1987 NBA Draft Remix
One of the best – yet underrated – NBA draft classes of all-time.
It is a widely held belief that the three best NBA drafts in history were 1984, 1996 and 2003. Well we’d like to nominate 1987 as the most underrated draft and a place in the top five drafts of all-time.
Just look at the three names at the top of this remix — David Robinson, Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller. All three of these guys would rank higher than the No. 1 player in the majority of the drafts we’ve remixed up to this point. All three guys are locks for the Hall of Fame (with Robinson already enshrined). And the rest of the draft wasn’t too shabby either, with four other players making All-Star teams. And if Reggie Lewis and Sarunas Marciulionis had had longer careers, this draft would have been even stronger.
This should also be remembered as the most important draft in Chicago Bulls history — even moreso than 1984. That is because there is no way Michael Jordan would have won all his titles without the two teammates the Bulls brought home from the 1987 Draft.
1987 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 7 (David Robinson, Scottie Pippen, Kevin Johnson, Horace Grant, Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, Reggie Lewis)
Biggest Bust: Dennis Hopson, New Jersey, pick No. 3
Late Round Steal: Sarunas Marciulionis, Golden State, pick No. 127 (round six)
Winning Team (in the long run): Chicago Bulls (Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant)
Career Scoring Leader: Reggie Miller
Career Rebounding Leader: David Robinson
Career Assist Leader: Mark Jackson
Pick No. 1 | San Antonio Spurs
Actual Selection: David Robinson
Draft 365 Remix: David Robinson (1)
David Robinson has the honor as the first Hall of Fame member to grace a Draft 365 Remix. The Admiral had about as good of a career as any player could ever imagine — two NBA titles, two blocked shots and rebounding titles, a scoring title, the 1995 MVP award, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, 10-time All-Star, eight All-Defensive Team and 10 All-NBA appearances. You could say he had a dream career — if not for The Dream.
Pick No. 2 | Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: Armon Gilliam
Draft 365 Remix: Scottie Pippen (5)
If teammate Michael Jordan was the G.O.A.T., then Scottie Pippen is the Greatest Second Banana of All-Time (with the possible exception of early-career Kobe). MJ wouldn’t have gotten his six rings without Pippen riding shotgun — there was nothing the man couldn’t do on the court. A seven-time All-Star and All-NBA member, he was also a stingy defender, making 10 All-Defensive Teams. And he showed during Jordan’s retirement years that he could survive without Mike, coming third in MVP voting in 1994.
Pick No. 3 | New Jersey Nets
Actual Selection: Dennis Hopson
Draft 365 Remix: Reggie Miller (11)
There is not too many draft classes that Reggie Miller would be ranked behind two other players, showing how strong 1987 really was. Cheryl’s little brother pretty much only excelled at two things on the court — scoring and running his mouth — but he was an assassin at both. The NBA’s reigning three-point champ, he’s also 13th all-time in scoring.
Pick No. 4 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Reggie Williams
Draft 365 Remix: Kevin Johnson (7)
The mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson had a borderline Hall of Fame career (he probably didn’t quite do enough to make it in though). A three-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA honoree, KJ’s first three full seasons in Phoenix were incredible — he never averaged less than 20 points or 10 assists per game. Oh, and he could jump a little bit.
Pick No. 5 | Seattle Supersonics
Actual Selection: Scottie Pippen
Draft 365 Remix: Horace Grant (10)
Overlooked because of his Hall of Fame teammates (Pippen and Jordan in Chicago, Shaq in Orlando), Horace “Goggles” Grant was a key cog in the Bulls championship teams. Despite never posting flashy stats, he’s the fifth leading scorer in this draft class and second in rebounding, he made an All-Star team and became a permanent fixture on the All-Defensive Team (four appearances).
Pick No. 6 | Sacramento Kings
Actual Selection: Kenny Smith
Draft 365 Remix: Mark Jackson (18)
No, Mark Jackson isn’t ranked this high just because he is a certain Editor-in-Chief at SLAM’s favorite player. And he certainly isn’t ranked this high due to his skills on the mic. No, Mark Jackson earned this spot on the list with his play of the court — in his 17-year career he was an All-Star, the Rookie of the Year and dished out more assists than anyone not named Stockton (but Jason Kidd will be passing – excuse the pun – him any day now).
Pick No. 7 | Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Selection: Kevin Johnson
Draft 365 Remix: Reggie Lewis (17)
A high school teammate of fellow 1987 first round picks Muggsy Bogues and Reggie Williams, Reggie Lewis was passed the torch as the Celtics franchise player from Larry Bird. And Lewis didn’t disappoint — making the All-Star team in 1992 and averaging over 20 ppg in 1992 and 1993 before his heart gave out on him during a summer hoops workout. He was 27 years old.
Pick No. 8 | Chicago Bulls
Actual Selection: Olden Polynice
Draft 365 Remix: Derrick McKey (9)
A forgotten, yet important, piece on some very good Seattle and Indiana teams, Derrick McKey was a dependable scorer (eight-straight years averaging double digits) and solid defender (two All-Defensive Team appearances).
Pick No. 9 | Seattle SuperSonics
Actual Selection: Derrick McKey
Draft 365 Remix: Kenny Smith (6)
Before he was a talking head, Kenny Smith was a very solid NBA player, winning two rings with Houston and even getting MVP votes in 1991.
Pick No. 10 | Chicago Bulls
Actual Selection: Horace Grant
Draft 365 Remix: Armen Gilliam (2)
History shows that Armen Gilliam (no, the spelling of his name earlier in this story isn’t wrong — he was “Armon” when he was drafted before changing it to “Armen”) wasn’t a wise choice at pick no. 2, but he still was a solid pro, scoring in double figures 10 out of his 13 seasons. And “The Hammer” is a killer nickname.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Muggsy Bogues, Ken Norman, Reggie Williams, Olden Polynice.
Next on the Remix: The tragic 1986 NBA draft.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.