Top 20 worst NBA players in the basketball league's history

Top 20 worst NBA players in the basketball league's history

Every basketball fan can quickly mention the best NBA players. However, the same field has players whose teams wouldn’t want to re-admit. Of course, not every player that sticks in the NBA after training camp is on a path towards stardom. The worst NBA players continually detriment their teams despite being selected amidst other great players.

worst NBA players
Hasheem Thabeet attends the Gotham Magazine celebration of the launch of LACOSTE XL at the Pisco Porton VIP Lounge in New York City. Photo: Eugene Gologursky
Source: Getty Images

Any basketball player who manages to make it to the world's top basketball league deserves a significant level of respect and recognition. But, unfortunately, just as there are all-time great NBA players, there are all-time bad ones.

Worst NBA players

The NBA has given fame to many players. As an NBA fan, you may have questions such as; who was the worst NBA player? Who is the slowest NBA player right now? Here is everything you need to know about the worst NBA players in the basketball league's history.

20. Rick Robey

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worst NBA players
College Basketball: NCAA Final Four: Kentucky Rick Robey (53) in action, dunk during championship game vs Duke. St. Louis. Photo: Rich Clarkson
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: January 30, 1956, in Coral Gables, Florida
  • College: Kentucky
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 7 seasons (1979-1986)
  • Teams: Indiana Pacers (1978-79), Boston Celtics (1979-83), Phoenix Suns (1983-86)

Rick Robey is on the list of NBA's worst basketball players for being terrible and lazy. Having played eight seasons, Rick made 46 starts in his entire career. The player had been selected No. 3 overall in 1978 by the Indiana Pacers. The selection was three slots ahead of the Boston Celtics, who selected Larry Bird.

Rick Robey was later traded to the Celtics, where he got a front-row seat to Bird's greatness. The player rode the bench behind Bird from 1979 to 1983. After that, Rick left the NBA playing for Phoenix Suns (1983- 1986), and nothing much of his achievements can be counted on.

19. Randy White

worst NBA players
Forward Randy White of the Dallas Mavericks grabs the rebound during a game against the Denver Nuggets at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Tim de Frisco
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: November 4, 1967, in Shreveport, Louisiana
  • College: Louisiana Tech
  • Position: Forward
  • NBA career: 5 seasons (1989-1994)
  • Teams: Dallas Mavericks

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Randy White was lucky to get the power forward position at Louisiana Tech, following Karl Malone. He was selected No. 8 overall in the 1989 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks. The Maverick intended to find the second coming of The Mailman.

When he was active between 1989 and 1994, White shot around 40 percent from the field over five seasons. Randy never averaged in double digits and played only one playoff game for the five seasons.

18. Mark Madsen

worst NBA players
Mark Madsen #35 of the Los Angeles Lakers passes the ball during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: January 28, 1976, in Walnut Creek, California
  • College: Stanford
  • Position: Forward
  • NBA career: 9 seasons (2000-2009)
  • Teams: Los Angeles Lakers (2000-03), Minnesota Timberwolves (2003-09)

Mark Madsen was a below-average player who got a great opportunity at the NBA. Madsen got his first contact with Los Angeles Lakers as a rookie in 2000. After the first of three consecutive NBA titles won by the dynamic trio, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and head coach Phil Jackson.

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Madsen later joined Minnesota Timberwolves (2003-2009). He was only a good teammate and not a performer. For this reason, he stayed on the roster for three seasons despite being genuinely terrible on the floor. By the time he was leaving NBA in 2009, Mark had career averages of 2.2 points and 2.6 rebounds.

17. Smush Parker

worst NBA players
Smush Parker #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Doug Pensinger
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: June 1, 1981
  • College: Fordham
  • Position: Guard
  • NBA career: 6 seasons (2002-2008)
  • Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (2002-2003), Detroit Pistons (2004-2005), Phoenix Suns (2005), Los Angeles Lakers (2005-2007), Miami Heat (2007-2008), Los Angeles Clippers (2008).

Smush Parker was a point guard who waved off Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant with the Lakers and later Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade with the Heat. He played 274 NBA games and gained career averages of 9.2 points and 2.9 assists at different points.

Despite being a great player, Parker was selfish. At different points in his career, he couldn't co-exist with other basketball players. Smush always thought he was better and needed the ball in his hands more than anybody else did. Unfortunately, his selfishness could not eliminate him from the worst players in the NBA.

