By Budd Bailey
Bob McAdoo of the Braves
Taken in Round 1 in 1971
The next pick: Dwight Davis went No. 3 to Cleveland, and the forward spent three years with the Cavs. Then it was on to Golden State for a couple of seasons. Davis only averaged in double digits in points once in his career.
Other picks in the round: LaRue Martin was tall (6-foot-11), but his pro career was short – only four seasons, all as a reserve. It was a rather weak class, in part because the American Basketball Association grabbed some of the players. Paul Westphal was a steal for the Celtics at No. 10. Julius Erving was taken at No. 11 by the Hawks even though he was already in the ABA.
The details: McAdoo already had signed with the Virginia Squires of the ABA, but the Braves took him anyway. Then it turned out that Bob had signed the deal as a minor so the contract wasn’t valid. The Braves paid the Squires a fee, and Virginia owner Earl Foreman flushed the contract down the toilet of a hotel. McAdoo needed a year to find his groove but he soon became one of the best players in basketball (MVP in 1975). The center was traded to the Knicks in 1977, and the Braves were never the same. Bob continued to play in the NBA through 1986.
Other 2s: You’d think there would be more of them in this position. Jack Eichel( 2015) has been good to excellent for the Sabres in his six seasons, but has to do more to match McAdoo’s impact. Sam Reinhart (2014) might have played his best hockey as a Sabre in 2021, as he was one of the team’s few bright spots. Ryan Powell (2000) spent three seasons with the Bandits, and went on to a long career in both indoor and outdoor lacrosse.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)