Worst #1 Pick In The NBA History

Worst #1 Pick In The NBA History

Grace Hall, Writer

LaRue Martin was a 6’11 center for Loyola College and had just declared for the NBA draft. It was 1972 and the Portland Trailblazers had gotten the number one pick, there were many soon-to-be superstars to choose from including Bob McAdoo who ended up playing 14- years in the NBA and was named MVP in 1975. The Trailblazers didn’t choose them though, they choose LaRue Martin.


LaRue’s average numbers at Loyola over his three years playing there were 18.2 points a game, which wasn’t bad for a big man in the paint. He also ended his Loyola career averaging 15.9 rebounds a game. This meant he was averaging a double-double which is very impressive from an NBA scout’s point of view.


LaRue seemed like a pretty good choice for one of the top 10 picks. Turns out he was picked #1st overall by the Portland Trailblazers. Everyone was ready to see what this young player would do because he was expected to be a top NBA center in the eyes of many fans. LaRue never really made the transition from NCAA basketball to the NBA. All the guys were bigger, faster, and stronger than they were in the NCAA and LaRue just wasn’t ready.


LaRue only ended up playing for 4 years, which is crazy for being a #1 pick. On top of that, he only averaged 5.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 14 minutes per game. These stats were very bad considering what he was expected to average and if you consider his very tall height at 6 feet 11 inches.


 LaRue’s NBA stats were especially bad compared to the other draftees of his draft year. Bob McAdoo ended up winning the ROY (Rookie Of the Year). His team only won 21 games that season and did not end up making it into the playoffs.


After LaRue’s very disappointing and short career in the NBA, he became a Nike worker in Portland before moving on the being a UPS driver. Imagine that, going from being the #1 pick in the NBA, to delivering packages to people’s houses.