In 76ers history, they have selected a player with the 3rd pick in the draft two times. Today, I’ll talk about the first time it happened.
So, in the 1988 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Charles Smith…and then proceeded to trade him for Hersey Hawkins and a 1989 first-round pick who later turned out to be Kenny Payne. Would you believe I have their basketball cards!
So, what about Hawkins? Well, Hawkins was selected as the No. 6 pick in the 1988 draft. Yes, a few picks after Smith. And so, essentially, the Clippers and Sixers traded rookies on draft night. So, let’s compare Smith’s career with the Clippers and Hawkins’ career with the Sixers to see how things panned out.
For Smith, he spent four seasons with the Clippers. He averaged 18.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks. Not bad. He started out as a PF, but was moved to SF in his third year. He was Rookie of the Month twice.
Meanwhile, Hawkins spent five seasons with the Sixers. He averaged 19.0 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.8 steals. He even made the All-Star game in his 3rd year. During his first four years, he was in the top ten in 3FG%. He was a leader in steals and FT% as well. He was a good SG.
So, who got the better rookie that year? One could say the Clippers, if you went by rookie stats and awards. But, careers with the team that traded for him, and I think the Sixers won this one. Sure, the Sixers teams that were on the court around this time were terrible (I’m looking at you, 90’s), Hawkins was a young star at the time. At the same time, Charles Barkley was still on the Sixers during the draft and so, I guess the Sixers were looking for outside scoring. They got it.
In a sense, the Sixers trading down worked out. I got a feeling that this time around, the Sixers will probably either stay with the 3rd pick, or move up. But hey, ya never know. The Sixers did get a pick for the next year’s draft. Would the Sixers of today be willing to take that same path? Probably not, but it’s something to consider.
Next time, we’ll look at the second time the Sixers picked 3rd.
By the way, I got this list of stats and players drafted by the 76ers from the awesome Basketball-Reference.com.