15 Worst Basketball Players of All Time

How often do you hear of the worst basketball players of all time? So much focus is given to the best players that we hardly look at the other side. This article is not meant to talk down these players. No doubt these players are talented which is why they made it to the NBA in the first place and thus, we are looking at why they didn’t succeed at the highest level of the sport. Without further ado, here are 15 of the worst basketball players of all time.

1. Javarris Crittenton

Crittenton story is a sad one. He came into the NBA in 2007 as a 19th overall pick and was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers. He only spent a season with the team. The point guard cum shooting guard had brief stints at other teams as well – the Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards, Zhejiang Lions and the Dakota Wizards. Things took a turn for the worst for Javarris in 2011 after he was convicted of murder. His sentence runs till 2036. 

2. Nikoloz Tskitshvili   

The Georgian is regarded as one of the worst basketball players of all time, He played for four teams in the NBA – Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Phoenix Suns – between 2002 and 2006. He played a total of 172 games. Out of those, the most number of matches he took part in was 89 during his first season in the league as a Denver player. 

3. Mengkee Bateer 

Chinese player Mengkee Bateer also got his time in the NBA but had a non-impressive stint that classifies him as one of the worst NBA basketball players. Bateer first joined the league in 2002 when he signed for the Denver Nuggets and went on to play for the San Antonio Spurs, the Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate the Huntsville Flight. He played a total of 46 games across three seasons and won the NBA championship with San Antonio Spurs. At least he’s got something out of his stay in the league.

4. Brian Cardinall 

Brian might not be one of the NBA players that will click in your mind when you are looking at past players. However, maybe he’ll show up in a list of unlikely players to win the NBA because he is considered to be one of the worst NBA basketball players yet he played in it for 12 seasons. He must have been doing something right for teams to consider him. In 2011, he was part of the Dallas Mavericks NBA winning team.

5. DeSagna Diop

 For someone who is on the list of the worst basketball players of all time list, it is almost strange to say that he spent his brief professional career in the NBA and even coached a few teams. The Senegalese was the eighth overall pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001 and represented the team for four years until 2005. He then played for the Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets and the Charlotte Bobcats. 

Diop’s coaching career started at the Texas Legends where he was the player development assistant. He’s since coached at Utah Jazz (coaching associates), Houston Rockets (assistant) and currently works at Westchester Knick.

Diop played a total of 601 games in the regular season in his entire career and registered an average of 2.0 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game. 

6.  Anthony Bennet

Since he joined the Long Island Nets, a Brooklyn Nets affiliate, Bennet has never played in the NBA. He currently plays in the Taiwanese basketball league. This is a player who was selected as a first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013. 

It’s obvious that the Cavaliers highly thought of him to make such a move. However, he went on and played for just one season and then moved to the Minnesota Timberwolves where he also spent a season as is the case at the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets. Bennet played a total of 151 games and averaged 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds. 

7. Hasheem Thabeet 

Thabeet made his NBA debut in 2009 for the Memphis Grizzlies who had him as a second overall pick. Throughout his NBA career in which he also played for Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, he averaged 2.2 points per game, 2.7 total rebounds and a total of 224 games which is why he is one of the worst basketball players of all time.  Thabeet is the first Tanzania to be drafted in the NBA.

8. Rafael Araujo

The Brazilian ranks eighth on the worst basketball players of all time list. In 2004, he was Toronto Raptors’ eighth overall picks. He played for the team for two years and then moved to the Utah Jazz which was the only other NBA team he played for. In the regular season, Araujo played a total of 139 games and only five in the playoffs. He scored a total of 389 points which is an average of 2.8 points per game.

9. Darko Milic

The Serb joined the NBA from his home country’s league in 2003 when the Detroit Pistons made him the second overall pick during the NBA draft. Even though he makes it into the list of the worst NBA basketball players of all time, he was part of a couple of teams like the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Boston Celtics. Additionally, he is an NBA champion having won the ring with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. Milic averaged 6.6 points per game, 4,2 rebounds per game and scored 2,813 points.

10. Chris Washburn

In 1986, Chris Washburn was the third overall pick for the Golden State Warriors. It turned out not to be a good pick as he only spent a season on the team and generally, went on to have an underwhelming NBA career. Washburn joined the Atlanta Hawks but even there, he failed to establish himself and left in 1988. He retired in 1994 without much to his name which is why he features in the list of one of the worst basketball players of all time.

11. Dragan Bender

The Croat was a fourth overall pick for the Phoenix Suns in 2016 and went on to play Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors. Like many players on this list, Bender recorded dismal performance during his time here. He played a total of 187 games, averaged 5.4 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game. 

12. Greg Oden 

Greg’s NBA career started in 2007 as the first overall pick for the Portland Trailblaers. He represented the side for five years before he joined the Miami Heat for a season. For his seven-year stint in the NBA, Greg played a total of 105 games in the regular season and nine in the playoffs. He scored a total of 840 points and averaged 8.0 points per game which is why he makes it into the list of the worst basketball players of all time. 

13. Brian Scalabrine

In 2001, Scalabrine was the 34th overall pick for the New Jersey Nets. Although he spent 11 seasons in the NBA, he didn’t produce anything of significance. He averaged 3.1 points per game, 2.0 rebounds and 1,594 points. He played for Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and the Italian youth basketball team Bennetton Treviso.

14. Adam Morrison

Adam Morrison impressed the league in his first season after he was selected as the third overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006 he made it into the rookie second team in 2007. The Los Angeles Lakers snubbed him in 2009 and won two NBA championships with them but his career tanked off. For someone who was so promising, he averaged 7.5 points per game and scored only 2.1 rebounds per game.

15. Michael Olowokandi

Michael made it into the NBA rookie team of the season in his first year in the league with the Los Angeles Clippers who made him their first overall pick. Despite this, he did not live up to the expectations. He played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics. He scored a total of 4,135 points and 8.3 points per game which is why, even though this doesn’t look like the worst record on the list, he makes it into our list of the worst basketball players of all time. 

Edward Borden

Edward Borden

My name is Edward Borden, a sports fanatic, writer and editor all rolled into one. I have a bachelor's degree in Mass Media with a specialization in Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University.

This site is a great opportunity for me to further my passion for sports journalism. Working at Bukavu Online combines everything I love to do. I hope you have found it useful too.

I am an ardent fan of football, basketball, motorsports, and golf. Away from work, find me seen feverishly cheering on Real Madrid, or playing FIFA at every chance I get.

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