The 6 Worst NBA Draft Classes Of All-Time | Ranked

Worst NBA draft class

The 2024 NBA draft is underway, but fans, analysts, and even executives are reportedly calling this class a weak one. Considering the huge pool of talents the NBA got in 2023 (featuring Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller, and Scoot Henderson), it’s not surprising why the 2024 group of aspirants falls under the category of the worst draft classes. However, before we get to the decision, let’s take a look at the 6 worst NBA draft classes of all time, ranked from best (just slightly better than the others) to worst.

6. 2013

  • No. 1 pick: Anthony Bennett (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • 3 multi-time All-Stars
  • 2 All-NBA players

Had it not been for 3-time MVP and champion Giannis Antetokounmpo and 4-time DPoY Rudy Gobert, the 2013 draft class would easily have been the worst in NBA history. The No. 1 pick, Anthony Bennett, turned out to be the biggest bust we’ve seen. Meanwhile, other top picks like Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter Jr., Ben McLemore, Trey Burke, and Shabazz Muhammad are already out of the NBA.

2013 nba draft class

On the other hand, this class somehow generated some underrated talents like C.J. McCollum, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Steven Adams. But, it does not take away that this is one of the worst draft classes in the NBA.

5. 2001

  • No. 1 pick: Kwame Brown (Washington Wizards)
  • 8 All-Stars
  • 4 All-NBA players

After hearing his side, it’s clear that Kwame Brown wasn’t a total bust. Instead, he was just a mishandled athlete who came straight out of high school. However, the 2001 draft class equally featured busts and borderline All-Stars, making it somehow a trash group. Eddy Curry (4th), Eddie Griffin (7th), and DeSaganda Diop (8th) were all busts.

2001 nba draft class

On the other hand, the 2001 class also gave us notable players like Tyson Chandler (2nd), Pau Gasol (3rd), Joe Johnson (10th), Zach Randolph (19th), and Tony Parker (28th). Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, Richard Jefferson, Shane Battier, and Gerald Wallace also had some great years. However, it’s clear that Gasol and Parker are the only legitimate Hall-of-Famers in this class.

4. 2002

  • No. 1 pick: Yao Ming (Houston Rockets)
  • 4 All-Stars
  • 3 All-NBA players

Aside from Yao Ming, who went first overall, the 2002 NBA draft class was made up of a bunch of busts, role players, fringe athletes, and underwhelming prospects. Jay Williams, who unfortunately suffered injuries after a tragic motorcycle accident, only played 1 season in the NBA. The top 3-5 picks, Mike Dunleavy, Drew Gooden, and Nikoloz Tskitishvili, didn’t grow much. DaJuan Wagner, who went 6th overall, had a wonderful rookie season but fell off the face of the earth after his first year in the NBA.

2002 nba draft class

Yao Ming, as well as some key role players like Nene Hilario, Amar’e Stoudemire, Caron Butler, and Carlos Boozer, were the only great things that happened in 2002.

The following year, we got one of the best and deepest draft classes that featured LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony. All of whom would leave a mark in the league.

3. 1988

  • No. 1 pick: Danny Manning
  • 6 All-Stars
  • 2 All-NBA players

Some NBA fans believe that the 1989 draft class was weaker, but it may just be 1988. In comparison, the 1989 class had nine All-Stars, while the 1988 class had only six. Furthermore, there were a lot of memorable players in 1989, such as Tim Hardaway Sr., Shawn Kemp, Glen Rice, Vlade Divac, and B.J. Armstrong. On the other hand, the only guy fans would remember in the 1988 class would be Mitch Richmond, who was part of the infamous RUN TMC (Tim Hardway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin) in Golden State.

1988 nba draft class

But there were also amazing players in 1988 who are worth remembering.

  • The Dunking Dutchman, Rik Smits, will always be an underrated big man in the ’80s and ’90s.
  • Dan Majerle is a surprising defensive presence.
  • Hall-of-Famer Danny Manning was an efficient scoring threat.
  • And Hersey Hawkins, a career 15-ppg guard

2. 2006

  • No. 1 pick: Andrea Bargnani (Toronto Raptors)
  • 5 All-Stars
  • 4 All-NBA players

Andrea Bargnani, despite scoring double-digits for 9 seasons, including a 21.4 career-high ppg, was not deserving of that first pick. Although the 2006 draft class featured some of the greatest talents in the NBA, like LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo, Paul Millsap, and Kyle Lowry, they still fall under the category of one of the worst draft classes in NBA history. Why? Because of how bad the lottery picks were. Adam Morrison (3rd), Tyrus Thomas (4th), Shelden Williams (5th), Patrick O’Bryant (9th), and Mouhamed Sene (10th) all turned out to be huge busts.

2006 NBA draft class

1. The worst NBA draft class goes to the class of 2000

  • No. 1 pick: Kenyon Martin (New Jersey Nets)
  • 3 All-Stars
  • 1 All-NBA player

Everyone would agree that the worst draft class would be 2000. Indeed, the new millennium was not a year to remember for NBA rookies. The top pick in that class was Kenyon Martin, who may have had a solid career but was never of superstar calibre. There are also guys like Michael Redd and Jamaal Magloire, who became All-Stars at least once in their careers.

2000 nba draft class

This class was weak, considering they had a lot of young talents but never reached expectations (i.e. Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, and Chris Mihm). Let’s also not forget some borderline All-Stars like Jamal Crawford, Mike Miller, Hedo Turkoglu, and Quentin Richardson. All of whom were notable key players for various championship contenders.

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