October 7, 1987
Paul Molitor had a 39-game hitting streak. Mark McGwire hit a rookie record 49 home runs. Don Mattingly homered in a record eight straight games. Juan Nieves threw a no-hitter. Don Baylor broke Ron Hunt’s all-time HBP record. The Mariners drafted Ken Griffey Jr.
Babe Ruth Award | Alan Trammell, Tigers. 28 home runs, 105 RBIs, .343 batting average, .402 on-base percentage, .551 slugging percentage, 109 runs, 205 hits.
2. Wade Boggs, Red Sox
3. Roger Clemens, Red Sox
Walter Johnson Award | Roger Clemens, Red Sox. 20-9, 2.97 ERA, 256 strikeouts and 83 walks in 281.2 innings, 18 complete games, seven shutouts.
Jackie Robinson Award | Mark McGwire, Athletics. 49 home runs, 118 RBIs, .289 batting average, .370 on-base percentage, .618 slugging percentage.
2. Kevin Seitzer, Royals
3. Devon White, Angels
Pee Wee Reese Award | Doyle Alexander, Tigers. 9-0, 1.53 ERA, 44 strikeouts and 26 walks in 88.1 innings, three shutouts over 11 starts. The Tigers acquired Alexander from Atlanta for minor leaguer John Smoltz on Aug. 12.
Connie Mack Award | Tom Trebelhorn, Brewers. 91-71 [.562]
2. Sparky Anderson, Tigers
3. Tom Kelly, Twins
Catcher | Matt Nokes, Tigers. 32 home runs, 87 RBIs, .289 batting average, .345 on-base percentage, .536 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Ernie Whitt, Blue Jays.
First base | Mark McGwire, Athletics. 49 home runs, 118 RBIs, .289 batting average, .370 on-base percentage, .618 slugging percentage. 2. Don Mattingly, Yankees. Best fielder | Pete O’Brien, Rangers.
Second base | Willie Randolph, Yankees. 7 home runs, 67 RBIs, .305 batting average, .411 on-base percentage, .414 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Frank White, Royals.
Third base | Wade Boggs, Red Sox. 24 home runs, 89 RBIs, .363 batting average, .461 on-base percentage, .588 slugging percentage, 108 runs, 200 hits, 40 doubles, 105 walks. 2. Kevin Seitzer, Royals. 3. Carney Lansford, Athletics. Best fielder | Gary Gaetti, Twins.
Shortstop | Alan Trammell, Tigers. 28 home runs, 105 RBIs, .343 batting average, .402 on-base percentage, .551 slugging percentage, 109 runs, 205 hits. 2. Tony Fernandez, Blue Jays. Best fielder | Greg Gagne, Twins.
Left field | George Bell, Blue Jays. 47 home runs, 134 RBIs, .308 batting average, .352 on-base percentage, .605 slugging percentage, 111 runs.
Center field | Kirby Puckett, Twins. 28 home runs, 99 RBIs, .332 batting average, .367 on-base percentage, .534 slugging percentage, 207 hits. Best fielder | Ken Williams, White Sox.
Right field | Devon White, Angels. 24 home runs, 87 RBIs, .263 batting average, .306 on-base percentage, .443 slugging percentage, 103 runs, 32 stolen bases. 2. Ivan Calderon, White Sox. 3. Danny Tartabull, Royals. Best fielder | Jesse Barfield, Blue Jays.
Designated hitter | Paul Molitor, Brewers. 16 home runs, 75 RBIs, .353 batting average, .438 on-base percentage, .566 slugging percentage, 114 runs, 41 doubles, 45 stolen bases.
Starting rotation |
1. Roger Clemens, Red Sox. 20-9, 2.97 ERA, 256 strikeouts and 83 walks in 281.2 innings, 18 complete games, seven shutouts.
2. Frank Viola, Twins. 17-10, 2.90 ERA, 197 strikeouts and 66 walks in 251.2 innings.
3. Bret Saberhagen, Royals. 18-10, 3.36 ERA, 163 strikeouts and 53 walks in 257 innings, 15 complete games.
4. Jimmy Key, Blue Jays. 17-8, 2.76 ERA, 161 strikeouts and 66 walks in 261 innings.
5. Teddy Higuera, Brewers. 18-10, 3.85 ERA, 240 strikeouts and 87 walks in 261.2 innings, 14 complete games. 6. Mark Langston, Mariners. 7. Charlie Leibrandt, Royals.
