KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Kings used their first two picks in the 1983 NBA draft Tuesday on players who have no chance of even making the club this season.
That's because before the draft was two hours old, Kansas City had traded both picks -- first-rounder Ennis Whatley of Alabama and second-rounder Chris McNealy of San Jose State -- to the Chicago Bulls in separate deals for two players who can help the Kings -- power forwards Mark Olberding and Larry Micheaux.
The Kings swapped the point-guard Whatley for the seven-year veteran Olberding and less than an hour later sent the guard McNealy and a 1984 second-round draft pick for the rookie Micheaux, who helped the University of Houston reach the NCAA championship game this season.
Rebounding has long been a problem with the Kings and the source of that problem has been at the power forward spot, where 1982 eighth-round draft pick Ed Nealy of Kansas State started last season and averaged 4.4 points and 5.9 rebounds.
'We got two players thatwe really wanted,' Kansas City Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons said. 'This is a big league and we want to be big. You can never have too many big guys.'
Olberding signed with San Antonio of the American Basketball Association in 1976 after playing only his freshman year at Minnesota and went on to play six seasons with the Spurs before being traded last year along with Dave Corzine to the Bulls for Artis Gilmore.
The 6-8, 230-pound Olberding averaged 4.4 rebounds and 8.7 points coming off the bench for the Bulls last season and has career averages of 5.4 rebounds and 10.4 points.
'We like to know what a player coming in can do for us,' Fitzsimmons said, 'and if you want to know about Mark Olberding, just go down to San Antonio and look at all the flags (five divisional championships) in the building. He was there for all but the last one.
'We felt he was worth the 13th pick in the draft. There are only two teams that know for certain what they got in the first round - Houston when they took (center Ralph) Sampson and Kansas City when they got Mark Olberding.'
The 6-9, 220-pound Micheaux was projected as a first-round pick but did not go until the 29th overall choice, the fifth pick on the second round. The Kings were on the phone late in the first round trying to swing a deal for his services before finally pinning down Chicago.
Micheaux took a backseat at Houston to a couple of more celebrated teammates in the Phi Slama Jama fraternity, forward Clyde Drexler and center Akeem Abdul-Olajuwon, but still managed to average 14.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the 31-3 Cougars.
'Micheaux was the workhorse of that ball club,' Fitzsimmons said. 'What he lacks in skills he makes up in hard work and hustle. He's a horse on the boards and he'll score in the paint and around the basket.'