A Quick Draft History: 1981-2001
Twenty years of NBA Draft top
picks, mistakes, steals and more.
Best Players: Isiah Thomas, Tom Chambers, Buck Williams, Mark Aguirre, Rolando
Blackman, Larry Nance
Biggest News: Boston selected baseball player Danny Ainge in the second round.
Late Steal: Frank Brickowski was a third round pick, he would later star in San
Antonio and Milwaukee.
Bad Mistake: New Jersey had 3 first rounders but only Buck Williams would be a
Best Players: James Worthy, Dominique Wilkins, Terry
Cummings, Fat Lever, Ricky Pierce
Biggest News: Utah's selection Dominique Wilkins was
traded to Atlanta for cash and some players.
Late Steal: 4th round pick Mark Eaton by Utah. The 7-4
shotblocker had a long career with the Jazz.
Bad Mistake: Dallas had picked up Aguirre and Blackman
the year before but drafted Bill Garnett with pick 4
Best Players: Clyde Drexler, Ralph Sampson, Derek Harper,
Jeff Malone, Dale Ellis, Byron Scott
Biggest News: Detroit picked Antoine Carr at number
8, but Carr played in Italy.
Late Steal: Atlanta picked up Doc Rivers in the second
Bad Mistake: With pick 6 Golden State selected Russell
Cross but Drexler, Harper and other stars were still
Best Players: Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Hakeem
Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Kevin Willis, Sam Perkins
Biggest News: With Olajuwon the top pick, Portland selected
Sam Bowie who battled injuries most of his career.
Late Steal: It wasn't all bad for Portland, they found
Jerome Kersey towards the end of the second round.
Bad Mistake: Philadelphia had already taken Barkley
but with their other first rounder they took Leon Wood.
Best Players: Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin,
Joe Dumars, AC Green, Detlef Schrempf, Charles Oakley
Biggest News: The order of the picks was now decided
by the lottery.
Late Steal: A player that made an impact at only one
end of the floor, Manute Bol was Washington's second
Bad Mistake: Cleveland were smart enough to select Charles
Oakley, but then they traded him to Chicago.
Best Players: Brad Daugherty, Ron Harper, Chuck Person,
Mark Price, Arvydas Sabonis, Dennis Rodman, Dell Curry
Biggest News: Boston used pick 2 on Len Bias, but he
died after the draft.
Late Steal: In the middle of the 3rd round Portland
selected Drazen Petrovic.
Bad Mistake: Philadelphia traded away the top pick,
and missed out on Daugherty.
Best Players: David Robinson, Scottie Pippen, Reggie
Miller, Horace Grant, Mark Jackson, Kenny Smith
Biggest News: The Spurs drafted Robinson but had to
wait several years as "The Admiral" served
in the navy.
Late Steal: During the late 80s teams started to look
to Europe. Golden State picked Sarunas Marciulionis
in round 6.
Bad Mistake: Seattle drafted Scottie Pippen and then
traded him to the Bulls for Olden Polynice.
Best Players: Danny Manning, Rik Smits, Mitch Richmond,
Rony Seikely, Dan Majerle, Rod Strickland
Biggest News: New York picked Rookie-of-the-Year Mark
Jackson in 87 but also added Strickland in the 88 draft.
Late Steal: Expansion team Miami selected the hard working
Grant Long in round 2.
Bad Mistake: Pick 4 Chris Morris was athletic and could
score but didn't help New Jersey improve.
Best Players: Glen Rice, Sean Elliot, Tim Hardaway,
Shawn Kemp, Vlade Divac, Mookie Blaylock, Dino Radja
Biggest News: Sacramento gambled pick 1 on Pervis Ellison
but injuries hurt him his whole NBA career.
Late Steal: Cliff Robinson was a great steal for Portland
in the second round.
Bad Mistake: The Clippers selected Danny Ferry with
the 2nd overall pick, he would go to Italy and then
Best Players: Gary Payton, Elden Campbell, Toni Kukoc,
Derrick Coleman, Antonio Davis, Tyrone Hill
Biggest News: Chicago drafted the best player in Europe,
Toni Kukoc, but had to wait several years for him.
Late Steal: Cedric Ceballos was taken towards the end
of the draft by the Phoenix Suns.
Bad Mistake: Miami traded down in the draft but only
ended up with Alec Kessler and Willie Burton.
Best Players: Dikembe Mutombo, Steve Smith, Terrell
Brandon, Larry Johnson, Dale Davis, Chris Gatling
Biggest News: The coach of New Jersey didn't want Kenny
Anderson, but they picked him at pick 2 anyway.
