11. Draft Adrian Dantley over Wally Walker in 1976?
Portland had the fifth overall pick in the 1976 draft after missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. They wanted a wing, and there were three future Hall of Famers in this class waiting to be taken. The Trail Blazers selected Walker, who spent eight years as a role player but was far from a star over Dantley, Alex English, and Dennis Johnson.
Walker spent just a season and a half in Portland where he struggled to get minutes before being traded to Seattle for the seventh overall pick in 1978 and a future second-rounder. The Blazers’ draft pick won two rings early in his career before becoming a starter in his prime, but Portland missed out on Dantley.
The 6’5 forward was immediately one of the best scorers in the league. He twice led the league and made six All-Star appearances during his 15-year career. Dantley won Rookie of the Year in 1977 and went just one spot behind Walker.
This was a massive miss by Portland in the draft, but they won the championship in 1977. There are no regrets, but imagine having a Hall of Famer playing next to Bill Walton on the wing. This could have taken the Trail Blazers into dynasty status.