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The Biggest NBA Busts Drafted Straight From High School

The Biggest NBA Busts Drafted Straight From High School Robert Swift

Entering the league can be kind of overwhelming for some young ballers, especially if they’re not mentally prepared to take a step forward and make the adjustments to adapt their game to the NBA.

Back in the day, players weren’t required to spend a year in the NCAA or playing overseas before being eligible to enter the NBA Draft, and they could just make the leap straight out of high school.

Some players of the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James dominated basketball scene straight out of high school, but, naturally, others mightily struggled to embrace their new role. Today, we’re going to let you know about the biggest NBA busts drafted straight from high school.

5. Kwame Brown

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 31:  Kwame Brown #5 of the Washington Wizards is defended by Antoine Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics during the game at MCI Center on October 31, 2002 in Washington, D.C.  The Wizards won 114-69.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Kwame Brown is one of the biggest draft busts, but he is not the worst mistake drafted straight from high school. Praised by Michael Jordan himself, he ended up being bullied by his Royal Airness after he took him with the 1st overall pick in 2001, and then again by Kobe Bryant during his failed Lakers stint.

Brown failed to establish himself as a scorer in this league, averaging just 6.6 points and 5.9 boards on 49% shooting. Moreover, he looked scared and lack any kind of self-confidence throughout his career.

4. Sebastian Telfair

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Sebastian Telfair is not only one of the biggest busts ever taken straight out of high school, but also one of the biggest busts in NBA history, as he was one of the most hyped players ever in high school after being named Mr. USA Basketball.

He had committed to play for Rick Pitino at Louisville but then uncommitted to be drafted 13th overall in 2004 by Portland. Not only he failed to live to the expectations and become a consistent scorer, but he would also face several serious gun charges and was about to face prison time a couple of years ago.

3. Jonathan Bender

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During his early years, Jonathan Bender was an incredibly dominant power forward, a guy that could put up a lot of points on the scoreboard and dominate both sides of the glass, even logging a 31 point effort in the McDonald’s All-American game to break Michael Jordan’s record.

He’d make it to the league as the 5th overall pick in 1999 but have an injury-ravaged career that really took a toll on his development. Later, he would go on to invent a device that would help ease the pain on strained knees.

2. DeSagana Diop

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Of all of the players that made it to this list, DeSagana Diop is the one that had the longest NBA tenure, spending 11 mediocre seasons in the NBA (something that I still can’t understand up to this day).

The Senegalese big man was taken straight out of Oak Hill Academy with the 8th overall pick in 2001 by the Cleveland Cavaliers, also playing for the Mavericks, Nets and Bobcats, where he became famous for airballing a free throw. Then, he’d be an assistant coach for the Jazz.

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1. Robert Swift


Robert Swift has to be considered one of the biggest busts in the history of the NBA, as the big man one of the highest ranked prospects in the league and had even committed to go to the University of Southern California before making it to the NBA straight out of high school.

Swift was drafted 12th overall in 2004 by the Seattle Supersonics but struggled to find any playing time at all. He’d leave the league with averages of 4.3 points and 3.9 boards. Then, it would all go downhill for him, getting arrested for a DUI, then getting his house foreclosed and getting arrested again for armed robbery.