Top pick Daughtery highlights Cavs’ 86 draft day windfall
LeBron James’ arrival in Cleveland is easily the most important day in Cavaliers franchise history. However draft day 17 years earlier will be remembered as the day when several of the club’s greatest players arrived in Northern Ohio.
June 17, 1986 was the day that changed the course of the struggling franchise by stocking its roster with a pair of perennial all-stars.
Cleveland acquired the top pick a day earlier from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Roy Hinson. During the 1985-86 season, Hinson averaged 19.6 points, which has a career high.
With the first overall selection for the first time since 1971, the Cavs took University of North Carolina center Brad Daugherty.
The Cavs however were far from done transforming their franchise.
Just seven picks later, Cleveland was on the clock again. They selected Miami University point guard Ron Harper.
Cleveland was busy in the second round. They selected forward/guard Johnny Newman with the fifth pick.
However for the second consecutive day, the Cavs pulled off a lopsided trade that would transform the franchise for years to come. Cleveland traded a 1989 second round pick to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Georgia Tech point guard Mark Price.
The Mavs ended up taking University of South Alabama shooting guard Jeff Hodge, who never played a game in the NBA, with the pick they received the Price deal.
Harper was traded away early in the 1989 season to the Los Angeles Clippers for the rights to Danny Ferry. However with Price and Daugherty anchoring the team, the Cavs made the playoff six out of eight seasons, including a trip to the Eastern Conference finals in 1992. In the franchise’s 16 seasons before the 1986 draft, they qualified for the playoffs just four times.
Daugherty retired prematurely at the age of 28-years-old in 1994 with recurring back problems.
Cleveland traded Price before the 1995-96 season to the Washington Bullets in exchange for a first round pick in the 1996 draft. The Cavs ended up picking Wright State center Vitaly Potapenko with that selection. During this final three seasons in the NBA, Price played one season each for the Bullets, the Golden State Warriors and the Orlando Magic.