Draft Bust No. 1: Hasheem Thabeet, 2009
We come to the No. 1 player on our list, and again land in a legendary draft class. The Memphis Grizzlies landed the second pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and set their sights on a 7’3″ shot-blocking monster from the University of Connecticut, Tanzanian center Hasheem Thabeet. The National Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in college, his combination of size, length and proven defensive ability combined to make him a highly-coveted prospect.
There was no period of wondering for the Grizzlies and the league whether Thabeet was going to be a bust; he seemed to display it right from the jump. He was probably the worst offensive player in the league as a rookie and somehow got worse, and despite his shot-blocking ability was unable to earn minutes.
The Grizzlies sent him to the G-League multiple times during his first two seasons, which was unheard of for a player drafted that highly. He ended up as a throw-in player in a trade by just his second season, and again a year later. He made it just five seasons on an NBA roster, averaging 2.2 points and 10.5 minutes per game for his career. That 10.5 minutes per game is the fewest of any second-round pick in the lottery era.
Just Missed: Future Hall-of-Fame guard James Harden went just one pick later than Thabeet in 2009, and top-15 player of all time Stephen Curry was the seventh pick. Future All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Jrue Holiday also went later in the first round.
Hornets this Draft: Charlotte took an NBA “son” with the 12th pick, selecting Gerald Henderson Jr. out of Duke; he would play 391 games for Charlotte in a mostly unremarkable career. They also selected Derrick Brown in the second round, who played just 171 games in a short NBA career, and finally shooting guard Robert Vaden, who never played a single game of NBA basketball.