1984 NBA Draft: Best Draft Ever?

Was The 1984 NBA Draft The Best Ever?
The 1984 Draft featured studs Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Was the 1984 NBA Draft the best of all-time?

This was the last draft to be held prior to forming the NBA Draft Lottery for the following season. The picks were assigned in reverse order of how the teams had finished the previous season. The draft was actually ten rounds long, which seems excessive considering the two rounds total of the current draft format.

It’s amazing how talented and similar as far as impact the classes of the 1984 NBA Draft and the 1985 NBA Draft were. It was undoubtedly the most talented two year run in draft history. Picking a better class between ’84 and ’85 is difficult.

In the 1984 NBA Draft, four of the first 16 picks eventually became Hall of Famers; Olajuwon, Jordan, Barkley and Stockton. In 1985, four of the first 18 did; Ewing, Mullin, Malone and Dumars.

15 of the 24 picks in the 1984 NBA Draft played eight or more years, 19 of the 24 picks in 1985 did. The 1985 draft contained two future league MVPs while 1984 (just like the class of 1996) contained three future league MVP’s; Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley. Seven of the 24 picks in 1984 became NBA All Stars, while nine of the 24 picks in 1985 accomplished All-Star status.

A few of the better picks:

– Akeem Olajuwon at one

Michael Jordan at three

Sam Perkins at four

Charles Barkley at five

Alvin Robertson at seven

Otis Thorpe at nine

Kevin Willis at 11

John Stockton at 16

A few solid picks that weren’t great:

Jay Humphries at 13

Michael Cage at 14

Vern Fleming at 18

A few that didn’t pan out:

– Mel Turpin at six

Lancaster Gordon at eight

Leon Wood at 10

Any discussion of the 1984 NBA Draft would be incomplete without touching on the Portland Trailblazers selection of Kentucky big man Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.

People often look back and laugh about this and Portland took a lot of heat for several years over the decision, but when you really break it down, it’s not hard to see why Portland did what they did.

7-1 inch centers who are fresh off dominating one of the best conferences in the collegiate ranks don’t grow on trees.

The success the Rockets had with drafting Ralph Sampson the previous year and how it changed the franchise in one season was hard to ignore and undoubtedly had some impact in the decision. Plus, Bowie had outplayed Sampson in high school.

Also consider that the Blazers at the time were solid at guard. They had drafted Clyde Drexler the year before and their point guard Jim Paxson was coming off any All-Star year, so it wasn’t as if they snubbed Jordan by not picking him.

Bowie wasn’t awful; he averaged 10.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 2.7 bpg in 29 mpg as a rookie. The he got hurt and was limited from then on out, though he actually had a couple of seasons (14.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg in 90-91; 15.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg in 91-92) before injuries finally derailed him.

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I’ve been a freelance journalist since 2000 and have had my work published via AskMen, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Busted Coverage, and Autotrader. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I'm a dad, youth soccer club President, and former team statistician for the oldest indoor football team in the world, the Omaha Beef. I’ve married six couples in 10 years and my Marriage to Still Married ratio is 6:6. I always say, it isn’t so much about the “love,” as it is the tasteless jokes that became vows. I started the I-80 Sports Blog to have all the work I've published located in one place and to write about things I want to write about. I don't take anything too seriously and it is a real time saver.


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