After decorated college basketball careers at Purdue in the early 1980s, both Keith Edmonson and Russell Cross were taken with top 10 overall picks in the NBA Draft. Specifically, Edmonson was the 10th pick in 1982 after earning All-American honors while Cross was the 6th pick in 1983 after being named First-Team All-Big Ten. Despite their pedigrees, the former Boilermakers had difficulty transitioning to the NBA. Of note, Edmonson scored 522 points in 87 career games while Cross scored 166 points in 45 career games. Given their lack of production as early first round picks, both are recognized as all-time busts. On the margin, Cross was worse because he was drafted before the most productive players from the 1983 Draft (i.e., Clyde Drexler, Derek Harper, and Dale Ellis) whereas Edmonson was drafted after the most productive players from the 1982 Draft (i.e. Dominique Wilkins, Terry Cummings, and James Worthy). As such, Edmonson received an Honorable Mention as a Top 10 Bust while Cross earned the #9 spot.
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.