20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (2024)

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (1)

The worst NBA players in history are not talked about too often. Instead, we tend to focus on the GOATS. LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry. Those types of talents.

That won’t be the case here. Below, we check in on the 20 worst NBA players in history. They span generations of ineptitude on the court and include both No. 1 overall picks and second-round selections.

From Michael Olowokandi to Cherokee Parks, here are the 20 worst NBA players in history.

20. Michael Olowokandi

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (2)

Selected No. 1 overall in the 1998 NBA Draft out of a small California college named Pacific, this 7-foot center was expected to be the next great thing. Boy, was Clippers front office head and all-time NBA legend Elgin Baylor wrong about this one.

The “Kandi Man,” as he was known, went on to average 9.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in five uneventful seasons with the then-downtrodden Clippers before stops with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics. In his final two NBA seasons, Olowokandi averaged 3.9 points and 3.7 rebounds. What makes him especially a failure in Southern California is the fact that Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce were all selected behind him in the draft.

Related: 20 Best NBA players in history

19. Keith Closs

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (3)

There were some within the Clippers who believed Closs was going to break out after a decent rookie season back in 1997-98. He averaged 4.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in limited action. That never came to fruition.

Over the course of his final two seasons, this Central Connecticut State product (that’s a thing) averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds before bombing out in the Association. In his final NBA season, Closs joined Olowokandi in helping Los Angeles post a 15-67 record. How fun.

Related: 10 tallest NBA players ever

18. Elliot Williams

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (4)

After bombing out with Mike Krzyzewski and Duke as a freshman back in 2008-09, this former top recruit transferred to Memphis under then-coach Josh Pastner. It proved to be a boon for Williams as he averaged 17.9 points and 4.0 rebounds as a sophom*ore.

Well, Williams should have stayed in school. After being a first-round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2010, he missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury. It was all downhill for the guard from there. Williams would finish his professional career averaging 4.9 points while shooting 42% from the field in parts of five seasons, including averaging 1.6 points on 20% shooting in his final campaign with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2015-16.

17. Javaris Crittenton

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (5)

A former Mr. Georgia Basketball, Crittenton seemingly had the world as his oyster heading to Georgia Tech in 2006. He was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Senior Beta Club in high school and acted the part of a team leader with the Yellow Jackets in his only season with the team.

That led to the guard being selected No. 19 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. The rest represents a cautionary tale. Crittenton played only two seasons in the NBA and 22 games with the Lakers. He averaged 5.3 points in stops with three teams. The Georgia native is best known in league circles for confronting then-Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas with a gun in the locker room. Crittenton would never see the court again. He’s now serving 23 years in prison after being charged for manslaughter in the killing of a 22-year-old mother of four back in 2011.

16. DeSagana Diop

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (6)

Diop somehow found a way to play parts of 11 seasons in the NBA despite averaging a mere 2.0 points and 14 minutes per game. Even at 7-foot, the Senegal native never averaged more than 3.4 rebounds in a single season.

The No. 8 pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2002 NBA Draft, there was hope that this big man could help provide some balance for LeBron James. As you can see, that never came to fruition. The likes of Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph and Gilbert Arenas were all picked after Diop that June. Funny enough, Johnson is back in the NBA.

15. Hamed Haddadi

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (7)

Here’s an interesting story. An Iranian born big man, Haddadi is still somehow playing professionally overseas at the age of 36. He was originally undrafted by the Memphis Grizzlies after the 2004 NBA Draft. That came after he received offers for multiple teams in the lead up to the 2008 Summer Olympics in China.

It never panned out in the United States with Haddadi averaging 2.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in parts of five seasons. The good news? Haddadi has won three Asian Cup Gold Medals while earning the Asian Cup MVP four times. Sometimes, international ball just doesn’t translate to the NBA.

14. Mark Madsen

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (8)

We children of the 1990s know full well just how much of a larger-than-life figure Madsen was with the Stanford Cardinal. He helped lead the team to four NCAA Tournament births with the Cardinal earning a trip to the Final 4 in 1998 due to some heroics on the big man’s part.

The Los Angeles Lakers hoped that this would translate to the NBA when they selected “Mad Dog” in the first round back in 2000. Despite the success this team was having under Phil Jackson, it never happened. Madsen finished his Lakers career averaging 2.6 points in three seasons. He ended up playing another six seasons with the Timberwolves, averaging 0.4 points in his final two campaigns. Madsen does, however, have the distinction of being the worst basketball player ever to win two NBA titles. There’s that.

13. Lazar Hayward

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (9)

A four-star recruit, “Money Man” had a brilliant college career at Marquette — earning AP All-American honors in 2010 and leading the program to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
Unfortunately for the hapless Minnesota Timberwolves, this success didn’t transfer to the NBA. After being selected with the 30th pick in the 2010 draft, Hayward averaged all of 2.9 points on 35% shooting in parts of three seasons. He played all of 72 games. Oh, and the dude was arrested in September of 2021 for attempting to enter Hawaii with a fake negative COVID-19 test.