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16. Jerome James

worst NBA players
Jerome James #13 on the Seattle Sonics is on the court during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon. Photo: Jonathan Ferrey
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: November 17, 1975, in Tampa, Florida
  • College: Florida A&M
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 9 seasons (1999, 2001-09)
  • Teams: Sacramento Kings (1999), Seattle SuperSonics (2001-2005), New York Knicks (2005-2009)

Jerome James was a 7-footer who had great looks and the qualities of a great basketball player. The player impressed former New York Knicks general manager and head coach Isiah Thomas. But unfortunately, Thomas signed Jerome a five-year contract which turned out disastrous.

Throughout his contract, James was a selfish player, although he also fell in the hands of Thomas, who was also poor at running a team. Jerome had a career average of 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds throughout his contract.

15. Cherokee Parks

worst NBA players
Cherokee Parks of the Washington Wizards moves the ball during the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Sporting News
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: October 11, 1972, in Huntington Beach, California
  • College: Duke
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 8 seasons (1995-2003)
  • Teams: Dallas Mavericks (1995-1996), Minnesota Timberwolves (1996-1998), Vancouver Grizzlies (1998-2000), Washington Wizards (2000), Los Angeles Clippers (2000-2001, 2002-2003), San Antonio Spurs (2001-2002), Golden State Warriors (2003).

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Despite being on the list of the worst players in the NBA hall of fame, Cherokee Parks won a national title at Duke as a freshman. Duke was the No. 12 overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft. The national title winner had a career average of 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Parks played for various teams and appeared in NBA's 11 seasons. In all the seasons, Cherokee never averaged more than 8 points in one season. Parks played the most extravagant version of the Spanish bullfighter-inspired "Ole!" defence in NBA history.

14. Keith Closs

worst NBA players
Keith Closs #33 of the Los Angeles Clippers slam dunks over Charles Barkley #4 of the Houston Rockets during the game at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. Photo: Sporting News
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: April 3, 1976, in Hartford, Connecticut
  • College: Central Connecticut
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 3 seasons (1997-2000)
  • Teams: Los Angeles Clippers

Being one of the worst basketball players doesn't mean one did not achieve anything during his time. For example, Keith Closs still holds the NCAA record for blocks during his time. The great player averaged 5.87 per game in two years at Central Connecticut.

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Closs caught on fairly quickly with the Los Angeles Clippers. He was a backup for three seasons before he drank himself out of the league. Keith was so addicted that he carried liquor to the bench.

Closs averaged 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds over the three seasons in NBA. The average was not near his ability considering he averaged 13 minutes per game. Closs was part of one of the viral videos in internet history, the harrowing beat down suffered outside a Los Angeles nightclub in 2000, during his final NBA season.

13. Michael Olowokandi

worst NBA players
Michael Olowokandi #34 of the Los Angeles Clippers dribbles the ball during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Tom Hauck
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: April 3, 1975, in Lagos, Nigeria
  • College: Pacific
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 8 seasons (1999-2007)
  • Teams: Los Angeles Clippers (1999-2003), Minnesota Timberwolves (2003-2006), Boston Celtics (2006-2007).

The Los Angeles Clippers picked Michael Olowokandi as a surprise No. 1. However, he was one of the biggest busts in draft history. Michael played for eight seasons (1999-2007) and only averaged in double digits for scoring in two seasons. For this reason, he is one of the worst NBA players ever.

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Unfortunately for Clippers, there were three likely Hall of Famers in the first ten picks where he was eligible. These were Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, and Dirk Nowitzki.

12. Adam Morrison

worst NBA players
Forward Adam Morrison #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Photo: Ronald Martinez
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: July 19, 1984, in Glendive, Montana
  • College: Gonzaga
  • Position: Forward
  • NBA career: 4 seasons (2006-10)
  • Teams: Charlotte Bobcats (2006-2009), Los Angeles Lakers (2009-2010)

Adam Morrison was one of the players who starred in the NCAA competition at Gonzaga. The stardom led him to be selected No. 3 overall in the 2006 NBA draft by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Morrison glimpses of a promised rookie was when he averaged 11.8 points. However, he fell off the map stunningly later and was traded by Charlotte Bobcats to the Los Angeles Lakers midway through the 2008-2009 season.

With Lakers, Morrison won back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010. He played in 39 regular-season games, gaining an average of 2.2 points and less than one rebound and assist per game.

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11. Brian Scalabrine

worst NBA players
Brian Scalabrine #24 of the Ball Hogs enters the court during team introductions before the game against the Triplets at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Alex Goodlett
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: March 18, 1978, in Long Beach, California
  • College: USC
  • Position: Forward
  • NBA career: 11 seasons (2001-2012)
  • Teams: New Jersey Nets (2001-2005), Boston Celtics (2005-2010), Chicago Bulls (2010-2012).

