3. Cliff Levingston, Power Forward
In the first round of the 1982 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons would use their ninth overall pick on the 6-foot-8 former Wichita State Shockers power forward Cliff Levingston. In a time where the Pistons were first starting to build up for the back-to-back titles of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, they did miss a bit on this first round draft pick.
Levingston would only play two seasons in Detroit before he would uproot and land with the Atlanta Hawks. Some of his better seasons would come with the Hawks, but there was nothing great coming from him still. The best box plus/minus rating that Levingston registered while with the Hawks or Pistons was 0.8 in 1987-88.
There were some better shooting seasons for Levingston during his runs with the Pistons and Hawks. He had five regular season runs where he posted at least a 56.0 true shooting percentage. Levingston also had one season with better than a 60.0 true shooting percentage. That was a difficult feat to pull off with the game back in the 1980’s.
At least it wasn’t valued as much as it is in the modern NBA.
In two seasons with the Hawks in the late 1980’s, he registered back-to-back regular season campaigns with at least .155 win shares per 48 minutes. This might’ve been the value that drew Krause to hand him a sizable contract that paid him more than $2 million (bigger at the time) during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
Through those two regular seasons with the Bulls, Levingston didn’t post a single box plus/minus rating in the positive, and averaged just around four points per game. He did get two NBA Championships from this run, but he didn’t pay off at all in his newfound role with the Bulls.