See that fella above? That’s “Dinner Bell” Mel Turpin, a member of the cursed Washington Bullets/Wizards draft history … sorta.
Turpin was taken by the Bullets with the 6th overall pick in the famed 1984 NBA Draft … the Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and of course, Sam Bowie draft. Bowie was a teammate of Turpin’s at Kentucky, and while both are known as busts, it’s Bowie’s name that most often gets mentioned amongst NBA basketball infamy.
With Rick Mahorn and Jeff Ruland already holding down the paint, Turpin was immediately traded by then GM Bob Ferry to a team currently generally managed by his son Danny, the Cleveland Cavaliers. In exchange, the Bullets received Cliff Robinson and Tim McCormick, who was promptly sent to the Seattle Sonics, along with Ricky Sobers, for Gus Williams.
Williams lead the ’84-85 Bullets in scoring (20.0) and assists (7.7), while Robinson was fourth on the team in scoring (16.7) and second in rebounding (9.1). That Bullets team improved by five wins over the previous season’s mark to finish 40-42, but still lost to Barkley, Julius Erving, and Moses Malone in the first round of the playoffs.
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