As The Last Dance continues to air on ESPN, debates have flared up about whether the Houston Rockets made the right decision in taking Hakeem Olajuwon first overall over Michael Jordan in 1984.
The 1984 NBA draft changed the future of many franchises — most notably that of the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls, who selected two of the best players to ever play the game.
Heading into that draft, the Rockets had ended the 1983-84 NBA season with 29 wins and 53 losses. As a result, they finished with the fourth-worst record in the NBA and were last in the Western Conference.
After consecutive seasons winning less than 30 games and finishing at the bottom of the West, the Rockets, for the second straight year, won the draft lottery. The Rockets were gifted the number one pick in the 1984 NBA draft and, as we all know, used that pick on the legend, Hakeem Olajuwon.
However, what if the Rockets hadn’t drafted Hakeem? What if the Rockets had taken Michael Jordan, who was ultimately taken third? Would he have had the same success that he had with the Chicago Bulls? Would the Rockets have won even more rings? Should the Rockets regret passing up on MJ? Let’s head back in time to analyze the 1984 NBA draft.
Hakeem Olajuwon was one of the top prospects entering the NBA draft. He played three seasons at the University of Houston, averaging 13.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He was a Houston product that was intriguing to the Rockets organization.
Michael Jordan seemed to have had the best individual success out of the top prospects coming out of college. He played three seasons at the University of North Carolina and averaged 17.7 points, 5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. However, with the NBA being a predominantly big-man-driven league, a couple of teams were skeptical toward taking Jordan.
Next: Why Hakeem was picked first