1986 nba draft

1986 NBA Draft

The 1986 NBA Draft was held on June 17, 1986.

Overview and aftermath

Drug and health issues involving drafted players

There were various drug-related problems that plagued players in the 1986 NBA draft. Most notable was the death of highly-touted Len Bias. Bias died less than two days after being selected second overall by the defending champion Boston Celtics. His death was ruled an overdose that resulted from the abuse of cocaine. Other problems involving drugs hampered the careers of Chris Washburn, Roy Tarpley, and William Bedford.

The top overall pick, Arvydas Sabonis, did not have drug issues but nonetheless saw his career end at year of 2003, after five All-Star appearances, due to chronic back problems. He is the first top overall pick as the foreign players in the NBA history.

Successful second-round players

While a number of first-round selections were unable to make an impact in the league, this draft did feature a number of talented second-round selections. Mark Price, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Duckworth, and Jeff Hornacek all went on to have successful careers, and each made the NBA All-Star Game.

International draftees

This draft contained two exceptional international players, both of whom had shortened careers for unusual reasons. Third-round selection Dražen Petrović was coming off an All-Star caliber fourth season when he was killed in an automobile accident in 1993. He has since been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. The other, Arvydas Sabonis, was not permitted to play in the United States because of the dangerous political climate in the Soviet Union. He won gold and bronze Olympic medals in 1988 (USSR), and in 1992 (Lithuania). After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Sabonis had a very successful career in Europe before finally joining the Portland Trail Blazers in 1995. Sabonis had lost much of his mobility by the time he joined the team because of a string of knee and Achilles tendon injuries. He finished second in both the Sixth Man Award and Rookie of the Year voting. He played seven seasons with Portland before returning to his homeland of Lithuania where he finished his career. Sabonis will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Other draftee contributions to the game

This draft is also known for the number of players who made important contributions to the sport of basketball outside of the court. For example, Nate McMillan had a highly successful run with the Seattle SuperSonics as a player and then as head coach before taking his current job with the Portland Trail Blazers, Scott Skiles was the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and also the first coach to lead the Chicago Bulls to the playoffs in the post-Jordan era. John Salley won four championship rings with three different NBA teams (Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers) before becoming one of the hosts of The Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox Sports Network. Jay Bilas is an ESPN college basketball analyst.

^ Denotes player who has been inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame
* Denotes player who has been selected for (an) All-Star Game(s) and (an) All-NBA Team(s)
+ Denotes player who has been selected for (an) All-Star Game(s)
x Denotes player who has been selected for (an) All-NBA Team(s)

Round one

Pick Player Nationality NBA Team School/Club Team
1 Arvydas Sabonis Soviet Union Portland Trail Blazers (from Boston via L.A. Clippers) Zalgiris, Soviet Union
2 Len Bias Boston Celtics (from Seattle) Maryland
3 Chris Washburn Golden State Warriors NC State
4 Chuck Person Indiana Pacers Auburn
5 Kenny Walker New York Knicks Kentucky
6 William Bedford Phoenix Suns Memphis State
7 Roy Tarpley Dallas Mavericks (from Cleveland) Michigan
8 Ron Harper Cleveland Cavaliers * Miami (OH)
9 Brad Sellers Chicago Bulls Ohio State
10 Johnny Dawkins San Antonio Spurs Duke
11 John Salley Detroit Pistons (from Sacramento) Georgia Tech
12 John S. Williams Washington Bullets LSU
13 Dwayne Washington New Jersey Nets Syracuse
14 Walter Berry Portland Trail Blazers St. John’s
15 Dell Curry Utah Jazz Virginia Tech
16 Maurice Martin Denver Nuggets (from Dallas) Saint Joseph’s
17 Harold Pressley Sacramento Kings (from Detroit) Villanova
18 Mark Alarie Denver Nuggets Duke
19 Billy Thompson Atlanta Hawks Louisville
20 Buck Johnson Houston Rockets Alabama
21 Anthony Jones Washington Bullets (from Philadelphia) UNLV
22 Scott Skiles Milwaukee Bucks Michigan State
23 Ken Barlow Los Angeles Lakers Notre Dame
24 Brad Daugherty* Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers via Philadelphia) North Carolina

* compensation for draft choices traded away by Ted Stepien

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