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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Jeff Malone, Washington Bullets
Jeff Malone, Washington Bullets. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
  • Seven seasons w/Bullets (1983-90)
  • 2x NBA All-Star (1985-86, 1986-87)
  • 548 career games w/Bullets
  • 20.2 points, 2.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds per game w/Bullets

Jeff Malone was in a way Bradley Beal for the Bullets of the 1980s. Drafted No. 10 overall in the 1983 NBA Draft out of Mississippi State University, Malone would spend his first seven of 13 NBA seasons in the nation’s capital, providing great play at shooting guard for the Bullets.

As a rookie in 1983-84, Malone averaged 12.1 points, 1.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds, making the All-Rookie First Team in the process. Malone would up his scoring average to 18.9 as a second year player before breaking through to over 20 points per game by his third year in the league.

For the next five years, averaged over 20.5 points per game for the Bullets. He earned both of his NBA All-Star Game appearances with the Bullets in 1985-86 and 1986-87. The Bullets would qualify for the NBA playoffs in all of Malone’s first five years in the league. However, the franchise would begin to take a downward turn in the 1990s.

In June 1990, Malone was part of a three-team deal with the Sacramento Kings and the Utah Jazz that sent him to Utah and most notably Pervis Ellison the Bullets’ way. Malone averaged over 18 points a night in Salt Lake before spending the later part of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers and very briefly with the Miami Heat before retiring in 1996 at age-34.

Overall, Malone’s best years came in Washington. He averaged 20.2 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in seven years with the Bullets, making him well worth the No. 10 overall selection back in 1983 out of Mississippi State.

Even though several excellent players were taken after him, including Clyde Drexler to the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 14, Malone amassed the seventh most Win Shares of anybody in his draft class with 54.2. Only Dale Ellis (84.7), Byron Scott (75.2) and Rodney McCray (56.0) were drafted before him. The value is there, as well as the offensive production, when looking at Malone as a Washington draft steal.