A Look Back at the Best NBA Draft Ever
by rick olivares
Twenty-four years ago… well, 24 is not a milestone number. But since it’s my story… let’s get on with it.
The rookie draft brings a new hope every year to all the NBA teams. The woebegone teams hope to snag that one rookie who would give the team a ticket out of lotteryville and if the basketball gods smiled upon them, maybe an NBA title run or so. The top tier teams hope to stumble upon a sleeper (since they tended to pick last unless they manufactured a trade to better their position) who would ensure the continued success of their team without having to undergo an overhaul.
Coincidentally 1984 was the first year of David J. Stern, the league’s former General Counsel who had taken over from Larry O’Brien as Commissioner. And the visibly excited Stern would imprint his savvy on the league with his first act as commissioner.
There were two players in that 1984 draft who would ply their trade as imports in the Philippine Basketball Association:
- Michael Young, the 24th pick of the 1st round from the
selected by the Boston Celtics led Manila Beer to the 1986 Finals vs. the Ginebra San Miguel team led by Billy Ray Bates and Michael Hackett. Universityof Houston
- Bobby Parks, the 58th pick of the 3rd round from
by the Atlanta Hawks led Shell to numerous championships and as an import on loan, led Ginebra San Miguel to an Invitational Championship. Memphis State
There were six players from the draft who would go on to be Charles Barkley’s teammates in
- Leon Wood 10th pick 1st round from Cal State Fullerton by
- Tim McCormick 12th pick 1st round from
- Ron Anderson 27th pick 2nd round from
Fresno Stateby Cleveland
- Steve Colter 33rd pick 2nd round from
New Mexico Stateby Portland
- Ben Coleman 37th pick 2nd round from
- Michael Young 24th pick 1st round from
by the Boston Celtics Houston
- Michael Jordan’s buddy on the Tar Heels, Mr. Basketball in North Carolina, Matt Doherty was selected as the 120th pick in the 7th round by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- Brazilian hotshot Oscar Schmidt was chosen by the New Jersey Nets as the 131st pick of the 7th round, but Schmidt opted to play in
- Another Olympic Gold Medalist, but in track and field, Carl Lewis was selected as the 208th pick of the 10th round out of the University of Houston by the Chicago Bulls. But rather than run with the Bulls, Lewis decided to stay with running in the Olympics where he would continue to win more medals.
Five players in the 1984 NBA draft would win a total of 12 championships:
- Akeem Olajuwon won 2 titles with
- Otis Thorpe won 2 titles with
- Michael Jordan won 6 titles with
Chicago1991-93; 1996-98 with Chicago
- Jerome Kersey won 1 title 1998-99 with San Antonio Spurs
- Kevin Willis won 1 title 2002-03 with
And four members of the draft will surely go down as first balloters on their way to
- Akeem Olajuwon
- Michael Jordan
- Charles Barkley
- John Stockton
Worst Pick: When you pass on the greatest player of all-time, it's hard to rationalize, but Hakeem Olajuwon won
Most Pivotal Pick: Hindsight is 20/20 and no one knew at the time that Sam Perkins had peaked as a junior at UNC, but
Biggest Disappointment: Sam Bowie. A great talent whose career was riddled with foot injuries that limited him to 511 games in 10 seasons.
Biggest Sleeper: John Stockton. Like who knew?
Back in the mid-80’s, one could walk up to the ticket office and buy a ticket to a Bulls game. The Kings of the City of the Big Shoulders lay in the broad frames of Richard Dent, William “the Refrigerator” Perry, Mike Singletary, and Jim McMahon. The Monsters of the Midway were back and the hottest seat in the house was at Soldier Field. But it was clear even then, that something special was brewing over at the Chicago Stadium were Michael Jordan’s air raids routinely thrilled crowds and made the news.
The Miami Heat that had Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway.
The Indiana Pacers that had Reggie Miller and Jordan’s Olympic teammate Chris Mullin.
The Cleveland Cavaliers who were shattered time and again in the play-offs by