With the third pick in the 1982 NBA draft, The Utah Jazz select Dominique Wilkins
Before the Jazz took all time steal and assist leader John Stockton out of Gonzaga with the 16th pick in the 1983 NBA draft. And before they drafted 2 time MVP and second all time leading scorer Karl Malone out of Louisiana Tech 13th overall a year later in 1984. The Jazz drafted star forward from Georgia Dominigue Wilkins third overall in 1982.
Wilkins, who would go on to become an all time great, didn't seem to have any interest playing in Utah. At the time the Jazz were obviously struggling financially and needed $1 million (a miniscule amount by todays standards) to meet payroll. So what did then current gm Frank Layden do? He traded the hall a famer to the Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams and $1 million.
This has to be one of the most lopsided trades in History. And at the time probably made zero sence to anyone who wasn't an Atlanta fan. But now looking back, trading him put the Jazz in position to select Stockton and Malone the next two offseasons. They would go on to become arguably the best duo in history. If they hadn't, this trade would still probably haunt Jazz fans to this day. I thought this was interesting because the trade affected both the Hawks and the Jazz for the next decade and beyond. But not a lot of people know the story. I'd say things worked out pretty well for both sides.
Considering the Malone and Stockton were not top 10 picks, it's possible the Jazz could have landed all three had they kept DW. Ah... what could have been...
(Side note: I don't recall where, but I remember reading that Wilkins actually refused to come to Utah after being drafted, which was a big reason the trade happened.)
In 1984 and 1985. Well, John Drew was a pretty solid player, was one hell of a bench scorer (17.7 ppg in 22.2 mpg in 1983-84 year he played 81 games. Right before they drafted Stockton). Definitely did put them in a position to draft Stockton and Malone, if they had taken Nique they more than likely would not have had either. Think it turned out well for the Jazz in the end, even when losing a Hall of Fame caliber player in Dominique.
Cody, know you are an SLC guy (I am guessing), but as great Malone/Stockton were, calling them the best duo of All-Time is a bit much. May be your favorite, are definitely Utah's best duo of All-Time, were a great duo, just not really in the argument for the best in history in my mind. Magic/Kareem, Jordan/Pippen and Kobe/Shaq would definitely beg to differ.
Throw Nique in, it is an incredible hypothetical with Stockton and Malone. He really would have been something they needed, a fantastic scorer to complement Malone. Jeff Hornacek was a fantastic shooter, they just really could have used a more legit third guy. Again, see why they made the trade and doubtful they could have made it work to get all three of them. Just kind of an interesting hypothetical scenario.
The reason why I think that is because the way they played their game and needed each other to be successful makes them the best. How many times have you seen Jordan take on 2 or 3 guys and still score... it looks great and makes him an amazing player but he could do alot on his own on offense. Stockton and Malone got almost all of their points playing off each other. Are they the best two players to ever play on the same team... not even close. But they revolutionized the pick and roll which is even in an evolved NBA game is still critical.
What if Steve Francis did not refuse to do to Vancouver they could of had Big Country, Bibby, Reef, and Franchise all on one team, oh wait.......................
who y'all got?????
stockton, wilkins, malone VS. pippen, jordan, rodman
the team that has Jordan on it.
Don't forget, they traded Magic Johnson.
Its Funny how much the 1982 Atlanta team resembles the current team..They both were in the playoff every year,but couldnt reach the conference finals..Both the current team and old Hawks had several all stars on the team,but no superstar..And both teams ended up trading their best player..The 1982 team felt Wilkens could be the superstar they felt could get them to the next level...Wilkens was compared to the great Julius Erving,who at the time was the most popular player in the nba...
That year Alot of teams were hoping that Virginia's talented 7 footer Ralph Sampson had came out..Things might've played out diffently..But with no Sampson in the draft..The top 3 prospects for the draft were North Carolina's James Worthy,Depaul's Terry Cummings and Wilkens of Georgia,there was no clearcut number 1,but since the Lakers were a fastbreaking highlight team, almost everyone had predicted they would take the high flying Wilkens..Even on the day of the draft,Wilkens thought he would land with the Lakers..But the Lakers passed on him and picked UNC's James Worthy..The Lakers already had Jamaal Wilkes at small forward and they said whoever they picked would come off the bench his first few years with them..Jerry West the GM at the time,said after the draft, that he didnt feel the holes in Wilkens game would allow him to be successful coming off the bench...
