Longtime fans: Why didn’t these high picks work out?

GatorAZ

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To take our minds of the doomsdaying and ref paranoia I thought this would be an interesting history topic on first rd picks that didn’t really pan out. I don’t remember much before the 90’s.

1974 - #4 pick: John Shumate

1976 - #10 pick: Ron Lee

1982 - #15 pick: David Thirdkill

1984 - #13 pick: Jay Humphries

1985 - #10 pick: Ed Pinckney

1986 - #6 pick: William Bedford

1987 - #2 pick: Armen Gilliam

1989 - #7 pick: Tim Perry

I realized these guys aren’t busts but more was expected of them. Also I only went back to 74’ but they had top-10 picks before that like Mike Bantom, Greg Howard, Neal Walk and Corky Calhoun.
 

Yuma

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I so wish we had Corky Calhoun around to teach the pump fake! We would play a game at my house, and start counting the pump fakes when Corky got the ball down low. 4-5 pump fakes was not unusual for Corky! He would usually put the basket in after all those fakes. No matter how opposing players tried, he would usually get a guy up in the air, even though EVERYONE knew he was going to pump fake multiple times!!
 

AzStevenCal

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Blood clots for John Shumate, otherwise he would have been one of our all time best picks.
 

Superbone

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Ronnie Lee was a fan favorite and played great for the Suns. He doesn’t belong on this list. Also, Armen Gilliam was an impressive offense talent but just not very good on the defensive end. I wouldn’t call him a bust. Jay Humphries wasn’t bad for us either.
 

Muggz

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I don't like old people. They sound like old people.
Lets talk about Devin Booker breaking a foot off in Giannises ***.
 

Russ Smith

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To take our minds of the doomsdaying and ref paranoia I thought this would be an interesting history topic on first rd picks that didn’t really pan out. I don’t remember much before the 90’s.

1974 - #4 pick: John Shumate

1976 - #10 pick: Ron Lee

1982 - #15 pick: David Thirdkill

1984 - #13 pick: Jay Humphries

1985 - #10 pick: Ed Pinckney

1986 - #6 pick: William Bedford

1987 - #2 pick: Armen Gilliam

1989 - #7 pick: Tim Perry

I realized these guys aren’t busts but more was expected of them. Also I only went back to 74’ but they had top-10 picks before that like Mike Bantom, Greg Howard, Neal Walk and Corky Calhoun.


I remember Shumate in college not sure why he wasn't better in the NBA he wasn't really a tweener. Lee was a great college player but he couldn't shoot so it wasn't a surprise he wasn't better in the NBA. Humphries was a better athlete than player. Ed P was a tweener, he was better playing against bigger guys but he was too early NBA coaches, save Don Nelson, hadn't reall figured that stuff out yet so they tried to play him at the 4 and it wasn't what he did well. Bedford had all sorts of personal issues and again better athlete than player. Gilliam was just not very athletic. Perry again undersized 5 trying to play the 4.

It is interesting you watch Draymond now and you wonder how many undersized 4/5's that had bust careers would be good players now because coaches have figured out how to use them?
 

Bufalay

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To take our minds of the doomsdaying and ref paranoia I thought this would be an interesting history topic on first rd picks that didn’t really pan out. I don’t remember much before the 90’s.

1974 - #4 pick: John Shumate

1976 - #10 pick: Ron Lee

1982 - #15 pick: David Thirdkill

1984 - #13 pick: Jay Humphries

1985 - #10 pick: Ed Pinckney

1986 - #6 pick: William Bedford

1987 - #2 pick: Armen Gilliam

1989 - #7 pick: Tim Perry

I realized these guys aren’t busts but more was expected of them. Also I only went back to 74’ but they had top-10 picks before that like Mike Bantom, Greg Howard, Neal Walk and Corky Calhoun.
Tim Perry was pretty good in his last season with the Suns making his trade value high enough for the Suns to get Barkley.
 

AzStevenCal

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I remember Shumate in college not sure why he wasn't better in the NBA he wasn't really a tweener. Lee was a great college player but he couldn't shoot so it wasn't a surprise he wasn't better in the NBA. Humphries was a better athlete than player. Ed P was a tweener, he was better playing against bigger guys but he was too early NBA coaches, save Don Nelson, hadn't reall figured that stuff out yet so they tried to play him at the 4 and it wasn't what he did well. Bedford had all sorts of personal issues and again better athlete than player. Gilliam was just not very athletic. Perry again undersized 5 trying to play the 4.

