The 1989 NBA Draft wasn’t one of those rare and legendary ones but what it lacks in depth it somewhat makes up for with a few notable faces from the 90s basketball scene. Featuring all-stars such as Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp, and Sean Elliot. For a time Hardaway was one of the best point guards in the NBA and Shawn Kemp was dominant as a power forward for a time until drugs, alcohol, and weight gain ended his career in a less than stellar fashion. So with that in mind let’s re-do the 1989 NBA Draft’s top 10 picks as it should have gone with the advantage and hindsight of history.
Actual Pick: Pervis Ellison, Center, Louisville
Do over: Tim Hardaway, Guard UTEP (14th)
Pervis Ellison only played in 474 games in his career and averaged just under 10 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest. That’s not the kind of production you want to get out of the first pick in the draft. He only ended up playing one season in Sacramento before he was traded. Instead the Kings should have drafted a point guard named Tim Hardaway not an undersized center that doesn’t get you any numbers. Averaging close to 18 points and over 8 assists per game Tim Hardaway made five all-star teams. He was part of the Run TMC days in Golden State before ending up playing for the Miami Heat.
2. LA Clippers
Actual Pick: Danny Ferry, Forward, Duke
Do over: Glen Rice, Forward, Michigan (4th)
Danny Ferry had a long career in the NBA but as the number 2 pick in this draft he wasn’t spectacular and this is a bit high in the draft to select a role player. His career stat line was 7 points and under 3 boards a game. The Clippers who make bad draft decisions on an almost yearly basis past on three forwards that were much more productive than Ferry, namely, Glen Rice. For his career Rice averaged over 18 points a game and at times was a top scorer in the league, plus a deadly three point shooter. In Charlotte during the 96-97 season Rice averaged just under 27 points per game, shot 47 percent from behind the arc, and would win MVP of the All-Star game. Rice made three All-Star appearances and won a ring in 2000 with the Lakers.
3. San Antonio
Actual Pick: Sean Elliot, Forward, Arizona
Do over: Sean Elliot, Forward, Arizona (3rd)
When you’re right you’re right. In reality they could have selected Rice but Sean Elliot was a two time all-star who had his career set back and ultimately shortened by an illness. But he was still a very good player and the Spurs were glad to have him.
Actual Pick: Glen Rice, Forward, Michigan (Correct Pick)
Do over: Shawn Kemp, Forward, Trinity Valley CC (17th)
Miami actually got their draft pick correct with Glen Rice. However, I rate him higher than Shawn Kemp because of his consistency, wasn’t an off the court distraction, and because of his ability to be a number one scorer (Hornets) while being able to accept his role (Lakers). But seeing as this draft has been redone and Rice is now off the board the Heat get Shawn Kemp who actually plays outstanding for a number of years before his fell off the deep end.
Actual Pick: J.R. Reid, Forward, North Carolina
Do over: Vlade Divac, Center, Serbia (26th)
J.R. Reid was a decent role player but he was never a star forward. The Hornets would eventually end up with Vlade Divac in the infamous 1996 trade for Kobe Bryant but they should have had him right here. Vlade was at time in his career a 16 and 10 per night center with one all-star appearance under his belt. Was he amazing? No. But Divac was certainly a starting center that could go out and produce which is a fine commodity to have in this league.
Actual Pick: Stacy King, Forward/Center Oklahoma
Do Over: Clifford Robinson, Forward, UCONN (36th)
If you have ever read the Jordan Rules by Sam Smith you would have read about Stacy King and the distractions he brought with him. King never lived up to being the sixth pick in the draft averaging around six points per game over an eight year career. Clifford Robinson played until he was 40, had one all-star appearance (1994), was voted Sixth Man of the Year, and made two All-Defensive Second Teams. He also had years where he averaged over 20 points per game.
Actual Pick: George McCloud, G/F, FSU
Do Over: Mookie Blaylock, guard (12th)
George McCloud was a serviceable player for many years in the league and once hit 18 points per game with Dallas. Unfortunately for Indiana he never did that for their team. 8. Dallas. Mookie Blaylock could certainly be considered higher on this list perhaps one spot higher. But I like him here to Indiana, averaging 14 points and seven assists a game he made one all star appearance, two all defensive first teams, and four all defensive second teams during the 90s.
Actual Pick: Randy White, Forward, LSU
Do Over: Nick Anderson, G, Illinois (11th)
Randy White played only 281 games in the NBA averaging seven points and five rebounds per game. Nick Anderson was a starter for the Orlando Magic throughout the 1990s averaged 14 points a game for his career with almost six rebounds per. He is also known for missing those four free throws in the 1995 Finals versus Houston but he was a 67% free throw shooter for his career so he was never any good at them.
Actual Pick: Tom Hammonds, Forward, Georgia Tech
Do Over: Dana Barros, Guard, Boston College (16th)
Tom Hammonds averaged just five points per game in his career instead Dallas should have selected Dana Barros. Dana had a standout year for the 76ers in 94-95 with almost 21 points and 8 assists per game not only making the all-star team but winning most improved player that season. Barros was also an excellent three point shooter.
Actual Pick: Pooh Richardson, Guard, UCLA
Do Over: Pooh Richardson
Pooh averaged 11 points and almost 7 assists per game for his career but only played three seasons for Minnesota. I don’t have a problem with this pick, however it could be exchanged for Dino Radja who only played three and a half seasons in the league. Radja may have been top 5 in this draft class if he had only played in the States longer. Sherman Douglas, BJ Armstrong, and Blue Edwards could also be considered here.