By Budd Bailey
John Hummer of the Braves
Taken in Round 1 in 1970
The next pick: Gary Freeman went to the Bucks at No. 16, and was traded to lowly Cleveland in midseason. The forward finished his career with 67 points in his NBA career.
Other picks in the round: This turned out to be one of the great drafts in history. The top four players were Bob Lanier, Rudy Tomjanovich, Pete Maravich and Dave Cowens. Sam Lacey, Geoff Petrie, John Johnson and Jim McMillian weren’t bad either. More to the point for the Braves, they could have had Calvin Murphy (No. 18) and Tiny Archibald (No. 19) instead of Hummer.
The details: Hummer was a good defensive forward who had a six-year NBA career. The problem was that he wasn’t an exciting player to watch, and the Braves needed a little of that as a first-year expansion team. Hummer went to Chicago in 1973 in the deal for Gar Heard and Kevin Kunnert, so that worked out. John went on to do very well in the world of finance.
Other 15s: Maybe there’s a curse on this spot. The Bills have never had a No. 15 pick in a draft, and the Sabres only had one. Butch Deadmarsh (1970) never played more than 34 games in a season for Buffalo. Chris Corbeil (2009) made great strides on defense in his two years as a Bandit. Then he was dealt to Edmonton/Saskatchewan, where he became one of the league’s best players. Jeff Cornwall (2011) didn’t play much in his year in Buffalo, but also found a home in Edmonton/Saskatchewan. Mitch Wilde (2013) was a defender for the Bandits for four seasons before he was dealt to Calgary.
He got away: This pick is worth a scream of agony from Bandits’ fans. John Grant Jr. was taken by Buffalo in 1995. He instead went to college. Grant reentered the draft in 1999, and went to Rochester first overall. He scored 668 goals and 778 assists in 238 career games, ranking with the league’s best in every offensive category. The agony is that, in theory, he could have been playing with John Tavares for more than 10 of those seasons in a long career.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)