Friday, August 7th, 2009 at 12:45 pm  |  56 responses

2002 NBA Draft Remix

Nice talent crop falls victim to unfortunate events.


by Jeff Fox

To paraphrase the immortal Phife Dawg, “go get yourself some toilet paper ‘cause this draft year is butt.” Excuse the toilet humor and the tasteless pun, but this doesn’t mean that the talent level of the 2002 draft was crappy. On the contrary, it contained franchise-altering talent. But all of this talent came with a caveat. Yao Ming’s size and skill level combination is unheard of but he can’t stay healthy and might be done for good. Jay Williams had a promising rookie season for Chicago but his motorcycle (and his hoops career) crashed at age 22. Amar’e Stoudemire is one of the most offensively explosive big men the League has seen in years but he can’t play defense and is snakebitten with injuries.

So, now you see why the 2002 Draft was the year of the “but.” Feel free to insert your own lower-extremity joke here.

2002 NBA Draft

Grade: B

All-Stars: 4 (Yao Ming, Amar’e Stoudemire, Caron Butler, Carlos Boozer)
Biggest Bust: Jay Williams, Chicago, pick No. 2
Second Round Steal: Carlos Boozer, Cleveland, pick No. 34
Winning Team (in the long run): Houston (Yao Ming, Luis Scola)
Career Scoring Leader: Yao Ming
Career Rebounding Leader: Yao Ming
Career Assist Leader: Caron Butler

Pick No. 1 | Houston Rockets
Actual Selection: Yao Ming
Draft 365 Remix: Yao Ming (1)

Yao Ming has been the impact player (both on the courYao Mingt and in the financial ledgers) that the Rockets and the NBA had hoped for. But he missed an average of 23 games per season (not including playoffs) over the past four years and his latest injury will keep him out at the very least all of next season. Time for Houston to cut their losses.

Pick No. 2 | Chicago Bulls
Actual Selection: Jay Williams
Draft 365 Remix: Amar’e Stoudemire (9)

Concerns over Stoudemire’s inability to stick at one high school and unstable family life allowed him to slide to the Suns at pick No. 9. While he hasn’t shown the ability to dominate on the defensive end, his offensive talents are among the best the NBA has seen in years. Jay Williams, meanwhile, enjoyed riding motorcycles.

Pick No. 3 | Golden State Warriors
Actual Selection: Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Draft 365 Remix: Carlos Boozer (34)

Guys that can get you 20 and 10 aren’t normally around at pick no. 34, but Carlos Boozer was for Cleveland in 2002. Unfortunately they couldn’t keep him around. Meanwhile, Mikey Jr. combined with Jay Williams for back-to-back Duke busts.

Pick No. 4 | Memphis Grizzlies
Actual Selection: Drew Gooden
Draft 365 Remix: Caron Butler (10)

Caron Butler is about as well rounded as you can get – he’s third in the 2002 draft class in career scoring, fifth in rebounding and first in assists. Unfortunately the Wizards injury malaise is contagious, and he has missed a minimum of 15 games per season over the past three years.

Pick No. 5 | Denver Nuggets
Actual Selection: Nikoloz Tskitishvili
Draft 365 Remix: Tayshaun Prince (23)

The Dirk Nowitzki Curse strikes—not all 7-0 Europeans are bDaJuan Wagneruilt the same. While Tskitishvili was an enormous flop, Tayshaun Prince was a steal at pick No. 23 for Detroit. A both end of the floor threat, his stick man physique has been surprisingly durable—he hasn’t missed a game in the past six years.

Pick No. 6 | Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Selection: DaJuan Wagner
Draft 365 Remix: Luis Scola (55)

Health problems derailed Wagner’s promising career before he was barely in his twenties. Scola is the total opposite—after starring overseas for years he is finally getting the chance to do the same in the NBA in his late twenties.

