Tuesday , Jun , 28 , 2011 Paul Eide

1985 NBA Draft; Best First Round Ever?

Was the envelope frozen? Or was the crease in the upper right hand/folded corner enough for the commish to know it was the correct envelope to pick? Watching the NBA Draft this past week, and the tepid response from most fans concerning who would go number one overall, is a long way from when it was held in 1985. Back in 1985 the Draft actually mattered because Patrick Ewing was at stake.


It was an interesting time for the NBA. The first ever NBA Draft Lottery was used to determine the picking order and the Knicks hadn’t been relevant for years. The Knicks had the third worst record the previous year, with Golden State the expected recipient of the #1 pick due to having the worst record the previous season. Each non-playoff team had an equal shot at their envelope being selected and it temporarily solved the problem of teams losing games on purpose to get the number one pick in the draft.

With Ewing, already a fixture on the east coast thanks to his college days at Georgetown, the slumbering New York media market would be rejuvenated and the league would make a ton of dough.
The Knicks got Ewing and Golden State fell all the way down to the seventh overall pick, where they picked future hall of famer Chris Mullin, though at the time he was seen as more of a consolation prize because they didn’t get Ewing. But, it ended up working out well for both teams.
Ewing and the conspiracy surrounding the Draft Lottery are what get all the headlines but that single draft affected the NBA as much as any draft ever, and shaped the league for the next several years. In the first 18 picks, four Hall of Famers were selected. In the first round (24 picks in all) nine all stars were selected. Of the 24 players selected in the first round, 19 of them played in the NBA for eight or more seasons. That’s some pretty amazing longevity compared to the way a lot of NBA Draft picks over the last ten or so years won’t ever play a minute in the league.
A few of the better picks:
– Patrick Ewing at one
– Xavier McDaniel at four
– Chris Mullin at seven
– Detlef Schrempf at eight
– Charles Oakley at nine
– Karl Malone at 13
– Joe Dumars at 18
– AC Green at 23
– Terry Porter at 24
A few that didn’t pan out:
– Benoit Benjamin at three.
– Jon Koncak at five
– Joe Kleine at six
– Ed Pickney at 10
Even the guys that “didn’t pan out” made an impact and cut out roles for themselves, maybe none more than Jon Koncak especially regarding the future of the league.  
Was the 1985 NBA Draft the best draft, in terms of talent and overall impact, in NBA history?  
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