You don’t need Jack Ramsay’s stethoscope to know that Michael Olowokandi is a bust. The Rocky Mountain News’ Chris Tomasson, however, says as much to the Kandi Man’s face.
The 7-foot Minnesota center is on the trading block. If anybody takes him, it likely will be to clear salary-cap room, because he becomes a free agent next summer.
It has been quite a fall since 1998, when Olowokandi was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers out of the University of the Pacific. That draft included future All-Stars Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce and Antawn Jamison.
Olowokandi is averaging 6.2 points and 5.7 rebounds this season for the Timberwolves, dropping his career numbers to 8.8 and 7.2, respectively. Can you say bust?
“I’ve been hearing that for quite some time,” Olowokandi said. “What grabs headlines or what sounds good, a short four-letter word, such as bust, that stuff I can’t do anything about. I’m very confident in my ability.”
Olowokandi at least can take solace in knowing he has little chance of ending up as the biggest bust ever to be a top pick in an NBA draft. Holding a huge lead is center LaRue Martin.
Martin was drafted by Portland in 1972 out of Chicago’s Loyola University. Going No. 2 was Bob McAdoo, who went on to win three scoring titles and land in the Hall of Fame.
In four seasons with Portland, Martin averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. Then he was out of the league, never to be heard from again.
“He wasn’t a physical guy,” Austin Carr, the top pick in the 1971 draft, said of Martin. “If you wanted to be in the middle back then, you had to take a licking and keep on ticking.”