35 Worst NBA Players of All Time | NBA Worst Players Ranked

The NBA is a competitive league with some of the best athletes in the world. However, some players just don’t live up to the league’s standards. Fans and analysts often criticize these players for their lack of skill or effort on the court.

In this article, we will be looking at 35 of the worst NBA players in history. 

Some of these players are not that bad, but they are on this list for one reason or another.

We will be judging them based on their performance and attitude on and off the court as well as how others, analysts, and fans perceived them.

So who is the all time NBA worst player? Let’s find out

Worst NBA Players Ranked

1. Michael Olowokandi

The Los Angeles Clippers selected Olowokandi in the 1998 NBA draft. He was regarded as one of the most promising centers in his draft class, but he never fulfilled his potential.

He appeared for the Clippers, the Timberwolves, and the Boston Celtics, respectively.

In his final season of college basketball, the Nigerian center averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds, and he appeared to be the real deal.

He was tall enough to become an NBA powerhouse. Unfortunately, he became overconfident and rarely gave his best on the court.

Olowokandi appeared in approximately 36 games during the 2002-03 season before suffering an injury that prevented him from playing the remainder of the season. 

Last season, he suffered a knee and hernia injury with the Los Angeles Clippers, which significantly hampered his performance. He finished the season with a 12.3-point average.

Olowokandi’s professional basketball career was a flop, and he was repeatedly named one of the NBA’s biggest disappointments. 

2. Danna Ferry

Ferry, a Duke legend and current NBA executive, began his career as an NBA journeyman.

With averages of 22.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game, Ferry was the best player in college basketball. But despite having a successful college career, he never became the star he was capable of becoming.

During his 13-year NBA career, he averaged 7 points per game, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.He is regarded as one of the NBA’s biggest draught busts due to his underwhelming career.

3. Keith Closs

Keith Mitchell Closs Jr. is a former American professional basketball player.

Closs spent three seasons as a backup center for the Los Angeles Clippers in the National Basketball Association, averaging 3.9 points, 1.3 blocks, and 2.9 rebounds per game.

Closs joined the Clippers in 1997 after beginning his career with the Norwich Neptunes in the Atlantic Basketball Association. 

Despite setting career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals during the 1999-2000 season, his NBA career ended abruptly, with setting a club record for the most blocked shots per 48 minutes.

4. Bryant Reeves

Bryant Reeves is one of the few NBA players who has spent their entire career with one team.

He spent his entire career with the Vancouver Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association, from 1995 to 2001.

Bryant was chosen for his size and strength, but he only lasted three seasons with the Grizzlies due to back problems that plagued him throughout his brief career. During these seasons, he averaged only 13.35 minutes on the floor!

Despite a promising start, Bryant’s NBA career remains one of the most forgettable.

5. Javaris Crittenton

The Los Angeles Lakers selected Javaris Crittenton in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Crittenton was initially charged with murder in the August 2011 death of Julian Jones, 22. Jones was accidentally killed while Crittenton was attempting to shoot a robber.

Crittenton had two seasons in the NBA before this incident, but it severely harmed his career reputation.

Crittenton never averaged six points per game or more than 2.5 assists per game despite playing for a long time. That is why he is still regarded as the NBA’s worst player.

His NBA career lasted only two seasons. He had 5.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Crittenton appeared in 113 games and he had a 44.2% field goal percentage.

6. Elliot Williams

Williams (left) playing for Duke in 2009 – source

Elliot Williams was selected 22nd overall in the 2010 NBA Draft after only two years of college play.

Williams suffered a knee injury the year he was drafted.

Williams also missed a significant amount of the 2011-2012 NBA season after dislocating his shoulder during a practice in early March. He had appeared in 24 games this season, averaging 3.7 points per game.

7. Sam Bowie

Sam Bowie is frequently cited as the biggest NBA bust simply because he was drafted ahead of Michael Jordan. He averaged about 11 points and 8 rebounds per game during his career.

In his sophomore year, he suffered a stress fracture to his tibia while jumping for a photo shoot, causing him to miss two seasons.

8. Chuck Hayes

Chuck Hayes began his professional career as an undrafted D-leaguer with slightly above-average rebounding skills.

The Houston Rockets signed Hayes to a 10-day contract in 2006 after their front court suffered several injuries.

However, to be completely honest, Hayes wasn’t all that impressive even before the injuries harmed his skills.

9. DeSagana Diop

The Senegalese center DeSagana Diop was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was the eighth pick in the 2001 NBA Draft.

DeSagana Diop is undeniably one of the worst NBA players of all time, with a career average of 2.0 ppg and 0.4 APG.

He has never averaged more than three points or 5.5 rebounds per game in his ten-year career.

10. Robert Traylor

Traylor, described as a “gentle giant” with a generous smile, spent seven years in the NBA.

Traylor got the nickname “Tractor” in high school. The Dallas Mavericks selected him sixth overall in the 1998 NBA Draft.

