After finishing the 2005-06 season as the nation’s leading scorer with an average of 28 points per game (ppg), Adam Morrison was named 1st Team All-American and won both the Naismith and Wooden awards as college basketball’s most outstanding player. In addition, he had a good showing in the 2006 NCAA Tournament by leading the #3 seed Zags to the Sweet Sixteen before the team fell short in a near-upset over the #2 seed and eventual runner up UCLA Bruins. Selected by the Charlotte Bobcats as the 3rd overall pick in the 2006 Draft, Morrison had a decent rookie season with a scoring average of 12 ppg. However, he never averaged more than four ppg for a season throughout the remainder of his NBA career. Out of the league with only 1,200 points in 161 career games, Morrison earned the spot as the #2 NBA Draft Bust.
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.
Over the last 40 years, the Portland Trail Blazers have used a #1 or #2 overall pick to select three different big men. Specifically, they have taken Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, and Greg Oden during that time frame. Unfortunately, each player lost significant time due to various injuries. Walton brought a title to the city so he avoided the disdain experienced by the others. Drafted ahead of Michael Jordan, Bowie predictably earned the title of #1 Worst NBA Draft Pick. At the same time, he produced enough in his NBA career to avoid being called a bust. Oden, my #10 Worst NBA Draft Pick, similarly deserves to be omitted from a countdown of all-time busts. In his honor, this post establishes the Greg Oden Exemption for players whose careers cannot be fairly judged because of injuries.