RE-DRAFTING THE 1980 NBA DRAFT
Top 10 Re-Draft
- Golden State Warriors- Kevin McHale (Original: #3 Overall)
Boston Celtics legend Kevin McHale in this re-draft heads to Golden State with the first pick. McHale was the no-brainer with the first selection after his Hall of Fame career for the green and white. After starting his career coming off the bench, for the Celtics best team of the 80’s (and maybe best team of all-time), McHale was the team’s second leading scorer and at this point had firmly cemented himself as the best power forward in basketball. Though his career was cut short by injuries at his peak, McHale was one of the best power forwards of all-time, certainly enough to be the number one selection in this draft.
Original Pick: Joe Barry Carroll
2. Utah Jazz- Kiki Vandeweghe (Original: #11 Overall)
Kiki Vandeweghe is one of the more underrated players in league history. For a six season stretch, he averaged over 25 points a game on 54.4% / 36.6% / 87.2% shooting splits. Despite being just a two-time all-star, Vandeweghe’s game of outside shooting at the power forward position was something that would translate beautifully to today’s NBA. Undersized for the four to begin with at 6’8 for the 80’s, Vandeweghe would be a hot commodity in the NBA in 2020. Utah’s original pick here, Darrell Griffith lost most of his prime to injury so getting a player like Vandeweghe who had a longer impact in the league is a definite upgrade for the Jazz.
Original Pick: Darrell Griffith
3. Boston Celtics- Joe Barry Carroll (Original: #2 Overall)
Joe Barry Carroll had one of the most bizarre careers of a first pick in NBA history. In the middle of his prime, he went to play in Italy for a season (seriously) during a contract dispute with the Warriors. This Italian exchange was sandwiched between two seasons where he averaged over twenty points a game. He was a one time all-star and is seen as one of the better players in Warriors history (pre-Steph it was rough in the Bay Area) so because of all that, Boston takes him with the third pick. His career was weird, but Carroll was certainly had a level of talent that couldn’t be denied throughout his time in the NBA.
Original Pick: Kevin McHale
4. Chicago Bulls- Jeff Ruland (Original: #25 Overall)
Thanks to a contract dispute to start his career, Jeff Ruland headed to Europe to play for Barcelona. After an impressive season in Spain, Ruland returned to North America and played five impressive seasons, two of which as an All-Star before retiring due to an injury at just 28 years old. Ruland tried to return to basketball at 33 but unfortunately his injury history was too much to overcome and he was forced to retire again. While in the league, Ruland put together a four-year stretch, averaging 20-points and 11-rebounds, more than enough to garner that fourth pick in our 1980 re-draft.
Original Pick: Kelvin Ransey
5. Denver Nuggets- Andrew Toney (Original: #8 Overall)
A proven championship contributing player in Andrew Toney heads to a Denver franchise that knows nothing about winning them. Toney had an impressive four-year run-in Philadelphia as a key starter and All-Star on the Sixers lone title team. The rest of his career however was mired in injuries as Toney was out of the league by age 30. Still though, for the time he was at his apex, he was a proven third scoring option on an elite team. Toney’s best moment came when he dropped 30 to close out the Bucks and send Philly to the NBA finals in 1983. Any time you can add a player like that, it’s worth your while.
Original Pick: James Ray
6. New Jersey Nets- Darrell Griffith (Original: #2 Overall)
Another player who lost the bulk of his career due to injury is Dr. Dunkenstein, Darrell Griffith. Griffith became famous for a variety of high-flying dunks that made him a fan favourite in Utah. It’s no coincidence after all that current Jazz star Donovan Mitchell donned a Griffith jersey in the dunk contest a couple years ago. To his credit though, Griffith was more than a dunker, averaging over 20-points a game for three straight seasons. Griffith would lose the entire 1985-86 season to injury and upon returning was never the same player. Still though, getting a multiple time 20-point scorer at fifth overall is great value in this particular draft.
Original Pick: Mike O’Koren
7. New Jersey Nets- Rick Mahorn (Original: #35 Overall)
Rick Mahorn had quite the NBA career. After being selected in the second round, the Hampton College alum would go on to play over a thousand NBA games and lasted in the league until age 40. Mahorn was also a starter on the Bad Boy Pistons first championship team. Known for his bruising defence, Mahorn fit perfectly with the Pistons of the 80’s. He may of only averaged seven points a game that season but, it didn’t matter because of the role he played every night. There is no doubt a guy like that would be a welcomed edition to a New Jersey franchise that was stuck as a perennial laughingstock.
Original Pick: Mike Giminski
8. Philadelphia 76ers – Kurt Rambis (Original: #58 Overall)
After being forced to play in Greece for a year, Kurt Rambis found his home in the NBA in Los Angeles with the Lakers. Playing the role of Showtime’s enforcer, Rambis became one of the most notorious and notable players of the league in the 80’s. Sure he was just a bench player but Rambis’, role was integral to Showtime’s success in the four championships they won with him on the roster. Rambis was the absolute definition of the glue guy every championship team needs and the perfect selection for Philadelphia at number seven as they get the perfect guy to get under the skin of division rival Boston.
Original Pick: Andrew Toney
9. San Diego Clippers- Larry Smith (Original: #24 Overall)
For eight solid seasons, Smith was a proven starter and contributor on the Golden State Warriors. Throughout his time in Golden State, Smith would average over 10-rebounds a game as an undersized power forward. Smith’s career would continue on in Houston for three seasons before finishing in San Antonio at age 35. A pretty good career to say the least for a guy from Alcorn State. For a franchise like the Clippers, a proven role player would be a massive upgrade to one of the worst teams year in, year out.
Original Pick: Michael Brooks
10. Portland Trail Blazers- Mike Woodson (Original: #12 Overall)
After an impressive four year run at Indiana, Mike Woodson embarked on a solid NBA career. His best years largely took place in Kansas City (yeah they used to have a team) as Woodson averaged as many as 17 points off the bench. Woodson would go on to set a career high in scoring with 18-points a game as a Clipper later in the decade. The biggest gripe against Woodson is the lack of success his teams had when he was a member, compiling just 13 career playoff games. Still though, Woodson’s career was more than worthy of the tenth selection in this re-draft.
Original Pick: Ronnie Lester
Best Pick: Kevin McHale
An integral part to Boston’s dynasty, a Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever play his position, it’s pretty safe to say the Celtic’s pick at number three overall was the best in this draft.
Biggest Bust: James Ray
Just another Denver Nugget bust, James Ray managed to play in just 103 games and be out of the league by age 25. Any time you take a guy fifth overall and his career high in points is 11, you probably missed on it.
Biggest Steal: Kurt Rambis
Rambis was an integral part of the Lakers dynasty on the 80’s. His long hair and physical style made him one of the most hate players in the league outside Los Angeles. To Laker fans though, the 58th pick in this draft was a perfect fit in their franchise.
Class Grade: D
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