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NBA BASKETBALL June 24, 2002
A Quick Draft History: 1981-2001

 


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Twenty years of NBA Draft top picks, mistakes, steals and more.

1981
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 success.

1982
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 in 1982.

1983
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 round.
Bad Mistake: With pick 6 Golden State selected Russell Cross but Drexler, Harper and other stars were still available.

1984
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.

1985
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 round pick.
Bad Mistake: Cleveland were smart enough to select Charles Oakley, but then they traded him to Chicago.

1986
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.

1987
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.

1988
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.

1989
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 be traded.

1990
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.

1991
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
second round.
Bad Mistake: Golden State would eventually trade Mitch Richmond for pick 3 Billy Owens, but Mutombo went 4th.

1992
Best Players: Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Latrell Sprewell, Tom Gugliotta, Christian Laettner, Robert Horry
Biggest News: Jim Jackson, Doug Christie and Jon Barry were all contract holdouts.
Late Steal: New Jersey picked PJ Brown in the second round.
Bad Mistake: Harold Minor, Miami's pick, was a big name going into the draft but his play didn't back it up.

1993
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.

1994
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 Detroit.
Bad Mistake: Philadelphia missed out again with pick 6 Sharone Wright, while the Nets used their pick on Yinka Dare.

1995
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.

1996
Best Players: Allen Iverson, Antoine Walker, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ray Allen, Stephon Marbury
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.

1997
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 pick 48.
Bad Mistake: Boston drafted Chauncey Billups at pick 3, but traded him after only a few months.

1998
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.

1999
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.

2000
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.

2001
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.

 

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