Prior to the 1986 NBA Lottery, the NBA conducted this televised event on NBC….as hosted by Pat O’Brien….in which the NBA Commissioner, David Stern, announced the order of selection by the first eight teams to pick in the upcoming 1986 NBA Draft….as Stern announces the 8th team first….working his way and announcing the team with the # 1 pick…..with Chris Washburn, Brad Daugherty and Len Bias being the projected potential first round picks.
A 6’11” center, Washburn was one of the top three high school recruits in the country in 1984…as he signed with North Carolina State University….along with future NBA stars Vinny Del Negro and Nate McMillan to form one of the best recruiting classes in the nation on a team that also included Spud Webb. A gifted athlete, Washburn combined size with speed for a big man and soft hands. In the full season Washburn played with the Wolfpack, he averaged 17.6 points a game and 6.7 rebounds….while sharing time in the front court with future NBA players Charles Shackleford and Chucky Brown….with Washburn’s best outing being against future top NBA draft pick Brad Daugherty and UNC in February 1986….and before a nationally-televised audience….Washburn scored 26 points as the Wolfpack upset the then-ranked #1 Tar Heels 76-65.
Brad Daugherty was one of the greatest big men ever to play at the University of North Carolina….where he entered college as a 16-year-old freshman….becoming a two-time All-ACC first team selection….and first team All-American in 1986. He was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men’s basketball team in 2002 and was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Daugherty averaged more than twenty points per game in his senior season.
As a freshman, Len Bias, was viewed as “raw and undisciplined”….but developed himself over time into an All-American player….who in his junior year….led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring and was named the ACC’s Player of the Year. His senior season was highlighted by his performance in an overtime victory against top-ranked North Carolina in which he scored 35 points….including 7 in the last 3 minutes of regulation and 4 in overtime. At the end of the year, Bias collected his second ACC Player of the Year award and was named to two All-America teams….as Bias impressed basketball fans with his amazing leaping ability…..which along with his physical stature and his ability to create plays….for he was considered one of the most dynamic players in the nation. By his senior year, scouts from various National Basketball Association teams viewed Bias as the most complete forward in the Class of 1986.
As the 1986 draft played out….the Cleveland Cavs would use their #1 pick to select Brad Daugherty….who played 8 years for the Cavs….with 5 delections to the NBA All Star Game…..then the Boston Celtics selected F Len Bias….who never played a game in the NBA….for his life was cut tragically short by an overdose of cocaine….and Chris Washburn was selected 3rd by the Golden State Warriors….as he played just one year for the Warriors before being out of the league by 1988….for he is widely considered one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history….cuz In 2005 Sports Illustrated named him the second-biggest NBA draft bust of all time.