Philadelphia 76ers: 15 Biggest Draft Busts In 76ers History

Posted on April 5, 2011


7 Nov 1994: SHAWN BRADLEY OF THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS AT THE FREE THROW LINE DURING THE GAME AGAINST THE CHICAGO BULLS AT THE UNITED CENTER IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.The Philadelphia 76ers have had their success in the past, but every Philadelphia sports fan can tell you that they aren’t the luckiest team out there in modest words.

Every year there’s this thing called the NBA Draft. Well, every year there’s always that number one guy with the most potential and others of course with high expectations in the league.

As every basketball fan can speculate, not every good college basketball player translates into a good NBA player. In fact, it’s a hard transition in every sport from college to the pros, but for some reason, the NBA seems like it’s the hardest.

Every year there is always a couple players with extremely high expectations. Sometimes they succeed into All-Stars and other times they become a bust.

But what makes it even worse, is if a team drafts a bust, they most likely passed on a great player and the team looks back with regret and remorse (a la Darko Milicic and the Detroit Pistons).

The Sixers have had some success during past drafts, but they have also had a lot of busts as well.

Honorable Mentions


I was debating whether or not to call this slide “Dishonorable Mentions”, but you get the point here. Any of these guys could be swapped out with practically anyone on the following with the exception of the major busts.

Bud Ogden- Drafted 13th overall in the 1969 draft out of Santa Clara.

Stats as a Sixer: 3.5 PPG, 1.4 RPG

Glenn Mosley– Drafted 20th overall in the 1977 draft out of Seton Hall.

Stats as a Sixer: 2.2 PPG, 0.8 RPG

Shaler Halimon– Drafted 14th overall in the 1986 draft out of Utah State.

Stats as a Sixer: 3.7 PPG, 1.7 RPG

Craig Raymond– Drafted 12th overall in the 1967 draft out of BYU.

Stats as a Sixer: 2 PPG, 2.5 RPG

Pictured above is Bud Ogden

15. Speedy Claxton

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 3:  Point guard Speedy Claxton #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles the ball during the NBA game against the Washington Wizards at MCI Center in Washington, D.C. on November 3, 2001.  The Wizards won 90-76.  NOTE TO USER: User expr

Drafted: 2000, 20th overall

College: Hofstra

Stats as a Sixer: 7.2 PPG, 3 APG

Players they passed on: Michael Redd (so did many others though)

This was a pretty bad draft overall, so every team missed out besides the Bucks in the second round (yes, Michael Redd was drafted in the second round).

Claxton was only with the Sixers for just his rookie season, but the Sixers did make the playoffs with them.

Morris Peterson was probably the better pick, but neither were that great. It was just an overall draft year of busts.

14. Kenny Payne

LOS ANGELES - 1989:  Kenny Payne #18 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots against the Los Angele Lakers during the 1989-1990 NBA season game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images)

Drafted: 1989, 19th overall

College: Louisville

Stats as a Sixer: 3.5 PPG, 1.2 RPG

Kenny Payne was drafted as a senior out of Louisville. He was a 19th overall pick, but he did have some potential.

Payne’s best season was his final year with the Sixers when he averaged over six points per game.

He only lasted four years in the NBA, all served with the Sixers. He wasn’t good and was clearly a bust for the Sixers.




13. Terry Furlow


Drafted: 1976, 12th overall

College: Michigan State

Stats as a Sixer: 2.6 PPG, 1.2 RPG

Terry Furlow spent just one season with the Sixers and was traded to the Cavaliers for two future first round draft picks.

Furlow did play with the Sixers during the playoffs in the 1976-1977 season where they lost the NBA Finals to the Portland Trail Blazers.





12. Jim Spanarkel


Drafted: 1979, 16th overall

College: Duke

Stats as a Sixer: 5 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.3 APG

Jim Spanarkel saw just 11 minutes per game in his rookie season. He spent just one season with the Sixers and later spent the rest of his career with the Mavericks.

Spanarkel’s career in the NBA lasted just five seasons. His best was his sophomore year where he averaged over 14 points per game.



11. Al Henry


Drafted: 1970, 12th overall

College: Wisconsin

Stats as a Sixer: 4 PPG, 3 RPG

Players they passed on: Jim McMillian, Calvin Murphy, Tiny Archibald

Al Henry lasted just two seasons as a professional in the league with the Sixers.

But what makes him even more of a bust is the fact that he was drafted ahead of guys like McMillian, Murphy, and Archibald. All of those guys turned out into great players.

They could have had one of those guys playing alongside Billy Cunningham and Archie Clark. Plus, they lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals in a seven game series that year I mind you.

10. Leo Rautins


Drafted: 1983, 17th overall


Stats as a Sixer:1.7 PPG, 1 APG, 1 RPG

It wasn’t long before Leo Rautins found himself out of the NBA.

Rautins played just 28 games in his first season with the Sixers and did poorly. The Sixers then traded him for a third round pick to the Indiana Pacers, but Rautins later signed with the Atlanta Hawks.

His career with Hawks lasted even shorter than his stint with the Sixers, playing in just four games until he was waived.

9. Chris Welp


Drafted: 1987, 16th overall

College: University of Washington

Stats as a Sixer: 4.1 PPG, 2.5 APG

Chris Welp lasted just two season with the Sixers and just four seasons in the NBA.

