1986 NBA Draft: Revisiting The Standouts, Hidden Gems And Tragedy To Come Out Of This Class

Dennis Rodman, Brad Daugherty, Arvydas Sabonis and Drazen Petrovic were selected in the 1986 NBA Draft.

The monumental event that reverberated through the corridors of NBA draft history was the 1986 NBA Draft. Marking a pivotal juncture in the league’s narrative, this NBA Draft showcased an extraordinary assembly of talent that would go on to redefine the landscape of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The echoes of that fateful selection process, resonating with the names of iconic second round draft picks and future legends, continue to shape the league’s legacy. The 1986 NBA Draft not only bore witness to the birth of remarkable careers but also laid the foundation for an era characterized by fierce competition, unparalleled athleticism, and a renewed sense of global basketball enthusiasm.

Join us as we delve into the echoes of the 1986 NBA Draft, exploring the careers, achievements, and enduring legacies of the athletes who left an indelible mark on the basketball court during this transformative moment in the sport’s evolution.

When Was The 1986 NBA Draft?

The 1986 NBA Draft, hosted at Madison Square Garden on June 17th, 1986 is a crucial chapter in basketball’s history. Across seven rounds and 162 picks, this draft class left a lasting impact on the NBA. Notable players like Dennis Rodman, Arvydas Sabonis, and Drazen Petrović, emerged from this group as the Hall of Famers, leaving an enduring legacy.

Five players from the class earned All-Star honors, highlighting the depth of talent. Additionally, these athletes amassed a total of 8 All-NBA Team selections, showcasing their consistent excellence.

The achievements of this draft class, comprising of Hall of Famers, All-Stars, All-NBA selections and second round steals firmly solidified its place in the history of the NBA, shaping the league for years to come. Take a look at the 1986 NBA Draft pick transactions below.

The Players Selected In The 1986 Draft









Shifting our focus from who got picked early on and the rest of the 86 NBA Draft picks, we’ll now dive into the second-round steals of this class.

Second Round Steals Of The NBA’s 1986 Draft

Mark Price, Kevin Duckworth and Jeff Hornacek were 2nd round steals in the 86 NBA draft.

In the overlooked terrain of the second round steals of the 1986 NBA draft, steals abounded, shaping the league’s narrative. This second-round trove, a third round gem, combined with a few remarkable first-round selections, defined the 1986 class’s lasting impact.

Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman, plucked from the second round by the Detroit Pistons as the 27th overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, defied expectations and emerged as one of the most tenacious defenders and prolific rebounders in league history. His relentless pursuit of excellence contributed significantly to the Pistons’ “Bad Boys” era and the second championship campaign of the Last Dance Chicago Bulls earning multiple NBA championships.

Rodman’s defensive prowess was recognized with two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, and he led the league in rebounds for seven consecutive seasons. His legacy extends beyond statistics, as he played a vital role as a rebounding juggernaut and defensive titan on five NBA championship teams, earning a well-deserved spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame and the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

Mark Price

Mark Price, selected 25th overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 1986 draft, surpassed expectations with his exceptional shooting and playmaking skills. As the primary playmaker for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Price earned four All-NBA Team honors and four NBA All-Star selections during his illustrious career.

Renowned for his deadly accurate three-point shooting and proficient ball-handling, he left an enduring impact on the league. Price’s contributions to the game and his influence on subsequent generations are exemplified by his status as one of the premier guards of his era.

Jeff Hornacek

Jeff Hornacek, chosen by the Phoenix Suns as the 46th overall pick in the second round, exceeded expectations with his versatile skills. Hornacek showcased his shooting ability and playmaking as a key component of successful teams. His basketball IQ and consistent performances earned him an All-Star appearance and a couple of trips to the NBA finals solidifying his reputation as a valuable contributor to the game.

Kevin Duckworth

Kevin Duckworth, drafted 33rd overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round, carved out a successful career as a formidable center. His impact was particularly evident during his tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers, where he earned two NBA All-Star selections. Duckworth’s presence in the paint and scoring ability contributed significantly to his teams’ success, highlighting the value found in second-round steals.

Other Standout Players From The 1986 NBA Draft

Brad Daugherty, Arvydas Sabonis, and Drazen Petrovic emerged as the other standout talents, each contributing uniquely to the league’s rich tapestry.

Who was #1 overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft?

Brad Daugherty

Brad Daugherty, the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, showcased his dominance as a center. Earning five NBA All-Star selections and one All-NBA Team award, Daugherty played a crucial role in the Cavaliers’ success during the late 1980s and early 1990s. His scoring, rebounding, and leadership on the court solidified his place as one of the standout players from the 1986 draft class and one of the standout centers in the history of the sport.

Arvydas Sabonis

Arvydas Sabonis, although he did not make an immediate impact in the NBA due to geopolitical circumstances, emerged as one of the most skilled big men when he joined the league. A Basketball Hall of Famer, Sabonis showcased extraordinary passing and shooting abilities for a player of his size. His contributions to the game extended globally, leaving an indelible mark on basketball.

Drazen Petrovic

Drazen Petrovic, a European sensation selected 60th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers, became a one-time All-NBA players and a trailblazer for international players in the NBA. Known for his sharpshooting and scoring prowess, Petrovic left an enduring legacy despite his tragically short career. His impact paved the way for future European stars in the league.

As we delve into the exceptional talents that emerged from the 1986 NBA Draft, a compelling narrative unfolds, including the intriguing story of how the Boston Celtics acquired Len Bias following a championship season.

So, how did the Celtics get Len Bias after a championship season?

Len Bias out of the University of Maryland was selected with the 2nd pick in the 1986 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics.

Len Bias, a standout forward from the University of Maryland, was a highly-touted prospect in the 1986 NBA Draft. The Boston Celtics, fresh off a championship season, surprisingly secured the 2nd overall pick.

How did the Celtics get the 2nd pick in the 1986 draft and Len Bias?

The Celtics acquired the 2nd pick in the 1986 NBA Draft through a trade with the Seattle SuperSonics. This uncommon acquisition allowed the Celtics to snag Bias with the 2nd overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. Typically, high draft picks go to teams with poorer records, but this unique circumstance granted Boston an opportunity to add a promising talent to their championship-caliber roster.

Unfortunately, Bias’s promising career was tragically cut short by his untimely death, marking one of the most heart-wrenching instances of a potential superstar not getting his chance to shine due to an untimely demise. This unexpected twist in draft history adds a poignant note to the Celtics’ post-championship narrative.

Success And Tragedy

The 1986 NBA Draft was a turning point, with surprises like Dennis Rodman, Mark Price, Jeff Hornacek and Kevin Duckworth who were picked in the second round. Some of the best players from this class, like the ones mentioned plus Brad Daugherty, Drazen Petriovic and Arvydas Sabonis, left a lasting mark on the game.

The Celtics’ addition of Len Bias after a title season is still a moving story. These stories, more than just numbers and awards, show how unpredictable basketball history is. They weave a tapestry of talent, success, and tragedy into the lasting memory of the 1986 draft class.