He is most well-known for his time at Michigan, where he stood out for three seasons before becoming embroiled in a major booster scandal.

Overall, he was a flop for the Bucks, struggling with weight issues and injuries.

11. Hamed Haddadi

Hamed Haddadi, an Iranian-born free agent, signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) had its first Iranian player in Haddadi.

The 7’2″ Haddadi has struggled to find a place in the NBA, averaging only 6.2 minutes per game.

12. Pete Chilcutt

Pete Chilcutt’s career lasted from 1991 to 2000. He played for several NBA teams during his nine-year NBA career.

He played an average of one minute per game, making no notable attempts at shots, blocks, assists, or other stats.

Throughout his nine-year NBA career, he did not average more than 6.1 points per game, but he was praised for his clutch shooting stroke rather than his athletic abilities.

13. Mark Madsen

Mark Madsen began his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and finished with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He had some natural basketball ability throughout his nine-year playing career, but he never worked hard to get it far. He was also a member of the Los Angeles Lakers championship teams during his first two seasons.

Despite appearing in over 450 games and starting 70, Madsen never averaged more than four points or four rebounds.

14. Brian Cardinal

Brian Lee Cardinal is a former American professional basketball player. During his 12-year NBA career, he played for six different teams, including a stint in Spain.

Despite the fact that he won a championship ring with the Dallas Mavericks, this does not make him a good player.

Cardinal never had a double-digit scoring average in his 12 NBA seasons. He played in 12 NBA seasons despite having average skill, but he was never able to average much in the way of points, and his highest total was 9.6.

15. DeMarre Carroll

DeMarre Carroll averages 2.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in his career. He is more of a defensive player, but due to an injury, he only played 15 minutes in three games this season.

During his two seasons in Toronto, Carroll averaged 9.4 points per game and made less than 40% of his shots.

His poor shooting on the offensive end offset whatever defensive value he provided.

In his rookie year, he averaged just 12 points per 48 minutes, and it didn’t get any better in his sophomore year.

16. Hasheem Thabeet

The Memphis Grizzlies selected Hasheem as the first player from Tanzania in the NBA draft.

Thabeet was a terrible player with career averages of 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds. He was booted out of the league after five unimpressive seasons.

The worst moment in his NBA career was being chosen before Stephen Curry and James Harden, two future NBA MVP Award winners.

17. Kwame Brown

Kwame Brown was undeniably one of the league’s most inconsistent players, with many calling him the worst number-one draft pick in the game’s history.

Before being drafted into the NBA, Kwame Brown was tipped to be one of the greatest players in NBA history. But he couldn’t live up to the hype.

The Washington Wizards selected him first overall in 2002.

Despite playing in the NBA for 11 seasons and with seven different teams, Kwame Brown was not a particularly good player.

Brown struggled to handle the ball and never averaged over 7.4 RPG. He has a career average of 6.8 points per game and 5.8 rebounds.

18. Darko Miličić

Darko Milicic will be remembered in NBA history as one of the most infamously terrible draught picks.

The four players selected after Milicic in this draft were LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.

In his first season, Milicic managed to score 48 points altogether. He totaled 152 points during his time with the Pistons.

His greatest season was with the Timberwolves when he averaged 8.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and two blocks per game.

19. Anthony Bennett

Anthony Bennett was never more than a league benchwarmer. He needed five games to hit his first shot of the season.

In parts of four NBA seasons, he averaged 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds.

Bennett displayed some talent in college and was a scorer at every level, making him appear to be a versatile, two-way player for Cleveland. But according to some, he lacked the motivation to compete in the major leagues.

Bennett never started a game as a rookie and only averaged 4.2 points per game in 52 games.

20. Nikoloz Tskitishvili

Georgian-born Nikoloz Tskitishvili is one of the tallest athletes in sporting history.

As a 7’0″ forward, he was selected fifth overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2002 Draft.

In 172 career games, he has averaged three points, two rebounds, 0.7 assists, and 0.3 blocks while shooting a dreadful 30% from the field.

His career average was only 2.9 points per game. As a result, Tskitishvili is among the worst NBA players in history.

21. Adam Morrison

Adam Morrison is one of those guys who looks funny and plays poorly but still manages to remain in NBA fans’ hearts.

Injuries have exacerbated Morrison’s bust status, but the guy simply wasn’t good enough to be drafted with the third overall pick.

Morrison averaged 3.4 points per game in his final two seasons in the NBA.

22. Brian Scalabrine

Despite being a solid college player at the University of Southern California, Scalabrine lacked the athleticism to contribute significant minutes in the NBA.

Although it might not be accurate to label Brian Scalabrine as the worst NBA player, given that he spent 11 years in the league, still, throughout his career, he was undoubtedly one of the league’s least productive players.

In his entire career, he scored 3.1 points on average.

23. Todd Fuller

Todd Fuller failed to deliver as an NBA player despite a notable college career at NC State.

