As discussed in a previous post, Sam Bowie is often highlighted as the biggest bust in NBA history simply because he was drafted ahead of Michael Jordan. While it’s clear that the Trail Blazers made a really bad decision regarding their 2nd overall pick in the 1984 Draft (especially given that Portland also passed up on Hall of Famer Charles Barkley), Bowie was not an all-time bust. In particular, he averaged approximately 11 points and eight rebounds per game during his career. On behalf of all players who achieved at least a minimum threshold of production during their careers and in honor of the most inappropriately maligned player in NBA history, I have created the Sam Bowie Exemption.
While playing for Loyola Marymount during the 1989-90 season, Bo Kimble led the NCAA in scoring with an average of over 35 points per game. For as memorable as that stat might seem, he is remembered mostly for shooting free throws with his off-hand as a tribute to former teammate Hank Gathers. If you like heart-warming stories, you should read my last post which highlights Kimble’s college achievements as well as LMU’s magical run to the 1990 Elite Eight. If you think fairy tales are overrated, keep reading because Kimble proved to be an overrated college basketball player with a disappointing NBA career. With such a significant discrepancy between his college and professional careers, Kimble has been named the #6 NBA Draft Bust.
While the NBA generally has relied on the principle that “worst picks first” when determining draft order, the league has always altered this principle with assorted gimmicks. As described in my previous post, the NBA originally allowed teams to declare a territorial preference as a way to trump draft order. After eliminating this preference in the mid-1960s, the league began using a coin toss to award the #1 overall pick to the worst team in the East or the West. The draft order for the remaining teams was determined strictly based on the inverse order of how each team finished in the prior season regardless of division (or conference). The coin toss system was considered acceptable for almost 20 years, but NBA Commissioner David Stern decided to scrap it before his first anniversary on the job. This post will review the NBA Draft during the “Coin Toss” Era.