The modern NBA Draft is a science. Coaches and scouts make painstaking efforts to allow for as little error as possible. And who can blame them? The current draft is only two rounds (58 picks) long. But there was a time that the NBA Draft went seven rounds (1987), 10 rounds ('84), even 20 rounds ('73). With so many picks, teams were free to take some chances. And take chances they did. Whether it was a track star, a female player, or an unknown giant from overseas, there have been some truly interesting selections over the years in the NBA Draft. Listed in alphabetical order, here are 10 highlights:
Bob Beamon (1969): Beamon was fresh off of shattering the world and Olympic record in the long jump at the 1968 Mexico City games when the Phoenix Suns selected him in the 15th round. Beamon played basketball fanatically as a youngster in New York City, but was certainly more of a track star while at Texas El-Paso.
Jim Brown (1957): A true "Mr. Everything," Brown played four sports while at Syracuse -- basketball, football, lacrosse and track. He even averaged 15.0 ppg for the hoops team his sophomore season, so the Syracuse Nationals can't be faulted for taking Brown in the ninth round of the 1957 Draft even if most experts knew his future was in football.
Tony Gwynn (1981):
Gwynn was actually a very accomplished basketball point guard while at San Diego State University -- he averaged 5.5 apg over his four-year career with the Aztecs -- so it was only fitting that the hometown San Diego Clippers take a chance on him in the 10th round of the 1981 Draft.
Lusia "Lucy" Harris (1977): Harris was the first and only woman drafted by an NBA team. The New Orleans Jazz selected her in the seventh round of the 1977 Draft after Harris completed a storied career at Delta State University, where she was a three-time All-American (1975-77).
Frank Howard (1958): While Howard was better known for being a prodigious baseball slugger, he was also an accomplished hoopster at Ohio State. The 6-8 Howard was an All-American in both sports, which led to his being taken in the third round of the 1958 Draft by the Philadelphia Warriors.
Bruce Jenner (1977): Jenner earned the tag of the "World's Greatest Athlete" after he won the gold medal in the decathalon at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, so the Kansas City Kings saw fit to take a chance on him in the seventh round of the 1977 Draft.
Carl Lewis (1984): One of the greatest track athletes ever, Lewis won nine Olympic gold medals and one silver as a sprinter and long jumper. Carl was at the peak of his popularity following the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, so the Chicago Bulls took him in the 10th round of the 1984 Draft.
Yasutaka Okayama (1981): Before Yao Ming, Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol, there was Yasutaka Okayama. The 7-8 Japanese center was taken in the eighth round of the 1981 Draft by the Golden State Warriors.
Bubba Smith (1967): Smith was best known for being one of the most feared defensive linemen of his era, but his size (6-8) made him an enticing hoops prospect. The Baltimore Bullets took a chance on Smith in the 11th round of the 1967 Draft.
Dave Winfield (1973): The 6-6 Winfield, a Hall of Fame baseball player, was actually drafted by four different sports leagues in 1973 (NFL, NBA, ABA and MLB). The all-around athleticism he displayed while at the University of Minnesota was good enough for the Atlanta Hawks to take him in the fifth round of the 1973 Draft.