1985 NBA Draft Remix
The NBA hits the lottery – in more ways than one.
The 1985 NBA draft was one to remember. The first year the NBA implemented the draft lottery, one of the League’s cornerstone franchises hit the jackpot and won the lottery. But the Knicks weren’t the only team to luck out in 1985 — this year’s draft class was one of the all-time best.
By our estimations, the 1985 NBA draft was the third greatest draft class of all-time, trailing only 1984 and 1996 (but ahead of 2003 — for now). You have three Hall of Famers at the top of the class, with Chris Mullin also knocking on Springfield’s doors. You also had 10 All-Stars in the 1985 crop, including one of the game’s greatest centers and a top-five all-time power forward. And, because the 1980s were the NBA’s rough and tumble frontier days, a bunch of dudes who didn’t take no mess.
1985 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 10 (Patrick Ewing, Xavier McDaniel, Chris Mullin, Detlef Schrempf, Charles Oakley, Karl Malone, Joe Dumars, AC Green, Terry Porter, Michael Adams)
Biggest Bust: Joe Kleine, Sacramento, pick No. 6
Late Round Steal: Michael Adams, Sacramento, pick No. 66 (third round)
Winning Team (in the long run): New York (Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley)
Career Scoring Leader: Karl Malone
Career Rebounding Leader: Karl Malone
Career Assist Leader: Terry Porter
Pick No. 1 | New York Knicks
Actual Selection: Patrick Ewing
Draft 365 Remix: Karl Malone (13)
The implementation of the lottery was supposed to keep teams from purposely losing games to get a shot at Patrick Ewing — but in the end the real player teams should have been throwing games for lasted through the first 12 picks. You aren’t going to get a player much better than Karl Malone in any draft — especially with pick no. 13. The Mailman made 14 All-Star and All-NBA teams, four All-Defensive teams and was a two-time league MVP. He’s also the all-time leader in free throws (both made and attempted) and defensive rebounds (not to mention turnovers), and the only player to play more minutes or score more points is a gentleman who goes by the name of Kareem.
Pick No. 2 | Indiana Pacers
Actual Selection: Wayman Tisdale
Draft 365 Remix: Patrick Ewing (1)
The player most adversely affected by having to play in the Air Jordan era would have to be Patrick Aloysius Ewing. Ewing just couldn’t get his Knicks past Jordan’s Bulls juggernaut, and when Michael left to shag fly balls and the Knicks finally did get to the Finals they ran into one of the greatest centers of all-time at the top of his powers in Hakeem Olajuwon. Nonetheless, while a ring may have been out of reach, the Hall of Fame wasn’t for Ewing, as the 11-time All-Star’s resume was just too strong.
Pick No. 3 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Benoit Benjamin
Draft 365 Remix: Joe Dumars (18)
Joe Dumars has a way of always being overlooked, whether it be in his draft class (he lasted to pick no. 18), in his own team’s backcourt (Isiah Thomas) or now in his front office career (he won the Pistons a ring but is remembered best for drafting Darko). But when you are ranking the greatest “combo guards” of all-time, this Finals MVP, Hall-of-Famer has to be near the top of the list.
Pick No. 4 | Seattle Supersonics
Actual Selection: Xavier McDaniel
Draft 365 Remix: Chris Mullin (7)
Once again, if it wasn’t for that Air Jordan cat Chris Mullin could have been considered the best pure scorer of his generation. His shot form might have been odd, and his crewcut out of style, but Mullin was deadly on the court, running off five 25-plus ppg seasons in a row and making five All-Star and four All-NBA teams in the process.
Speaking of out-of-date haircuts, Detlef Schrempf comes in at pick no. 5 on the remix. Before Dirk made his way to Dallas, Schrempf was the resident German on the Mavericks’ roster. But Schrempf didn’t really start to excel until going to Indiana (and later Seattle) and he ended up becoming a two-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner and a three-time All-Star.
Pick No. 6 | Sacramento Kings
Actual Selection: Joe Kleine
Draft 365 Remix: Charles Oakley (9)
You didn’t mess with Charles Oakley (same rule applies with the current gray-haired, 45-year-old version of Oak). A rugged power forward who never posted up (possibly never everposted up — anyone have video evidence to the contrary?) yet possessed a soft jumper, the Oak intimidated his way onto an All-Star team, two All-Defensive teams and no one outside of Karl Malone in this draft class grabbed more boards.
Pick No. 7 | Golden State Warriors
Actual Selection: Chris Mullin
Draft 365 Remix: Terry Porter (24)
With the last pick in the first round, the Portland Trail Blazers found the point guard for their powerhouse late 1980s-early 1990s teams. A two-time All-Star, Porter also placed ninth in MVP voting in 1991 when he was top-ten in the League in assists and three-pointers made.
Pick No. 8 | Dallas Mavericks
Actual Selection: Detlef Schrempf
Draft 365 Remix: Xavier McDaniel (4)
In his day, Xavier McDaniel was a bad man. At 6-7, 205 pounds, X wasn’t the biggest dog in the fight, but that didn’t stop him from pushing, elbowing and strangling his way to four-straight seasons of 20 or more points per game and an All-Star apperance.
Pick No. 9 | Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Selection: Charles Oakley
Draft 365 Remix: AC Green (23)
Famous for his Jheri curl, his celibacy and his knack for missing layups, AC Green Jr was still a key cog in the Lakers dynasty, making an All-Star and All-Defensive team in his eight years in L.A.
Pick No. 10 | Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: Ed Pickney
Draft 365 Remix: Wayman Tisdale (2)
Always cheerful, even while he was losing his leg and eventually his life to cancer, Wayman Tisdale was a legend at the University of Oklahoma (his no. 23 jersey was the first number ever retired in any sport at the school). He wasn’t able to duplicate that level of success on the NBA stage, but he did average double figures in scoring in 12 out of his 13 years in the League.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Michael Adams, Gerald Wilkins, Hot Rod Williams, Benoit Benjamin.
Next on the Remix: We finish off the draft remix series with the mother of all draft classes — 1984.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.