Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Now that the NBA Draft is just around the bend it is time for everyone to discuss the greatest NBA Busts of all time. ESPN had a top 10 greatest busts on Sportscenter and I'm sure blogs and MSM members alike are all putting together their lists of the greatest NBA Busts of all time. But I would just like to hypothesize for a second. What would be worse for an NBA franchise? To draft a player in the lottery whom never amounts to anything and is labeled as a bust or to forfeit the pick entirely. To analyze this let me bring up a few cases of the historic NBA draft busts.
Kwame Brown was drafted number 1 overall by the Washington Wizards in 2001 and was listed as ESPN's #1 draft bust of all time. He even has a website aptly named KwameBrownSucks.com devoted to the fact that he sucks. In 7 seasons in the NBA Kwame has averaged 7.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. His peak numbers came 03-04 when he averaged 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. These numbers certainly aren't great but they are better than having no player at all right? And if that doesn't tip the scale than this will. In 2005 off season the Wizards were able to trade Kwame and Laron Profit for Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins.
Verdict: Kwame > Forfeiting the Pick
Sam Bowie will always be renowned as a major draft bust because he was taken instead of Jordan. Was Bowie ever a dominant player? No of course not, but at his peak with the Nets in 89-90 he averaged nearly 15 points with 10+ boards. And in his first two seasons with the Trailblazers after being drafted he averaged 10+ points and 8.5 boards. He was no superstar but he contributed.
Verdict: Bowie > Forfeiting the Pick
Chris Washburn in my humble opinion is the single biggest draft bust in history in the typical context. In 1986 used the #3 overall pick to take the NC State big man. After only a season an a half with the Warriors the team jettisoned him off to the Hawks for Notre Dame Grad Ken Barlow who was playing in Europe and who played the rest of his career in Europe. All in all, Washburn thanks to drug problems lasted only two seasons in the NBA before getting the boot and only averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game during that period.
Verdict: Chris Washburn = Throwing away the Pick
And now this brings me to my point. Even the worst draft bust brings more benefits to a franchise than forfeiting the pick entirely. At the absolute worst when drafting a player like Chris Washburn you are essentially throwing away the pick. And therefore one historical pick is being overlooked by everybody creating a list.
Len Bias is in fact the single biggest Draft 'Bust' of all time. Obviously this isn't a very kosher opinion to have given that the reason he never contributed to an NBA team is due to his completely tragic death. And I understand that taking this stance is completely controversial and why every single list fails to include Bias but the facts remain that even the worst of the worst contribute something to their franchise while Len Bias did not. The only difference in NBA terms between Bias and Washburn (who were drafted #2 & #3 in 86) is that Bias cocaine use led to his death while Washburn's led to his banishment from the league.
[This is why I have a Heartless Tag, sigh]