1988 NBA Draft Remix
We reminisce over them.
We’re getting to the point in the NBA Draft Remix series where a writer starts to feel his age. It’s been more than 20 years — two decades! — since the 1988 NBA draft class hit the pros, and we’re starting to feel really old. Danny Manning, pick No. 1 and star of the 1988 NCAA Final Four is now primed to add to his jewelry collection as a coach at Kansas, the top team heading into this college season. Anthony Mason’s kid, Anthony Jr, is in his fifth year at St. John’s University. Rony Seikaly is a popular DJ. Rex Chapman is in the Nuggets’ front office. Avery Johnson has already been fired from the coaching profession. Where has the time gone? It seems just like yesterday when we were watching these guys lace them up and collecting their SkyBox trading cards.
But enough feeling sorry for ourselves. The 1988 NBA Draft class was deep in talent, led by a quiet, under-the-rader superstar at the top of the class. So old heads, enjoy the memories. Young bucks, learn your history.
1988 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 7 (Danny Manning, Rik Smits, Mitch Richmond, Hersey Hawkins, Dan Majerle, Anthony Mason, John Starks)
Biggest Bust: Tim Perry, Phoenix, pick No. 7
Late Round Steal: Anthony Mason, Portland, pick No. 53 (round three)
Winning Team (in the long run): New York Knicks (Anthony Mason, John Starks)
Career Scoring Leader: Mitch Richmond
Career Rebounding Leader: Anthony Mason
Career Assist Leader: Rod Strickland
Pick No. 1 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Danny Manning
Draft 365 Remix: Mitch Richmond (5)
Mitch Richmond was quite possibly the most overlooked scorer of his generation, but that was the price you paid for being a high scoring shooting guard in the era of Michael Jordan. But still, despite the accolades — six All-Star appearances, a Rookie of the Year award and five All-NBA appearances — Rock Richmond doesn’t seem to get the respect he deserves. His first 10 years in the League his lowest scoring average in a season was 21.9 ppg, only 30 players have scored more career points in NBA history than he has and, as his career shooting percentage of 45.5 shows, he wasn’t a chucker. Hall of Fame, here he comes.
Pick No. 2 | Indiana Pacers
Actual Selection: Rik Smits
Draft 365 Remix: Rod Strickland (19)
Little known fact — Rod Strickland never made an All-Star team. Despite being named Second Team All-NBA in 1998, Strickland never made an All-Star team. Despite leading the NBA in assists per game in 1998 (10.5 apg), he never made an All-Star team. Despite, at the peak of his powers, being good for 19-10-4 a night, he never made an All-Star team. Despite being eighth all-time in career assists, he never … well, you get the picture.
Pick No. 3 | Philadelphia 76ers
Actual Selection: Charles Smith
Draft 365 Remix: Danny Manning (1)
As if playing the first five and a half years of his career with the Clippers wasn’t punishment enough, Danny Manning also had the dubious distinction of being the first NBA player to come back from reconstructive surgeries on both his knees. When healthy, the two-time All-Star was a highly skilled big man, able to score, board and pass the rock.
Pick No. 4 | New Jersey Nets
Actual Selection: Chris Morris
Draft 365 Remix: Dan Majerle (14)
You wouldn’t guess that someone nicknamed “Thunder” would be a long-range bomber, but Dan Majerle started out as a dunker, not a three-pointer shooter. But, by his fourth season in the League Majerle had become the designated outside shooter for the powerhouse Phoenix Suns teams. But as his three All-Star and two All-Defensive Team appearances can attest, Majerle was more than just a bomber.
Pick No. 5 | Golden State Warriors
Actual Selection: Mitch Richmond
Draft 365 Remix: Hersey Hawkins (6)
Hersey Hawkins is one of the rare examples of a “combo guard” who ended up excelling. Too small for the shooting guard spot, but not a point guard either, Hawkins had an All-Star career, good for double-digit scoring his first 11 years in the NBA (including two years averaging over 20 a game) and, surprisingly to some, currently ranks 20th all-time in steals.
Pick No. 6 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Hershey Hawkins
Draft 365 Remix: Anthony Mason (53)
“I got my hair cut correct like Anthony Mason.” An early day Ron Artest — both with his style of play, physique and, of course, hairdo, was one Anthony George Douglas Mason. Despite only being 6-7, Mason manned the power forward spot, scoring, passing, rebounding and intimidating his way to stardom. His resume reflects his renaissance ways — he was an All-Star, the Sixth Man of the Year, an All-NBA Team member and an All-Defensive Team member. And was there ever a more unaesthetically pleasing sight as Mase leading a fast break?
Pick No. 7 | Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: Tim Perry
Draft 365 Remix: Rik Smits (2)
Rik Smits, aka The Dunking Dutchman, played his whole career with the Indiana Pacers, including centering their team that made the 2000 NBA Finals. The 7-4 All-Star averaged double-figures in scoring his whole 12-year career.
Pick No. 8 | Charlotte Hornets
Actual Selection: Rex Chapman
Draft 365 Remix: John Starks (Undrafted)
The 1988 draft was three rounds and 75 picks long, yet no team wanted anything to do with John Starks. Big mistake. Once he got himself into the League, Starks blossomed into an All-Star and All-Defensive Team member and a Sixth Man of the Year. Oh — and he did this.
Pick No. 9 | Miami Heat
Actual Selection: Rony Seikaly
Draft 365 Remix: Rony Seikaly (9)
DJ Rony Seikaly is a Syracuse legend and was a lynchpin of some solid Miami Heat teams of the late 1980s-early 1990s. He average a double-double five straight years for the Heat.
Pick No. 10 | San Antonio Spurs
Actual Selection: Willie Anderson
Draft 365 Remix: Rex Chapman (8)
Nicknamed “The Boy Wonder,” Rex Chapman was a crowd pleaser, either with his high-flying dunks or his incredibly long-range three-pointers. He scored in double-figures in 11 of his 12 injured ravaged NBA seasons.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Vernon Maxwell, Avery Johnson, Charles Smith, Grant Long
Next on the Remix: The very underrated, Hall of Fame packed 1987 draft class.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.