The NBA Draft takes place later this week, and this is a friendly reminder that no matter how high a team picks, there's always a chance of selecting a bust. Markelle Fultz looks like a sure thing at No. 1 overall this year, for example, but the Celtics certainly didn't think so, otherwise they wouldn't have traded the pick to the Sixers for seemingly so little in return.
The reality is that every spot in the lottery has had its share of perilous picks since the lotto began in 1985, and we've tracked down the worst -- along with three honorable mentions for each.
NBAE/Getty ImagesRocky Widner
Scott Haskin, Indiana Pacers, 1993
The 1993 NBA Draft was pretty weak in terms of lasting talent, but Haskin didn't last more than a single season after being selected 14th overall. He averaged just two points and two rebounds in 6.9 minutes per game in 27 career NBA appearances.
William Avery, Timberwolves, 1999
Yinka Dare, Nets, 1994
Alfredrick Hughes, Spurs, 1985
Michael Smith, Boston Celtics, 1989
This was a brutal pick by the Celtics, especially considering that Tim Hardaway went to the Warriors with the very next pick, and Shawn Kemp went to the Sonics (from Philadelphia) three picks after that. The 6-foot-10 forward out of BYU played just three NBA seasons and averaged five points in less than 10 minutes per game for his career. Smith has been a color commentator for the L.A. Clippers for the past several seasons.
Pearl Washington, Nets, 1986
Marcus Haislip, Bucks, 2002
Julian Wright, Hornets, 2007
Yaroslav Korolev, Los Angles Clippers, 2005
Korolev played professionally in Russia before the Clippers drafted him, but he clearly wasn't ready for the NBA. He averaged 1.1 points and 0.5 rebounds in 34 games over two seasons with the Clippers before returning to Europe.
Kenny Green, Bullets, 1985
Alec Kessler, Heat, 1990
Robert Swift, Sonics, 2004
Trajan Langdon, Cleveland Cavaliers, 1999
Langdon averaged just 5.4 points in three NBA seasons, which was certainly a disappointment after he set the all-time record for most three-point field goals made at Duke University. Corey Maggette, Ron Artest, James Posey and Andrei Kirilenko were all drafted later.
Keith Lee, Bulls, 1985
Kedrick Brown, Celtics, 2001
Todd Fuller, Warriors, 1996
Mouhamed Sene, Seattle SuperSonics, 2006
Sene appeared in just 47 NBA games during his three-year career, and despite being 6-foot-11, posted career averages of only 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds.
Jimmer Fredette, Bucks, 2011
Luke Jackson, Cavaliers, 2004
Adam Keefe, Hawks, 1992
Ed O'Bannon, New Jersey Nets, 1995
This was really not a great draft in terms of productive talent that would stick at the NBA level, but O'Bannon was a disappointment nonetheless. He was the best player on UCLA's 1995 NCAA title team and scored 30 points while grabbing 17 rebounds in the championship game win over Arkansas. He finished with career averages of just five points and 2.5 rebounds in two NBA seasons.
Mike Sweetney, Knicks, 2003
Patrick O'Bryant, Warriors, 2006
Tom Hammonds, Bullets, 1989
Rafael Araujo, Toronto Raptors, 2004
Again, not a great draft from top to bottom, but there were better options than Araujo on the board. Andre Iguodala was selected with the very next pick, and Al Jefferson, Josh Smith and Tony Allen all went later in the first round. Araujo finished his career with averages of 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds after just three NBA seasons.
Randy White, Mavericks, 1989
Shawn Respert, Blazers, 1995
Joe Alexander, Bucks, 2008
Eddie Griffin, Houston Rockets, 2001
Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph and Tony Parker were all selected later in the 2001 NBA Draft, and Griffin's tragic dealings with substance abuse cut a once promising career short. He passed away in a car accident in 2007.
Chris Mihm, Bulls, 2000
Ben McLemore, Sacramento, 2013
Tim Perry, Suns, 1988
Jan Vesely, Washington Wizards, 2011
Vesely lasted just three NBA seasons and finished with career averages of 3.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game. Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler were all selected later that year in the first round.
Jonny Flynn, Timberwolves, 2009
Yi Jianlian, Bucks, 2007
Doug Smith, Mavericks, 1991
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsChris Humphreys
Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Denver Nuggets, 2002
The 7-footer lasted just four NBA seasons and left the league with career averages of 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per contest. This wasn't a deep draft, but Nene, Amar'e Stoudemire and Caron Butler were all top-10 selections who went after Tskitishvili was chosen.
Thomas Robinson, Kings, 2012
Alex Len, Suns, 2013
Jonathan Bender, Raptors, 1999
Wesley Johnson, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2010
The T'Wolves reached with this one, especially when considering that DeMarcus Cousins went with the very next pick, and Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Eric Bledsoe and Avery Bradley were all top-20 selections after Johnson was off the board. He averaged 2.7 points in 11.9 minutes per game off the bench for the Clippers last season and has already played for four teams.
Marcus Fizer, Bulls, 2000
Tyrus Thomas, Blazers, 2006
Cody Zeller, Bobcats, 2013
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
Chris Washburn, Golden State Warriors, 1986
Washburn is widely considered to be one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history. He played just 72 games over two seasons in the league and received a lifetime ban in 1989 after failing three drug tests in three years.
Dennis Hopson, Nets, 1987
Adam Morrison, Bobcats, 2006
Darius Miles, Clippers, 2000
Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies, 2009
James Harden, Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan all went after Thabeet in 2009 and were all top-10 picks. Thabeet averaged 2.2 points per game for four different teams in four NBA seasons before he was entirely out of the league.
Darko Milicic, Pistons, 2003
Derrick Williams, Timberwolves, 2011
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bobcats, 2012
Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers, 2007
Oden is the biggest bust of the modern era, even if injuries were significantly responsible for contributing to his demise. When Kevin Durant was the second overall pick, and when Al Horford and Mike Conley were taken immediately after that, it's clear the Blazers made a regrettable mistake. Oden was limited to just 82 games in two seasons in Portland, before attempting to revive his career one last time in Miami with the Heat in the 2013-14 season.