Pick No. 7 | New York Knicks
Actual Selection: Nene
Draft 365 Remix: Nene (7)

After serious health and injury problems, the man formerly known as Nene Hilario had a career year last season in Denver—something the Nuggets will need again from him this upcoming season if they plan on competing out west.

Pick No. 8 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Chris Wilcox
Draft 365 Remix: Mike Dunleavy Jr. (3)

Maybe it was a little harsh calling Mike Dunvealy Jr. a bust earlier. He did have an outstanding ’07-08 season before losing most of last season after blowing his knee out.

Pick No. 9 | Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: Amar’e Stoudemire
Draft 365 Remix: Drew Gooden (4)

You’d think a young, athletic big man like Gooden would be someone a team would want to keep around for awhile. Instead, next season in Dallas will be his seventh team in eight seasons.

Pick No. 10 | Miami Heat
Actual Selection: Caron Butler
Draft 365 Remix: John Salmons (26)

John Salmons appears to be peaking as he creeps toward his 30th birthday. If he keeps it up, the next time this draft class gets remixed he’ll find his name closer to the top.

Barely missed the Top 10 Remix:
Nenad Krstic, Ronald Murray, Chris Wilcox, Roger Mason.

Next on the Remix: 2001 and the high school hop.

2002 NBA Draft Lottery

Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    The Lottery was weaker than normal, but the overall talent was fine. Yao, Bulter, Boozer, Amar’e, those are some elite names. Scola, Prince Nene, they’ve all been very good starters for very successful teams. Who knows how good the draft would’ve been if JWill and DaJuan panned out.

  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    Agreed. The talent at the top is pretty good but, damn, look at those guys in the “barely missed the top 10″ category. Not so good.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    What’s going on with jaunny wags? He’s still fairly young, how much do you need your colon to be good at basketball?

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Solid draft class right there. Dunleavy Jr. was really a bust…he didn’t quite live up to that #3 pick, but he’s a solid player. Good work though Jeff.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Nice job. This draft really was pretty good, but for some reason almost every big man has faced injury problems…

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Still, some of these guys are my favorite players in the NBA right now.

  • http://Egotastic.com Michael

    NBA players cannot dress.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    And what’s more, Michael, is they’re paying five figures for the suits.

  • whooo!

    41% of the guys on that cover are no longer in the league

  • tavoris

    IM NOT TAVORIS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Two other random thoughts: 1) Tayshaun hasn’t gained a single pound, and 2) JWill’s accident was a blessing and a curse for Chicago. Sure, he became the “biggest bust” and caused the Bulls to go into another rebuilding direction. But if he was healthy, they wouldn’t have Derrick Rose now. I’d take the extra years of anguish for Rose.

  • JoeMaMa

    Maybe I’m nitpicking but

    Caron Butler > Carlos Boozer

  • Hussman25

    This draft may have been one of the more dissapointing in the lottery era. All the players have been under achievers (or injuries)
    that were drafted in the first round, but some steals in the second round. Most disapointing have to be J.Will, Chris Wilcox & Nikoloz Tskitishvili (HORRIBLE PICK!) Saddest end has to be D-Wag’s… could have been a DAMN good player. The mind may be there, but when your body goes…. it’s sad to see! Amare has lived up to expectations, but this is draft is a product of that age rule… Commish, u may wanna change this rule… make players go to school for at least 2 yrs and grow up….

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    You say that ryne but there’s no way of knowing if they would have even needed rose had jay williams not gotten hurt. I hate duke but that kid was an absolute force in college.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Tayshaun Prince should have been an All-Star those few years when the Pistons were real contenders.

  • Hussman25

    It’s a shame out of all the guys in the picture above only STAT is the one that’s doing the best… everyone else is a role player, a pine rider or out collecting grocery carts somewhere… (again except for dajuan…)

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Joe: Ummm, no. I don’t think so. Yes, you h@te Boozer. That doesn’t mean he’s not 20 and 10.

