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the NBA
Jack McCallum
March 29, 1993
A LITTLE R AND R
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March 29, 1993

The Nba

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RANKING THE DRAFTERS
The draft ratings from 1980 to '90, from worst to best. How did your team fare?

Team

Pts.

Highlight

Lowlight

Bulls

-50

Jordan '84

Passed on Price and Rodman tor Sellers '86

Nuggets

-49

Chris Jackson '90

Passed on Andrew Toney for James Ray '80

Kings

-47

Lionel Simmons'90

Passed on Mullin and Malone for Joe Kleine '85

Clippers

-46

Danny Manning'88

Passed on Stockton for Lancaster Gordon '84

Mavs

-45

Mark Aguirre '81

Took Garnett '82

Blazers

-44

Drexler '83; Porter '85

Passed on Jordan for Bowie '84

76ers

-37

Barkley '84

Passed on Stockton for Leon Wood '84

Bullets

-36

Harvey Grant '88

Passed on Otis Thorpe for Turpin '84

Hawks

-35

Doc Rivers '83 (2nd rd.)

Passed on Rolando Blackman for Al Wood '81

Warriors

-34

Tim Hardaway '89

Took Russell Cross '83; Chris Washburn '86

Pacers

-30

Reggie Miller '87

Passed on Drexler for Steve Stipanovich '83

Nets

-30

Buck Williams'81

Passed on Pippen and K. Johnson for Dennis Hopson '87

Knicks

-29

Ewing '85

Passed on Ron Harper for Kenny Walker '86

Rockets

-28

Olajuwon '84

Passed on Rodman and Price for Buck Johnson '86

Celtics

-20

Reggie Lewis '87

Passed on Hardaway for Michael Smith '89

Cavs

-20

Brad Daugherty '86

Took Chad Kinch '80; Stewart Granger '83

Spurs

-19

David Robinson '87

Passed on Dumars and Porter for Alfredrick Hughes '85

Sonics

-16

Shawn Kemp '89

Passed on Mullin and Malone for McDaniel '85

Bucks

-15

Paul Pressey '82

Passed on Jerome Kersey for Kenny Fields '84

Lakers

-14

James Worthy '82

Passed on Rodman for Ken Barlow '86

Jazz

-12

Stockton '84; Malone '85

Passed on Reggie Lewis for José Ortiz '87

Suns

-9

Dan Majerle '88

Passed on Price and Rodman for William Bedford '86

Pistons

+4

Rodman '86

Passed on Drexler for Antoine Carr '83

A LITTLE R AND R

Until recently, among the most lopsided trades of the year seemed to be the one made by the Nets on Nov. 3, when they dealt point guard Mookie Blaylock and forward Roy Hinson to the Hawks in exchange for guard Rumeal Robinson. While Blaylock has enjoyed a steady season as the Atlanta quarterback (the injured Hinson was a throw-in), Robinson—shooting a woeful .374 from the field—was buried deep on New Jersey coach Chuck Daly's bench, behind starter Kenny Anderson and veteran Maurice Checks, who was signed on Jan. 7 to be a calming influence in reserve. Then when Anderson went down for the season with a broken bone in his left wrist on Feb. 28, the starting nod went to fourth-stringer Tate George, not Robinson. When George played poorly in a loss to the Bulls on March 2, however, Daly finally turned to Robinson. At least Daly could count on Robinson for competitiveness, tough-mindedness and a little muscular defense.

But Daly has gotten much, much more than that. With Robinson at the helm New Jersey won eight of nine games through last week, including one of the season's true shockers, a 124-93 rout of the Suns in Phoenix on March 13. During the run Robinson averaged 16.0 points and 8.3 assists while shooting .483 from the floor, and, just as important, his teammates seemed to accept him as their leader. He's not as good off the pick-and-roll as Anderson is (few guards are), but he is a fearless penetrator who, like Anderson, can get the ball up the floor quickly. And at a solid 6'2" and 200 pounds—Daly has coined a new term for Robinson, whom he calls a "power point guard"—Robinson won't be posted up by opponents as was the slight-as-a-feather Anderson.

"We'd love to say it was the coaching," says Net assistant Brendan Suhr of Robinson's emergence, "but, the fact is, we're as surprised as anyone. Rumeal deserves all the credit. He's come into an uncertain situation and made something out of it."

RANKING THE DRAFTERS

It's the time of year when thoughts turn to the college draft and to LaRue Martin. Martin, you may recall, is probably the biggest dud in NBA history, a 6'11" center whom the Trail Blazers made the first pick of the 1972 draft (Bob McAdoo was the No. 2 choice). LaRue stayed around Portland for four seasons, largely because the Blazers didn't want to admit they had made such a monumental mistake.

In our book Martin is ancient history. Mel Turpin and Bill Garnett are not. They were among the lead balloons who, like Morton Downey Jr., crashed to earth in the 1980s. Here is SI's analysis of the 11 drafts between '80 and '90; it's too early to judge the '91 and '92 drafts or rank the four recent expansion teams.

It was spadework done by the Mavericks' personnel department that led to our analysis. In an effort to show that all teams—not just the Mavs—have made big draft blunders, general manager Norm Sonju recently asked his staff to compile a "could've list," which it gave to SI. For example, in 1985, when the Hawks picked fifth in the first round, they could have selected Chris Mullin, Detlef Schrempf, Karl Malone or Joe Dumars, but they didn't. They chose Jon Koncak.

We created the following point system:

•-10 for a bust, someone who had virtually no NBA career, drafted in the top 10;
•-5 for a near bust picked in the lop 10;
•-3 for a bust not picked in the top 10;
•-2 for passing on an eventual All-Star if the player the team picked turned out not to be as good;
•-1 for passing on a player who became a solid pro for one not so solid;
•+10 for picking a future All-Star after the first round;
•+3 for drafting a future All-Star after the top 10;
•+1 for drafting a future solid pro alter the first round.

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