From the passing of Len Bias only hours after the draft to the death of Drazen Petrovic in a car accident seven years later, the 1986 draft class was filled with tragedy at just about every turn. Add in a handful of drug related suspensions and it is clear to see that the potential that came out of the ’86 draft was never fulfilled. The ’86 draft was 162 picks over seven rounds with the first round consisting of 24 picks. Of the 162 players selected 68 of them played in the NBA according to basketball-reference.com. Of the 68 players to play in the NBA, Alexander Volkov (sixth round, 134th overall) was the player taken with the lowest pick in the draft to play in the league.
Even with all of the problems surrounding the ’86 draft class, there were still plenty of bright spots. There were five All-Stars and three players who were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Note: three key players that helped to make the NBA a truly international league were all drafted in ’86 (Drazen Petrovic, Arvydas Sabonis and Alexander Volkov).
24. Billy Thompson: Thompson was originally taken with the 19th overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson played six seasons for the Lakers, Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors. His best season came with the Heat in 1988-89 when Thompson played 79 games (58 Starts) and averaged 10.8 points, 7.2 rebounds 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks.
For his career, Thompson averaged 8.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and nearly a block in 300 games (149 starts).
23. Harold Pressley: was originally taken with the 17th overall pick by the Sacramento Kings. Pressley spent his entire four-your career with the Kings. His best season came in 1988-89 when Pressley averaged 12.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and one block in 80 games (36 starts).
For his career, Pressley averaged nine points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and nearly a steal in 299 games (118 starts).
22. Kenny Gattison: Gattison was originally taken with the eighth pick in the third round (55th overall) by the Phoenix Suns. He spent ten seasons in the NBA with the Suns, Charlotte Hornets and the Vancouver Grizzlies. His best season came with the Hornets in in 1991-92 when Gattison averaged a career-high 12.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists while playing all 82 games (71 starts) for the only time.
For his career, Gattison averaged 7.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and nearly an assist in 494 games (130 starts).
21. Larry Krystkowiak: Krystkowiak was originally taken with the fourth pick of the second round (28th overall) by the Chicago Bulls. Before Krystkowiak ever played a game in the NBA he was traded twice. The first time came on draft night when Krystkowiak moved to Portland before being traded to the San Antonio Spurs two days Later.
Krystkowiak played nine seasons for the Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers. His best season came with the Bucks in 1988-89 when Krystkowiak averaged 12.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 77 starts.
For his career, Krystkowiak averaged 8.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 420 games (134 starts).