Mahorn Tops Timberwolves’ Expansion Selections
June 15, 1989 — Rick Mahorn, starting power forward for the World Champion Detroit Pistons, was the first of 11 players taken today by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1989 NBA Expansion Draft. Mahorn was the second player taken overall after the Orlando Magic made Sidney Green of the New York Knicks the first selection.
Mahorn, a nine-year NBA veteran, joins Tyrone Corbin (Phoenix), Steve Johnson (Portland), Brad Lohaus (Sacramento), David Rivers (Los Angeles Lakers), Mark Davis (Milwaukee), Scott Roth (San Antonio), Shelton Jones (Philadelphia), Eric White (Los Angeles Clippers), Maurice Martin (Denver) and Gunther Behnke (Cleveland) as the Timberwolves' selections from the lists of unprotected players provided by the 23 participating NBA teams.
Orlando, in addition to Green, selected Reggie Theus (Atlanta), Terry Catledge (Washington), Sam Vincent (Chicago), Otis Smith (Golden State), Scott Skiles (Indiana), Jerry Reynolds (Seattle), Marc Acres (Boston), Morlon Wiley (Dallas), Jim Farmer (Utah), Keith Lee (New Jersey) and Frank Johnson (Houston).
The Timberwolves executed the only trade of the draft — Minnesota receives Milwaukee's second-round pick (34th overall) in the June 27 NBA College Draft for selecting Davis. The Timberwolves now own the 10th, 34th and 38th selections in the draft.
"We are really pleased with the players obtained in the Expansion Draft," said team president Bob Stein. "The types of players reflect our philosophy which we have established and stuck with throughout the draft — that of finding a mix of mostly young players, along with a couple of veteran players. We have managed to get that mix of players, many with some degree of success in their background."
The players selected today carry an average age of 25.8 years and three seasons of NBA experience.
"This is great in terms of preparing for the future," said director of player personnel Billy McKinney. "Only two players are 30 years or older; one (Mahorn, 30) started for a World Championship team, and the other (Johnson, 31) was an All-Star a year ago. The rest are in their 20s with varying degrees of success on very good teams."
Timberwolves coach Bill Musselman thinks both teams should be happy with their results. "I think it was a very good draft for both teams," said Musselman. "As for us, we got players with qualities we were looking for — players who are mentally tough and come from winning backgrounds."
Mahorn (6-10, 255) started 61 of 72 regular-season contests and all 17 playoff games for the Pistons this year. He has played power forward and center and is considered an outstanding defender. Mahorn, who carries a career scoring average of 8.2 ppg, is a lifetime .503 shooter from the field and made 58 percent of his field goal tries in the 1989 NBA Playoffs.
Corbin (6-6, 222, 27 years old) started 30 games at small forward for the Suns, who posted a 55-27 record in 1988-89. The four-year NBA veteran averaged career highs in points (8.2 ppg) and rebounds (5.2 rpg) this season.
Johnson (6-10, 235) has played eight NBA seasons, the last three with Portland, where this year he was predominantly used as the Blazers' sixth man. He has a career scoring average of 12.4 ppg and is annually among the leaders in field goal percentage, with a lifetime mark of .574.
Lohaus (7-0, 235, 24 years old) was born in New Ulm, Minn., and played collegiately at the University of Iowa. A second-round selection of the Celtics in 1987, Lohaus played 118 games for Boston before being traded to Sacramento on Feb. 23, a deal that also sent Danny Ainge to the Kings in exchange for Joe Kleine and Ed Pinckney.
Rivers (6-0, 180, 24 years old) spent his rookie season serving as backup point guard to Magic Johnson, whose hamstring gave Rivers extended playing time in the NBA Finals. He had an outstanding career at Notre Dame, where he was Irish MVP four consecutive seasons.
Davis (6-5, 195, 26 years old) has played professionally since 1985, first in Europe, then in the CBA, before playing for Phoenix and Milwaukee in 1988-89. He is considered a fine outside shooter and a promising offensive threat.
Roth (6-8, 212, 26 years old) has played 89 games over the last two NBA seasons with Utah and San Antonio. He was a member of Musselman's Albany Patroons squad that posted a record-setting 48-6 record in 1987-88, en route to the CBA title.
Jones (6-9, 210, 23 years old) had a fine college career at St. John's and made his NBA debut in 1988-89, playing a total of 49 games for three teams (San Antonio, Golden State, Philadelphia).
White (6-8, 215, 23 years old) has played 55 games over two NBA seasons — 54 with the Clippers, one with Utah. He has shown the ability to play both small forward and power forward effectively.
Martin (6-6, 200, 24 years old) was one of the highest-rated guards by NBA scouts when he came out of St. John's University in 1986, but an injured right knee has limited his playing time to 69 games in three years and kept him out the entire 1988-89 campaign.
Behnke (7-4, 240, 26 years old), a native of West Germany, became the Cavaliers' property when they made him the 101st pick in the 1985 Draft. He has been playing professionally in his homeland. Behnke, whose teammates as a youth included Uwe Blab (Dallas), Detlef Schrempf (Indiana) and Chris Welp (Philadelphia), had planned to play college basketball at the University of Kentucky but decided instead to remain in West Germany.
The Expansion Draft was held via conference call involving officials from the Timberwolves, Magic and NBA. Orlando received 12 picks in the draft, one more than the Timberwolves, after winning a coin flip Monday. Orlando elected to take the first pick in the Expansion Draft, giving the Timberwolves the 10th selection in the first round of the 1989 College Draft.
Timberwolves President Bob Stein
"We were very pleased to get a player like Ricky Mahorn right away. He can help our club from the start."
"We got the kind of players that will fit into our organization nicely. We took players who we really wanted."
"At least as an expansion team, we got players who will represent us in a competitive manner at each position. It is hard to find good big players, but with this draft we have something to build on."
"Our organization had 100% consensus on every pick today. I felt we did an excellent job preparing for the events today, and hopefully the hard work will pay off in the end."
Timberwolves Director of Player Personnel Billy McKinney
"I was surprised to find some of the players available in this draft. We wanted Rick Mahorn and Tyrone Corbin and were lucky enough to have the chance to get them."
"We wanted players who would fit our needs. We have a long way to go, but now we have something to build on. I felt it was an advantage for us to draft on an earlier date, but we came prepared."
"It was a pleasant surprise to see Ricky Mahorn available. It sure made our selection process easier. We felt getting big players would be an important part of the draft. The picks we made have a tremendous amout of talent."
Timberwolves Head Coach Bill Musselman
"Both teams (Orlando and Minnesota) got good players. It is very difficult to get good people. I liked what we got, and my feeling is Mahorn and Johnson are two big people who can help us."
"This group that we drafted is a nice blend of veterans and young talent. We are trying to build the best ballclub possible. This draft will help us on our way. We are definitely not through putting this club together. I'm just excited to get this thing going."