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There’s a lot of pressure that comes with being the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. Way more often than not, the team that holds the top pick in the draft is depending on its selection to turn the franchise around. And there are certainly plenty of No. 1 picks that have done just that. But then there are those top picks that don’t perform as they were expected to and end up being labeled as busts, which is one of the worst things a professional athlete can be called.

Some No. 1 picks immediately come to mind when the “bust” conversations start. Michael Olowokandi, Kwame Brown, Greg Oden, and Anthony Bennett usually pop up first, at least when talking about the last 25 years or so, but there are plenty of top overall selections that never lived up to expectations, likely a lot more than you think.

In fact, since the first NBA draft took place in 1947, 28 of the 73 No. 1 picks in that span failed to make a single All-Star appearance. Yes, there are a few still playing that could change that number but it’s still a much higher percentage than people realize.

But before we look at the 28 that didn’t or haven’t yet made an All-Star Game, let’s check out the 45 that did.

45 No. 1 overall NBA draft picks have made the All-Star Game

Here are the 45 No. 1 overall NBA draft picks to make at least one All-Star team.

  • 1953: Ray Felix, Baltimore Bullets, 1-time NBA All-Star
  • 1954: Frank Selvy, Baltimore Bullets, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 1957: Rod Hundley, Cincinnati Royals, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 1958: Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis Lakers, 11-time NBA All-Star
  • 1959: Bob Boozer, Cincinnati Royals, 1-time NBA All-Star
  • 1960: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals, 12-time NBA All-Star
  • 1961: Walt Bellamy, Chicago Packers, 4-time NBA All-Star
  • 1966: Cazzie Russell, New York Knicks, 1-time NBA All-Star
  • 1967: Jimmy Walker, Detroit Pistons, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 1968: Elvin Hayes, San Diego Rockets, 12-time NBA All-Star
  • 1969: Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks, 19-time NBA All-Star
  • 1970: Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons, 8-time NBA All-Star
  • 1971: Austin Carr, Cleveland Cavaliers, 1-time NBA All-Star
  • 1973: Doug Collins, Philadelphia 76ers, 4-time NBA All-Star
  • 1974: Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 1975: David Thompson, Atlanta Hawks, 4-time NBA All-Star
  • 1979: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, 12-time NBA All-Star
  • 1980: Joe Barry Carroll, Golden State Warriors, 1-time NBA All-Star
  • 1981: Mark Aguirre, Dallas Mavericks, 3-time NBA All-Star
  • 1982: James Worthy, Los Angeles Lakers, 7-time NBA All-Star
  • 1983: Ralph Sampson, Houston Rockets, 4-time NBA All-Star
  • 1984: Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets, 12-time NBA All-Star
  • 1985: Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks, 11-time NBA All-Star
  • 1986: Brad Daugherty, Cleveland Cavaliers, 5-time NBA All-Star
  • 1987: David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs, 10-time NBA All-Star
  • 1988: Danny Manning, Los Angeles Clippers, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 1990: Derrick Coleman, New Jersey Nets, 1-time NBA All-Star
  • 1991: Larry Johnson, Charlotte Hornets, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 1992: Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando Magic, 15-time NBA All-Star
  • 1993: Chris Webber, Orlando Magic, 5-time NBA All-Star
  • 1994: Glenn Robinson, Milwaukee Bucks, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 1996: Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers, 11-time NBA All-Star
  • 1997: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs, 15-time NBA All-Star
  • 1999: Elton Brand, Chicago Bulls, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 2000: Kenyon Martin, New Jersey Nets, 1-time NBA All-Star
  • 2002: Yao Ming, Houston Rockets, 8-time NBA All-Star
  • 2003: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, 16-time NBA All-Star
  • 2004: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic, 8-time NBA All-Star
  • 2008: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls, 3-time NBA All-Star
  • 2009: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, 6-time NBA All-Star
  • 2010: John Wall, Washington Wizards, 5-time NBA All-Star
  • 2011: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers, 6-time NBA All-Star
  • 2012: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets, 7-time NBA All-Star
  • 2015: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2-time NBA All-Star
  • 2016: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers, 2-time NBA All-Star

There have been 28 No. 1 overall NBA draft picks that never made an All-Star appearance

And here’s the 28 No. 1 picks that didn’t make an All-Star appearance. Perhaps the most interesting entry on this particular list is Andrew Bogut, who was taken with the top pick in 2005 by Milwaukee. In his fifth season with the Bucks, which would have been the 2009-2010 campaign, Bogut was not selected to the All-Star team but was named to the All-NBA Third Team. He remains the only No. 1 pick in history to be selected to one of the All-NBA teams without being an All-Star that same season.

And we all know that this number will go down soon when Zion Williamson finally plays a full season.

  • 1947: Clifton McNeely, Pittsburgh Ironmen
  • 1948: Andy Tonkovich, Providence Steamrollers
  • 1949: Howie Shannon, Providence Steamrollers
  • 1950: Charlie Share, Boston Celtics
  • 1951: Gene Melchiorre, Baltimore Bullets
  • 1952: Mark Workman, Milwaukee Hawks
  • 1955: Dick Ricketts, Milwaukee Hawks
  • 1956: Sihugo Green, Rochester Royals
  • 1962: Bill McGill, Chicago Zephyrs
  • 1963: Art Heyman, New York Knicks
  • 1964: Jim Barnes, New York Knicks
  • 1965: Fred Hetzel, San Francisco Warriors
  • 1972: LaRue Martin, Portland Trail Blazers
  • 1976: John Lucas, Houston Rockets
  • 1977: Kent Benson, Milwaukee Bucks
  • 1978: Mychal Thompson, Portland Trail Blazers
  • 1989: Pervis Ellison, Sacramento Kings
  • 1995: Joe Smith, Golden State Warriors
  • 1998: Michael Olowokandi, Los Angeles Clippers
  • 2001: Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards
  • 2005: Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks
  • 2006: Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors
  • 2007: Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers
  • 2013: Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 2014: Andrew Wiggins, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 2017: Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers
  • 2018: Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
  • 2019: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

4 of those 28 at least won an NBA title

Of those 28 No. 1 overall NBA draft picks that never made an All-Star appearance, four of them can at least say that they won an NBA title.

1950 No. 1 pick Charlie Share won a title with the St. Louis Hawks in 1958. The top pick in 1964, Jim Barnes, won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 1969.

1978 No. 1 selection Mychal Thompson won back-to-back titles with the LA Lakers in 1987 and 1988. And, finally, Andrew Bogut (yes, him again) won a title with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference


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