By Joe “Yeti” Collier
1984 NBA Draft Gem: PG John Stockton (Gonzaga/#17 to the Utah Jazz)
In every draft you have hidden gems. Some are found in the first round, and some are found in later rounds or free agency.
In 1984 you had point guards John Stockton [Editor’s Note: He played for a small school by the name of Gonzaga before they were cool]. Stockton was selected 17th overall by the Utah Jazz and began one of the best careers in NBA history.
Stockton became one of the best point guards in the history of the league, if not the best point guard to play in the NBA. He is the all-time NBA assist leader (15,806) and steals leader (3,265) and ranks as the 30th all-time leading scorer (19,711).He made two NBA Finals and was selected to the All-NBA First Team twice with six selections to the All-NBA Second Team. He was selected as an NBA All-Star ten of his 19 seasons and is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist (1992 and 1996). He was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
That’s the best point guard to ever play the game.
Other notable gems from the 1984 NBA Draft: Jerome Kersey, Kevin Willis and Spud Webb.
2003 NBA Draft Gem: PF David West (Xavier/#18 to the New Orleans Hornets)
In 2003 there were 2 other power forwards taken. One has become a decent bench player with the Thunder (Kansas’ own Nick Collison at #12) and the other was a bust with the Knicks (Georgetown’s Michael Sweetney at #9). But with the 18th pick overall the New Orleans selected David West [Editor’s Note: Kid was flat out great for Xavier leading the squad to 94 wins in his four years at the school].
In 2004 the Hornets made the playoffs. It took four more years and the talented David West to help put them in the Playoffs in both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. In 2011, he opted out of his contract and headed to the Indiana Pacers. He helped make the Pacers one of the best teams in the East helping the team finish no worst that 3rd in the conference since his arrival with two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals. You throw in his solid and reliable 15.9 PPG and 7RPG in both the regular season and playoffs, David West is both a gem and a steal in the 2003 NBA Draft.
Other gems in the 2003 NBA Draft: Boris Diaw, Kendrick Perkins, Mo Williams.