7. Phil Chenier
Chenier was selected fourth overall in the Supplemental Hardship Draft in 1971. This was brought about after Spencer Haywood won a court case against the NBA to allow him to enter the league without waiting four years after he graduated high school. The league created an additional draft in 1971 to allow other college players the chance to join the league. Chenier was the fourth of five players selected.
The 6’3 guard quickly proved he was ready. Chenier averaged 30 minutes per game as a rookie and was scoring 19.7 points each night in year two. He was an All-Star for the first time in his third season and made it three of the next four years. Chenier was one of the top-scoring guards of the 1970s, but a back injury in 1978 changed his career forever. He missed the Bullets championship run later that year, and it was the start of his decline.
Chenier struggled to stay healthy over his final four years in the league. The Bullets traded him to the Pacers in December of 1979, but he was waived just two months later.
Phil Chenier ended his NBA career in 1981 with a nine-game stint with the Golden State Warriors where he averaged 3.2 points and 0.8 assists in 9.1 minutes per game. The 30-year-old was years past his prime and did not have much left in the tank when he arrived in the Bay Area. That made his stay short, but Chenier is still one of the most underrated players of the 1970s.