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com Jeff Fox

    JoeMaMa – the Butler-Boozer ranking was the hardest one to figure out – I gave it to Boozer because 20 & 10 guys are few and far between in the League. Figuring out picks 10-14 wasn’t fun either – not exactly a stellar crop of players to choose from.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Young Chris MP3

    This is the most injury-riddled draft (possibly) ever). Yao, Amare, Boozer, Dunleavy, Drew Gooden, Nene, and Butler all are in the league battling injuries every year. Dajuan Wagner and Jay Will have been forced to retire due to injury and health issues. Plus: All of the health issues are not common ones for athletes to miss time for (cancer, ulcerative colitis, motorcycle accident, career-threatening stress fractures, scratched retina)

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Bryan, I hear your point. YOu’re exactly right. All I’m saying is in the long run, now that I see the entire picture, it turned out OK for the Bullies.

  • EC

    Look at those suits! HAHAHA
    oversized suits for oversized people hahaha

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    This could easily be one of the more forgotten Draft classes. If you look at that group, there’s absolutely no identity to it.


    Where the HELL is Dajuan Wagner???

    Calling him and Jay Williams busts is a little bit of a reach.

  • Hussman25

    @ RYNE…. GREAT POINT! There (outside of Yao and STAT) THERE IS A LACK OF “STAR POWER”… Sad for a draft w/ so much potential…. One of the worst drafts in recent history…

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Young Chris MP3

    Dajuan Wagner had his entire colon removed after suffered ulcerative colitis that kept him out of much of his 3rd season with the Cavs. He attempted a comeback with the Warriors but was bought out shortly after signing a 2-year deal. I believe he’s playing overseas now.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Jay Williams wasn’t a bust as much as he was an idiot.

  • Ken

    What was Luis Scola staring at overseas?

  • Will

    Although I recall being really stoked about this draft class at the time, looking back I can’t say this class is even “solid” at this point. Not a single superstar in the bunch and Yao is the only real star player. Stat is on the fringe, but I can’t see him getting there; Boozer is a solid second-tier “star” and Caron (my fave player of the bunch) is a great complimentary guy. Other than that there’s about 3 or 4 solid role players and that it. I’d say that’s more on the “disappointing” side than “solid”.

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com Jeff Fox

    I’d say this draft is top heavy – Yao and Amar’e are borderline Hall-of-Fame talent, Boozer and Butler and multi-time All-Stars and Tayshaun is a multi-time All-Defensive player. That is a solid five. The problem is the talent really drops off after the top 5 and drops off tremendously after the top 9.

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com Jeff Fox

    Ken, Scola is no longer staring at things – he’s starring now – thanks for noticing my error!

  • JoeMaMa

    Hey Jeff, my thought behind butler>boozer is this: Boozer’s been a handful for the teams he’s played for. He screwed the Cavs and I think the Jazz want to trade him. But 20 and 10 is 20 and 10, not denying that.

  • Esco

    The Melo Backpedal blog has this same thing going on over at their site. Cool to see different perspectives on the same topic.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Yeah I take caron butler just because I think boozer is an a hole. Also if sh*t went down I’d rather have caron on my team.

  • Brooklynite

    These are the worst dressed people on the planet next to NFL players. Talk about tacky and country lmao. I remember picking Stat to be the most successful of the lot. I was right

  • http://http//myspace.com/weezyleezy337 weezy leezy

    Weeeaakk…yao is trash…amare is trash…butler got my respect…that’s about it

  • http://http//myspace.com/weezyleezy337 weezy leezy

    Plus…how is jay williams not a bust…I seen his ass on espn the other day and he’s my age…and I be seein scoop jackson messin around wit skip bayless too…dayum time flies

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    I wouldn’t really call Jay Williams a bust. More of a tragedy. He would’ve been Derrick Rose before Derrick Rose. How he got hurt was tremendously boneheaded though.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    Scola over Nene….that’s a tough one.

  • http://www.manutd.com z

    I’M NOT Z!!!

