Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, July 1, 1999

P R O _ B A S K E T B A L L

Nash says draft
has changed

The former Rainbow and
No. 9 NBA draft pick says there is
more money and hype

By Pat Bigold


Watching all of those NBA first-round picks paraded out on national TV like Tonight Show guests yesterday reminded Bob Nash of how much the draft has changed.

Nash, Hawaii's associate men's basketball coach for the past 11 years, was the first round pick of the Detroit Pistons (ninth overall) in 1972.

He was chosen three picks ahead of Hall of Famer Julius "Dr. J" Erving.

But there was no pomp and ceremony for Nash. He just sat by the phone at home on draft day, awaiting his call.

"There's a lot more hype and pressure now," he said. "You get invited to the draft site with your family. You sit there all day, and you can be joyous or very sad. If you don't get picked, the whole nation knows. But we were told to stick by the phone. It was less nerve-wracking. You could hang out in your dorm room and be a normal guy."

Nash won't say what kind of a bonus he signed for but noted it was "one of the bigger bonuses."

"It was all (relative)," he said. "The money we were making back then was considered good dollars. But now it's just astronomical what guys ... are making."

Nash played two years with the Pistons and two more years with the Kansas City Kings.

The only other Rainbow taken in the first round was Tom Henderson, an all-star with the Atlanta Hawks, drafted him in 1974.

The 6-foot-8 Nash, who holds UH career record for rebounding average (13.6), studied the draft results yesterday and said he was amazed that the first five picks were all underclassmen.

"It just goes to show there's a wealth of basketball talent out there" he said. "But in the first 28 picks, there were only two centers. Everybody was looking for skill players in guards and forwards who can wow the fans."

Here's how Nash assessed some of the top picks and the WAC players who were drafted:

Bullet Elton Brand (No. 1, Chicago), F, Duke: "It's an excellent choice for the Bulls, a young man they can build around."

Bullet Steve Francis (No. 2, Vancouver), G, Maryland: "He's more of a shooting guard. Now you have a dynamic duo in the Vancouver backcourt of Francis and Mike Bibby."

Bullet Baron Davis (No. 3, Charlotte), G, UCLA: "Great prospect. A guy who is very athletic, creates his own, creates for others. Shoots the ball well, takes it to the basket. The obvious question is his knee, but with the miracle of medicine, I don't see that as being a hindrance."

Bullet Lamar Odom (No. 4, L.A. Clippers), F, Rhode Island: "He's a guy who can play a lot of different positions. Very athletic. Put him in there with (7-0 center) Mike Olowokandi and it gives them a little more inside-outside punch."

Bullet Andre Miller (No. 8, Cleveland), PG, Utah: "Perfect fit in Cleveland. He's the guy to come in with (Shawn) Kemp inside. I saw him work out at Utah this past week and the guy's just a worker. He loves to win and does everything he can to keep from losing."

Bullet Shawn Marion (No. 9, Phoenix), F, UNLV: "He's a good young talent. Phoenix likes to run and he's a guy who gets out in transition."

Bullet Kenny Thomas (No. 22, Houston), F, New Mexico: "With an aging (front line), it's a good opportunity for him to go in and develop."

Bullet Michael Ruffin (No. 32, Chicago), F, Tulsa: "The Bulls see him as more of a Dennis Rodman type. He's a great rebounder, and a guy who has tremendous work ethic. He's a shot blocker. He's long, he's rangy. He doesn't have to exist on scoring."

Bullet Chris Herren (No. 33, Denver), G, Fresno State: "We thought he might slip into the first round. But that's a good pickup for Denver. ... He's a great player whether they play him at the point or the off (guard). I think he's probably better at the off."

Bullet Lee Nailon (No. 43, Charlotte), F, TCU: "We were very surprised he went so late. He must not have played too well in the all-star games or mini-camps. ... A lot of times they look for a little more athleticism at that 4 spot. They want a guy who can rebound and block shots. Nailon is a good scorer, but in the NBA, he may be pushed off the blocks."

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin