The Charlotte Hornets may not have landed the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and therefore the chance to select generational prospect Victor Wembanyama, but landing the second overall pick is not a bad consolation prize. The Hornets now get their pick from the rest of the draft class, with names like Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller and Amen Thompson expected to be in play.
NBA draft history suggests that having the second pick is far from a walk in the park. Some of the greatest players in NBA history have been selected second: Bill Russell, Kevin Durant, Jerry West and Jason Kidd, to name a few. On the other hand, though, some of the biggest draft busts have also come from the second slot, and much more so than picking No. 1.
Draft Bust Honorable Mentions
Let’s take a few moments to walk through some of those disaster scenarios. When have teams absolutely whiffed with the second-most valuable pick in the NBA Draft? It happens more than you might think, and the list had to be cut down from a large starting group. We’re starting our evaluation period with the introduction of the NBA Draft Lottery, often referred to as the “modern draft era,” which was instituted in 1985.
From that group, we made our list of the biggest busts at the No. 2 pick. Honorable mentions to Jay Williams (non-basketball injury effectively ended his career), Len Bias (died of a cocaine overdose two days after he was drafted), James Wiseman (we’ll give him one more chance to become something), Michael Beasley and Danny Ferry (decent careers but certainly not stars). We therefore begin our countdown at No. 7, going back to the year 2010.