If you watch the old film Wilkens was peeved when he talked to reporters at the draft..When he told them he didnt want to play there,he wasnt familar with the team,the state or the city....At that time,there werent much known about Utah except the mormons church and The Osmonds...And the Jazz also had high scoring forward Adrian Dantley at small forward,the position Wilkens played....I think Wlkens was more disappointed that he was not selected by the Lakers then having to play in Utah...
But the million dollars helped the Jazz stay afloat and pay some bills ..
I disagree that the Hawks had no superstar. Thats really preposterous to imply Dominique was no superstar....everything about him was a superstar. He was a legitimately great player and he was exciting. Although he and Joe Johnson alike were the teams best players, thats where the comparisons end. Johnson is a perennial All Star, but Wilkins was a 7-time All NBA performer. Something Johnson has only been once. Dominique was one of the greatest scorers in history.
Talk about peeved, he was beyond pissed when the Hawks traded him away....the cornerstone of the franchise....when they were having their best season in about 6 years and perhaps their best since Nique had been a part of the team...that team looked as if it were finally going to be a contender. A lot of people felt they couldve made the Finals that year.
Despite what people may think of Dominique, he was a fierce competitor and really wanted to be a part of a winning franchise. People say he was going to walk in free agency the following year but there were no indications of that and he was absolutely devastated by the trade. It was one of the dumbest trades in history because the Hawks didnt sign Manning long term and he ended up walking at the end of the season. So they didnt have Nique or Manning and the team rarely reached those heights again.
Will never forget how pissed he was when Robinson scored 71 on the Clippers.
I agree with the original poster.
I think it's more like, if they would have kept Wilkins, they would have never gotten Malone or Stockton. Wilkins is a difference maker and a guy who will win you games as soon as you put him on the court. I have no doubt Utah would have been a few games better throughout the rest of the 80's had they have kept him...missing out on Stockton and Malone.
During Nique's rookie season, the Hawks only won one more game than they did the season before. And then during his second season, the Hawks won three less games than his rookie season.
And then get this... During Nique's third season, the Hawks won NINE less games than his rookie season and missed the playoffs.
He did not have a lot of help and the team seemed to get younger by quite a bit during those first few seasons. They did trade a player in John Drew who was a regular 20 ppg scorer and an All-Star level wing for a rookie Nique. Their big guys were all incredibly young and they were a genuinely awful rebounding team Nique's third season. To me, this was similar to Michael Jordan's first few seasons of very minimal help. Not saying that Nique was on Mike's level, just have to more sympathize with his first few years rather than say that he was not a player who could lead a team to wins.
His fourth year they improved by 16 games and went from 34-48 to 50-32, without many significant changes. The key seemed to be an addition of a couple rookies (Jon Koncak and Spud Webb) along with the health/improvement of their next two players (Randy Wittman and Kevin Willis now in his second season). Might have been even better had Doc Rivers not missed 29 games (in which they went 16-13).
I know that Dominique never led the Hawks to the conference finals, but I think he still definitely led them and helped them be a respectable team for quite a while. The very next year the Hawks were 57-25, losing to a Detroit team with 4 future Hall of Famers (Isiah Thomas, Adrian Dantley, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman. Not all at their best, but Isiah a beast, Dantley still scoring at a high clip and Joe D/Rodman still playing strong roles. Not to mention Laimbeer and the Microwave).
Guessing your post was to warn that even getting Dominique would not have translated to wins or maybe could have led them to getting John Stockton or Karl Malone, just know that Utah at the time had more pieces than Atlanta. My guess is Dominique did not want to go to Utah, but had he gone I feel his first few years might have taken the Jazz out of Stockton of Malone contention more than likely. Think he would have fit in quite well with the pieces already on the Jazz as opposed to a team that was more in the building stage as the Hawks were.