Reliever | Tom Henke, Blue Jays. 0-6, 2.49 ERA, 34 saves, 128 strikeouts and 25 walks in 94 innings.
— Kevin Brewer
October 5, 1987
Dodgers general manager Al Campanis said black people lack the “necessities” to be managers and general managers on “Nightline.” He was fired two days later. Mike Schmidt hit his 500th home run. Padres catcher Benito Santiago had a rookie record 34-game hitting streak.
Babe Ruth Award | Tony Gwynn, Padres. 7 home runs, 54 RBIs, .370 batting average, .447 on-base percentage, .511 slugging percentage, 119 runs, 218 hits, 36 doubles, 13 triples, 56 stolen bases.
2. Tim Raines, Expos
3. Eric Davis, Reds
4. Ozzie Smith, Cardinals
5. Dale Murphy, Atlanta
Walter Johnson Award | Bob Welch, Dodgers. 15-9, 3.22 ERA, 196 strikeouts and 86 walks in 251.2 innings, four shutouts.
2. Orel Hershiser, Dodgers
3. Rick Sutcliffe, Cubs
Jackie Robinson Award | Benito Santiago, Padres. 18 home runs, 79 RBIs, .300 batting average, .324 on-base percentage, .467 slugging percentage. 2. Mike Dunne, Pirates.
Pee Wee Reese Award | Ozzie Smith, Cardinals. 0 home runs, 75 RBIs, .303 batting average, .392 on-base percentage, .383 slugging percentage, 104 runs, 40 doubles, 43 stolen bases.
Connie Mack Award | Whitey Herzog, Cardinals. 95-67 [.586]
2. Roger Craig, Giants
3. Buck Rodgers, Expos
Catcher | Benito Santiago, Padres. 2. Bob Brenly, Giants. 3. Mike LaValliere, Pirates. Best fielder | Mike Scioscia, Dodgers.
First base | Jack Clark, Cardinals. 35 home runs, 106 RBIs, .286 batting average, .459 on-base percentage, .597 slugging percentage, 136 walks. Best fielder | Andres Galarraga, Expos.
Second base | Bill Doran, Astros. 16 home runs, 79 RBIs, .283 batting average, .365 on-base percentage, .406 slugging percentage, 31 stolen bases. Best fielder | Doran
Third base | Mike Schmidt, Phillies. 35 home runs, 113 RBIs, .293 batting average, .388 on-base percentage, .548 slugging percentage. 2. Tim Wallach, Expos. Best fielder | Wallach
Shortstop | Ozzie Smith, Cardinals. 0 home runs, 75 RBIs, .303 batting average, .392 on-base percentage, .383 slugging percentage, 104 runs, 40 doubles, 43 stolen bases. Best fielder | Ozzie
Left field | Tim Raines, Expos. 18 home runs, 68 RBIs, .330 batting average, .429 on-base percentage, .526 slugging percentage, 123 runs, 50 stolen bases. Raines missed the first month of the season because of collusion, and he still led the league in runs. 2. Pedro Guerrero, Dodgers. Best fielder | Barry Bonds, Pirates.
Center field | Eric Davis, Reds. 37 home runs, 100 RBIs, .293 batting average, .399 on-base percentage, .593 slugging percentage, 120 runs, 50 stolen bases. 2. Andy Van Slyke, Pirates. Best fielder | Milt Thompson, Phillies.
Right field | Tony Gwynn, Padres. 7 home runs, 54 RBIs, .370 batting average, .447 on-base percentage, .511 slugging percentage, 119 runs, 218 hits, 36 doubles, 13 triples, 56 stolen bases. 2. Dale Murphy, Atlanta. 3. Darryl Strawberry, Mets.
