The 1986 NBA Draft will forever be associated with a player who never even played a second in the NBA. We all know the tragic tale of Boston’s no. 2 pick overall, Len Bias, and his draft night cocaine overdose. While Bias payed the ultimate price for his drug use, he wasn’t the only known user in his draft class–Chris Washburn, William Bedford, Roy Tarpley all were top 10 picks in 1986 whose careers were cut short by drug problems.
But all the negativity overshadows an oddity from this draft year–the abundance of stars that got drafted outside of the first round. In fact, more stars got selected outside of the first round than in it. Brad Daugherty was the only All-Star to come out of 1986’s first round, while Mark Price, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Duckworth and Jeff Hornacek went in the second round and Drazen Petrovic in third. A rare occurrence we’ll probably never see again.
1986 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 5 (Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Duckworth, Jeff Hornacek)
Biggest Bust: Len Bias, Boston, pick No. 2
Late Round Steal: Dennis Rodman, Detroit , pick No. 27 (second round)
Winning Team (in the long run): Cleveland (Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Ron Harper)
Career Scoring Leader: Jeff Hornacek
Career Rebounding Leader: Dennis Rodman
Career Assist Leader: Jeff Hornacek
Pick No. 1 | Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Selection: Brad Daugherty
Draft 365 Remix: Dennis Rodman (27)
Boxing and mixed martial arts are big on rating its athletes on a “pound-for-pound” basis. In that vein, we’d like to nominate Dennis Rodman as the “all-time pound-for-pound undisputed rebounding champion of the world” (with the possible exception of Elgin Baylor). Only 19 players grabbed more NBA rebounds than the 6’7″ 210lb Worm, who lead the League in boards per game seven years in a row (including ridiculous averages of 18.7 and 18.3 in back-to-back years). A two-time Defensive Player of the Year, two-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA player, Rodman also made eight All-Defensive Teams. He should (but probably won’t) make the Hall of Fame, if voters don’t let his “eccentricities” get in the way.
The late 1980s-early 1990s saw a point guard renaissance in the NBA, similar to what the League is experiencing today. And Mark Price was definitely a big part of this resurgence of floor generals, making four All-Star and All-NBA teams during his career. What Price really excelled at was shooting, as he hit over 40 percent from three-point range during his career and his 90.4 percent rate from the charity stripe is the best all-time.
Pick No. 3 | Golden State Warriors
Actual Selection: Chris Washburn
Draft 365 Remix: Brad Daugherty (1)
Back injuries cut Brad Daugherty’s career short (and pushed him into the NASCAR world), but his ailments didn’t stop him from teaming up with Mark Price for one of the best one-two punches in the NBA. Despite only playing six full seasons (and parts of two others) in the League, he still made five All-Star teams and an All-NBA team.
Pick No. 4 | Indiana Pacers
Actual Selection: Chuck Person
Draft 365 Remix: Jeff Hornacek (46)
There is a good chance even a hardcore NBA fan wouldn’t guess that Jeff Hornacek is the career leader in scoring and assists from the 1986 NBA draft class. There’s also a good chance that if you saw him at your local YMCA you wouldn’t pick him to play on your pickup team (unless you realized he was Jeff Hornacek). But Hornacek had a quiet, yet outstanding, 13-year NBA career, scoring in double figures his last 11 years in the League and finished with career averages of 15, 5 and 3.
Another player whose career was tragically cut short, Hall of Famer Drazen Petrovic was one of the early European trailblazers in the NBA. The Croatian star was just coming into his own before his death at age 28, averaging over 20 ppg his last two seasons and making Third Team All-NBA in his last year in the League.
Pick No. 6 | Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: William Bedford
Draft 365 Remix: Kevin Duckworth (33)
Unfortunately death seems to be all around this draft class, as Kevin Duckworth also passed away far too soon, at the age of 44. The rotund 7-footer centered the powerhouse Portland teams of the late 1980s-early 1990s, made two All-Star teams and won the Most Improved Player award.
Pick No. 7 | Dallas Mavericks
Actual Selection: Roy Tarpley
Draft 365 Remix: Chuck Person (4)
The Rifleman Chuck Person was a joy to watch play, as he never shied away from a shooting and/or trash talk battle with an opponent. The 1986-1987 Rookie of the Year, he enjoyed his best season in 1989 with Indiana, averaging 22, 7 and 4.
Pick No. 8 | Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Selection: Ron Harper
Draft 365 Remix: Ron Harper (8)
Starting his career off as a high-flying star, posting big numbers for Cleveland and the Clippers (he was good for about 20, 6 & 5 a night), Ron Harper and his ugly, twisting jumper settled into an important supporting role with championship Bulls and Lakers squads.
Pick No. 9 | Chicago Bulls
Actual Selection: Brad Sellers
Draft 365 Remix: Arvydas Sabonis (24)
Probably the most talented player in this draft class, unfortunately Arvydas Sabonis didn’t enter the NBA until he was in his 30s and hobbled by injuries. As this highlight reel from his younger days shows, he was truly one of the most talented 7-footers of all-time (and also had one of the best all-time mullet-mustache combos).
Pick No. 10 | San Antonio Spurs
Actual Selection: Johnny Dawkins
Draft 365 Remix: Nate McMillan (30)
You youngsters only know him as “Coach” McMillan, but Nate McMillan had a very successful career with the Supersonics, making two All-Defensive teams and leading the NBA in steals in 1994.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Dell Curry, Johnny Newman, Scott Skiles, Johnny Dawkins.
Next on the Remix: The NBA draft hits the lottery.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.