NBA Draft Busts

The NBA Draft just happened. Hopefully your favorite team didn’t make a decision that will land them in an article like this one someday.

Basketball

Ben Simmons—Philadelphia 76ers

Ben Simmons, an Australian forward who played just one year at LSU—where he averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds a game—before he was drafted with the #1 pick in the 2016 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He looked to be able to turn around the 76ers fortunes…until the last training camp scrimmage before the 2016-17 season. He rolled his right ankle, and fractured a bone. He wound up missing the entire season. (And the 76ers finished in last place in the Eastern Conference.)

Anthony Bennett—Cleveland Cavaliers

Anthony Bennett is the first Canadian to be a #1 NBA Draft pick. Unfortunately, for the teams who he played for, that’s about the only notable thing about his pro career. While only able to play about half the minutes of games he played for UNLV due to shoulder injuries, he still racked up 16 points and 8 rebounds per game. The Cleveland Cavaliers went ahead and grabbed Bennett with the #1 pick in the 2013 draft. He played in a little more than half of the games in the 2013-14 season, averaging just 4 points. The Cavs traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves…for whom Bennett averaged 5 points. After one season, he was signed by the Toronto Raptors…and after two months of play, he requested to be send to the team’s minor league affiliate, the Raptors 905 of Mississauga, Ontario. He bounced around the NBA a little bit more and played a few months in Turkey. Bennett is not currently signed by any team, anywhere.

Greg Oden—Portland Trail Blazers

The 2007 draft was among the most stacked in NBA history. Up for selection were future MVP Kevin Durant, and future all-stars Marc Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Al Horford. The Portland Trail Blazers had the top pick, however, and needing a center, drafted who looked like a sure thing: Greg Oden. He’d played at Ohio State for one season, and led the team to a Big Ten Conference championship with big offensive (15.7 points per game) and defensive (9.6 rebounds per page, 3.3 blocks per game) numbers. A few months before the season began, Oden signed a two-year guaranteed contract, meaning he’d get paid no matter what. That turned out to be very good for Oden, because he’d ultimately play very little professional basketball. He had to have knee surgery and missed the entire 2007-2008 season. In his first game, which came in late 2008, he played 13 minutes and score 0 points before being sidelined with a foot injury. Oden came back in January and put up decent numbers for the Blazers, only to injury his knee again in February. That benched him for another spell. Early in the next season, he hurt his knee once more and surgery put him out for the rest of the 2009-10 season. In fact, Oden didn’t suit up for a game until 2013—nearly four years later, when he had joined the Miami Heat. It just wasn’t meant to be. While some other teams showed interest, Oden left the NBA in 2015 and played one season in China.