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Moose: Scola is better than Nene. I like Nene, but Scola is just better. He’s a little shorter and less athletic, but those are basically his only disadvantages.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I think 2007 (whichever year Durant was drafted) is a pretty underrated draft class. You have Kevin Durant, Wilson Chandler, Aaron Brooks, Jeff Green, Al Thornton, etc. So much upside there.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Scola has offensive skill prowess Moose. That’s the separation.
    Anyways, the slam cover page with all the guys on it looks dope. They all look really, really muscular in general too. Last year and the year before that, the class draftee’s were much skinnier.
    Look at Lil Dun! Prince and Amar’e are probably the skinniest two guys out there (lol).

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    i like tayshaun a lot.
    very underrated.
    id pick caron over boozer.
    i mean zach randolph is a 20-10 guy. but i feel he has no defence at all.
    amare is great, i believe if he played for a team that stressed defence he has the abilitys to be a great defensive player. a rebounder tho? thats where he needs help.
    i loved wagner, i heard after a injury with miami he was rocking the D-league for awhile. i liked that kid a lot.

  • badnewzb8ller

    lol kareem rush!

  • Mark

    Drew Gooden with hair on his head!

  • larrylegend

    nice shoes, Dunleavy Jr.!

  • ab_40

    ha ha you had a rush brother on your cover

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    ‘Your monkey is riding your dogs around the neighborhood.

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com Jeff Fox

    Mike Miller monkey stories are the greatest.

  • elveezy

    forgetting about tayshaun prince every one…hell be an all star very soon

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    DaJuan Wagner and Jay Williams are 2 players I wished could stay in the league. They had so much potential.

  • Son of Shawn

    Of course Jay Williams has been one of the biggest bust in the Draft, we aren´t talking about a disgrace like Dajuan´s one or an injury that you made playing bball like Yao´s or Bender´s; we´re talkin´ about hurting yourself practicing an activity you have forbidden, and I think you´re extremely well paid to risk that amount of money doing stupid things that your millionaire contract says you can´t do.

    And that for a kid that spent three years in the NCAA (Duke), but I supposse that they learn common sense in the fourth year, so the age limitation rule is right.

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    This draft does have an identity. It is the Yao draft, the first draft where an international player went first overall and the draft that blew wide open the NBA marketing opportunities to 1.6 billion consumers. This was the NBA’s biggest step in globalization since the 1992 Dream Team and still was the biggest step until the 2006-08 Redeem Team. Jay Williams had an okay season for a rookie point guard, but the guy averaged 9/5/3 in 26 mpg, which is not pretty for a #2 pick playing a position that touches the ball nearly every possession when he’s on the court. Plus, he shot 40% from the field and 64% from the stripe. Ugly. No one can say with any sanity that he was even close to Derrick Rose.

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    On the other hand, I bet Jay Williams could get a good enough ACT score to play college ball in three tries. Without having someone else paid to do it.

  • http://www.fvsports.com RetepAdam

    Again, I look forward to hearing all about the colossal bust that was Len Bias.

    Jay Williams was a very productive player, and he could have been a star PG for the Bulls had he not gotten injured. Hard to criticize a man’s durability when it’s a motorcycle crash.

  • BigMCMike

    Comparing Williams to Rose is comparing apples to oranges. Williams had a tough time adjusting to the triangle offense he was asked to play. What we do know is that he had some monster games (like his triple double against JKidd in his prime)that hinted to his potential. I’d also say that the talent Williams had around him did not compare to what Rose has now. Yes, Curry and Chandler were high picks and full of “potential” but history has shown us what type of players they are.

    I’m not defending Williams, he was an idiot for riding that motorcycle, but I thought the world of the kid and thought he could have turned out be a more well rounded Baron Davis. Rose is a different player. His style lends itself better to teh NBA game. Let’s see if he takes that next step. I love what he did last year, but i have some doubts whether nor not he can make the leap.