The NBA obsession with size seems to be at an end.
Not since the Detroit Pistons took Isiah Thomas in 1981 had a guard been selected as high as second in the draft.On Wednesday night, seven of the first 10 picks, including the second through fifth selections, were guards or perimeter shooters.
Even the No. 1 pick, 6-foot-10 forward Derrick Coleman, is far from a plodder. His ball-handling and passing skills, combined with rebounding and scoring prowess, were factors in his becoming the New Jersey Nets' first selection.
The only questions about Coleman concerned his attitude.
"I'm a warm, loving kind of guy," Coleman said. "I think most guys from the inner city get a bad rep. At Syracuse, a lot was blown out of proportion."
The Nets, whose 17-65 record was the worst in the NBA last season, haven't had a first-rate first-round selection since Sleepy Floyd in 1982.
"They need a couple of players to help them out," Coleman said. "Hopefully, I'm one of those."
Following Coleman came the run of seven perimeter players in the next nine picks.
Seattle took 6-3 Oregon State point guard Gary Payton and Denver followed with Louisiana State's 6-1 Chris Jackson, a 29-point scorer in his two years in college.
Then came 6-7 Dennis Scott of Georgia Tech, an outstanding perimeter shooter who was taken by Orlando, and 6-5 guard Kendall Gill of Illinois, selected by Charlotte.
The run of shooters was interrupted briefly when Minnesota selected 7-0 Felton Spencer of Louisville and the Sacramento Kings grabbed 6-7 Player of the Year Lionel Simmons of La Salle with the first of their record four first-round picks.
Sacramento, which acquired a starting lineup Wednesday night, also grabbed 6-2 guard Travis Mays of Texas, center Duane Causwell of Temple and power forward Anthony Bonner of St. Louis in the first round. In the second round, they selected point guard Bimbo Coles of Virginia Tech, then traded his draft rights to Miami for veteran Rory Sparrow.
Bo Kimble, the nation's leading scorer at Loyola Marymount with a 35.3 average, was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers, who can use him as insurance while Ron Harper recovers from an injured knee. Willie Burton, a 6-7 forward in college, then was grabbed by Miami, which acquired the ninth and 15th picks from Denver in exchange for Denver's No. 3. Atlanta, which switched first-round picks with Golden State earlier in the day, then took Michigan point guard Rumeal Robinson with the 10th pick.
The second 10 selections in the first round were 6-10 forward Tyrone Hill of Xavier, Ohio, by Golden State; 6-11 forward Alec Kessler of Georgia by Houston; Loy Vaught of Michigan by the Clippers; Mays by Sacramento; 6-5 guard Dave Jamerson of Ohio University by Miami; Terry Mills of Michigan by Milwaukee; 6-10 Jerrod Mustaf of Maryland by New York; Causwell by Sacramento; 6-1 point guard Dee Brown of Jacksonville by Boston; and Minnesota took Gerald Glass of Mississippi.
The final seven first-round picks were 6-10 forward Jayson Williams of St. John's by Phoenix; 6-5 point guard Tate George of Connecticut by the Nets; Bonner by the Kings; 7-0 center Dwayne Schintzius of Florida by San Antonio; 6-10 forward Alaa Adbelnaby of Duke by Portland; 6-4 guard Lance Blanks of Texas by Detroit; and the Los Angeles Lakers completed the round by taking 6-11 Elden Campbell of Clemson.