Starting rotation |
1. Bob Welch, Dodgers. 15-9, 3.22 ERA, 196 strikeouts and 86 walks in 251.2 innings, four shutouts.
2. Orel Hershiser, Dodgers. 16-16, 3.06 ERA, 190 strikeouts and 74 walks in 264.2 innings, 10 complete games, 11 wild pitches.
3. Rick Sutcliffe, Cubs. 18-10, 3.68 ERA, 174 strikeouts and 106 walks in 237.1 innings.
4. Mike Scott, Astros. 16-13, 3.23 ERA, 233 strikeouts and 79 walks in 247.2 innings, 10 wild pitches.
5. Nolan Ryan, Astros. 8-16, 2.76 ERA, 270 strikeouts and 87 walks in 211.2 innings, 10 wild pitches. 6. Rick Reuschel, Pirates-Giants.
Reliever | Tim Burke, Expos. 7-0, 1.19 ERA, 18 saves, 58 strikeouts and 17 walks in 91 innings.
— Kevin Brewer
June 15, 1987
No. 2 overall pick Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose two days after he was drafted. Michael Jordan won the scoring title and the Slam Dunk Contest. Julius Erving played his final season.
Player of the Year | Michael Jordan [Bulls] 37.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 49.1 2-point shooting, 85.7 free throw shooting, 2.9 steals.
2. Magic Johnson [Lakers]
3. Larry Bird [Celtics]
4. Kevin McHale [Celtics]
5. Dominique Wilkins [Hawks]
Rookie of the Year | Hot Rod Williams [Cavaliers] 14.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 48.5 2-point shooting, 74.5 free throw shooting, 2.1 blocks. The Cavaliers had three of the four best rookies in the league — Williams, Ron Harper and Brad Daugherty.
Defensive Player of the Year | Akeem Olajuwon [Rockets] 3.4 blocks.
Sixth Man of the Year | Ricky Pierce [Bucks] 19.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 54.5 2-point shooting, 88.0 free throw shooting.
Coach of the Year | Pat Riley [Lakers] 65-17
FIRST TEAM |
Forward | Larry Bird [Celtics] 28.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 54.7 2-point shooting, 40.0 3-point shooting, 91.0 free throw shooting. Age 
Forward | Kevin McHale [Celtics] 26.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 60.6 2-point shooting, 83.6 free throw shooting, 2.2 blocks. Age 
Center | Akeem Olajuwon [Rockets] 23.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 50.9 2-point shooting, 70.2 free throw shooting, 3.4 blocks. Age 
Guard | Michael Jordan [Bulls] 37.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 49.1 2-point shooting, 85.7 free throw shooting, 2.9 steals. Age 
Point guard | Magic Johnson [Lakers] 23.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 12.2 assists, 53.2 2-point shooting, 84.8 free throw shooting. Age 
SECOND TEAM |
Forward | Charles Barkley [76ers] 23.0 points, 14.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 64.3 2-point shooting, 76.1 free throw shooting. Age 
Forward | Dominique Wilkins [Hawks] 29.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 47.4 2-point shooting, 81.8 free throw shooting. Age 
Center | Moses Malone [Bullets] 24.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 45.8 2-point shooting, 82.4 free throw shooting. Age 
Point guard | Fat Lever [Nuggets] 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 48.6 2-point shooting, 78.2 free throw shooting, 2.5 steals. Age 
Guard | Clyde Drexler [Trail Blazers] 21.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 51.1 2-point shooting, 76.0 free throw shooting, 2.5 steals. Age 
HONORABLE MENTION |
Point guard | Isiah Thomas [Pistons] 20.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 10.0 assists, 48.4 2-point shooting, 76.8 free throw shooting. Age 
Forward | Larry Nance [Suns] 22.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 55.3 2-point shooting, 77.3 free throw shooting, 2.1 blocks. Age 
Point guard | Sleepy Floyd [Warriors] 18.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 51.2 2-point shooting, 86.0 free throw shooting. Age 
Forward | Kiki Vandeweghe [Trail Blazers] 26.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 52.5 2-point shooting, 88.6 free throw shooting. Age 
— Kevin Brewer
June 6, 1987
The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have a long history of savvy draft selections.
