Even with the best organizations and the best general managers the draft is still an inexact science. Players that look like can’t miss prospects end up out of the league after a season or two while guys who were almost afterthoughts taken at the bottom of the draft turn into All-Stars. The ’84 draft was 228 picks over 10 rounds with the first round consisting of 24 picks. of the 228 players selected, 58 of them played in the NBA according to Basketball-Reference.com. Of those 58 players, Brian Martin (round nine, 185 overall) was the player taken with the lowest pick to play in the league.
Everyone talks about the ’84 draft because of the huge misses near the top, but the Trail Blazers weren’t the only team that missed out on a legend of the game early in the draft. That turned out to be a great thing for the Jazz organization and its fans alike.
Here is a look at how the first round 1984 draft would have went if we knew then what we know now.
24. Terence Stansbury
Stansbury was originally taken with the 15th overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks. He lasted just three seasons in the NBA and played in 192 games over that stretch for the Indiana Pacers and the Seattle SuperSonics. His best season came ’85-86 when he averaged 6.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the Pacers in 74 games (17 starts).
For his career, Stansbury averaged 6.3 points, 1.4 rebounds and two assists a contest.
23. Ken Bannister
Bannister was originally taken with the 17th pick of the seventh round (157th overall) by the New York Knicks. He played five seasons in the NBA over a seven-year period with the Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers. His best season came with the Knicks in ’85-86 when he appeared in 70 games (15 starts) and averaged 8.6 points and 4.6 rebounds while playing more than 20 minutes a game.
For his career, Bannister averaged 5.9 points and 3.5 rebounds in 253 games.
22. Ben Coleman
Coleman was originally taken with the 13th pick of the second round (37th overall) by the Chicago Bulls. He played five seasons in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and the Detroit Pistons. It wasnt until two years after Coleman was drafted that he played in his first regular season NBA game as a member of the Nets. His best season in the league came in ’87-88 while with the Nets and the 76ers. During that season, Coleman played in 70 games (24 starts) and averaged 8.5 points and five rebounds a night.
For his career, Coleman averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 227 games.
21. Leon Wood
Wood was originally taken with the 10th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. He spent six season in the NBA with the 76ers, Washington Bullets, New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings. His most productive season came with the Spurs in ’87-88 when he averaged 9.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists a game.
For his career, Wood averaged 6.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 274 games.
20. Danny Young
Young was originally taken with the 15th pick in the second round (39th overall) by the Seattle SuperSonics. He played nine seasons in the league with the Sonics, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks. His best season came with Seattle in ’85-86 when he played all 82 games (29 starts) and averaged 6.9 points on 50.6 percent shooting from the floor. He also added 1.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals a contest.
For his career, Young averaged 4.6 points, 1.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and nearly a steal a night in 574 games.
19. Steve Colter
Colter was originally taken with the ninth pick in the second round (33rd overall) by the Portland Trail Blazers. He played eight seasons with the Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Bullets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. His most Productive season on the floor came with the Blazers in ’85-86 when he averaged a career-high 8.7 points a night while making 51 starts. He also added 2.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals a game that season.
For his career, Colter averaged 6.3 points, two rebounds and 2.8 assists in 526 games.
18. Jim Peterson
Peterson was originally taken with the fourth pick of the third round (51st overall) by the Houston Rockets. He played eight seasons with the Rockets, Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors. His best season came with the Rockets in ’86-87 when he played nearly 30 minutes a contest. That season, he averaged 11.2 points on 51.1 percent shooting to go along with 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 blocks a game.
For his career, Peterson averaged 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and one assist in 491 games (208 starts).
17. Mel Turpin
Turpin was originally taken with the sixth overall pick by the Washington Bullets and then immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He spent five seasons in the league with the Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and the Washington Bullets. His most productive year came with the Cavaliers in ’85-86 when he appeared in 80 games (69 starts) and averaged 13.7 points on 54.4 percent shooting from the field while adding seven rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots a night.
For his career, Turpin averaged 8.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and a block in 361 games (127 starts).
16. Tim McCormick
McCormick was originally taken with the 12th overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded twice on drafted night and landing with the Seattle SuperSonics. He spent eight seasons in the NBA with the Sonics, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks. His most productive season came in his only full year with the 76ers in ’86-87. That season, he played 34.8 minutes a night over the course of 81 games and averaged 12.8 points on 54.5 percent shooting. He also added 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists a game.