Brian Scalabrine gained a significant following throughout his 11 NBA seasons. But, on the contrary, his performance on the floor was wanting. Scalabrine's career averaged 3.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in the postseason, which almost cut in half. Despite his shortcomings, Brian won the NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

10. LaRue Martin

worst NBA players
Close up of LaRue Martin, basketball player for the Portland Trailblazers in his uniform. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: March 30, 1950, in Chicago, Illinois
  • College: Loyola
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 4 seasons (1972-1976)
  • Teams: Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers selected LaRue Martin in 1972 at No. 1. Unfortunately, the selection was the beginning of the team's woes. Despite being a bad player, Martin was the third-best player available. He followed Julius Erving and Bob McAdoo. However, Martin only played four years in the NBA.

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His greatest hindrance to being a successful player was his shy personality. Martin never got used to the notoriety that came with the No. 1 overall pick. His NBA career averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. After leaving the NBA in 1976, he decided to go ahead and get a career.

9. Javaris Crittenton

worst NBA players
Javaris Crittenton #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: December 31, 1987, in Atlanta, Georgia
  • College: Georgia Tech
  • Position: Guard
  • NBA career: 2 seasons (2007-2009)
  • Teams: Los Angeles Lakers (2007-2008), Memphis Grizzlies (2008), Washington Wizards (2008-2009).

Javaris Crittenton played only two NBA seasons with three different teams. He was the No. 19 overall pick with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007. Crittenton gained an average of 5.3 points and 1.8 assists per game.

Crittenton was part of the trade that brought future Hall of Fame centre Pau Gasol to the Lakers from the Memphis Grizzlies. Crittenton was traded again within a year to the Washington Wizards.

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Here, he is remembered for engaging in an Old West-style, guns-drawn standoff with a teammate, Gilbert Arenas, in the locker room in one of the worst incidents in NBA history. In 2011, he was convicted for the murder of a 22-year-old woman in Los Angeles and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He is, therefore, scheduled to be released in 2036.

8. Greg Oden

worst NBA players
Greg Oden #22 of the Aliens looks on during the game against the Trilogy during BIG3 - Week Four at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Cooper Neill
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: January 22, 1988, in Buffalo, New York
  • College: Ohio State
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 7 seasons (2007-2014)
  • Teams: Portland Trail Blazers (2007-2012), Miami Heat (2013-2014)

Greg Oden was lucky to be picked by Portland Trail Blazers after debating whether to pick him or Kevin Durant. But unfortunately, the Blazer's selection was based on their settling for a dominant centre for the next decade.

To start with, Oden missed his rookie season due to microfracture surgery. Then, unlike many players, Oden battled injuries throughout his seven seasons. As a result, Oden is widely regarded as a top-three all-time draft bust. Watching him play was discouraging.

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7. Dragan Bender

worst NBA players
Dragan Bender of Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv looks on during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 24 match between FC Bayern Munich and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv. Photo: Roland Krivec
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: November 17, 1997, in Capljina, Bosnia, and Herzegovina
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 4 seasons (2016-2020)
  • Teams: Phoenix Suns (2016-2019), Milwaukee Bucks (2019-2020), Golden State Warriors (2020)

Bender was 19 years old when Phoenix Suns selected him as No. 4 overall in the 2016 NBA draft. He had already spent four years playing professional basketball in Croatia and Israel by then.

The selection was one of the worst for the team. As a result, the Suns declined Bender's rookie contract after four seasons. Instead, Bender is back in Israel, playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

6. Chris Washburn

worst NBA players
Chris Washburn #50 of the Atlanta Hawks takes a shot during warm-ups of a basketball game against the Washington Bullets at the Capitol Centre. Photo: Mitchell Layton
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: May 13, 1966, in Hickory, North Carolina
  • College: North Carolina State
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 2 seasons (1986-88)
  • Teams: Golden State Warriors (1986-1987), Atlanta Hawks (1987-1988)

Chris Washburn was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft of North Carolina State. However, he only participated in two seasons and averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds.

After three years of playing and three failed drug tests, Washburn was kicked out of the league for life. But, instead, he spiralled into decades of drug use.

The kick-out was a setback for Washburn, who spent five more years bouncing around lower leagues in the U.S. and overseas. Then, after being unsuccessful, he returned home and eventually settled in Houston in poverty and cracking cocaine.

