NBA DRAFT : Ewing, Tisdale Are Teams’ and People’s Choice
The first of what figures to be many standing ovations greeted Patrick Ewing Tuesday morning at Madison Square Garden in New York when he walked to the podium after the New York Knicks had made him the first player selected in the National Basketball Assn. draft.
Ewing, Georgetown’s dominating 7-foot center, posed for pictures with NBA Commissioner David Stern as Knick fans chanted his name and cheered wildly. Some of them probably were the same fans who lustily booed Ewing and Georgetown when they played against St. John’s in Big East games last season.
Now that the Knicks officially have the rights to Ewing--they earned the right to select him by winning the May 17 draft lottery--they still have what may be a difficult task, signing him. Ewing, represented by attorney David Falk, reportedly will ask for an annual salary between $1 million and $2 million. The Knicks also have eight unsigned free agents, among them forward-center Bill Cartwright.
“I’m just happy to get it all over with,” Ewing said. “I just want to go out and help the Knicks win. You’ll have to talk to my lawyer (about contract negotiations). I’m not going to talk about that.”
Ewing may have been the big prize in the draft, but Knick executives weren’t the only ones smiling Tuesday. The Indiana Pacers, as expected, selected Oklahoma forward Wayman Tisdale second overall, leaving Benoit Benjamin, Creighton’s 7-foot center, for the Clippers.
An estimated crowd of 7,000 attended a draft party thrown by the Pacers in Market Square Arena at Indianapolis. Tisdale was an extremely popular choice among Pacer fans. A recent newspaper poll showed that 90% of the city’s basketball fans wanted Tisdale over Benjamin.
Pacer officials said they had seriously considered drafting Benjamin, but ultimately went with Tisdale, a 6-9 forward.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Indiana Coach George Irvine said. “Both players could wind up being great players in the NBA. Wayman is probably a little bit more sure product. He’s probably more ready for the NBA this coming season. I have a gut feeling he’s going to be a hell of a player.”
Although the first three selections were made as expected, there were more surprise picks and late trades than usual. A few highlights:
--The Washington Bullets made two major trades. First, they sent power forward Rick Mahorn to Detroit for power forward Dan Roundfield, a major disappointment with the Pistons. They followed up that trade by sending forward Greg Ballard to Golden State for the Warriors’ second-round pick Tuesday and in the 1987 draft.
Then, after dealing away the two veteran forwards, the Bullets by-passed Louisiana Tech’s Karl Malone in favor of unheralded Wake Forest forward Kenny Green, drawing boos from fans at the Capital Centre.
--The Chicago Bulls traded forward-center Steve Johnson and one of the club’s four second-round picks to San Antonio for forward Gene Banks.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers had selected Virginia Union forward Charles Oakley ninth overall, the Bulls chose Memphis State forward Keith Lee with the 11th choice. Then the Bulls and Cavaliers traded their first-round picks, the Bulls getting Oakley and giving up Lee. Chicago, however, also had to give up guard Ennis Whatley in the deal.
That might have been just the first of several moves for the Bulls.
“We aren’t through dealing yet,” said Jerry Krause, the team’s vice president of operations. “There are other deals we are looking at.”
The selection of Oakley, who played at a Division II school, as one of the first 10 players picked, was one of the big surprises in the first round but not the only one. San Antonio selected guard Alfredrick Hughes of Chicago Loyola 14th overall. It also was surprising that Malone was not selected until 13th overall by the Utah Jazz, and that Michigan State guard Sam Vincent was still available when the Boston Celtics picked him 20th overall.
As usual, centers and power forwards were the most popular players. Of the 24 first-round picks, only six were guards. The first guard chosen was Chris Mullin of St. John’s, who went to Golden State seventh overall. Four of the first six picks were centers. After Ewing and Benjamin had been picked, Atlanta selected SMU center Jon Koncak fifth overall and Sacramento picked Arkansas center Joe Kleine sixth.
Dallas, which had three first-round picks, took Washington forward Detlef Schrempf eighth, then added centers Bill Wennington of St. John’s 16th and Uwe Blab of Indiana 17th.
The first Southern California college player selected was UCLA’s Brad Wright, who went to Golden State in the third round. He was the 49th player picked. Later in the third round, the New Jersey Nets picked UCLA’s Nigel Miguel 62nd overall. USC’s Wayne Carlander, selected by the Clippers, and Clayton Olivier, picked by San Antonio, were drafted in the fifth round. The Lakers selected Cal State Fullerton’s Tony Neal in the sixth round, and the Clippers selected UCLA’s Gary Maloncon in the seventh round.
Another notable selection was Tulane’s John (Hot Rod) Williams, who was recently indicted in the school’s point-shaving scandal. Cleveland selected him in the second round.
Perhaps the biggest gamble was made by the Washington Bullets, who selected Manute Bol, a 7-6, 195-pound native of Sudan who played for the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, a Division II school, last year.
Bol, currently playing for the Rhode Island Gulls of the new United States Basketball League, will be the tallest player to play in the NBA if he makes the Bullets’ roster.
“His legs are skinnier than my arms,” Bullet General Manager Bob Ferry said, laughing. “The up-side is if he can pick up some weight, he’s got a chance to be the best shot blocker who ever lived.”
Washington Coach Gene Shue was asked the first thing he will do with Bol when he reports to training camp in the fall.
“Feed him,” Shue replied.
FIRST ROUND TEAM PLAYER COLLEGE
1 New York Patrick Ewing Georgetown 2 Indiana Wayman Tisdale Oklahoma 3 Clippers Benoit Benjamin Creighton 4 Seattle Xavier McDaniel Wichita St. 5 Atlanta Jon Konak SMU 6 Sacramento Joe Kleine Arkansas 7 Golden State Chris Mullin St. John’s 8 Dallas Detlef Schrempf Washington 9 Cleveland Charles Oakley Virginia Union 10 Phoenix Ed Pinckney Villanova 11 * Chicago Keith Lee Memphis St. 12 Washington Kenny Green Wake Forest 13 Utah Karl Malone La Tech 14 San Antonio Alfredrick Hughes Loyola, Ill. 15 Denver Blair Rasmussen Oregon 16 Dallas Bill Wennington St. John’s 17 Dallas Uwe Blab Indiana 18 Detroit Joe Dumars McNeese St. 19 Houston Steve Harris Tulsa 20 Boston Sam Vincent Michigan St. 21 Philadelphia Terry Catledge S. Alabama 22 Milwaukee Jerry Reynolds Louisiana St. 23 Lakers A. C. Green Oregon St. 24 Portland Terry Porter Wisconsin--Stevens Pt.
* Chicago then traded Keith Lee and Ennis Whatley to Cleveland for Charles Oakley and Calvin Duncan.