Despite what many Knick fans think of their team’s recent draft there have been worse picks …in fact one was named the worse draft pick in NBA history and his name is La Rue Martin. So this week’s Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday is about three of the biggest bust in NBA history.
Martin was taken first overall by the National Basketball Association‘s (NBA) Portland Trail Blazers in 1972, drafted ahead of future Hall of Famers Bob McAdoo and Julius Erving. Martin has been cited as the worst first overall draft pick in NBA history.
A 6-foot-11 center out of Loyola University Chicago, LaRue Martin entered the NBA with much fanfare in 1972. Martin set the basketball world abuzz when he outplayed Bill Walton in a game between Loyola and UCLA, in the midst of their storied title runs, in 1971–72. The Portland Trail Blazers were so impressed with Martin that they made him the first overall pick in the 1972 NBA Draft.
However, Martin never caught on in the NBA, and after the Blazers drafted Walton in 1974, he never had the chance. In his best season, Martin averaged 7.0 points per game and shot .452 from the field. He notched both of those numbers during the 1974–75 season, when Walton missed most of the year with injuries. Over his 4-year stint, Martin totaled just over 1,400 points; number 2 overall pick McAdoo totaled over 1,400 points in his rookie year alone.