With LeBron James passing Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time scoring list, let’s take a quick peek at a few of the teams that rued the day His Airness was drafted.
Most NBA fans know that Jordan, despite what his career would turn out to be, was not drafted No. 1 overall in the 1984 NBA Draft. Instead, the Houston Rockets opted for the 7-foot center Hakeem Olajuwon, which was the prevailing method of drafting in the '80s – take the big guy first and figure out the rest later.
For the Rockets, that actually worked out well as Hakeem The Dream was one of the most gifted and multi-talented big men in NBA history, and he ended up delivering back-t0-back NBA titles to Houston (when Jordan was playing baseball in the '90s).
Bowie averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocks over his 10-year NBA career. His best season came not with the Blazers, but rather with the New Jersey Nets, when he averaged 14.7 points and nabbed 10.7 boards a night. Just to compare, in Jordan’s rookie season, he averaged 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.4 steals and 0.8 blocks.
Lastly, the Indiana Pacers are the dark horse on this list. The pick the Blazers used for Sam Bowie initially belonged to Indiana, who had used it to trade for Tom Owens before the 1981-82 season. Owens only played for the Pacers for one year and was out of the league by the 1983-84 season.
Who knows how the landscape of NBA history would’ve shifted had the Pacers kept their pick or the Blazers actually selected Michael Jordan second overall instead of Bowie. Would MJ have been able to deliver a perfect 6-0 record in the NBA Finals in Houston, Portland or Indiana?
There’s no way of knowing, but going back and pondering what might have been is always entertaining. Well, unless you’re a die-hard fan of any of those teams.