Over the last 40 years, the Portland Trail Blazers have used a #1 or #2 overall pick to select three different big men. Specifically, they have taken Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, and Greg Oden during that time frame. Unfortunately, each player lost significant time due to various injuries. Walton brought a title to the city so he avoided the disdain experienced by the others. Drafted ahead of Michael Jordan, Bowie predictably earned the title of #1 Worst NBA Draft Pick. At the same time, he produced enough in his NBA career to avoid being called a bust. Oden, my #10 Worst NBA Draft Pick, similarly deserves to be omitted from a countdown of all-time busts. In his honor, this post establishes the Greg Oden Exemption for players whose careers cannot be fairly judged because of injuries.
As an international prodigy, Luka Doncic signed his first professional contract at the age of 13. Doncic won numerous “Rising Star” and “Best Young Star” awards before getting recognized as the best player outside of the United States by winning the 2018 Euroleague MVP and leading his team to the 2018 Euroleague title. With these credentials, Doncic became the most anticipated international player to come to the NBA since 2003 #2 overall pick Darko Milicic. Whereas Milicic became a bust, Doncic will avoid the same fate. As the most proven player in the 2018 NBA Draft, I give him the lowest probably of becoming a bust relative to the top 10 overall picks.
In the 1996 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors selected Todd Fuller with the 11th overall pick. Despite being a lottery selection, Fuller didn’t live up to expectations. Of note, he finished his NBA career with 835 points and 674 rebounds. Even worse, the Warriors selected him over future Hall-of-Famers Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. As such, Fuller should be remembered as one of the all-time worst draft picks. Still, the former 1st Team All-ACC honoree shouldn’t be considered a Top 10 Bust. In particular, he just wasn’t drafted high enough to warrant the “honor.”