The past few NBA Draft classes have produced some of the best talents in the league today. Recently, the New Orleans Pelicans selected Zion Williamson first overall, and many consider him to be a generational talent that has the makings of the league’s next big superstar. League history is funny like that.

As we all know, drafts have not always been as smooth sailing as they have been in recent years. Today we look back at five of the worst draft classes in league history.

Worst NBA Draft Classes In League History


The most significant players that came out of the 2013 draft were LaMarcus Aldridge (second), Rajon Rondo (21st), and Kyle Lowry (24th). There were also a lot of busts that were produced by this class, and by looking at the top five lottery picks from this draft, it is clear that the teams that selected these players (with the exception of Aldridge) got less than what they bargained for. Andrea Bargnani was the first overall pick, followed by Aldridge, with Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas, and Shelden Williams, going third to fifth, respectively.


The 1986 draft class is undoubtedly highlighted by the death of second overall pick Len Bias, who tragically passed away because of a drug overdose no more than 48 hours after being drafted by the Boston Celtics. Aside from him, though, this class produced another wasted talent in the Golden State Warriors’ third overall pick, Chris Washburn. The 6-foot-11 big man was a highly-touted talent, but after an unsuccessful four years in the NBA, Washburn was banned by the league after being caught using illegal drugs. He also served a three-year prison sentence soon after for cocaine possession.


The 1973 draft featured four-time All-Star Doug Collins who would have a successful NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers. After retiring in 1981, the former first overall pick has also served as a team executive for the Detroit Pistons, and has had several coaching stints with the likes of the Washington Wizards and the Sixers. Outside of Collins, however, this class produced zero other memorable names. That’s unless you consider Kermit Washington, Larry Kennon, or George McGinnis as significant NBA stars.


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Another forgettable draft class has got to be the class of 1990. The biggest name coming out of that draft is Seattle Supersonics legend Gary Payton, who is widely considered as one of the best defensive point guards this league has ever seen. He is a nine-time All-Star and is has been inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Derrick Coleman, who went first overall, had a so-so career, and was not exactly able to live up to the high expectations many had on him, much like most, if not all of the 1990 lottery picks.


The top five picks of the 2000 draft were Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, and Mike Miller, respectively. These are some pretty good players here, with Martin even making one All-Star appearance in his career. None of these players even came close to superstar-caliber, and one would need to go all the way to the second round to see arguably the best player of this draft: Michael Redd who was selected 43rd overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.