It is interesting you watch Draymond now and you wonder how many undersized 4/5's that had bust careers would be good players now because coaches have figured out how to use them?
He missed his entire first season due to blood clots in his lungs. He showed glimpses of the star he'd been in college but the blood clots continued to be a problem throughout his short career.
 

Mainstreet

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I don't like old people. They sound like old people.
Lets talk about Devin Booker breaking a foot off in Giannises ***.

We need lessons on how not to be like our parents. :)
 

Larry Schweikart

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To take our minds of the doomsdaying and ref paranoia I thought this would be an interesting history topic on first rd picks that didn’t really pan out. I don’t remember much before the 90’s.

1974 - #4 pick: John Shumate

1976 - #10 pick: Ron Lee

1982 - #15 pick: David Thirdkill

1984 - #13 pick: Jay Humphries

1985 - #10 pick: Ed Pinckney

1986 - #6 pick: William Bedford

1987 - #2 pick: Armen Gilliam

1989 - #7 pick: Tim Perry

I realized these guys aren’t busts but more was expected of them. Also I only went back to 74’ but they had top-10 picks before that like Mike Bantom, Greg Howard, Neal Walk and Corky Calhoun.
Shumate played extremely well til he got health problems. Would have been a long time power forward. Lee was one of the first to use the "flop" to draw fouls, but overdid it. By his 2nd year, he wasn't getting the calls and was a poor shooter. Given that we had Don Buse (who couldn't get his own shot), we didn't have the offense.

Pinkney never made the transition from college center to forward. Really, Alvan Adams never did either. Gilliam SHOULD have been better. Can't answer that. Thirdkill and Humphries were just busts---they were both more "defensive" guards, and I think for quite a while Jerry C was obsessed with getting more defense at the other four positions cuz he knew Adams couldn't defend the post. As I said in my long pinned thread, "Now the Story Can Be Told," I truly think that for almost 10 years Colangelo was trying to build a team around small offensive players like Walter Davis or Alvan Adams who were massive liabilities defensively. The old claim Jerry C would make is that Adams at the high post would draw the other center out---but it didn't work that way. The other team just put a forward on Adams and their centers clogged the lane against his passing off the cuts. Also, Jerry got MASSIVELY burned by the Charlie Scott/Paul Silas trade. Silas was the missing piece for the Celtics. Scott put up points, but never could make the team better, and except for Curtis Perry, we never replaced Silas.
 

AzStevenCal

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Shumate played extremely well til he got health problems. Would have been a long time power forward. Lee was one of the first to use the "flop" to draw fouls, but overdid it. By his 2nd year, he wasn't getting the calls and was a poor shooter. Given that we had Don Buse (who couldn't get his own shot), we didn't have the offense.

Pinkney never made the transition from college center to forward. Really, Alvan Adams never did either. Gilliam SHOULD have been better. Can't answer that. Thirdkill and Humphries were just busts---they were both more "defensive" guards, and I think for quite a while Jerry C was obsessed with getting more defense at the other four positions cuz he knew Adams couldn't defend the post. As I said in my long pinned thread, "Now the Story Can Be Told," I truly think that for almost 10 years Colangelo was trying to build a team around small offensive players like Walter Davis or Alvan Adams who were massive liabilities defensively. The old claim Jerry C would make is that Adams at the high post would draw the other center out---but it didn't work that way. The other team just put a forward on Adams and their centers clogged the lane against his passing off the cuts. Also, Jerry got MASSIVELY burned by the Charlie Scott/Paul Silas trade. Silas was the missing piece for the Celtics. Scott put up points, but never could make the team better, and except for Curtis Perry, we never replaced Silas.

Shumate's health problems came up before he ever played a game for us and they continued to hamper his play throughout his career. His stamina was affected by the lung probelms and I'm sure his practice time was limited too. Nice guy, bad break for him and the Suns.

Ronnie Lee, in addition to his annoying tendency to sell the calls, hit the deck hard many times a night. I believe it quickly took a toll on his athleticism and that, in addition to the roster changes, made him less valuable. I loved watching him play but I hated the soccer influence he brought to his game. As was said about another player in this thread, Lee was always more of an athlete than a basketball player.

