NBA Draft Busts: Shawn Bradley
Shawn Bradley was one of the most hyped up and talked about players to enter the 1993 NBA Draft. Before entering the draft, the former McDonald’s All-American played at Brigham Young University. Bradley set multiple shot-blocking records while at BYU and brought home some hardware too. Bradley was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Player of the Year after his brilliant freshman season as well as being named to the All-WAC defensive team and an Honorable Mention All-American. After his stellar freshman year, Bradley decided to take a break from basketball and became a missionary. He spent two years away from the game before deciding to forego the rest of his college career and enter the NBA Draft.
The Philadelphia 76ers selected the 7 foot 6 inch center with the second overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. Bradley had an inconsistent rookie season. His skinny frame coupled with his poor rebounding for his size led to a some underwhelming rookie statistics. Bradley averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game in his injury-shortened rookie season. The one positive that Bradley showed on a night-to-night basis was his shot-blocking ability. He altered a ton of shots throughout the course of a single game and definitely had a distinct defensive presence. Bradley was healthy for the entire 1994 – 1995 season and as a result he ended up setting a 76ers franchise record for blocks in a season with 274.
Early into Bradley’s third season, the Philadelphia 76ers traded him to the New Jersey Nets. Bradley impressed in his first season with the Nets and carried that momentum into his second season with the team. He posted back-to-back triple-doubles during the 1995 season and ended the season with career highs in points, rebounds, and blocked shots. Only 26 games into the 1996 season, the Nets decided to part ways with Bradley, sending him to the Dallas Mavericks in a 9-player deal. Bradley had a strong first season with the Mavs, finishing with career highs in points and rebounding as well as leading the NBA in shot-blocks per game. Unfortunately, inconsistency and injuries continued to plague Bradley during his next 7 seasons with the Mavs. In 2005, Bradley decided to retire after twelve seasons in the NBA in which he ultimately failed to live up to his enormous hype and potential.