the Wizards, he averaged just 3.5 points and 3.4 rebounds. Vesely was then shipped to Denver for half a season, where he didn’t fare much better, and hasn’t played in the NBA since 2014. Since then, Vesely has gone back to Europe, where he recently won the 2019 EuroLeague MVP.
Honorable Mentions: Derrick Williams, Jimmer Fredette
2012: Thomas Robinson, Kings, 5th Pick
From his sophomore to his junior season, Robinson went from being a benchwarmer, to being one of the top big men in the nation, with averages of 17.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks. Robinson declared for the draft after that season, and was selected 5th overall by the Sacramento Kings. After half of a season of mediocre play, the Kings sent Robinson to Houston, and it only got worse from there. He would have short stints with Portland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and he last played for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017. What makes this pick even worse, is that the next pick was a man by the name of Damian Lillard.
Honorable Mentions: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Dion Waiters
2013: Anthony Bennett, Cavaliers, 1st pick
This one doesn’t need much explanation, as Bennett, the first pick, didn’t even make it out of his first contract. Coming off a pretty good freshman season at UNLV, Bennett declared for the 2013 Draft, and was considered one of the top prospects, but not the top. On draft night, the Cavs shocked everyone and selected Bennett first overall, and this could not have been worse of a mistake. In first season, Bennett averaged a measly 4.2 points and 3 rebounds. He would be traded to Minnesota in the Kevin Love blockbuster in the 2014 offseason. He was waived by the Wolves, then signed with the Raptors, who also waived him. He then signed with the Nets with the same result, and hasn’t played NBA minutes since 2017. Some consider him the biggest bust of all time
Honorable Mentions: None, this was obvious.
2014: Nik Stauskas, Kings, 8th pick
This pick was one of those picks where you looked at the TV and thought “What?” Stauskas’ selection surprised many, as the Kings didn’t need a shooting guard, as they had drafted Ben McLemore the year before. McLemore was also a bust, but had a much higher ceiling than Stauskas. Stauskas lasted one year in Sacramento, before being traded to the 76ers in a salary dump. He was then traded to the Nets, then after the 2017-18, he season signed with Portland. During the 2018-19 season, he was traded to the Cavaliers, and didn’t play in the NBA in the 2019-20 season
Honorable Mentions: Dante Exum, Noah Vonleh
2015: Stanley Johnson, Pistons, 8th pick
Johnson is the only champion on this list, but it wasn’t with the Pistons, and he didn’t exactly play a big role in the Raptors title run. Unfortunately, the only run Johnson was a part of for Detroit was a terrible one. Though a good defender, Johnson has no offensive game. The Pistons thought this would develop after an ok, but not great rookie season, where he averaged 8.1 points per game, but that never happened, and he actually regressed the next season, as he dropped to 4.4 per game with less minutes than the previous. In his third season, he got the most playing time of his career, but it didn’t matter, as in 27.4 minutes per game, he only averaged 8.7 points per game, and midway through the 2018-19 season, he was traded to Toronto.
Honorable Mentions: Mario Hezonja, Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Kaminsky
2016: Dragan Bender, Suns, 4th pick
Bender was the top international prospect in the 2016 NBA Draft, and for good reason, as he was an All-Star in the Israeli League, and helped lead Maccabi Tel Aviv to the championship. He was a big man that could shoot the ball, and the Suns maybe thought they could get a unicorn of their own, and took him 4th overall. They did not, however, as Bender spent three years in Phoenix before being waived at the end of the 2018-19 season. He finished his Suns career with averages of 5.4 points and 3.9 rebounds. He then signed with the Bucks, where he barely played, and was then waived and signed with the Warriors. He is now back in Israel, with Maccabi Tel Aviv
Honorable Mentions: Marquise Chriss, Georgios Papagiannis
2017: Josh Jackson, Suns, 4th pick
In back-to-back seasons, the Suns wasted 4th overall picks, you can’t fault them on this one, however. Jackson was considered a top 5 prospect going into the 2017 draft, and had high expectations coming out of Kansas, and was thought to go as high as 2nd overall. However, it just didn’t work out. Though his raw stats don’t look awful, he was extremely inefficient, shooting 26% from the three his rookie season, and 42% from the field. Though he got a little better his second season, off the court issues, plus still inconsistent and inefficient play forced the Suns to send him to Memphis, where he started the year in the G-League. He played in 22 games in the 2019-20 season, not starting a single one, and averaged 9 points per game.
Honorable Mentions: Frank Ntilikina, Zach Collins
2018: Kevin Knox, Knicks, 9th pick
This is where it becomes a little too unfair to judge, as these players are just finishing up their second season in the league. However, if there was one to pick, it would be Kevin Knox. On draft night, the New York crowd welcomed Knox with a shower of boos, which is customary in New York. Coming out of Kentucky, he showed high promise, and showed that promise in his rookie season. He averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, but was pretty inconsistent from the field, shooting 37%. Knox even won Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in December. However, whatever promise he showed in his rookie season just vanished in his second. He struggled to find a role after the Knicks brought in a myriad of frontcourt players that took minutes away from him, and he finished the shortened season with averages of 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds. Hopefully, with the hiring of Tom Thibodeau and Kenny Payne, Knox can revert back to his old self.
Honorable Mentions: Miles Bridges, Jerome Robinson
2019: Darius Garland, Cavaliers, 5th Pick
This one may be unfair to judge, but it was a questionable selection. The Cavs had drafted Collin Sexton the year before, who had an underrated rookie season, and he was thought of as the point guard of the future. Despite this, the Cavs took Garland 5th overall. Garland has had a small sample size, so he is very hard to judge, but he was just not great in his rookie season.