12. Hasheem Thabeet

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (10)

What do James Harden and Stephen Curry have in common aside from being future Hall of Famers? Each one was selected immediately after Thabeet in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Considered a raw player at the time when the Memphis Grizzlies picked him up No. 2 overall, the Tanzania native went on to have one of the most unassuming careers for a top-three pick in Association history. This big man averaged 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in parts of five NBA seasons. Did we mention James Harden and Stephen Curry went behind him in the draft? I am sure we did.

11. Darko Milicic

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (11)

The Detroit Pistons will never live this one down. Ever. The same 2003 NBA Draft that saw LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade come off the board within the top five also included Miličić going No. 2 overall behind King James.

You don’t need to be a genius to realize how this turned out for Detroit. The dude averaged 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds while shooting 34% from the field in parts of three seasons with the Pistons. Those are real stats. Factual stats. And they have Miličić as one of the biggest busts in NBA Draft history.

Worst NBA players: The top 10

20 Worst NBA Players of All-Time - Sportsnaut (2024)


Who is better, LeBron or Jordan? ›

If you look at certain numbers, Jordan may have a slight edge. He's won slightly more championships, more MVPs and more All-Defensive Team honors. On the other hand, James has scored more points than Jordan—or anybody else who ever played in the NBA.

Who is the lowest paid NBA player? ›

Mouhamed Gyueye is currently the lowest-paid NBA player in the NBA this term. The Senegalese player was the 39th pick in the 2023 draft. Drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, he saw his rights traded to the Boston Celtics, who dealt him to the Atlanta Hawks.

What is the most points ever scored in an NBA game by one player and who was it? ›

Wilt Chamberlain broke the record for highest points ever scored in one game in 1962 with an impressive 100 points with the Philadelphia Warriors. Kobe Bryant is in second place with 81 points scored in 2006 with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Who has the worst NBA record in history? ›

The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers hold the record for most losses in an NBA season with 73.

Who never lost in NBA? ›

Below, we present a gallery of all the players who never lost in the NBA Finals, led by John Havlicek, KC Jones and Tom Sanders, who went 8-0 in the league's championship series.

Who's better, Kobe or Jordan? ›

How is Michael Jordan better than Kobe Bryant? MJ beats Kobe on several measures. He averaged more points, more assists, and more rebounds, both defensive and offensive. He averaged a better field goal percentage.

Who is the NBA goat now? ›

In an anonymous poll by The Athletic surveying 142 NBA players, results found that the majority consider Michael Jordan the greatest player of all time (GOAT). And for the third consecutive time.

Who is the oldest player in the NBA? ›

The oldest active player is LeBron James, who is currently 39 years, 194 days old. The youngest active player in the NBA is Toronto Raptors forward Ulrich Chomche, the 57th overall pick in the 2024 NBA draft, who was born on December 30, 2005. LeBron James is the oldest active NBA player.

Do NBA Waterboys get paid? ›

Contrary to popular belief, waterboys in the NBA do receive compensation for their services. The average salary for NBA waterboys ranges from $53,000 to $58,000 annually, which translates to roughly $25 per hour. However, it is worth noting that this figure can vary depending on the team and its financial resources.

Who are the four NBA billionaires? ›

8 of the richest NBA players ever – net worths, ranked: from LeBron James and Michael Jordan, to Shaquille O'Neal, Vinnie Johnson and Magic Johnson, who just joined the billionaires' club in 2023.

Who has the richest deal in NBA? ›

The Celtics are planning to sign superstar Jayson Tatum to a five-year, $314 million supermax deal. It's the largest contract in NBA history in terms of total value, and Tatum takes that record from teammate Jaylen Brown. Brown signed a supermax contract last season that is projected to be worth $286 million.

Who scored 77 points in an NBA game? ›

Single-game leaders
1100Wilt Chamberlain*
281Kobe Bryant*
378Wilt Chamberlain* (2)
473Wilt Chamberlain* (3)
32 more rows

Who has the most NBA rings? ›

Bill Russell holds the record for most NBA rings with 11.

Who is the lowest scoring NBA player? ›

Michael Ruffin has put up the fewest career points per game, with 1.7 per game.

What's the worst NBA loss? ›

The Thunder's 62-point win wasn't enough to rid the franchise of holding the record for the most-lopsided loss in league history, which was a 152-79 rout by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2021.

What is the lowest score in NBA history? ›

The lowest-scoring NBA game happened on November 22, 1950, as the Fort Wayne Pistons managed to defeat the then reigning champions, Minneapolis Lakers 19-18. Both teams' scores combined, the total turned out to be 37.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Last Updated:

Views: 5922

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Birthday: 1996-01-14

Address: 8381 Boyce Course, Imeldachester, ND 74681

Phone: +3571286597580

Job: Product Banking Analyst

Hobby: Cosplaying, Inline skating, Amateur radio, Baton twirling, Mountaineering, Flying, Archery

Introduction: My name is Kimberely Baumbach CPA, I am a gorgeous, bright, charming, encouraging, zealous, lively, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.