During his NBA career, he only averaged 4 points and 3 rebounds per game.

He failed to live up to expectations despite having a five-year NBA career and playing for four different teams.

24. Zan Tabak

Tabak was a player in the 1990s and early 2000s. Despite his height of seven feet, he struggled to rebound in the NBA.

Several notable achievements marked his twenty-year basketball career, but it is undeniable that even when he was able to play, he was piss-poor.

Tabak only averaged five points, 3.6 rebounds, and 0.7 assists per game in his six NBA seasons.

Although Zan Tabak was not a successful NBA player, he has recently found success as a head coach of Trefl Sopot of the PLK.

25. Mengke Bateer

Mengke Bateer played three seasons in the NBA. He played for three different teams, beginning with the Denver Nuggets, then the San Antonio Spurs, and finally the Toronto Raptors.

Though he was the only one of two Chinese-born players who won an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs, it was agonizing to watch him sprint up and down the court. 

He appeared in 46 games, averaging 3.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.6 assists. He had a field goal percentage of 39.1%.

26. Rafael Araújo

Simply put, Rafael Araujo was a terrible NBA player. There isn’t any if, and, or, or about it.

Araujo spent three years in the NBA. Two of those seasons were spent with the Toronto Raptors and one with the Utah Jazz.

He appeared in 139 games, averaging 11.4 minutes per game, 2.8 points per game, 40.5 percent from the field, and 2.8 rebounds.

27. Charlie Villanueva

Villanueva’s NBA career has not been easy. Since being drafted by the Toronto Raptors in the 2005 draft, the scoring forward has been traded three times.

Villanueva had a solid rookie season with the Raptors. That doesn’t excuse the fact that he was drafted far too early and served no purpose or void on the team.

He has received a tonne of criticism from all sides for his passive defense and lack of focus on rebounding details.

Villanueva has been a letdown for the Pistons since joining the team in 2009.

28. Michael Ruffin

Michael Ruffin lacked the skill set to play as a swingman in the league and definitely lacked the size to play heavy minutes in the roles he excelled at.

Despite averaging 1.7 points per game and shooting 41% from the field, he managed to stay in the NBA for nine seasons.

Ruffin finished his NBA career with 716 points and 946 fouls, making him one of only a few players with more fouls than points.

Ruffin finished as one of the worst basketball players in history. In 2008-09, he averaged 0.5 points on 29% shooting with the Portland Trail Blazers.

29. Jonathan Bender

The performance of Jonathan Bender fell far short of what was anticipated of a No. 5 overall pick.

Bender entered the NBA straight out of high school, which could be the main reason he was not NBA-ready and never lived up to his potential.

Chronic knee problems would later derail his career, causing him to miss all but nine games from 2004 to 2006. The last time fans saw him was in a failed comeback with the New York Knicks in 2009-10.

30. Sun Yue

Sun Yue is one of the world’s tallest basketball players.

He was competent when he first joined the NBA, but as time went on, it became clear that he was unfit to play for the league. He committed four fouls and two turnovers in his debut.

Unfortunately for Yue, things were not going well as he continued to commit more fouls than points. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to become a good player.

31. Aleksandar Radojević

Many consider the 1999 NBA draft to be one of the league’s weakest in history. 

When the Toronto Raptors drafted Aleksandar Radojevic in 1999, they thought they had found their future center. Instead, Radojevic was a total flop, appearing in only 15 NBA games.

Radojevic only played one season in the NBA, barely making an impact for the Toronto Raptors.

32. Cherokee Parks

After being picked by the Dallas Mavericks in 199, Cherokee Parks played for seven different teams during the course of his ten-year NBA career.

He averaged 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds while never exceeding 8 points a season in his career.

During his final season in 2003–04, he averaged a solid 1.0 points for the Golden State Warriors in 12 games.

33. Manute Bol

Manute Bol, perhaps the tallest NBA player of all time, was an incredible sight to watch in person, especially when compared to the other nine players on the court.

He spent ten seasons in the NBA with Washington, Golden State, Philadelphia, and Miami.

Manute Bol played an average of 18.7 minutes per game throughout that 10-year period, averaging 2.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists, and 3.3 blocks.

His career came to an end in 1995, and all of his game statistics were quite poor.

34. Demetris Nichols

Demetris Nichols is a former professional basketball player from the United States. He can play at both positions – small forward and power forward.

The Portland Trail Blazers drafted him in 2007. His career lasted only four years.

During his 18-game NBA career, he averaged 1.2 points, 0.1 assists, and 0.4 points per game.

Nichols left the NBA after being unable to score even an average of two points per game.

35. Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley was selected 17th overall by Toronto in 2001 after a standout junior season at Villanova.

Bradley played nearly 20 minutes per game in 2002-03, scoring 5.0 points and grabbing 6.1 rebounds. 

Injuries played a role in his career derailment, but Bradley also failed to adjust to the physicality and speed of the professional game.

Bradley played for a few years and averaged only 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

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