Late Steal: Sacramento landed defensive point guard
Randy Brown in the
Bad Mistake: Golden State would eventually trade Mitch
Richmond for pick 3 Billy Owens, but Mutombo went 4th.
Best Players: Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Latrell
Sprewell, Tom Gugliotta, Christian Laettner, Robert
Biggest News: Jim Jackson, Doug Christie and Jon Barry
were all contract holdouts.
Late Steal: New Jersey picked PJ Brown in the second
Bad Mistake: Harold Minor, Miami's pick, was a big name
going into the draft but his play didn't back it up.
Best Players: Chris Webber, Jamal Mashburn, Anfernee
Hardaway, Vin Baker, Sam Cassell, Allan Houston
Biggest News: The trade of Chris Webber for Anfernee
Hardaway and 3 future first round picks.
Late Steal: Nick Van Exel was pick 37 for the LA Lakers.
Bad Mistake: Shawn Bradley, second overall, was a huge
prospect but being 7-6 tall was one of his only attributes.
Best Players: Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Eddie Jones, Glenn
Robinson, Jalen Rose, Aaron McKie, Brian Grant
Biggest News: First overall pick Glenn Robinson wanted
a $100 million contract.
Late Steal: The last pick of the draft was Zeljko Rebraca,
he was taken by Seattle and would eventually play with
Bad Mistake: Philadelphia missed out again with pick
6 Sharone Wright, while the Nets used their pick on
Best Players: Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Jerry
Stackhouse, Antonio McDyess, Michael Finley, Theo Ratliff
Biggest News: The Clippers sent pick 2 Antonio McDyess
to Denver for Rodney Rogers and Brent Barry.
Late Steal: Eric Snow was found in the middle of the
second round, and would be traded to Seattle.
Bad Mistake: Joe Smith hasn't hurt just Minnesota, Golden
State used the top overall pick on him.
Best Players: Allen Iverson, Antoine Walker, Kobe Bryant,
Steve Nash, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ray Allen, Stephon
Biggest News: Vlade Divac being traded for Kobe Bryant,
and Milwaukee selected Marbury and traded him to Minnesota
for Ray Allen.
Late Steal: Utah once again found a player with a late
second round pick, Shandon Anderson was pick 54.
Bad Mistake: Trading Kobe Bryant for Vlade Divac.
Best Players: Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, Keith Van Horn,
Derek Anderson, Tim Thomas, Austin Croshere
Biggest News: Philadelphia traded Van Horn to New Jersey
in a big multiplayer trade.
Late Steal: Portland selected guard Alvin Williams with
Bad Mistake: Boston drafted Chauncey Billups at pick
3, but traded him after only a few months.
Best Players: Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki,
Raef LaFrentz, Keon Clark, Bonzi Wells, Mike Bibby
Biggest News: The Warriors sent Vince Carter and cash
to Toronto for Antawn Jamison.
Late Steal: High Schooler Rashard Lewis fell out of
the first round and was picked by Seattle.
Bad Mistake: Milwaukee wanted pick 6 Robert Traylor
and they gave away Nowitzki and Pat Garrity for him.
Best Players: Elton Brand, Wally Szczerbiak, Steve Francis,
Shawn Marion, Baron Davis, Lamar Odom
Biggest News: Toronto picked Jonathan Bender at pick
5 and sent him to Indiana for Antonio Davis.
Late Steal: Skilled big-man Todd MacCulloch was pick
47 by Philadelphia.
Bad Mistake: New York are always reminded that they
didn't want Ron Artest and instead picked Frederic Weis.
Best Players: Kenyon Martin, Mike Miller, Darius Miles,
Quentin Richardson, Chris Mihm, Jamaal Magloire
Biggest News: Orlando traded their picks, Dooling and
Alexander, along with other players to clear space for
McGrady and Hill.
Late Steal: Milwaukee's second rounder was shooting
guard Michael Redd.
Bad Mistake: Chicago picked Marcus Fizer at pick 4 even
though they already had Elton Brand at power forward.
Best Players: Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, Eddie Griffin,
Jason Richardson, Richard Jefferson, Vladimir Radmanovic
Biggest News: European player Pau Gasol was pick 3 for
Atlanta and was traded to Memphis for Abdur-Rahim.
Late Steal: The last two picks of the first round, point
guards Tinsley and Parker, had great rookie years.
Bad Mistake: Too early to tell but Cleveland, Detroit,
Orlando and Boston could have done a lot better.