Life couldn’t have been easy for James Earl Ray (the basketball player) growing up with that name in the South in the 1960s. After all, that name is associated most often with the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. While I won’t exploit that coincidence, I won’t ignore it either. After being named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Ray was taken by the Denver Nuggets with the 5th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, he failed to live up to expectations and tallied only 334 points and 228 rebounds in 103 career games (i.e. 3.2 ppg and 2.2 rpg). As an underperforming high draft pick, James Ray begins the countdown of Top 10 NBA Draft Busts at #10 on the list.
Bo Kimble was a 2nd Team AP All-American who led the nation in scoring with a 35.3 point per game average during the 1989-90 college basketball season. Regardless, most of us remember him for the special way he paid homage to Hank Gathers, a former teammate who tragically died after collapsing on the court during a conference playoff game in March 1990. Up to that point, the teammates were inseparable. They played together on the same high school team in Philadelphia, and then enrolled at the University of Southern California before transferring to Loyola Marymount. During LMU’s magical run to the Elite Eight after Gathers’ death, Kimble shot his first free throw in each game left-handed, just like his long-time friend. This post provides the backstory behind one of the most touching moments in NCAA Tournament history.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of Dumb and Dumber (versus the new release of the far inferior Dumb and Dumber To), this post simplifies the previous one regarding the distribution of win shares for 1st round NBA draft picks. There still are a lot of numbers, but the takeaways should be easier to understand. Just to be sure, here they are.
1. Generally, draft order is a good predictor of future success in the NBA. As such, the higher the pick, the better the player should be to avoid being labeled a bust.
2. Starting with the 11th overall pick, the probability of being a flame-out exceeds the probability of becoming an All-Star by a margin of 2:1 (40% to 20%). For that reason, players taken outside of the first ten overall picks have been excluded as potential Top 10 Busts.
3. NBA legends are rare, but not as rare as you might think.