The mother lode of NBA draft classes.
A fitting end to Draft 365’s NBA Draft Remixes series — last, but certainly not least — the draft class of 1984. Actually, all the cliches work — going out on a high note, saving the best for last, etc. The 1984 NBA draft was the greatest collection of NBA draft talent in history, but it was definitely a case of quality, not quantity.
This class is the best due to the four players at the top of the list, who all ended up being top-5 all-time players at their respective positions on the court. It’s rare enough to have four Hall of Fame players enter the NBA in the same draft year — it’s astounding to have four of the greatest players of all time in the same draft class. But after those four transcendental talent, the pickings get fairly mediocre. This draft also had more than its share of busts, with the most publicized being snakebitten Sam Bowie, who Portland picked ahead of Michael Jordan. Sadly, it appears to be deja vu all over again in Portland with ongoing saga of Greg Oden.
1984 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 7 (Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, John Stockton)
Biggest Bust: Lancaster Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers, pick No. 8
Late Round Steal: Jerome Kersey, Portland, pick No. 46 (second round)
Winning Team (in the long run): Chicago (Michael Jordan)
Career Scoring Leader: Michael Jordan
Career Rebounding Leader: Hakeem Olajuwon
Career Assist Leader: John Stockton
Pick No. 1 | Houston Rockets
Actual Selection: Hakeem Olajuwon
Draft 365 Remix: Michael Jordan (3)
No surprise here — Michael Jordan is not only the best player in this monumental draft class, he’s also arguably the best player of all time (with all due respect to Wilt and Bill). No real need to waste a whole lot of digital ink on an explanation on what made Jordan great — he was one of the greatest winners, greatest scorers and greatest defenders of all time (notice “greatest front office executive” wasn’t included in that list).
Pick No. 2 | Portland Trailblazers
Actual Selection: Sam Bowie
Draft 365 Remix: Hakeem Olajuwon (1)
You really can’t fault Houston for picking Hakeem (or as he was known as then — “Akeem”) Olajuwon ahead of Michael Jordan. Bigger is always better in NBA GMs’ minds when draft time rolls around, plus The Dream had himself a pretty good career in his own right. He got Houston two titles, revolutionized the center position with his fluidity and grace and is either the fourth or fifth best center of all time, depending on who is doing the ranking (behind Wilt, Bill, Kareem and maybe Shaq).
Pick No. 3 | Chicago Bulls
Actual Selection: Michael Jordan
Draft 365 Remix: John Stockton (16)
It’s also totally understandable that John Stockton lasted all the way to pick No. 16 in 1984. He played for Gonzaga, which at that time wasn’t a big name school, he wasn’t overly quick or athletic (by NBA terms) nor did he possess good size. Despite all these obstacles, he managed to become the NBA’s all-time assist and steal leader. Plus he never once secreted a drop of sweat (call him the anti-Shaq).
Pick No. 4 | Dallas Mavericks
Actual Selection: Sam Perkins
Draft 365 Remix: Charles Barkley (5)
All NBA players are athletic marvels, but few are true freaks of nature like Charles Barkley was. Despite measuring in at under 6-5 (this author visually confirmed this when seeing Barkley in person), he was one of the fiercest power forwards of all time, good for 20 and 10 every night. And, even in retirement, his mouth keeps on roaring.
This is the point in the draft remix where the talent level falls off drastically. This is taking nothing away from Kevin Willis — you don’t last 21 seasons in the NBA unless you bring something to the table. In fact, his 1,424 NBA games played is the fifth most of all time. In his prime he was a double-double machine for the Hawks who was especially adept at crashing the offensive glass (sixth most offensive boards all time).
Pick No. 6 | Washington Bullets
Actual Selection: Melvin Turpin
Draft 365 Remix: Alvin Robertson (7)
Perhaps known more for off-the-court issues (multiple arrests and jail terms due to domestic abuse; father of Minnesota Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson), Alvin Robertson was one of the best defensive guards of his generation. The 1986 Defensive Player of the Year, he made six All-Defensive teams and four All-Star teams in this 10-year career. His resume also boasts the extremely rare “quadruple double” (20 points, 11 boards, 10 assists, 10 steals).
Pick No. 7 | San Antonio Spurs
Actual Selection: Alvin Robertson
Draft 365 Remix: Otis Thorpe (9)
Further proof that we are talking real old school — Otis Thorpe was drafted by the Kansas City Kings. Overshadowed in his prime by teammate Olajuwon, Thorpe was a very dependable double-double man and is 13th all time in offensive rebounds. Plus his name sounded real cool when announced by the public address announcer.
Pick No. 8 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Lancaster Gordon
Draft 365 Remix: Sam Perkins (4)
Sleepy Sam Perkins played like he looked - calm, cool and collected. Never a star in the NBA, he nonetheless was a key contributor to four teams in his career, and averaged double-digits points his first 13-years in the League.
Pick No. 9 | Kansas City Kings
Actual Selection: Otis Thorpe
Draft 365 Remix: Jerome Kersey (46)
The second round steal of the draft, Jerome Kersey was Clyde Drexler’s sidekick on the powerhouse Portland teams on the 1980s and 90s. A high-flying forward, his best year was 1988 when he posted averages of 19, 8 and 3.
Pick No. 10 | Philadelphia 76ers
Actual Selection: Leon Wood
Draft 365 Remix: Michael Cage (14)
The greatest Jheri curl in NBA history belonged to Michael Cage (as well as the greatest nickname — “John Shaft”). Cage was a tenacious rebounder whose 13.0 rpg led the NBA in 1988.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Vern Fleming, Jay Humphries, Tony Campbell, Sam Bowie
Next from Draft 365: We go back to the future and give 2010 draft prospects like John Wall some love.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.
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