1983 NBA draft

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1983 NBA draft
General information
Date(s)June 28, 1983
LocationFelt Forum, New York City, New York
Network(s)USA Network and ESPN
226 total selections in 10 rounds
First selectionRalph Sampson, Houston Rockets
← 1982
1984 →

The 1983 NBA draft took place on June 28, 1983, in New York City. A total of 226 players were selected over 10 rounds by the league's 23 teams.

The first overall pick of this draft was 7’4” center Ralph Sampson, predicted as an NBA superstar since high school. The three-time College Player of the Year had spent all four years of his college career at the University of Virginia, and was taken first by the Houston Rockets. Displaying his graceful above-the-rim game and ability to run the court like a guard, he got off to a certain Hall of Fame bound start as an NBA All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year before injuries several seasons in derailed his career.

Sampson was joined in the Hall by University of Houston Cougars standout Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, taken number 14 by the Portland Trailblazers.

Despite there being only 23 teams at the time of the draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers were awarded the 24th pick out of courtesy. Then-owner Ted Stepien was infamous for repeatedly trading first-round picks in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which, considering Cleveland's morose records in that time period, eventually culminated in the NBA creating a rule banning teams from dealing all of their first-round picks in consecutive years.

At least four players from the 1983 draft later served or now serve as coaches—Doc Rivers for the Los Angeles Clippers, Randy Wittman for the Washington Wizards, Byron Scott for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2014 to 2016, and point guard of the 1983 NCAA championship North Carolina State Wolfpack Sidney Lowe.

While Scott won the Coach of the Year award in 2008, Rivers won an NBA Championship with the Celtics in that same year.

7’7” Manute Bol was selected in the 5th round by the Clippers, but the NBA rejected the pick on technicalities. Manute had never filed draft paperwork, and his passport listed him at 19 (at the time, 19 years was too young to be drafted).[1]

Florida State star Mitchell Wiggins, father of future No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, was drafted 23rd by the Indiana Pacers.


A man, wearing white shirt with a logo and the word "NBA PLAYERS" on the front, is standing and posing for a photo.
Ralph Sampson was selected first overall by the Houston Rockets.
A man, wearing white shirt with a logo and the word "NBA PLAYERS" on the front, is standing and posing for a photo.
Byron Scott was selected fourth overall by the San Diego Clippers.
A man, wearing white shirt with a logo and the word "NBA PLAYERS" on the front, is standing and posing for a photo.
Clyde Drexler was selected fourteenth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
A man, wearing white shirt with a logo and the word "NBA PLAYERS" on the front, is standing and posing for a photo.
Doc Rivers was selected thirty-first overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
PG Point guard SG Shooting guard SF Small forward PF Power forward C Center
^ Denotes player who has been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
* Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-Star Game and All-NBA Team
+ Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-Star Game
# Denotes player who has never appeared in an NBA regular season or playoff game
Round Pick Player Pos. Nationality Team School/club team
1 1 Ralph Sampson^ C  United States Houston Rockets Virginia (Sr.)
1 2 Steve Stipanovich C  United States Indiana Pacers Missouri (Sr.)
1 3 Rodney McCray SF  United States Houston Rockets (from Cleveland via Philadelphia) Louisville (Sr.)
1 4 Byron Scott SG  United States San Diego Clippers Arizona State (Jr.)
1 5 Sidney Green PF  United States Chicago Bulls UNLV (Sr.)
1 6 Russell Cross C  United States Golden State Warriors Purdue (Jr.)
1 7 Thurl Bailey PF  United States Utah Jazz NC State (Sr.)
1 8 Antoine Carr PF  United States Detroit Pistons Wichita State (Sr.)
1 9 Dale Ellis* SG  United States Dallas Mavericks Tennessee (Sr.)
1 10 Jeff Malone+ SG  United States Washington Bullets Mississippi State (Sr.)
1 11 Derek Harper PG/SG  United States Dallas Mavericks (from Atlanta via Cleveland) Illinois (Jr.)
1 12 Darrell Walker SG  United States New York Knicks Arkansas (Sr.)
1 13 Ennis Whatley PG  United States Kansas City Kings Alabama (So.)
1 14 Clyde Drexler^ SG  United States Portland Trail Blazers Houston (Jr.)
1 15 Howard Carter SG  United States Denver Nuggets LSU (Sr.)
1 16 Jon Sundvold PG  United States Seattle SuperSonics Missouri (Sr.)
1 17 Leo Rautins SF  Canada Philadelphia 76ers (from New Jersey) Syracuse (Sr.)
1 18 Randy Breuer C  United States Milwaukee Bucks Minnesota (Sr.)
1 19 John Paxson PG  United States San Antonio Spurs Notre Dame (Sr.)
1 20 Roy Hinson C  United States Cleveland Cavaliers (from Phoenix) Rutgers (Sr.)
1 21 Greg Kite C  United States Boston Celtics BYU (Sr.)
1 22 Randy Wittman SG  United States Washington Bullets (from Los Angeles) Indiana (Sr.)
1 23 Mitchell Wiggins SG  United States Indiana Pacers (from Philadelphia) Florida State (Sr.)
1 24 Stewart Granger PG  Canada Cleveland Cavaliers * Villanova (Sr.)
2 25 Sidney Lowe PG  United States Chicago Bulls NC State (Sr.)
2 26 Leroy Combs SF  United States Indiana Pacers Oklahoma State (Sr.)
2 27 John Garris PF  United States Cleveland Cavaliers Boston College (Sr.)
2 28 Rod Foster PG  United States Phoenix Suns UCLA (Sr.)
2 29 Larry Micheaux PF  United States Chicago Bulls Houston (Sr.)
2 30 Mark West C  United States Dallas Mavericks Old Dominion (Sr.)
2 31 Doc Rivers+ PG  United States Atlanta Hawks Marquette (Jr.)
2 32 Michael Britt# SF  United States Washington Bullets UDC (Sr.)
2 33 Dirk Minniefield PG  United States Dallas Mavericks Kentucky (Sr.)
2 34 Guy Williams F  United States Washington Bullets Washington State (Sr.)
2 35 Darrell Lockhart C  United States San Antonio Spurs Auburn (Sr.)
2 36 Scooter McCray PF  United States Seattle SuperSonics Louisville (Sr.)
2 37 David Russell# SF  United States Denver Nuggets St. John's (Sr.)
2 38 Chris McNealy PF  United States Kansas City Kings San Jose State (Sr.)
2 39 Granville Waiters C  United States Portland Trail Blazers Ohio State (Sr.)
2 40 Jim Thomas SG  United States Indiana Pacers Indiana (Sr.)
2 41 Ted Kitchel# SF  United States Milwaukee Bucks Indiana (Sr.)
2 42 Mike Davis# SG  United States Milwaukee Bucks Alabama (Sr.)
2 43 Pace Mannion SF  United States Golden State Warriors Utah (Sr.)
2 44 Horace Owens# SG  United States New Jersey Nets Rhode Island (Sr.)
2 45 Paul Williams# SF  United States Phoenix Suns Arizona State (Sr.)
2 46 Kevin Williams PG  United States San Antonio Spurs St. John's (Sr.)
2 47 Kenneth Lyons# PF  United States Philadelphia 76ers North Texas State (Sr.)

