Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Worst Warriors draft Pick #1: Chris Washburn
Well I said i'd do a draft profile of each of the all time horrible Warriors draft picks in tune for this years NBA Draft and here we go. A section that is designed to name and shame the people that passed on future Hall Of famers and decent players in favour of guys that faded into oblivion or are simply journeyman. So what better way to start then the Warriors all time worst selction Chris washburn.
Of all the most peculiar drafts the 1986 one is probably the most noticable. Indeed 4 of the second round selections (Mark Price, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Duckworth, and Jeff Hornacek were all stars compared to just one from the 1st (Brad daugherty). It was certainly the most famous for use of substances e.g. the Len Bias death, Roy Tapperly and William Bedford also fell victim. So in essence even though the Warriors had nothing to lose when they picked Washburn (Face it harper and Salley weren't terrific) it was still such a bad pick that a surging Ron harper would have solved problems in the backcourt that year.
This is a hard pick to explain. As a 6'11 Center Washburn was highly recruited until he choose North Carolina State. Even then his mindset wasn't right for College his refusal to go to classes as well as stealing a stereo, which netted him 46 hours in jail, a five-year suspended prison term and five years of probation it really was mind bloggling to see how he wasn't kicked off campus. Even his SAT scores made Vince Young look like a genuis!. As good as jim Valvano was as a coach and person this was probably his first and only mistake his refusal to see the flaws in Chris Washburn on the court and off meant Chris never had a shot at redemption. Even when Washburn got 27 points on a nationally televised game as NC State upset the Tar Heels it didin't really to enough to savage his College days.
Still Washburn went to Golden State at #3 the Warriors hopoing they could end a 9 year Playoff drought. Karl noe the Nuggets coach made one of his many mistakes as a NBA Coach and decided a 6'11 center with a dodgy College career would be worth taking. A few months later Washburn was continiously late for Practice, spent most of his rookie season on the bench his greatest game was a 17 point effort in a 32 point loss to the Lakers. To be fair Larry Smith regarded as one of the best Rebounders of the 80's never helped his cause but if Washburn had any motivation he could have tried and beaten him out for a starting job. It never happenned. As the story goes in a game in Clevleand Washburn had two plays called for him but totally forgot about then resulting in two consecutive Turnovers. A lottery pick he was not.
A young George Karl never realized washburns limitations
In January 1987 Washburn went to a rehab clinic finally admitting he had a coacine problem and it pretty much confirmed his NBA career was almost over. The worst part of it was during the final stretch of the 1987 NBA season where he had one last chance of redemption he played like he didn't care acting as if he wanted to be out of Oakland as quick as possible. Even a young Karl kept him out of the rotation during the playoff push.
A change of scenery was what washburn needed as he went to the Hawks bbut it did him little good averaging 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Eventually he was banned from the NBA for life in June 1989 after failing three drug tests in three years. For a guy who looked like Karl Malone in physical appearance his moral fiber and work ethic did not match. He was last seen trying to scrape together a basketball career in various minor professional leagues. What bugs me was with all the tape work of washburn done by George Karl and the Coaching staff why they didn't realize why Chris's struggles in College wouldn't translate to the NBA. How difficult is it to study a players character issues. Or did he ignore it and hope that they would go away once he withstood the rigours of the NBA. One will never know