Glenn Robinson III is looking to find a NBA team to draft him on Thursday. His father was the headliner of the NBA Draft 20 years ago.
The 1994 NBA Draft was not particularly memorable compared to some, but looking at it shows how much the game has changed in 20 years. In some ways it was taking a trip to Jurassic Park, which had come out the previous year.
These days, the buzz is generated by these one-and-done players and the college senior is rarer to find. Staying four years is almost viewed as an indictment that your talent didn’t blossom sooner. The longer the track record, the more opportunity to poke holes in the games of players. The fans are eager to see Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, and Joel Embiid go. Doug McDermott spent more time in college than the three of them combined.
Kidd had the best career out of the 1994 group, but he was not the only current NBA coach to be found there. Current Pelicans coach Monty Williams was taken at No. 24 by the New York Knicks. The Knicks also drafted the Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward two picks later in a unique move.
It is also taken for granted that there will be international players taken early in the draft. We had Anthony Bennett (Canada) go first last year and could be looking at Andrew Wiggins (Canada) in that spot this year. Dante Exum (Australia) and Joel Embiid (Cameroon) will also figure prominently in the draft.
In 1994, only one international player was taken in the first round, Yinka Dare (Nigeria).
The 1994 draft was also light on draftees from the North Carolina schools. This year we look forward to seeing where Parker, Rodney Hood, TJ Warren, PJ Hairston, James Michael McAdoo, and Andre Dawkins may go. The 1994 draft gave us Grant Hill (Duke), Eric Montross (UNC), and Antonio Lang (Duke) with only partial credit for Clifford Rozier (Louisville, transferred from UNC).
Grant Hill is the great ‘what if’ of this class. He also had the best career of anyone not named Jason Kidd, whom he shared Rookie of the Year with. He now works in sports media, on NBATV’s Inside Stuff program. Eric Montross also works in sports media, as the analyst for Tar Heel Basketball games. Also in the broadcast media is Jalen Rose (ESPN), who was also drafted in 1994. His Fab Five cohort Juwan Howard was also taken in that draft.
For the Hornets the 1994 draft was lacking in significance. The Hornets took leaper Darrin Hancock in the second round, but had no first-round pick. They had dealt it with Dana Barros and Sidney Green to acquire 76ers guard Hersey Hawkins, which was really just the last phase of a process that started when Kendall Gill was traded to Seattle. Future Hornets star Eddie Jones was drafted by the Lakers, though.
There is one more important legacy to consider. Added drama came from first pick Glenn Robinson, who decided to hold out for $100 million. In the end he got 10 years for $68 million. In response the NBA instituted a rookie salary cap, which is still in effect today.
The 1994 draft produced five All-Star players and four All-NBA inclusions. It was a product of a different time, when seniors dominated the draft and international players were still looked upon with some skepticism. Yet that was just one Glenn Robinson ago. What will the league of Glenn Robinson IV look like? Will the writers of 2034 wonder at what the NBA was in 2014?