*Compensation for draft choices previously traded away by Ted Stepien.

Notable post-second round picks[edit]

These picks have played at least one game in the NBA but were not selected in the first or second rounds.[2][3]

Round Pick Player Pos. Nationality Team School/club team
3 48 Craig Ehlo SG  United States Houston Rockets Washington State (Sr.)
3 50 Paul Thompson SF  United States Cleveland Cavaliers Tulane (Sr.)
3 53 Mike Holton SG  United States Golden State Warriors UCLA (Sr.)
3 54 Bob Hansen SG  United States Utah Jazz Iowa (Sr.)
3 57 Darren Daye SF  United States Washington Bullets UCLA (Sr.)
3 58 John Pinone SF  United States Atlanta Hawks Villanova (Sr.)
3 59 Bruce Kuczenski PF  United States New Jersey Nets Connecticut (Sr.)
3 62 Tom Piotrowski C  United States Portland Trail Blazers La Salle (Sr.)
4 75 Ron Crevier C  Canada Chicago Bulls Boston College (Sr.)
4 77 Peter Thibeaux SF  United States Golden State Warriors Saint Mary's (Sr.)
4 82 Mark Jones PG  United States New York Knicks St. Bonaventure (Sr.)
4 90 Brant Weidner PF  United States San Antonio Spurs William & Mary (Sr.)
4 91 Carlos Clark SG  United States Boston Celtics Ole Miss (Sr.)
5 97 Manute Bol C  Sudan San Diego Clippers (Pick voided on technicalities)[1] None
5 101 Ken Austin PF  United States Detroit Pistons Rice (Sr.)
5 102 Jim Lampley C  United States Dallas Mavericks Arkansas–Little Rock (Sr.)
6 139 Sedale Threatt SG  United States Philadelphia 76ers West Virginia Tech (Sr.)
7 152 Dane Suttle SG  United States Kansas City Kings Pepperdine (Sr.)


  • "Complete First Round Results 1980-89". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on March 21, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  • "1983 NBA Draft". basketball-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  • "1982–1986 NBA Drafts". The Association for Professional Basketball Research. Archived from the original on 16 November 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010.

External links[edit]