1984 NBA Draft – The 6 Best

The 1984 NBA Draft will be remembered as one of the great Draft’s of all-time because it produced some fantastic players and arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time.

It also generates a bit of discussion for what could have been for some sides particularly the Portland Trail Blazers who had pick number two and chose to overlook a player that most purist basketball fans would regard as the Greatest of all-time in Michael Jordan.

NBA Draft History would suggest that some teams don’t quite make the right picks during the NBA Draft Lottery and the 1984 Draft Class would suggest that some of the players in the top 10, didn’t end up going as well as expected.

The 1984 NBA Draft list consisted of same great players, although the 1984 NBA Draft Order is now always up for debate.

The 1984 NBA Draft is remembered as a landmark draft that introduced multiple superstars to the league, with players like Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton leaving an indelible mark on the NBA.

Here are the 1984 NBA Draft Picks.

1984 NBA Draft Order – Top 10 Picks

1 Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets
2Sam BowiePortland Trail Blazers
3Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls
4Sam PerkinsDallas Mavericks
5Charles BarkleyPhiladelphia 76ers
6Melvin TurpinWashington Bullets
7Alvin RobertsonSan Antonio Spurs
8Lancaster GordonLos Angeles Clippers
9Otis ThorpeKansas City Kings
10Leon Wood Philadelphia 76ers

As a basketball fan, 3 of the players in the Top 10 are household names and ended up having a significant impact on the NBA.

3 or 4 of the players in the top ten of the 1984 NBA Draft had semi-decent careers and played for extended periods. Whilst there are a few guys in the top ten, that as a basketball fan it’s quite hard to remember whether or not they made an impact on the NBA unless some research is undertaken.


The most memorable is the Portland Trail Blazers pick of Sam Bowie who was picked before Michael Jordan and Blazers fans constantly get reminded of what they missed out on. Bowie did make a small contribution to the NBA, but in no way lived up to being the Number 2 pick despite a really good college career.

Just who has been the best to come out of the 1984 NBA Draft?

Before we get into a top six some honourable mentions that had well established careers in the NBA include, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe, Michael Cage, Jerome Kersey and Sam Bowie did have an impact in the NBA, but it often gets forgotton because he was chosen before Jordan.

Here is a quick recap of the best 6 players to come out of the 1984 NBA Draft – The 6 Best.

The 6 Best

6.) Sam Perkins

(Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle Supersonics, Indiana Pacers)

Original Pick – Round 1 Pick 4 (Dallas Mavericks) from North Carolina

Playing Career – (1984-2001)

Games – 1286

Playoffs – 167

Points Average – 11.9

Rebounds Average – 6.0

After a decent college career and numerous awards before entering the NBA, Perkins ended up having a long NBA Career at four different clubs.

Nicknamed, Big Smooth or Sleepy Sam, he made an impact on each of the sides he played for and played significant minutes during the early to middle stages of his career.

 A big man that shot the 3 point shot at 36.2% throughout his career, he was a factor in the 1996 NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls in which he made the Bulls defenders respect his outside shot.

Over 100 games and one of the most unique jump shots of All-Time, Perkins gave all four of the sides he played for, significant value.

Who’s Next? ⤵

5.) Kevin Willis

(Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks)

Original Pick – Round 1 Pick 11 (Atlanta Hawks) from Michigan State

Playing Career – (1984-2007)

Games – 1424

Playoffs – 98

Points Average – 12.1

Rebounds Average – 8.4

NBA Championship – (2003)

NBA All-Star – (1992)

Kevin Willis had a long career and ranks 9th on the list for most NBA Games played. 

He played for several different NBA Teams and was a regular contributor on most of the sides he played for.

His longest stint for a club was his first team, the Atlanta Hawks where he got a start in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. The long jeopardy of his career probably gets him in the top 5, but Willis was a true character of the game and one of the better centres of his time.

Who’s Next? ⤵

4.) John Stockton

(Utah Jazz)

Original Pick – Round 1 Pick 16 (Utah Jazz) from Gonzaga

Playing Career – (1984-2003)

Games – 1504

Playoffs – 182

Points Average – 13.1

Assists Average – 10.5

Steals Average – 2.2

10 x NBA All-Star

2 x All NBA First Team

9 x NBA Assist Leader

After a healthy College career for Gonzaga, Stockton was picked up by the Utah Jazz in the 1984 NBA Draft and played there for almost 20 seasons.

He formed a memorable partnership with teammate Karl Malone to turn the Utah Jazz into one of the powerhouses of the Western Conference.

John Stockton was one of the greatest passes the game has ever seen and led by example in a long career for just the one team. He played a significant part in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls, but unfortunately Jordan and the Bulls were just too good and the Utah Jazz never won a title during Stockton’s long NBA Career.

Originally the 16th pick in the 1984 NBA Draft John Stockton would go on to become one of the Great Point Guards the game has ever seen and the John Stockton Jersey is still popular for NBA Fans.

Who’s Next? ⤵

2 thoughts on “1984 NBA Draft – The 6 Best”

  1. I’m not the sports buff that my sons are, but they talk frequently about the different drafts, including NBA and also NFL. Not only are they following the drafts themselves, they are also involved with the fantasy sports leagues. Although they haven’t talked about the 1984 draft (they were born after that) they have talked about a couple of the players from it. It seems teams are always hunting for the next Jordan or Barkley. 

    I found it interesting that you mention that teams often find misses, as well as hits, in the draft. I guess we don’t always think about how a great college player may just not make it in the pros. I’m sure the teams are acutely aware, though.

    Thanks for the article. I’m going to share with my sports-loving sons and get their opinions, too!

    • Hi 

      I appreciate your comments.

      The 1984 NBA Draft has become a hot talking point in recent months with the release of The Last Dance, Chicago Bulls Series. 

      It still remains one of the great NBA Drafts of All-Time with the greatest player of All-Time being apart it. It is always hard to nail the pick, but some of the top picks in NBA Drafts have failed to love up to expectations.




Leave a comment