30 Years in 30 Days: Day 20- Was Jack McMahon prescient or lucky?
So as we know by now Len Bias was the number 2 pick while Brad Daugherty went number one to Cleveland. However you may have forgotten that it was actually Philadelphia who had won the lottery and owned the #1 pick. Yet despite the rave reviews on Bias, the 76ers never brought him in for a workout; they only brought in Daugherty. The reason was because of Jack McMahon.
McMahon served as the Sixers head scout at the time and according to general manager Pat Williams, his trepidation on Bias was all they needed to hear:
I said to Jack, 'What about Bias? Should we bring him in?' He said no. He
said he wouldn't draft him. I said, 'Really, we won't consider him?' He
said no. I said, 'Jack, tell me why.' He said, 'There's something about
him that bothers me.' That was all he would say.
For us, it was the wrong year to win the lottery. It was just a
different field and we could not get comfortable. And we leaned so
heavily on Jack, he was our eyes and ears. He just didn't like Bias and
none of us were enamored with Daugherty.
So Philly moved the pick, the day before the draft to the Cavs for Roy Hinson.
If Bias was as good as advertised I find it unusual Philadelphia wouldn't have at least brought him in for a workout. It'd be comparable to the Orlando Magic in 1993 not bringing in Penny Hardaway and Chris Webber (they did) or the Sixers this year not bringing in Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram (they will).
So was McMahon prescient or just lucky? No one knows for sure. He died 3 years later in June of 1989 without expounding on his reservations.
20 Seasons Before: 1966-67, Celtics lose in Eastern Conference Finals
20 Seasons After: 2005-06, Celtics fail to qualify for playoffs