10. Draft Bob McAdoo over LaRue Martin in 1972?
This one is a head-scratcher. McAdoo was unquestionably the top prospect in the 1972 NBA Draft. The 6’9 big man was unstoppable during his lone season at UNC, and teams were drooling over him. McAdoo was ready to compete right away and had star written all over him.
The Blazers had the worst record in the league in their second NBA season, which gave them the top pick. The lottery was not introduced until 1985. They had just hired former college coach Jack McCloskey, and everyone was excited about McAdoo’s potential. Then, suddenly the deal was off. Few know for certain what happened, but McAdoo ended up in Buffalo.
The Portland Trail Blazers selected LaRue Martin first overall, and the big man was one of the biggest busts in league history. He played just four years in the NBA and never averaged more than 16.9 minutes or 7.0 points per game. McAdoo was a five-time All-Star and three-time scoring champ that won MVP in 1975 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Coach McCloskey wanted McAdoo, but management could not make it happen. It set Portland back as they did not make the playoffs until winning the championship with Bill Walton in 1977. Things certainly would have been different with Bob McAdoo.