1999 NBA Draft Remix
The millennium ends with a draft class for the ages.
As horrible the 2000 NBA draft was (we promise this is the last time we will speak its wretched name), 1999 was its mirror opposite. Both in terms of quantity and quality, the 1999 NBA draft class should be mentioned among the best of all-time. The only thing holding this class back from an A+ grade and inclusion in debate (with 1984, 1996 and 2003) on the greatest class of all-time is its lack of a true superstar player (like Jordan, Kobe and LeBron provide in their respective draft classes). A few guys have made legitimate runs at true franchise player, superstar status (Elton Brand, Steve Francis, Baron Davis) but all have fallen short due to one reason or another.
Despite lacking a franchise guy, this draft still has a mind-boggling nine NBA All-Stars among its alumni (plus guys like Lamar Odom, Andre Miller and Jason Terry who are about as close to the All-Star level as you can get without actually being selected for the game). The overall quantity of quality in this draft made doing a draft remix extremely difficult. It came down to a three player race for the top spot, with probably a controversial winner coming out on top.
1999 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 9 (Elton Brand, Steve Francis, Baron Davis, Wally Szczerbiak, Richard Hamilton, Shawn Marion, Ron Artest, Andrei Kirilenko, Manu Ginobili)
Biggest Bust: Jonathan Bender, Toronto, pick No. 5
Second Round Steal: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio, pick No. 57
Winning Team (in the long run): Los Angeles Lakers (Ron Artest, Lamar Odom)
Career Scoring Leader: Richard Hamilton
Career Rebounding Leader: Shawn Marion
Career Assist Leader: Andre Miller
Pick No. 1 | Chicago Bulls
Actual Selection: Elton Brand
Draft 365 Remix: Shawn Marion (9)
This choice should cause lots of debate, so here is the defense for Shawn Marion in the top spot. He has as many All-Star and All-NBA selections as Elton Brand and Baron Davis combined (four and two respectively), he can and has guarded every position on the floor and, finally, the belief that all his success was due to Mike D’Antoni, Steve Nash and the Suns’ system is a myth – he was an All-Star long before those guys came on the scene.
Pick No. 2 | Vancouver Grizzlies
Actual Selection: Steve Francis
Draft 365 Remix: Elton Brand (1)
Elton Brand came real close to keeping his position as king of this castle. He is an automatic 20 and 10 guy plus he gives you a shot-blocking presence down low. Now if he could only stay healthy.
Pick No. 3 | Charlotte Hornets
Actual Selection: Baron Davis
Draft 365 Remix: Baron Davis (3)
Baron Davis finds himself ranked slightly below Marion and Brand due to his inconsistent career and injury woes. When healthy, in shape and properly motivated, there aren’t too many other point guards in the world as quick, athletic and strong as Davis.
Pick No. 4 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Lamar Odom
Draft 365 Remix: Ron Artest (16)
The Bulls should have been set for the future after this draft – they got Brand at pick No. 1 and Ron Artest at No. 16. But sometimes you don’t know what you got until its gone. Artest is one of the most uniquely-skilled players in the League, able to create havoc on both ends of the floor (not to mention in the stands). He’s also the NBA’s reigning MVP of Twitter.
Pick No. 5 | Toronto Raptors
Actual Selection: Jonathan Bender
Draft 365 Remix: Richard Hamilton (7)
It was a real toss-up here choosing between Richard Hamilton and Manu Ginobili, but Hamilton wins out due to playing almost 300 more games than Manu so far. Surprisingly durable, Hamilton is the surprise career scoring leader of this draft class. Jonathan Bender, meanwhile, had an injury-plagued career (which apparently he is trying to revive) but at least the Raptors flipped him for Antonio Davis.
Pick No. 6 | Minnesota Timberwolves
Actual Selection: Wally Szczerbiak
Draft 365 Remix: Manu Ginobili (57)
Manu Ginobili was the second-to-last player picked in the 1999 draft – shocking to think of today. The Spurs are geniuses in grabbing quality players with late draft picks, and they have the rings to prove it. Wally Szczerbiak was an All-Star once – honest!
Pick No. 7 | Washington Wizards
Actual Selection: Richard Hamilton
Draft 365 Remix: Steve Francis (2)
Draft night ’09 was a sad night for Steve D’Shawn Francis but he eventually pouted enough to get himself shipped out of Vancouver. After a blazing start to his career and multiple All-Star selections it is surprising (and sad) to see him out of the League already (but apparently he is running his own repair shop in Lego Land).
Pick No. 8 | Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Selection: Andre Miller
Draft 365 Remix: Lamar Odom (4)
You think LeBron James wishes that Cleveland held onto Andre Miller, having played with such illustrious starting point guards as Jeff McInnis and Eric Snow during the early part of his career? Lamar Odom has proven himself to be a perfect complimentary player to a championship team, which is exactly what James has been missing so far.
Pick No. 9 | Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: Shawn Marion
Draft 365 Remix: Andrei Kirilenko (24)
It’s hard to fathom now, after his struggles the past few years, but Andrei Kirilenko came 13th in the MVP voting in 2004. Once a constant on the NBA’s All-Defensive team, AK-47 seems to have peaked in his mid-20s.
Pick No. 10 | Atlanta Hawks
Actual Selection: Jason Terry
Draft 365 Remix: Andre Miller (8)
This was another tough one to pick, between the Hawks actual pick Jason Terry and Andre Miller. Miller wins in a photo finish, and he should be a real solid veteran voice for the Portland Trail Blazers this upcoming season.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Jason Terry, Wally Szczerbiak, James Posey, Corey Maggette.
Next on the Remix: The Los Angeles Clippers live up to their reputation with the first pick in the 1998 Draft.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.