The 1992 NBA draft was the 46th in league history since its beginning during the inaugural 1946-1947 season. The Orlando Magic, a recent expansion team going into their fourth year of existence, won the 1992 NBA draft lottery and were awarded the #1 pick after posting the 2nd worst record in the league at 21-61. The draft was hosted at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon, the first time it was held outside of New York.
1992 NBA Draft
The 1992 NBA draft is often remembered as the Shaquille O’Neal draft or the Alonzo Mourning draft, as both college stars dominated much of the pre-draft coverage. The draft was very top-heavy, as most of the 1992 NBA rookie class after O’Neal and Mourning, specifically outside the lottery picks, didn’t live up to expectations.
Overall, the 1992 NBA draft results as a whole produced an average class, with 5 players making at least 1 all-star team, 3 players making at least 1 All-NBA team, and 2 players being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Who won Rookie of the Year?
Shaquille O’Neal won the 1992-1993 NBA Rookie of the Year award. After being selected with the #1 overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, Shaquille O’Neal won the rookie of the year award after posting one of the best rookie seasons in modern NBA history.
O’Neal played in 81 of 82 regular-season games, averaged 23.4 PPG, 13.9 RPG, and 3.5 BPG, shot 56.2% from the field, and helped the Magic improve their regular-season win total from 21 wins to 41 wins. His success caused many NBA analysts to anoint him as the next great superstar center in the league, following directly in the footsteps of Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The 1992 NBA Draft Class
FIRST ROUND LOTTERY PICKS
- Shaquille O’Neal (Orlando Magic)
- Alonzo Mourning (Charlotte Hornets)
- Christian Laettner (Minnesota Timberwolves)
- Jimmy Jackson (Dallas Mavericks)
- LaPhonso Ellis (Denver Nuggets)
- Tom Gugliotta (Washinton Bullets)
- Walt Williams (Sacramento Kings)
- Todd Day (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Clarence Weatherspoon (Philadelphia 76ers)
- Adam Keefe (Atlanta Hawks)
- Robert Horry (Houston Rockets)
FIRST ROUND PICKS
- Harold Miner (Miami Heat)
- Bryant Still (Denver Nuggets)
- Malik Sealy (Indiana Pacers)
- Anthony Peeler (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Randy Woods (Los Angeles Clippers)
- Doug Christie (Seattle SuperSonics)
- Tracy Murray (San Antonio Spurs)
- Don MacLean (Detroit Pistons)
- Hubert Davis (New York Knicks)
- Jon Barry (Boston Celtics)
- Oliver Miller (Phoenix Suns)
- Lee Mayberry (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Latrell Sprewell (Golden State Warriors)
- Elmore Spencer (Los Angeles Clippers)
- Dave Johnson (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Byron Houston (Chicago Bulls)
SECOND ROUND PICKS
- Marlon Maxey (Minnesota Timberwolves)
- P.J. Brown (New Jersey Nets)
- Sean Rooks (Dallas Mavericks)
- Reggie Smith (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Brent Price (Washinton Bullets)
- Corey Williams (Chicago Bulls)
- Chris Smith (Minnesota Timberwolves)
- Tony Bennet (Charlotte Hornets)
- Duane Cooper (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Isaiah Morris (Miami Heat)
- Elmer Bennet (Atlanta Hawks)
- Litterial Green (Chicago Bulls)
- Steve Rogers (New Jersey Nets)
- Popeye Jones (Houston Rockets)
- Matt Geiger (Miami Heat)
- Predrag Danilovic (Golden State Warriors)
- Henry Williams (San Antonio Spurs)
- Chris King (Seattle SuperSonics)
- Robert Werdann (Denver Nuggets)
- Darren Morningstar (Boston Celtics)
- Brian Davis (Phoenix Suns)
- Ron Ellis (Phoenix Suns)
- Matt Fish (Golden State Warriors)
- Tim Burroughs (Minnesota Timberwolves)
- Matt Steigenga (Chicago Bulls)
- Curtis Blair (Houston Rockets)
- Brett Roberts (Sacramento Kings)
The Best and Notable Players from the 92 NBA Draft
After completing one of the most successful rookie seasons in NBA history, Shaquille O’Neal established himself as the best player among all 1992 NBA draft picks. He averaged 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.3 BPG, and shot 58.2% from the field over a 19-year career with 6 different teams.
