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A Revisiting of the Bullets 1984 Draft

June 9th, 2014 at 6:00 PM
By Andy Livingston

'Michael Jordan, Slamdunk Contest, Chicago, IL - 1988' photo (c) 2010, Cliff - license:

With the 6th pick in the 1984, the Washington Bullets select..Melvin Turpin.

Yes, Melvin Turpin.

There will be so much revisionist history following the monday night premier of "The 84 Draft" on NBA TV, so try to take the repainting of the landscape with a grain of salt.

The infamous move of Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. John Stockton falling to #16, Melvin Turpin, etc. Fun fact: The first-selection in the second round was by the Indiana Pacers who selected Devin Durrant. Mere coicidence? (Yes) Is Kevin Durant a time lord with a bad imaginiation? (Maybe?)

Turpin was sent that night to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Cliff Robinson and Tim McCormick, who were then sent off to the Seattle Supersonics for Gus Williams. Williams stuck around Washington for two seasons and ended his career with an average of 17 PPG, but was not the same explosive player he was when he entered the ABA with the Spirits of St Louis.

But the real story is who the Bullets lost out on: Let's say Sam Bowie was not a top 10 pick and every player moves up a spot. Jordan goes to Portland, Jordan's college teammate Sam "Big Smooth" Perkins goes to the Bulls, Barkley to the Mavericks, Turpin to the 76ers and the Bullets would get Alvin Robertson.
Robertson was a defensive guard who holds steals average of 2.71 a game, still the best record for steals per game played. But if the deal doesn't happen, the Bullets lose their top scorerer that year without Gus Williams, Alvin Robertson would not have turned on the offensive jets in a back court that did not score much, only Jeff Malone was in the top 5 in points in the guard position. The Bullets ended that season 4th in the East and lost in the first round to the 76ers.

If Turpin isn't taken at all (which probably wouldn't happen given the love of big men in 1984) and the slots still go up one each, the Bullets would have their choice of Lancaster Gordan and Otis Thorpe.Thorpe lasted for 17 seasons in the league, winning a championship with Houston in 1994. He was a solid forward who didn't blow anything out of the water, but averaged 8.2 RPG. But it looks like he would be filling in the same space as Rick Mahorn.

Lancaster Gordon was a guard out of Louisville who played 4 years for the Clippers and then faded into obscurity in the Continental Basketball Association.

The Bullets also could have picked up John Stockton or Kevin Willis, which would have propelled them into a another stratosphere (with Stockton) or perennial playoff combatants (With Willis). But knowing what we know about Bullets/Wizards front office choices, they probably still would have chosen Melvin Turpin.

This can be confirmed by the two second round choices the Bullets made in the 1984 draft: Tony Costner and Fred Reynolds. Neither of whom ever played an NBA game.

Tags: 1984 draft, Basketball, Melvin Turpin, NBA, Washington, Washington Wizards

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