The Case for 1984
Quite simply, the 1984 NBA draft class was the best of the last 25 years, bar none. It contained the player widely considered to be the best of his generation, if not of all time, Michael Jordan - and he was not even the first overall pick! That distinction went to one of the best centers in the history of the game, Hakeem Olajuwon.
|Michael Jordan denied fellow 1984 draftee John Stockton twice in the NBA Finals. (Morry Gash -- AP) |
Those two players won a combined eight championships (Jordan 6, Olajuwon 2) and were both named to the NBA's list of the 50 greatest players. Jordan took a traditionally inept Bulls team to a dynasty and Olajuwon led the Rockets to their only two titles. While often belittled, because he was selected before Jordan, even No. 2 pick Sam Bowie carved out a solid career, averaging 10.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg over 10 years.
At pick No. 5, Charles Barkley went to the Philadelphia 76ers. Barkely became one of the best power forwards in NBA history. He is one of only four players to ever compile 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists.
Demonstrating the great depth of the 1984 class are John Stockton and Tony Campbell. Stockton, taken at No. 16 by the Utah Jazz would go on to become one of the greatest point guards in NBA history and the all-time assist leader. Campbell, while not as accomplished as any of the above players, nonetheless played a key role on the Lakers' 1988 championship team, averaging 11 ppg. Spannin an often overlooked 11-year NBA career, Campbell averaged 11.6 ppg and even poured in 23.2 a game for the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1989-1990 season.
Besides the sheer talent and success of the class (12 total championships, with Otis Thorpe and Kevin Willis adding 3 to the players listed above), the players drafted in 1984 would have made a perfect roster.
I would strongly argue that John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Charles Barley, Kevin Willis and Hakeem Olajuwon would comprise the best starting five of any draft class in the past 25 years. When you throw in superb role players Otis Thorpe, Sam Perkins, Alvin Robertson, Michael Cage and the aforementioned Tony Campbell on the bench, I think it is the most well-rounded and cohesive unit of any possible in any draft.
By Jason Feller |
June 19, 2006; 6:54 PM ET
Next: The Case for 2003
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