Worst All Time Draft Pick
There are more candidates for the "worst draft pick ever" title than you might expect. It's surprising because, when the drafts are conducted it’s not as if these players are showing up sight unseen. They have been playing their sport somewhere and surely someone deciding on the draft pick has observed them in action at least once before the draft. It’s not like the pick had to be decided on after an application was filled out.
If I have to narrow it down to one person as the worst all time draft pick, I would have to say that LaRue Martin would be my first choice. He was the first overall pick by the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers in 1972. Not only was he a bust (as we'll see), but the thing that made his selection particularly atrocious is the other players the Trailblazers passed over to pick Martin. Bob McAdoo for instance was available. And, so was the great Julius Erving Both of these players would later be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Erving, lovingly known as Dr. J, would acquire four Most Valuable Player Awards, three scoring titles and be the fifth highest scorer in professional basketball history. McAdoo received the Rookie of the Year Award in 1973, won three consecutive scoring titles, the Most Valuable Player Award, led the NBA in field goal percentages, and would enjoy 5 All Star selections.
Martin was a 6 foot 11 inch center from Loyola University in Chicago. There were high hopes for this player as he entered the NBA. The excitement was short lived. In four seasons of play, Martin would never score more than seven points per game. During those four seasons, he averaged 5.3 points a game and 4.6 rebounds. He was quite a disappointment to everyone, including himself. He never shot better than .452 from the field. The success he had at Loyola would not follow him to the NBA.
Martin retired at the end of the 1975 1976 season. He might have stuck around if he had known that the Blazers would win their first NBA championship the following season. I have to wonder if they would have won if he had still been on the team.
LaRue Martin received a B.A. in sociology with a minor in education from Loyola. After leaving the NBA he went to work in the marketing department for Nike. He moved to the United Parcel Service in 1987 and is currently a community services manager in Chicago. When asked about his NBA career he said, “It still bothers me some that I was considered a bust. But it was one of those things and I don’t have any regrets.”
Good luck Martin in your future endeavors. There's been many other terrible draft picks in sports history. So, which do you think was the worst?
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