The Lakers drafted Magic Johnson (1979) and James Worthy (1982) with No. 1 overall picks acquired in trades. General manager Jerry West selected Kobe Bryant (1996) straight out of high school with the 13th pick. Celtics impresario Red Auerbach made draft night trades for Bill Russell (1956) and Kevin McHale (1980) and selected Larry Bird (1978) one year before he entered the draft.
Both teams have two first-round selections and three of the first 35 in Thursday’s NBA draft — a few chances for once great franchises to improve after consecutive losing seasons.
Finding one great player in a single draft requires skill. Two involves luck. Three — that’s called pulling an Auerbach. When Red traded All-Star center Ed Macauley and the rights to Cliff Hagan for Russell in 1956, he also drafted Tom Heinsohn and K.C. Jones.
That’s the best draft in NBA history by a few lengths.
A couple factors determined the rest of the top 10.
Technically, the Hornets drafted Bryant. But they had already agreed to select him and then trade him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. That’s how almost all draft day trades work. For the purposes of this list, the Lakers drafted Bryant, and the Bulls drafted Scottie Pippen.
Win shares and All-Star appearances are the two objective numbers used to measure these drafts — but only win shares and All-Star appearances accumulated while the player was with his original team. For example, Ron Harper had 66 career win shares, but only 19 with the Cavaliers. That’s the number listed beside each player.
Of course, subjectively played a factor, because Derek Fisher just isn’t that good.
1. BOSTON CELTICS | 1956
2. Bill Russell, San Francisco (164)
13. K.C. Jones, San Francisco (39)
Tom Heinsohn, Holy Cross (territorial pick) (60)
The Celtics drafted the centerpiece and two other key players of their dynasty in 1956.
Bill Russell led them to 11 championships from his rookie season through 1969. He was a five-time league MVP and led the league in rebounding five times. He is considered the greatest defensive player in history. His teams were 10-0 in Game 7s.
Tom Heinsohn (eight championships) made six All-Star teams. K.C. Jones (eight championships) was the starting point guard on three title teams.
Russell, Heinsohn and Jones also led the Celtics to six championships as coaches.
Russell was the team’s player-coach during his last three seasons, the first black coach in American professional sports history, winning championships in 1968 and 69. Heinsohn led the Celtics to titles in 1974 and 76, and Jones led them in 1984 and 86.
2. MILWAUKEE BUCKS | 1969
1. Lew Alcindor, UCLA (115)
45. Bobby Dandridge, Norfolk State (63)
The Bucks drafted the best player of the 1970s and an important role player in 1969.
Alcindor, who changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after his second season, was a six-time league MVP — three times with the Bucks. He is the all-time leading scorer and led the league in scoring twice. Dandridge made three All-Star teams in Milwaukee.
They teamed with Oscar Robertson to win 66 games and an NBA title in 1970-71.
3. CHICAGO BULLS | 1987
5. Scottie Pippen, Central Arkansas (100)
8. Horace Grant, Clemson (62)
The Bulls already had Michael Jordan. They drafted two forwards to complement him in 1987.
Scottie Pippen is probably the most famous second banana in league history, a 6-foot-9 basketball Swiss Army knife who made seven All-Star teams and 10 All-Defensive teams. Horace Grant made one All-Star team and four All-Defensive teams.
Both flanked Jordan on the Bulls first three championship teams (1991-93). Pippen also played on the second three (96-98).
Grant signed with the Magic in 1994.
4. SAN DIEGO ROCKETS | 1970
2. Rudy Tomjanovich, Michigan (84)
18. Calvin Murphy, Niagara (70)
The Rockets didn’t just draft two future All-Stars in 1970. They drafted two franchise staples.
Rudy Tomjanovich made five All-Star teams, although he is most famous for being punched by Kermit Washington on Dec. 9, 1977. The 5-foot-9 Calvin Murphy is the shortest player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Both played their entire careers with the Rockets, who moved to Houston in 1971.
Tomjanovich coached the Rockets for 11 seasons, leading them to back-to-back championships in 1994 and 95. Murphy has been a television analyst with the team for many years.
5. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS | 1986
1. Brad Daugherty, North Carolina (65)
8. Ron Harper, Miami (Ohio) (19)
25. Mark Price, Georgia Tech (65)
The 1986 draft is known for its cautionary tales — Len Bias, Chris Washburn and Roy Tarpley — but the Cavaliers were that night’s success story.