5. Darko Milicic

worst NBA players
Darko Milicic #31 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots a free throw shot against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center. Photo: Christian Petersen
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: June 20, 1985, in Novi Sad, Serbia, Yugoslavia
  • College: None
  • Position: Forward
  • NBA career: 9 seasons (2003-2012)
  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (2003-2006), Orlando Magic (2006-2007), Memphis Grizzlies (2007-2009), Minnesota Timberwolves (2010-2012), Boston Celtics (2012)

Darko Milicic was nicknamed The Human Victory Cigar. He was the most terrible pick in the greatest NBA draft in history in 2003. Milicic went No. 2 overall to the Detroit Pistons behind LeBron James, No. 1 pick, and Dwyane Wade.

Milicic won an NBA championship as a rookie in 2004, despite averaging 1.8 minutes in the postseason. Milicic never averaged double digits in a single season.

4. Nikoloz Tskitishvili

worst NBA players
Nikoloz Tskitishvili #22 of the Denver Nuggets looks to shot during the game the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: April 14, 1983, in Tbilisi, Georgia, Soviet Union)
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 4 seasons (2002-2006)
  • Teams: Denver Nuggets (2002-2005), Golden State Warriors (2005), Minnesota Timberwolves (2005-2006), Phoenix Suns (2006)

Nikoloz Tzkitishvilli was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, the picked player could not function on a basketball court. He scored 30 percent from the field, with an average of 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds throughout his career. Nikoloz played for four teams over four seasons.

3. Rafael Araujo

worst NBA players
Rafael Araujo #55 of the Utah Jazz looks on against the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference Finals. Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: Aug. 12, 1980 in Curitiba, Brazil
  • College: BYU
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 3 seasons (2004-2007)
  • Teams: Toronto Raptors (2005-2006), Utah Jazz (2006-2007)

Rafael Araujo was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft. Araujo is one of the worst players in the NBA hall of fame as he couldn't score or rebound. His stay in NBA couldn't exceed three seasons.

Rafael failed despite his selection being before crucial role players such as NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, Tony Allen, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, and Anderson Varejao. In addition, Araujo only managed 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds throughout the seasons.

2. Hasheem Thabeet

worst NBA players
Hasheem Thabeet #34 of Hsinchu Jko Lioneers at the court side during the P.League+ match between Taoyuan Pilots and Hsinchu Jko Lioneers in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Photo: Gene
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: February 11, 1987, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • College: UConn
  • Position: Center
  • NBA career: 5 seasons (2009-2014)
  • Teams: Memphis Grizzlies (2009-2011), Houston Rockets (2011-2012), Portland Trail Blazers (2012), Oklahoma City Thunder (2012-2014)

Who are the top 3 worst NBA players? Hasheem Thabeet is one of them. He was the first player from Tanzania to be selected in the NBA draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. Hasheem was made the No. 2 overall pick in NBA 2009. draft

Thabeet was a lousy player who achieved 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds career averages. The worst of his NBA history is that he was selected ahead of two future NBA MVP Award winners, James Harden and Stephen Curry.

Thabeet was drummed out of the league for five lacklustre seasons. However, the Tanzanian was lucky to continue cashing checks around the world. He played in a professional league in Taiwan in 2021.

1. Anthony Bennett

worst NBA players
Anthony Bennett #30 of the Houston Rockets poses for a portrait during media day at Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Texas. Photo: Cooper Neill
Source: Getty Images
  • Born: March 14, 1993, in Toronto, Ontario
  • College: UNLV
  • Position: Forward
  • NBA career: 4 seasons (2013-17)
  • Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (2013-2014), Minnesota Timberwolves (2014-2015), Toronto Raptors (2015-2016), Brooklyn Nets (2016-2017)

The Cleveland Cavaliers picked Anthony Bennett in 2013 as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. However, the selection was a mistake for not settling on future Hall of Famer and 2019 NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Anthony Bennett played for four teams in four NBA seasons. Bennett is the worst NBA player ever and the worst in the history of team sports.

How much does the worst NBA player make? Despite being regarded as the worst player, Anthony Bennett made a tremendous wealth from his playing. As of 2022, Bennet is worth $ 8 million.

No player would wish to get into the list of the worst NBA players. However, as fate would have it, some players left NBA worse than they got in. The results would have been caused by non-performance, pride, drugs abuse, and lack of commitment. Whichever way, the players will be remembered for bad records, and others turn out to be the most hated NBA players. shared an interesting piece on the list of professional Ghanaian football players in Spain. Ghana has a considerable representation in the Spanish Premier League. These are players rubbing shoulders with some of football's most excellent like Lionel Messi and Suarez.

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