10 Worst NBA Players of All-Time

There are poor performing players who lasted only a few seasons in the league, and those who thrived in mediocrity a little longer.


10 Worst NBA Players of All-Time

Worst NBA Players in history?

The NBA is the greatest stage of world basketball where the creme de la creme compete for the champions crown. Over the years, the league has witnessed an astounding array of talented basketball players dazzling the NBA courts. To compile a list of the best NBA Players in history is surely one difficult task. But what of the worst NBA players of all-time? 

Just as there have been good players and great players, the NBA has seen some really underwhelming performers set foot on the same courts. In terms of athletic prowess as well as their overall sporting impact on the teams, many such prospects have attempted and failed miserably in the NBA. 

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There are poor performing players who lasted only a few seasons in the league, and those who thrived in mediocrity a little longer. However, racking up mediocre stats is one thing but having a negative impact on the team is another. Over the years, different franchises have seen their signings fail to coexist among sporting greats. Then there were athletes who not only performed poorly on the court, but were charged with drug abuse and arms possession during their time in the league. Considering all such factors, here are the 10 worst NBA Players of all-time. 

Related: NBA Power Rankings: 10 Greatest Jerseys in League’s History

#10 Smush Parker

Smush Parker
(image: AP)

Having played six seasons in the NBA, Smush Parker was one of the players you would never want on the squad. Not only were his on-court performances shabby, but his egotism off it also came at a price to the team. Having played for six teams in those six seasons between 2002 to 2008, Parker failed to excel with any of them. 

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Worse it was his inability to coexist with bigger names on the squad that completely ruined team plays. And why would he do that? Because clearly, he was better. Or well, so Parker thought. With a career average of 9.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, Smush Parker was one of the worst-ever players in the NBA.

#9 Bryant Reeves

Worst nba players, Bryant Reeves
(image: AP)

One promising talent, Bryant Reeves was Vancouver Grizzlies’ sixth overall pick in 1995. The 7-footer could have been one of the sensational Centers of his time, albeit if not for his injuries. Already making waves by the end of his second season, Reeves was offered a gigantic $61.8 million six-year deal. That perhaps is what ultimately triggered his downfall. 

Having landed one of the best contracts of his time, the 7-foot center started to lose focus on his fitness. His on-court performances deteriorated, and he gained weight which ultimately put him through consequent injuries. His prominence on the field ebbed away and playtime went down the negative gradient. Across his six seasons in the NBA, he averaged 12.5 points per game with 6.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Bryant eventually bid the league adieu in 2001.

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#8 Pete Chilcutt

Pete Chilcutt
(image: AP)

For a below-mediocre player, Pete Chilcutt survived much longer in the NBA. He played for nine seasons in the league from 1991 to 2000 and did almost nothing worth noticing meanwhile. No wonder he had to switch teams as frequently and clearly wasn’t impactful for any of them. 

Chilcutt played for the Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons, Vancouver Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers across those nine seasons. His shoddy career averages of 4.3 points per game with 3.3 rebounds did him no favor either.

#7 Desanga Diop

(image: sweedishthree)

Desanga Diop had one long NBA career in spite of displaying zero skills on the court for 12 straight years. From 2001 to 2013, Diop played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets and the Charlotte Bobcats. Almost incredible that he played a regaling 601 games, with almost no skill to show for it. 

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The 7-foot Center perhaps survived his time in the NBA perhaps just blocking shots physically and that’s all. Across those 12 seasons, Diop cashed in over $57 million worth of salaries, no less. His career averages 2.0 points per game with 3.7 rebounds and only 0.4 assists are a clear reflection of his athletic prowess. 

#6 Mark Madsen 

Shaq and mark madsen
Mark Madsen and Shaq (image: AP)

A below mediocre player, it was Mark Madsen amiable persona that saw him spend nine seasons in the NBA. A player with zero technical abilities, Madsen’s on-court performances would arguably go down as some of the worst ever in NBA history. It was due to his friendship with star teammates like Shaquille O’Neal that accommodated his stay on the team. 

Having spent nine seasons in the NBA with the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves, Madsen bid the league adieu in 2009. His career averages of 2.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game were clearly poor despite his excellent off-court persona. Shaq once remarked upon Madsen’s amiable nature saying, “Mad Dog (Madsen) was the purest NBA guy I’ve ever met. And I had to protect that…”

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#5 Michael Olowokandi 

worst NBA players
(image: AP)

Whenever NBA draft busts are brought up, Michael Olowokandi is one name that appears immediately. Chosen as the Number one pick in 1999 by the Los Angeles Clippers, they couldn’t possibly be more wrong. It remains a mystery how he remained in the league as long as he did, for Olowokandi was one terrible player. His career averages do little justice to his on-court performances with 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game. 

During his time in the NBA, Michael played for the LA Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Boston Celtics from 1999 to 2001. His presence on the field brought zero impact on his team, and worse it disrupted their gameplan at times. Bill Watson had aptly remarked, “Anytime you bring Michael Olowokandi on to your team, disaster is sure to follow.”

#4 Greg Oden

(image: AP)

Greg Oden was drafted as the No. one pick ahead of Hall-of-Famer Kevin Durant by the Portland Trail Blazers. If not the ominous fact, then his injuries sure set his fate on a downhill course right after. Suffering from continuous injuries from his very first season, Oden’s underwhelming performances were painful for the Trail Blazer fans as Durant excelled at the very top of the NBA.

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Greg Oden played seven seasons in the NBA, losing playtime through injuries and was nowhere near impactful for his team. After being waived by the Trail Blazers, Oden played for the Heat before bidding the league adieu in 2014.

#3 Chris Washburn 

Worst nba players
(image: basketball retro)

Chris Washburn’s time in the NBA was precisely short, and quite deservedly so. Having played for the Golden State Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks, Washburn’s demise was rooted in failed drug tests. Thrice found guilty, the center had to call it quits with the league in 1988 and periodically played overseas. 

He averaged only 3.1 points with 2.4 rebounds during those two seasons and his fate was sealed by then. The Center himself later remarked, “I kind of lost focus. When you’re in the NBA, you can’t lose focus.”

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“I started to enjoy the party life more than the practice life. Sad to say my stint was very short. That was the part where I lost the edge to compete again when I got to the NBA.”

#2 Rafael Araujo

Rafael Araujo
(image: AP)

During his three seasons in the NBA, Rafael Araujo was a total disaster. Drafted as the number eight overall pick of 2004, Araujo’s stint with the Toronto Raptors was horrible to watch. His lack of technique and cadence on court, made Rafael stand out as one of the worst players the NBA had ever seen. 

The Center failed to have an impact on the Utah Jazz as well and left the NBA by 2007. His shoddy career averages of 2.8 points per game with 2.8 assists clearly reflect Araujo’s inability on the court if not less.

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#1 Javaris Crittenton

Worst nba players
(image: AP)

Javaris Crittenton was the worst NBA player in the history of the sport. He played three seasons in the league for the Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards from 2007 to 2009. Drafted as the 19th overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers, Crittenton was an instant failure. It wasn’t just his shabby performances on the court that sealed his fate but more.

NBA, where arms possession is one serious offense, Javaris was involved in one of the most controversial locker room gun showdowns in history with Gilbert Arenas. Worse so, Crittenton was accused of murdering a 22-year-old woman in 2011 and is serving a prison sentence until 2036. Clearly the worst of the lot, Crittenton did no good on the court either with a career average of 5.3 points per game.

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