For his career, McCormick averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and one assist in 483 games (210 starts).
15. Ron Anderson
Anderson was originally selected with the third pick of the second round (27th overall) by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He spent 10 years in the league with the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets and the Washington Bullets. After spending his time in Cleveland and Indiana with a limited role, he saw his time and production jump as member of the 76ers. His best season came with Philadelphia in ’88-89 when he appeared in all 82 games and averaged 31.9 minutes a game. In that season, he scored a career-high 16.2 points a contest to go along with five rebounds and 1.7 assists.
For his career, Anderson averaged 10.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 664 games.
14. Tony Campbell
Campbell was originally taken with the 20th overall pick by the Detroit Pistons. He spent his 11-year career playing with the Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It wasn’t until his time in Minnesota that he found any real individual success. In the ’89-90 season, he led the first-year Timberwolves in scoring when he averaged 23.2 points to go along with 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals a game. He also led Minnesota in scoring a year later with 21.8 points a game.
For his career, Campbell averaged 11.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 690 games (224 starts). He was also part of a NBA Championship team as a member of the ’87-88 Lakers.
13. Vern Fleming
Fleming was originally taken with the 18th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers. He played 12 seasons in the league with the Pacers and the New Jersey Nets. His first 11 years were spent in Indiana where he ran the show for the Pacers. He earned big minutes as the Pacers starting point guard for the first seven years of his career before taking a reduced role during his remaining years. He had one of his most productive seasons in ’89-90 when he averaged 14.3 points on 50.8 percent shooting with 3.9 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.1 steals.
For his career, Fleming averaged 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and one steal in 893 games (523 starts).
12. Jay Humphries
Humphries was originally taken with the 13th overall pick by the Phoenix Suns. He spent his 11-year career with the Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics. While he was known as more of a passer in the early part of his career, it was when he landed in Milwaukee that he became more of a scorer as well. His best season came with the Bucks in ’90-91 when he averaged 15.2 points on 50.2 percent shooting from the floor, 2.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.6 steals.
For his career, Humphries averaged 11.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 788 games (557 starts).
11. Michael Cage
Cage was originally taken with the 14th overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers. He spent 15 years in the NBA with the Clippers, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, and New Jersey Nets. He was a beast on the glass and was a very proficient scorer when called upon. He averaged double figures in rebounding three out of four seasons in the late 80’s including one year (’87-88) where is lead the league at 13 boards a contest. His best overall season came with the Clippers in ’86-87 when he averaged 15.7 points on 52.1 percent shooting, 11.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals a game.
For his career, Cage averaged 7.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in 1140 games (733 starts).
10. Sam Bowie
Bowie was originally selected with the second overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers. He played 10 seasons in the NBA with the Blazers, New Jersey Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers. He had unlimited potential coming out of Kentucky, but injuries derailed his promising career. Even though injuries forced him to miss an entire season and most of four others, he could play at a high level when healthy. His most productive season came in ’89-90 during his first year with the Nets when he averaged 14.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.8 blocks a game.
For his career, Bowie averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocked shots in 511 games (349 starts).
9. Jerome Kersey
Kersey was originally taken with the 22nd pick in the second round (46th overall) by the Portland Trail Blazers. He spent his 17-year career playing for the Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle SuperSonics, San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks. He most productive days were with the Trail Blazers where he spent his first 11 seasons and was a key piece of two Portland runs to the NBA Finals. His most productive season came in ’87-88 in his first season as a full-time starter when he averaged 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals a game. He also stepped up big when it counted most. In the ’90 playoff run that ended in a finals loss to the Detroit Pistons, he averaged 20.7 points and 8.3 rebounds including a 33-point, eight-rebound effort in a game four defeat.
For his career, Kersey averaged 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 1,153 games (571 starts).
8. Sam Perkins
Perkins was originally selected with the fourth overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks. He spent 17 seasons in the league playing for the Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle SuperSonics and Indiana Pacers. Although he played consistently at a high level with Dallas, his most productive season came with the Lakers in ’91-92 when he averaged 16.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, one steal and a blocked shot a game.