The story I always will remember about Nique the person was that one of my former co-workers (a mother of two girls) told me Nique harassed her through an airport, hitting on her and commenting about her in a very public manner while she was with her two little girls. He obviously was an awesome player, but he really upset this woman, was a pretty messed up story and situation.
yes, I can agree as well joewolf, that may have happened, I forgot that in my post, but IB has an excellent point as well. who knows?
I will say kind of in agreement with IB and in defense of Nique at the same time....he wasnt a game changer alone...but neither was Stockton. He was a great player who needed another great player beside him. He didnt have it. He did have some very good players however, such as Willis and Rivers.
I am glad he went to ATL because he became their face for years and even in the 21st century, ATL still yearns for those good ole days.
^The Utah Jazz and NJ Nets tied for the same record the year they drafted Stockton. One more game and they'd be picking between Jeff Turner or Vern Fleming.
I said the 1982 Atlanta team didnt have a superstar..John Drew was at that time 1 of the top small forwards in the nba,people seem to have forgotten that..But he was no superstar,drugs and off the court issues plaqued him during his time in Atlanta and lead to him getting banned for life while he was in Utah...
Wilkens should've been a member of the 50 Greatest Team..But it guess it was politics and personal issues that kept voters from placing him on that team..
I don't see how drafting Wilkens stopped the Jazz from drafting Malone & Stockton..If Utah hadnt traded Wilkens.They mightve had him coming off the bench ,backing up Dantley or they might've moved the undersized Dantley to power forward...I think Frank Layden might've retired much sooner if Wilkens had went there and played with Dantley & Darrell Griffith..The team would've needed 3 balls,Dantley and Griffith were 2 of the more selfish players in history..Then if you added a young Dominique Wilkens ,who at that time,wasnt a good passer,shooter or defender...And neither Dantley, nor Griffith played any defense..I think jealousy also would've played into it, and caused a rift in team chemistry...With Wilkens,Dantley and Griffith they might've finished with a worst record than they had,and selected in the top 5 and got a player like Bowie ,Barkley,Perkins or even Jordan in 1984,so maybe you are right, in a way..But then again,they still could've gotten Malone and Stockton..
RUDEBOY you beat me to it haha, I was just about to mention Dantley and Griffith whom everyone else seems to have forgotten about
Lets keep in mind that the Jazz did have one of the games highest scoring forwards ever when they drafted Stockton and Malone; Adrian Dantley. As well as another consistant 20+ PPG scorer at the wing in Darrell Griffith. There's no guarantee that Nique would have been starting let alone been among the first two options on the Jazz after being drafted. Despite being clearly talented he would have been the youngster on a team which was loaded at his position. Even without Nique the Jazz should have been able to dominate in the late 80s if they hadn't traded Dantley for Kelly Tripucka.
In 1988 for example, a starting lineup of John Stockton (14.7 PPG, 13.8 APG, 3 SPG), Darrell Griffith (an extremely athletic and once consistant 20 PPG scorer who dipped to 11.3 as a fourth option), Dantley (20 PPG on 51.4 FG% as the second option in Detroit), Karl Malone (27.7 PPG, 12 RPG), with Mark Eaton patrolling in the paint (8.7 RPG, 3.7 BPG) and Thurl Bailey as the 6th man (19.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG in 82 games, 72 coming off the bench) should have been enough to make some noise in the league.
I think David Robinson and Tim Duncan was a great duo as well.
People forget that Dantley averaged 30 pts a game that season and Griffith averaged 20 pts a game..They were known as ballhogs and adding Wilkens wouldve drove Frank Layden MAD!!!
As we talk about the trade in 1982..
I see online that Dan Roundfield who was on that 1982 Atlanta Hawks team,died today from a drowning While vacationing in Aruba.Roundfield was on the All NBA 2nd Team in 1979...Thats So Sad!!!!
This kind of reminds me when the Sonics traded Scottie Pippen for Olden Polynice (sp?). Both are/were TERRIBLE TRADES!
I remeber when I was About 11, having a friend tell me the Jazz should have both Magic and Wilkins, I almost cried