WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The biggest NBA Draft busts of all time

  • NBA history is littered with draft busts — players who were taken high in the draft and never lived up to the hype.
  • While some players became journeymen and hung around the NBA, others fell out of the league quickly.
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If the NBA draft has taught us anything over the years, it's that the whole thing is a crapshoot.

While some players who seemed destined for greatness lived up to the hype — like LeBron James — plenty of other hyped players never quite got their footing in the NBA.

From Darko Milicic to Hasheem Thabeet to Kwame Brown, here are the biggest NBA draft busts of all time — and what's become of them.

Emmett Knowlton contributed to this report.

The biggest NBA draft busts of all time
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The biggest NBA draft busts of all time

Darko Milicic was picked No. 2 in 2003 by the Detroit Pistons, over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Milicic played for six teams in 10 seasons in the NBA, averaging 6 points and 4 rebounds per game for his career. He left the NBA in 2012, had a kickboxing career, and, as of 2017, worked on an apple farm in Serbia.

Read more: One of the NBA's most notorious draft busts is now a happy apple farmer in Serbia who laughs about his NBA career

(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Greg Oden was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007.

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Knee injuries plagued Oden's NBA career, as he left the NBA in 2014. He has helped with the Ohio State basketball team in recent years while getting his degree, and now has coaching aspirations. He has also helped the Boston Celtics during pre-draft workouts this year. 


(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jonny Flynn got picked sixth overall in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, ahead of Steph Curry.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Flynn played just three years in the NBA, averaging 9 points and 3 assists per game. He last played in Italy in 2014. It's unclear what he does today.

(Photo by Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bulls took Jay Williams at No. 2 in 2002.

(Photo credit STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Williams suffered a career-ending motorcycle accident in 2003 after playing just 75 NBA games. He now works as an analyst for ESPN.

(Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

Sam Bowie was famously selected at No. 2 in the 1984 draft, one spot ahead of Michael Jordan.

(Denver Post via Getty Images)

Bowie retired in 1995. He has since done commentary for college basketball, gotten involved in harness racing, and made public speaking appearances.

SourceLebanon Sports Buzz

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Bryant Reeves was taken with the 6th pick in the 2005 draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies after starring for Oklahoma State in college.

(Photo by Harry How /Allsport via Getty Images)

The 7-foot "Big Country" Reeves played well initially but struggled with injuries and conditioning and retired in 2001. Reeves' whereabouts after basketball became such a mystery that a documentary "Finding Big Country" was made about his post-playing career. He is a cattle rancher in a small town in Oklahoma.


(Photo by Matt A. Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tanzanian big man Hasheem Thabeet was picked second overall in 2009 by the Memphis Grizzlies.

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Thabeet bounced around the NBA, lasting playing in 2014. He has had G League and Summer League stints since and is still working on an NBA comeback.


(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Adam Morrison of Gonzaga was picked third overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Morrison played four seasons in the NBA. He returned to Gonzaga briefly as a video coordinator and now does radio for Gonzaga's basketball team.

SourceThe Athletic

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Shawn Bradley, standing at 7 feet 6 inches, was the No. 2 pick in 1993, selected by the Sixers.

(AP Photo/John Discher)

Bradley played 12 years in the NBA and had some productive seasons early on before falling off. He retired in 2005. ESPN made a documentary called "Posterized" about Bradley's propensity for being on the wrong end of highlight dunks. In 2010, Bradley ran as a Republican for the 44th District seat in the Utah House of Representatives and lost.

(AP Photo/Lynn DeBruin)

Michael Olowokandi was the No. 1 overall pick in 1998.

(AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

Olowokandi played nine years in the NBA, averaging 8 points and 6 rebounds per game. It's unclear what he does today.

(Photo by Matt A. Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Nikoloz Tskitishvili was picked at No. 5 by the Denver Nuggets in 2002.

(Photo credit STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Georgian center played four years in the NBA. He has since played all over the world, most recently in Lebanon.

(Photo by Levan Verdzeuli/Getty Images)

Pervis Ellison was the No. 1 overall pick in 1989.

(AP Photo/Ron Frehm)

Ellison battled injuries during his career, earning the nickname "Out of Service Pervis." After his career, he briefly coached basketball for Life Center Academy in New Jersey.

(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Joe Alexander was taken with the eighth pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2008 after posting remarkable numbers at the combine and in pre-draft workouts.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Alexander played just two seasons in the NBA. He has since played in the G League and for several teams overseas, most recently in Turkey.

(Photo by Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

Dajuan Wagner, who made a name for himself in high school when he scored 100 points in a single game, was drafted sixth overall in 2002 by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Injuries and health problems plagued Wagner's NBA career. Wagner played internationally and was slated to play in start-up AmeriLeague in 2015, but the league folded quickly.

(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Kwame Brown became the first high schooler to go first overall when the Washington Wizards picked him in the 2001 NBA draft.

(Photo by Al Bello via Getty Images)

Brown famously struggled playing alongside Michael Jordan on the Wizards and eventually bounced around the league. He retired in 2013. He has since played in the Big3.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/BIG3/Getty Images)

Jan Vesely was drafted sixth overall by the Wizards in 2011.

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Vesely played just three years in the NBA. He now plays in Turkey and won EuroLeague MVP for the 2018-19 season.

(Photo by Patrick Albertini/EB via Getty Images)

The Cavaliers shocked the NBA world when they selected Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick in 2013.

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Bennett bounced around the league, playing for four teams in four seasons. He has played in the G League since 2017.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia 76ers traded up to take Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Fultz's time in the NBA has been strange, as he has struggled mightily with shooting and shoulder issues. He was traded to the Orlando Magic in February 2019 and has played just 33 games in his career. The NBA world hopes he can turn it around, as he is still just 21.

(Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)


Now, look back at one of the most infamous trades in NBA history...

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The players from the Dwight Howard trade that rocked the NBA and sent the Lakers and Magic into tailspins >

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