1997 NBA Draft Remix
Big Three or bust!
At first glance you’d think that the 1997 NBA Draft was a fantastic one — just look at the names — Duncan, Billups, McGrady. While the first glance might be nice, every glance after that is horrendous. Just look at the names “gracing” the bottom of the list (Fortson, Brevin Knight) and you will understand what a painful process remixing the 1996 NBA draft was.
This could very well be the greatest drop-off in talent from the top guys to the bottom that has ever occurred in draft history. At the very least it is the worst over the past decade. You go from future Hall of Fame players to journeymen at the blink of the eye. So enter at your own peril — first glances can sometimes betray.
1997 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 3 (Tim Duncan, Chauncey Billups, Tracy McGrady)
Biggest Bust: Tariq Abdul-Wahad, Sacramento , pick No. 11
Second Round Steal: Stephen Jackson, Phoenix, pick No. 42
Winning Team (in the long run): San Antonio (Tim Duncan)
Career Scoring Leader: Tim Duncan
Career Rebounding Leader: Tim Duncan
Career Assist Leader: Chauncey Billups
Pick No. 1 | San Antonio Spurs
Actual Selection: Tim Duncan
Draft 365 Remix: Tim Duncan (1)
Despite having a future Hall-of-Famer at center in David Robinson, the Spurs couldn’t get themselves into a NBA Finals. The solution? Have Robinson conveniently get hurt in ’96-97, win the draft lottery and select the greatest “power forward” to ever play in the NBA. Simple enough solution, don’t know why more teams don’t try it.
Pick No. 2 | Philadelphia 76ers
Actual Selection: Keith Van Horn
Draft 365 Remix: Tracy McGrady (9)
Despite constantly masquerading as a coach on the bench instead of sweating on the court, surprisingly Tracy McGrady has played the fifth-most career games of this draft class. And despite never have advancing past the first round of the Playoffs, McGrady is also one of the best all-around players of his generation. The man is a paradox.
Pick No. 3 | Boston Celtics
Actual Selection: Chauncey Billups
Draft 365 Remix: Chauncey Billups (3)
Chauncey Billups had one of the strangest rises to stardom as you’re going to find. Billups didn’t really find himself (in a basketball sense) until his sixth season and fifth team in the League. Since that time he’s been the Finals MVP, a four-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection.
Pick No. 4 | Vancouver Grizzlies
Actual Selection: Antonio Daniels
Draft 365 Remix: Stephen Jackson (42)
This is the point where the Draft takes a gigantic dive off of a cliff — we go from future Hall of Famers to non-All-Stars. Stephen Jackson is the best of the bunch, but like Billups it took him years to earn himself a firm place in the League.
Pick No. 5 | Denver Nuggets
Actual Selection: Tony Battie
Draft 365 Remix: Keith Van Horn (2)
The Great White Hope Keith Van Horn might be considered a bust to some, but if you look at his stats he had a very good start to his career, including helping the Nets make it to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately he retired at the age of 30 to spend time with his family (dudes that have made almost $100 million by the age of 30 can afford to do those things). Tony Battie’s greatest claim to fame came from off the court when he saved Paul Pierce’s life by rushing him to the hospital after Pierce was stabbed.
Pick No. 6 | Boston Celtics
Actual Selection: Ron Mercer
Draft 365 Remix: Tim Thomas (7)
Ugh — aren’t we at No. 10 yet?!? No? Fine, lets go with Tim Thomas at pick no. 6. The ironic thing is Thomas is considered a bust and underachiever (rightfully so) by many, however, in the draft remix he ends up being picked higher than he did in real life!
Pick No. 7 | New Jersey Nets
Actual Selection: Tim Thomas
Draft 365 Remix: Bobby Jackson (23)
Now we’re just rewarding guys for staying power. Sixth man extraordinaire Bobby Jackson’s best days might be in the rear-view, but at least he’s still in the League (assuming someone signs him for this upcoming season).
Pick No. 8 | Golden State Warriors
Actual Selection: Adonal Foyle
Draft 365 Remix: Derek Anderson (13)
Part of a ridiculously talented Kentucky Wildcats program of the mid 1990s, Derek Anderson had about seven solid all-around NBA seasons before he dropped off. Meanwhile, $60 million later, Adonal Foyle is still going strong.
Pick No. 9 | Toronto Raptors
Actual Selection: Tracy McGrady
Draft 365 Remix: Ron Mercer (6)
A Kentucky Wildcats teammate of Anderson (see, told you they were talented), Ron Mercer averaged 19.7 ppg for the Bulls in 2001. Four seasons later he was out of the League for good.
Pick No. 10 | Milwaukee Bucks
Actual Selection:Danny Fortson
Draft 365 Remix: Anthony Parker (21)
Anthony Parker is a real solid player (and was a real stud on the court in Europe) but the truth of the matter is his sister is a more famous basketball player than he is and, to make matters worse, he isn’t even the best player named Anthony Parker.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Brevin Knight, Antonio Daniels, Maurice Taylor, Danny Fortson.
Next on the Remix: Nash and The Answer are Gunnin’ For That No. 2 Spot in 1996.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.