I thought Pinckney was over-drafted at the time because of his role in the Villanova championship. If we'd taken him in the low 20's maybe we wouldn't have been as disappointed when we realized our POWER forward was really a combo forward with more smarts than size, strength or physical ability. But the good news is we at least got Eddie Johnson out of the deal when we moved on from him.

I loved Paul Silas, even though his range just barely extended to 3 feet. The man knew his limitations and almost never tried to exceed them. Scott was terrific at times but he never fit in, personality-wise, with the team - too me first as I recall. Or at least that was his reputation at the time.
 

Russ Smith

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He missed his entire first season due to blood clots in his lungs. He showed glimpses of the star he'd been in college but the blood clots continued to be a problem throughout his short career.


That explains it. I had blood clots in my lungs after surgery it was the most painful thing I've ever had in my life. Could not imagine trying to play NBA basketball in that situation
 

JCSunsfan

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Jay Humphries was a productive player until the drug thing.
William Bedford. Laziest man alive.
Armen (Armon) Gilliam. Ultimate empty stats player. No defense.
Ed Pinckney. This is the danger of drafting on the strength of one NCAA tournament run.
Tim Perry. Lots of physical skill, but not much bball IQ. Ryan McD type pick.
Ron Lee. Loved the guy.
 

Yuma

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Shumate played extremely well til he got health problems. Would have been a long time power forward. Lee was one of the first to use the "flop" to draw fouls, but overdid it. By his 2nd year, he wasn't getting the calls and was a poor shooter. Given that we had Don Buse (who couldn't get his own shot), we didn't have the offense.

Pinkney never made the transition from college center to forward. Really, Alvan Adams never did either. Gilliam SHOULD have been better. Can't answer that. Thirdkill and Humphries were just busts---they were both more "defensive" guards, and I think for quite a while Jerry C was obsessed with getting more defense at the other four positions cuz he knew Adams couldn't defend the post. As I said in my long pinned thread, "Now the Story Can Be Told," I truly think that for almost 10 years Colangelo was trying to build a team around small offensive players like Walter Davis or Alvan Adams who were massive liabilities defensively. The old claim Jerry C would make is that Adams at the high post would draw the other center out---but it didn't work that way. The other team just put a forward on Adams and their centers clogged the lane against his passing off the cuts. Also, Jerry got MASSIVELY burned by the Charlie Scott/Paul Silas trade. Silas was the missing piece for the Celtics. Scott put up points, but never could make the team better, and except for Curtis Perry, we never replaced Silas.
I often wondered if Collangelo thought Alvin could be like Dan Issel who could shoot lights out for a big from the outside. Dan had some bulk so he could fight being backed down. Alvin just did not have the bulk for 70's big men that were in the league. Issel was way before his time as a three point shooting big man. You just had to have size back then. Every team knew that, so finding decent big centers was hard. Of course everyone who has been a long time fan has come to know all the stories on how we missed out on famous centers that could have changed the franchise.
 

Bobster

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To take our minds of the doomsdaying and ref paranoia I thought this would be an interesting history topic on first rd picks that didn’t really pan out. I don’t remember much before the 90’s.

1974 - #4 pick: John Shumate

1976 - #10 pick: Ron Lee

1982 - #15 pick: David Thirdkill

1984 - #13 pick: Jay Humphries

1985 - #10 pick: Ed Pinckney

1986 - #6 pick: William Bedford

1987 - #2 pick: Armen Gilliam

1989 - #7 pick: Tim Perry

I realized these guys aren’t busts but more was expected of them. Also I only went back to 74’ but they had top-10 picks before that like Mike Bantom, Greg Howard, Neal Walk and Corky Calhoun.
As mentioned, Shumate had the blood clot issues.

Ronnie Lee was a terror on the court but never had a dependable shot.

David Thirdkill wasn't as good as advertised defensively and not much of an offensive threat.

Humphries had a pretty solid, albeit unspectacular, NBA career.

Pinckney was alright, but just a role player - he never stood out in any one particular area.

Bedford was a loser.

Gilliam was a good post scorer and solid rebounder but didn't have any foot speed and was a poor defender and passer. Still, I wouldn't call him a bust. he had a solid career.

Perry was a guy with a lot more athleticism than ability. I remember them saying he could be their answer to matching defensively up with Magic Johnson, but he just didn't have enough of a game or show enough improvement to ever be a dependable player.
 

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