What Happened To These NBA Draft Busts Of The 1990s

Fans, experts, and coaches debate, dissect, and dispute the NBA draft for months, years, and sometimes even decades after the event each season. Which players took the league by storm? Which players took the league by surprise? And, perhaps most fun of all, which players were total busts? After all, nothing is guaranteed — even when a team clinches the first overall pick. Don't believe us? Check out these NBA draft flops from the 1990s.

1. Mark Macon (1991, eighth overall pick)

Mark Macon was honored with the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award during high school, and he continued to deliver while playing for Temple University. But he struggled to maintain his form after signing for the Denver Nuggets in the 1991 NBA draft. Macon was traded to the Detroit Pistons after just two years and ended up missing two entire seasons in the late 1990s. The former shooting guard was later appointed as interim head coach at Binghamton University and assistant head coach at Temple University. He played 251 NBA games with a 6.7 points-per-game (ppg) average, a 0.1 blocks-per-game (bpg) average, and 1.7 rebonds-per-game (rpg) average.

2. Larry Hughes (1998, eighth overall pick)

The Philadelphia 76ers may have been regretting their decision to pass on Dirk Nowitzki in 1998. Instead, they chose Larry Hughes in that year’s draft. To begin with, though, Hughes probably looked surefire on the back of his successful spell at Saint Louis University, during which he’d been named USBWA National Freshman of the Year. Yet while Nowitzki went on to achieve greatness, Hughes was traded to the Golden State Warriors after just two years. Following his retirement, Hughes set up an eponymous basketball academy. His stats? 14.1 ppg, 0.4 bpg, and 4.2 rpg.

3. Robert Traylor (1998, sixth overall pick)

Robert Traylor certainly had a busy draft day in 1998. Why? Well, he was initially selected by the Dallas Mavericks — before immediately being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Dirk Nowitzki and Pat Garrity. The Mavericks’ choice proved to be a savvy one, too, as Traylor failed to make anywhere near the same impression as Nowitzki did during his relatively unremarkable career. He notched up 4.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 0.7 bpg. And any chance of a comeback was sadly curtailed in 2011 when Traylor died of a sudden heart attack at the age of just 34.

4. Joe Smith (1995, first overall pick)

Joe Smith spent 16 seasons playing in the NBA — and did so for 12 teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Chicago Bulls. Yet while the power forward made an impact on the Golden State Warriors after being drafted, he never really impressed enough to justify the fact that he’d been picked first overall. Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, and Jerry Stackhouse all ended up posting far better stats despite having been selected behind Smith in 1995. Smith's finals stats were 10.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 0.8 bpg.