There's never such thing as a sure thing when it comes to scouting and the NBA Draft. That's why scouts and front offices work around the clock to try and find the prospects whose game will translate better to the best basketball league in the world.
There are a lot of intangibles to take into account when scouting a player. Besides raw talent or skills, you also have to consider their work ethic and maturity, as; more often than not, young players fail to live up to the expectations that surround them.
Over the course of years, we've seen struggling teams land a diamond in the rough in the Draft. Other times, however, they wish they could get a redo after completely wasting a top pick in a player that just doesn't have what it takes to thrive in the NBA. Here, we present you with the top 10 most disappointing lottery picks of the decade.
10. Thon Maker - 10th Pick, 2016
Thon Maker was supposed to be a unicorn. He came from dominating his competition at every single level, and even though he was raw and his skillset and body needed time to develop, it seemed like he could become an elite two-way player.
The Bucks could never help him blossom, tho, and he's been bouncing around the league with little success over the past couple of seasons. Also, Milwaukee could've used that pick in Domantas Sabonis, Caris Levert, Pascal Siakam, or even Dejounte Murray.
9. Nik Stauskas - 8th Pick, 2014
Every team needs at least one elite shooter in today's game. That's why multiple franchises were sold on Nik Stauskas back in the day, as he looked like the second coming of Kyle Korver. Needless to say, the Canadian out of the University of Michigan was far from that.
The Sacramento Kings wasted a pick on Stauskas just to trade him sometime later. Instead, they could've had Bogdan Bogdanovic (earlier), Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Clint Capela, Dario Saric, Zach LaVine, TJ Warren, or even Nikola Jokic. Yikes.
8. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - 2nd Pick, 2012
The Charlotte Hornets knew that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's offense was a work in progress when they took him second overall. He had the tools to become an elite defender, the athleticism to be a reliable scoring option, and came from a winning program.
Sadly for them, injuries took a toll on MKG's development and he never took that leap as a scorer, even though he was a solid wing defender. Steal, that 2nd overall pick would've come to better use with Draymond Green, Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, or Bradley Beal.
7. Derrick Williams - 2nd Pick, 2011
Another former second overall pick makes the list. Derrick Williams was a never-ending source of energy and grit on both ends of the glass, so there's no wonder why the Minnesota Timberwolves took him right after Kyrie Irving was headed to Cleveland.
Williams was never more than a fringe role player, though, and he's not even in the league anymore. The Timberwolves, on the other hand, could've had Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Thomas, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic, or Kemba Walker.
6. Mo Bamba - 8th Pick, 2018
Mo Bamba's draft stock rose drastically towards the final weeks of the NCAA season and during the NBA Draft Combine. He looked like he could challenge Rudy Gobert for the title of the best rim protector in the league for many years to come, but that's yet to happen.
Bamba has yet to get it together in the offensive end and he's not doing much as a defender either, despite his skills and physical traits. The Orlando Magic could've had Mikal Bridges, Mitchell Robinson, Collin Sexton, Michael Porter Jr, or even Shai Gilgeous-Alexander instead.
5. Mario Hezonja - 5th Pick, 2015
Mario Hezonja made it to the United States after being one of the most promising players in Europe. He starred at FCB Barcelona in the Liga ACB and Euroleague and looked poised to become a star like Peja Stojakovic or Drazen Petrovic.
Hezonja's questionable decision-making and attitude cost him a lot of playing time and he could never blossom into the player we'd thought he'd be. Sadly, the Orlando Magic could've used that pick on Montrezl Harrell, Terry Rozier, Myles Turner, or Devin Booker.
4. Emmanuel Mudiay - 7th Pick, 2015
Another player from the 2015 class makes the list in Emmanuel Mudiay. With him, the disappointment was even worse, as there was a point where he was actually the highest-ranked player in the world. He decided to skip college and go pro to make some money right away, and, clearly; that wasn't the right call.
Mudiay got hurt early into his professional career but was still the 7th overall pick of the Draft. He could never develop a somewhat consistent jump shot, was out of control as a driver, and quite prone to turning the ball over. His freakish athleticism was gone to waste.
3. Dragan Bender - 4th Pick, 2016
The Phoenix Suns were convinced that they were getting the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki when they wasted their fourth overall pick in Dragan Bender. Bender was supposed to be an elite shooter and the ultimate stretch big man for them, but that wasn't the case.
Dragan Bender barely played and he didn't do much with the minutes he was given. He was out of the league just a couple of years after being drafted, and the worst part is that he was taken ahead of players like Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray.
2. Jabari Parker - 2nd pick, 2014
This one really hurts. A lot of people were certain that Jabari Parker was going to be something like Carmelo Anthony 2.0, and experts debated whether he was better than Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and the rest of that stacked 2014 class.
Parker could never establish himself in the league due to multiple career-threatening injuries. But when healthy, his reluctance to play defense and his old-school offense did nothing but hurt his team and his chances. The worst part is that he was taken ahead of Joel Embiid, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, and many other future stars.
1. Anthony Bennett - 1st Pick, 2013
And, obviously, we can't talk about disappointing lottery picks without mentioning perhaps the worst first overall pick in NBA Draft history: Anthony Bennett, who's not in the NBA anymore and is unlikely to ever play another minute in the league.
Bennett was a surprise pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers and he proved that they couldn't be more wrong. He lacked confidence, instincts, and skills, and never did anything to earn a spot on the court. They took him ahead of Victor Oladipo, CJ McCollum, Dennis Schroder, Rudy Gobert, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.