Shaq is best known for his 8 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, helping lead them to 3 NBA championships, but also had much success with the Orlando Magic, leading them to the 1995 NBA finals, and the Miami Heat, helping them win a championship during the 2005-2006 season.
O’Neal was named to 15 all-star teams, was named to the All-NBA 1st team 8 times, was named to the All-NBA 2nd team twice, and the All-NBA 3rd team 4 times. He won 3 NBA finals MVPs, 1 regular season MVP, was named one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time, and was also named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
O’Neal was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He has also made major contributions as a successful businessman, amassing a net worth of $400 million, and is directly involved in many charitable organizations. O’Neal currently stars as a co-host of the award-winning and wildly entertaining NBA TNT Overtime show alongside Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley.
Alonzo Mourning was drafted 2nd overall by the Charlotte Hornets and developed into a great NBA center in his own right, although not on the same level as Shaquille O’Neal. Mourning joined Larry Johnson, the reigning rookie of the year, to help create one of the most talented young rosters in the NBA. However, Mourning and Johnson often clashed, and proved unable to mold the Hornets into an elite team, winning only 1 playoff series in their time together.
Mourning was eventually traded to the Miami Heat, where he would star alongside Tim Hardaway on a perennial playoff team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals during the 1996-1997 season. He would eventually serve an important role as a key role player on the 2005-2006 Miami Heat championship team, ironically backing up Shaquille O’Neal who had recently joined the team.
Mourning was plagued by injuries most of his 16-year career, which prevented him from reaching the heights of many other great centers that played during the 90s, but still averaged an impressive 17.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 2.5 BPG.
Mourning was named to 7 all-star games, was named to the All-NBA 1st and 2nd teams 1 time each, was named to the All-Defensive 1st team twice, and was a 2-time defensive player of the year. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
The 1992 NBA draft first round saw many successful college athletes drafted, though none could match the resume of Duke star Christian Laettner who was drafted 3rd overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Laettner won 2 national championships with Duke in his career, and during his senior season was named a Consensus First-Team All-America selection and won the Wooden and Naismith awards.
Laettner never replicated his college success in his NBA playing days, lacking the athleticism and strength at either the center or power forward positions to play at a high level. However, he did average a respectable 12.8 PPG and 6.7 RPG for his career and was named to 1 all-star game.
After being selected 6th overall by the Washinton Bullets, power forward Tom Gugliotta would go on to have a successful career with several different teams. He averaged 13 PPG and 7.3 RPG during his career, spending time both as a starter and role player, and was named to one all-star game. His most successful year occurred during the 1996-1997 NBA season when he averaged 20.6 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 4.1 APG, and 1.6 SPG.
Robert Horry was selected 11th overall by the Houston Rockets and would have a successful career as an important role player on many championship teams. Although he would only average 7 PPG and 4.8 RPG for his career, Horry hit many clutch shots in big moments during the playoffs or NBA finals to help his team win. Horry won a total of 7 championships with the Rockets, Lakers, and Spurs.
Although he was picked relatively low in the 1992 NBA draft first round at the 24th selection by the Golden State Warriors, Latrell Sprewell quickly proved he deserved to be a 1992 NBA lottery pick. Sprewell developed into one of the best young shooting guards in the game, starring alongside Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin to create a dynamic offensive Golden State team.
However, personal problems and conflicts with coaches and teammates hurt Sprewell’s career, culminating in one ugly incident when he assaulted coach P.J. Carlesimo and received a 68-game suspension. He averaged 18.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4 APG, and 1.4 SPG for his career, was named to 4 all-star games, was named to the All-NBA 1st team once, and was named to the All-NBA Defensive 2nd Team once.
Erik Spoelstra was undrafted during the 1992 NBA draft and spent time as a player-coach in Germany after his collegiate basketball career at the University of Portland. He served as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat from 1997 to 2008 and has been the Heat coach since 2008. Spoelstra is one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the NBA and has won 2 championships with the Heat during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 NBA seasons.
The Shaquille O’neal and Alonzo Mourning Draft
The 1992 NBA draft was an average draft, with the successful hall of fame careers of Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning balanced out by the somewhat mediocre performance of the rest of the 1992 NBA draft list. The 1992 NBA draft first round after O’Neal and Mourning did see the development of some successful careers, specifically Latrell Sprewell and Robert Horry. However, it will always be forever known as the draft where Shaquille O’Neal was picked #1 and Alonzo Mourning picked #2 overall.