Washington Wizards: 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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Greg Ballard, Washington Bullets
Greg Ballard, Washington Bullets. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
  • Eight seasons w/Bullets (1977-85)
  • NBA champion (1977-78)
  • 643 career games w/Bullets
  • 13.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists w/Bullets

Greg Ballard starred in college playing for Dick Harter’s “Kamikaze Kids” at the University of Oregon in the 1970s. The two-time All-Pac-8 player would end up being the No. 4 overall pick by the Bullets in the 1977 NBA Draft.

Ballard went on to play his first eight years in the league with the team that drafted him out of Oregon. Though he never was the star for the Bullets he was for the Ducks, Ballard became a starter in Washington in year and never looked back.

As a rookie in 1977-78, Washington would win its only NBA championship to date. Ballard averaged 4.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game coming off the bench for that championship Bullets team, headlined by Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld.

Though never an All-Star in his NBA career, the Washington faithful could count on Ballard to play just about every night for the Bullets. In his eight years with the team, he never played in fewer than 76 games, and that came during his rookie season. Five times in his career with the Bullets did Ballard play in all 82 regular season games. He even played in 55 postseason games during his eight years in the nation’s capital.

In 1985, Ballard would be traded to the Golden State Warriors for a pair of future second-round picks. After two years in the Bay Area, Ballard would briefly play overseas, with the Albany Patroons of the CBA and then the then-Seattle SuperSonics before retiring in 1989.

Overall, Ballard averaged 13.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his eight years with the Bullets. He would go on to work as an assistant coach and an NBA scout until his death in 2016 at the age of 61. Though not a star player, Ballard’s eight-year run in Washington, highlighted by a championship as a rookie is enough to have him firmly in the top-10 of the Bullets/Wizards all-time draft steals.