Brad Daugherty made five All-Star teams in an injury-shortened, eight-year career. Mark Price made four All-Star teams. Ron Harper was their shooting guard.
They teamed with Larry Nance and John Williams to win 57 games in 1988-89, but the Cavaliers were eliminated by Michael Jordan’s “Shot” in the first round of the playoffs.
Harper was traded to the Clippers the following season.
6. DALLAS MAVERICKS | 1981
1. Mark Aguirre, DePaul (49)
9. Rolando Blackman, Kansas State (70)
24. Jay Vincent, Michigan State (23)
The expansion Mavericks built a winning franchise in the 1981 draft.
Mark Aguirre was one of the league’s top scorers, making three All-Star teams. Rolando Blackman made four All-Star teams. Jay Vincent was their power forward.
The Mavericks won 28 games in 1981-82, followed by 38, 43, 44, 44, 55 and 53 wins in 1987-88, when they lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals.
The Mavericks were nearly flawless on draft night in the 1980s, selecting Derek Harper and Dale Ellis in 1983, Sam Perkins in 1984, Detlef Schrempf in 1985 and Roy Tarpley in 1986.
7. LOS ANGELES LAKERS | 1996
13. Kobe Bryant, Lower Merion High School (Philadelphia) (173)
24. Derek Fisher, Arkansas (Little Rock) (45)
The Lakers drafted the second-best shooting guard of all time and the luckiest player of all time in 1996.
The first guard to be drafted right out of high school, Kobe Bryant was the youngest starter in league history and won the Slam Dunk Contest during his rookie season. He is third all-time in points and led the league in scoring twice. He teamed with Shaquille O’Neal and then Pau Gasol to lead the Lakers to five championships.
Derek Fisher is perceived as a player of some import, because he was also a member of five championship teams. But he was a below average point guard who was in the right place at the right time.
8. ORLANDO MAGIC | 2004
1. Dwight Howard, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (88)
20. Jameer Nelson, Saint Joseph’s (43)
The Magic rebooted their franchise with a dominant center and a point guard in 2004.
Dwight Howard, the best center since Shaquille O’Neal, made six All-Star teams in Orlando. He was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, leading the league in rebounding four times and blocks twice. Jameer Nelson made the All-Star team in 2009.
They lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals in 2009.
9. SEATTLE SUPERSONICS | 2008
5. Russell Westbrook, UCLA (53)
24. Serge Ibaka, Republic of the Congo (42)
The SuperSonics already had Kevin Durant. They drafted two more elite athletes and moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
Russell Westbrook, who didn’t miss a game in his first five seasons with the Thunder, has made four All-Star teams. He led the league in scoring and triple-doubles last season, when Durant missed 55 games. Serge Ibaka has led the league in blocks twice.
The Thunder lost to the Heat in the NBA Finals in 2012.
10. DETROIT PISTONS | 1981
2. Isiah Thomas, Indiana (81)
12. Kelly Tripucka, Notre Dame (32)
The Pistons drafted two players who made the All-Star team in their first season in 1981.
One of the best playmaking point guards of all time, Isiah Thomas played in 12 All-Star games and led the Pistons to two championships. Tripucka played in two All-Star games.
Both played major roles in the highest scoring game of all time — Pistons 186, Nuggets 184 in three overtimes on Dec. 13, 1983. Thomas had 47 points, including the game’s only 3-pointer, and 17 assists. Tripucka scored 35, including 12 in the second overtime.
The Pistons traded Tripucka to the Jazz for Adrian Dantley in 1986 — the same year they drafted John Salley and Dennis Rodman.
HONORABLE MENTION | Cincinnati Royals, 1970 (Sam Lacey and Tiny Archibald); Portland Trail Blazers, 2006 (LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy); Atlanta Hawks, 1977 (Tree Rollins and Eddie Johnson); Memphis Grizzlies, 2001 (Pau Gasol and Shane Battier); Philadelphia 76ers, 1973 (Doug Collins, Caldwell Jones and George McGinnis).