Welp was actually in the same trade with Maurice Cheeks to the San Antonio Spurs along with David Wingate in exchange for Johnny Dawkins and Jay Vincent.

However, the Spurs shipped him out of San Antonio quickly to the Golden State Warriors in a straight up trade for Uwe Blab (yes, a real player and name).



8. Matt Guokas


Drafted: 1966, 9th overall

College: St. Joseph’s

Stats as a Sixer: 5 PPG, 2.4 APG, 1.9 RPG

Matt Guokas was the first player to be drafted into the NBA out of St. Joe’s. Guokas’ career in college is said to be one of the best in Big 5 history.

His career in the pros lasted over ten years, but was a journeyman the entire time.

Guokas ended up coaching the Orlando Magic down the road.



7. Luke Jackson


Drafted: 1964, 4th overall

College: University of Texas-Pan America

Stats as a Sixer: 9.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG

Players they passed on: Jeff Mullins and Willis Reed

Luke Jackson’s best season was definitely his rookie year where he averaged a double-double with just under 15 points and 13 boards per game.

However, he entered a sophomore slump and his third year wasn’t as good as his first either. But, in his next two seasons he did post double-doubles.

Although, in his last three season he really dropped off his peak.

He started and finished his career with the Sixers. Jackson makes this list because of inconsistency, but he did have his highlights of his career.

Nonetheless, he never lived up to full potential of a fourth overall pick.

6. Freddie Boyd


Drafted: 1972, 5th overall

College: Oregon State

Stats as a Sixer: 9 PPG, 3.1 APG

Freddie Boyd’s best season was in fact his rookie year where he averaged over 10 points and almost four assists per game. However, it went downhill form then on throughout his career.

His stats declined year after year and then he was signed by the New Orleans Jazz where he didn’t do any better.

This was the same year Julius Erving was drafted. Erving was drafted 12th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks, but later sold to the 76ers.

So technically they passed on Erving (as did others), but ended up buying him.

5. Sharone Wright


Drafted: 1994, 6th overall

College: Clemson

Stats as a Sixer: 10.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG

Sharone Wright’s final two seasons at Clemson were extremely solid averaging double-doubles both years.

In his rookie season with the Sixers, Wright didn’t do that bad. He averaged over 11 points and exactly six rebounds per game.

But his career as a Sixer was cut short halfway through his sophomore year when he was traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Ed Pinckney, Tony Massenburg, and a couple draft picks.

But looking back at the history, the Sixers had actually traded this draft pick in 1990 to the Phoenix Suns for Jayson Williams. The pick got traded through numerous teams and landed right back to the Sixers over the span of three years.

4. Leon Wood


Drafted: 1984, 10th overall

College: California State University, Fullerton

Stats as a Sixer: 4.2 PPG, 1.9 APG

Players they passed on: John Stockton

Even though Leon Wood was a bust, the Sixers had a steal earlier in the same draft with Charles Barkley.

Wood’s career with the Sixers was just a season and a half after being traded to the Washington Bullets straight up for Kenny Green.

However, a couple picks after Wood was one of, if not, the greatest point guard ever, John Stockton. Instead of a Stockton-to-Malone, I could see a Stockton-to-Barkley.

It’s one of those “what if” situations when you look back on things.

3. Darryl Dawkins

Darryl Dawkins of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during a game.

Drafted: 1975, 5th overall

High School: Evans High School

Stats as a Sixer: 10.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG

There were lot of expectations for Darryl Dawkins especially the fact that he was coming out of high school.

Dawkins started off his career very slow, but got into a minor groove. His best season was when he averaged just below 15 points and nine boards per game. Either way, there was a lot more expected from him.

There are a couple ironic things about this though. Dawkins was obviously a bust, but later in the same draft the Sixers drafted World B. Free, who turned out to be quite the scorer and better than Dawkins.

Not only that, but the Sixers ended up trading Dawkins to the Nets for a future first round pick who resulted into another bust we touched base on earlier, Leo Rautins.

2. Larry Hughes

15 Feb 2000:  Larry Hughes #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers moves on the court with the ball during the game against the Charlotte Hornets at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hornets defeated the 76ers 95-93.   Mandatory Credit: Doug

Drafted: 1998, 8th overall

College: Saint Louis

Players they passed on: Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce (the next two picks)

This one aggravates me the most.

The Sixers could have had Dirk Nowitzki or Paul Pierce playing alongside Allen Iverson. A tag team of either easily could have brought a championship to Philadelphia.

This is similar to the Leon Wood bust earlier.

Just imagine- A.I and Dirk vs Kobe and Shaq.

Well, so much for “The Fly-Guys”.


1. Shawn Bradley


Drafted: 1993, 2nd overall

College: BYU

Stats as a Sixer: 9.5 PPG, 7.6 RPG

Players they passed on: Anfernee Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Isaiah Rider

Shawn Bradley had a lot of expectations coming out of just one year at BYU, but his game just didn’t translate into the NBA. His seven feet six inch height advantage couldn’t even help him.

Bradley was traded halfway through his third year with the Sixers to the New Jersey Nets, and he was later shipped out to Dallas.

Bradley is easily one of the biggest draft busts in 76ers history.

Let’s hope Jimmer doesn’t turn out to be the same.

Posted in: Sixers