5 nba international players that ended up being busts

Dragan Bender- Bender was seen as a big wild card before the 2016 draft. Although he had been progressing and getting better since being a pro at 14 years old, some of his stats were really underwhelming. His rebounding was too low for someone his size and his defensive stats were awful. He could shoot though and put the ball on the floor. The Phoenix Suns took a chance on him anyway, and given that Jamal Murray and Domantas Sabonis were still available, just makes the Suns draft pick look really bad now. Bender is no longer in the league and is back playing in Europe.

Guerschon Yabusele– One of the Danny Ainge’s draft picks that still has Celtics fans shaking their heads. Even more confusing was the fact that Guerschon would have still been available at the time of Ainge’s next pick. No one else was eager to draft him, just Ainge. Even though he was bigger body, Ainge saw him as extremely athletic and someone that could be molded into a big offensive and defensive low post force. Neither happened. Ended up with career averages of just 2 points per game, and not much else. Pascal Siakim and Caris Lavert were still available at the time Danny picked him. He played in both China and France the last few years.

Thon Maker- Maker was seen as a big mystery when the draft came around. He obviously was extremely athletic and had a lot of upside, but no one could make an accurate read on him as he didn’t participate in any 5-on-5 play during the pre-draft camp. Teams and scouts only had two years of high school footage to use, as he hadn’t played much more basketball then that in his life. Some scouts thought Maker should have been a second round pick while others thought he shouldn’t have entered the draft at all. Fans who saw his mixtapes thought he should have gone #1 in the draft. That’s a wide range, from #1 to second round to not being drafted at all. Looking back, Maker should have played one year of G-League ball or a year in the NCAA to sharpen his skills. Although still playing in the NBA, Maker has played in limited games under limited minutes, never really finding his role. Not exactly the place a lottery pick should be.

Bruno Caboclo- By far the craziest first round draft pick of all time. No one on hundreds of NBA mock drafts had him getting drafted in the first round. He wasn’t even expected to get drafted in many of them. He wasn’t even on the top 25 of international prospects of that draft! The raptors decided to take their chances and take him in the first round anyway. He had big hands, a very wide wingspan and from his grainy videos, could obviously get up and down the court. His basketball skills were definitely not on par with the athletic skills, but the Raptors felt they could teach him and develop him. In the last 8 years (which is two years away from two years away from two years from two years away), he has been on 8 teams (including G League teams) and is already out of the NBA and now logging minutes in France. It will most likely be a very long time before another team takes someone in the front round with that much athletic ability and that few basketball skills.

Mario Hejonza- This guy was either going to be the star of the draft or the biggest bust. There was no middle ground. Add to it that Mario was talking a big game before and after the draft. He also declared he would win the NBA dunk contest, which seems like he could have, but he never actually participated in the end. Mario played for five years in the NBA, never accomplishing anything spectacular. His last year in Orlando he did average a whooping 9 point per game, the highest single total of anyone on the list. He also once dunked on Giannis and blocked Lebron on a game winning shot, so his NBA career wasn’t a total waste. Currently, Mario is Greece playing for Panathinaikos.

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