There were some incorrect picks made in the 1987 NBA Draft. But since hindsight is 20-20, here’s how I would re-pick the draft.
Okay, so you know the players of the 1987 draft.
A lot of them are legends who did a lot to evolve the game.
And how can we forget David Robinson, who was one of the original athletic, all-around centers who can shoot.
There were many great players in this draft class. But some teams with high picks didn’t draft them on June 22 at the Felt Forum in New York City because they didn’t see the potential.
So, in this article, I’m going to redo the first 10 picks of the ‘87 draft. And I’m going to base my selections on the accolades these players accumulated.
With the first pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select… David Robinson out of the Navy.
Okay, so this was their original selection and it was the right one. Robinson had a great career in San Antonio and he helped them return to being a Western Conference juggernaut after the departure of George Gervin.
He was the 1995 NBA MVP, 1992 NBA DPOY, 1991 rebounding leader, 1992 blocks leader, and 1994 scoring champion. He is also a 10-time NBA All-Star, 10-time All-NBA, and 8-time All-Defensive.
With the second pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select… Scottie Pippen out of Central Arkansas.
Pippen had a great career with the Chicago Bulls and helped them win six NBA championships. He also did a fantastic job holding down the fort with his all-around play when Michael Jordan took his leave of absence in 1994 and part of 1995.
He is a 7-time NBA All-Star, 1-time All-Star MVP, 7-time All-NBA, 10-time All-Defensive, and the 1995 Steals leader.
With the third pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, the New Jersey Nets select… Reggie Miller.
Reggie Miller was Indiana’s hero for many years (even though he was every other teams’ public enemy no. 1).
He led them to much success in the 1990s and early 2000s. Miller even led the Pacers to an NBA Finals appearance in 2000, where they battled the Los Angeles Lakers (but lost).
He is a 5-time NBA All-Star and 3-time All-NBA. He also joined the 50-40-90 club in 1994, where he averaged 50 percent field goal, 40 percent 3-point field goal, and 90 percent free-throw for the season.
With the fourth pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers select… Kevin Johnson out of the University of California.
Kevin Johnson was one of the original slashing point guards. He, in my opinion, influenced players such as Baron Davis, Stephon Marbury, Derrick Rose, and Ja Morant.
Additionally, he had a great career with the Phoenix Suns, where he -along with Charles Barkley- led them to the NBA Finals in 1993. They lost to the Chicago Bulls, but did put up a fight.
He is a 5-time All-NBA, 3-time NBA All-Star, and the 1989 Most Improved Player.
With the fifth pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, the Seattle Supersonics select… Mark Jackson out of St. Johns University.
Mark Jackson was a great traditional point guard. His playmaking was phenomenal and he ended his career averaging 8 assists per game.
Jackson was also partly responsible for the implementation of the five-second back-to-the-basket rule and for increasing the popularity of the tear-drop shot.
Additionally, he had a great career and helped Reggie Miller and the Pacers make it to the NBA Finals in 2000.
He is a 1-time NBA All-Star, this draft class’ Rookie of the Year, and the 1997 assists leader.
With the sixth pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select… Horace Grant out of Clemson University.
Horace Grant is epic.
Though he didn’t receive many accolades, he was responsible for many teams winning the NBA championship. He didn’t single-handedly win titles or lead the teams.
But if it weren’t for him, I don’t think teams like the Chicago Bulls or the Los Angeles Lakers would’ve won as many titles as they did.
The reason why is that Grant was that hustle guy that did the dirty work. He fought for rebounds, created turnovers, and defended the paint.
He is a 4-time All-Defensive and 1-time NBA All-Star.
With the seventh pick in the 1987 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select… Reggie Lewis out of Northwestern University.
Reggie Lewis was a problem. He was skilled and athletic and should have received more accolades. In his six-year career, he averaged 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks.
Additionally, he caused a lot of problems for Michael Jordan, who he bullied on the defensive end every time they matched up.
He is a 1-time NBA All-Star.
With the eighth pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select… Derrick McKey out of the University of Alabama.
No lie, I don’t know much about Derrick McKey.
But from a look at his stats (and his accolades), it looks like he was a defensive player, as he averaged 1.1 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 4.7 rebounds per game in his career.
And though he didn’t have much success in the playoffs, he did make it to the NBA Finals with the Pacers in 2000, with his draft classmates Miller and Jackson.
He is a 2-time All-Defensive.
With the ninth pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, the Seattle Supersonics select… Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues out of Wake Forest University.
Muggsy Bogues was one of the reasons why the Charlotte Hornets played well and were fan favourites in the 90s.
Because of his intelligent playmaking, he was able to help the Hornets run a fun, fast-paced game that led them to be one of the best teams in the early-to-mid 90s (in 1994-95, the Hornets won 52 games under his quarterbacking).
He didn’t receive any accolades. But in the 1992-93 NBA season, he had the league’s best assist-to-turnover ratio (8.8 assists to 1.9 turnovers). He also placed in the top 5 in assists from 1989 to 1995 (with the exception of the 1990-91 season, when he placed 11th overall).
With the tenth pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select… Kenny Smith out of the University of North Carolina.
Kenny Smith didn’t receive a lot of awards in his career. But he was instrumental in the Houston Rockets winning 52 games (the most in franchise history at the time) in the 1990-91 NBA season.
He was also a key player in their title runs in 1994 and 1995. And this isn’t an accolade or anything -just an interesting tidbit- but he competed in the Dunk Contest multiple times and almost won.
So, that’s my re-selecting of the 1987 NBA draft class.
What do you think? What changes would you make?