For his career, Perkins averaged 11.9 points, six rebounds and 1.5 assists in 1,296 games (757 starts).
7. Kevin Willis
Willis was originally taken with the 11th overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks. He played 21 seasons in the NBA for the Hawks, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks. He was at his best with the Hawks where he averaged a double-double in five different seasons. The most impressive year of his career came in ’91-92 when he made the all-star game after averaging 18.3 points, 15.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists a night.
For his career, Willis averaged 12.1 points and 8.4 rebounds in 1,424 games (891 starts). Willis won a NBA Championship as a member of the San Antonio Spurs in ’02-03.
6. Otis Thorpe
Thorpe was originally taken with the ninth overall pick by the Kansas City KIngs. He played 17 seasons in the NBA for the Kings, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons, Vancouver Grizzlies, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets. He averaged a double-double five times in an eight-year stretch with the Kings and the Rockets. His best season with the Kings came in ’87-88 when he averaged 20.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game. Four years later, he made his lone All-Star appearance while averaging 17.3 points on 59.2 percent shooting with 10.5 rebounds and three assists a game.
For his career, Thorpe averaged 14 points on 54.6 percent shooting, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 1,257 games (989 starts). Thorpe won a NBA Championship as a member of the ’93-94 Rockets.
5. Alvin Robertson
Robertson was originally taken with the seventh overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs. He played 10 seasons in the NBA for the Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons and the Toronto Raptors. He had the best stretch of his career with the Spurs where he made three of his four all-star games in a five-year span. He was a great defensive player who led the league in steals three times while making the NBA all-defensive first or second team six straight seasons. The best season of his career came in ’85-86 when he won the Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of th Year and earned All-NBA second team. Another great season came in ’87-88 when he averaged 19.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists and three steals a game.
For his career, Robertson averaged 14 points, 5.2 rebounds, five assists and 2.7 steals in 779 games (680 starts).
4. John Stockton
Stockton was originally taken with the 16th overall pick by the Utah Jazz. He played his entire 19-year career with the Jazz and finished as the all-time NBA leader in assists (15,806) and steals (3,265). The 10-time all-star led the NBA in assists nine straight seasons and was a key piece as the Jazz made two trips to the NBA Finals. He averaged a double-double in scoring and assists for 10 straight seasons. He also made the NBA all-defensive second team five times and made All-NBA first,second or third team on 11 occasions. The most impressive statistical season of his career came in ’89-90 when he averaged 17.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 14.5 assists and 2.7 steals.
For his career, Stockton averaged 13.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 10.5 assists and 2,2 steals in 1,504 games (1,300 starts). He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 for his remarkable accomplishments.
3. Charles Barkley
Barkley was originally taken with the fifth overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. He played 16 seasons for the 76ers, Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets. He averaged a double-double in points and rebounds for the last 15 years of his career. The 11-time all-star earned All-NBA honors 11 consecutive times, including five seasons on the All-NBA first team. He had one of his most impressive seasons in ’92-93 when he was named the NBA MVP after averaging 25.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.6 steals and one block a game.
For his career, Barkley averaged 22.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals in 1,073 games (1,012 starts). For his dominant career, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
2. Hakeem Olajuwon
Olajuwon was originally taken with the first overall pick by the Houston Rockets. He played 18 seasons with the Rockets and the Toronto Raptors. He averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in the first 12 years of his career while leading the league in rebounds and blocked shots two times each. The 12-time all-star earned All-NBA honors 12 times, including six seasons on the All-NBA first team. He also made the NBA all-defensive team nine times and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice. His most impressive season came in ’93-94 when he averaged 27.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 3.7 blocked shots a game to earn the league MVP. He followed that up by leading the Rockets to the NBA Championship where he was named the Finals MVP. A year later, he brought the Rockets their second title in a row and another Finals MVP.
For his career, Olajuwon averaged 21.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 3.1 blocks in 1,238 games (1,186 starts). For his efforts, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
1. Michael Jordan
Jordan was originally taken with the third overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. He played his 15-year career with the Bulls and the Washington Wizards. He led the Bulls to six NBA championships and was named the Finals MVP each time. He made the All-NBA first team 10 times and all-defensive first team nine times. To top it off, he was named league MVP five times.
For his career, Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 1,072 games (1,039 starts). He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame for his legendary career in 2009.