1998 NBA Draft Remix
The Clippers add to their mystique.
The Los Angeles Clippers weren’t just randomly assigned “laughingstock of the League” status – they earned it. 1998 is the perfect example of what makes the Clippers the Clippers. With Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce still on the board, as well as three other future All-Stars, the Clippers instead selected Michael Olowokandi from the tiny University of the Pacific. Olowokandi had a wonderful career, whose highlights include being sued for rape while impregnating his alleged victim and having to be tasered by the cops outside of a nightclub. Oh those lovable Clippers!
Moving right along, the 1998 NBA Draft was pretty top-heavy, with some big names fighting it out for the top spot on the remix. After the first four or five players, however, things drop off quite a bit. So while at first glance the prospect pool might look enticing, the water is shallow, so NO DIVING!
1998 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 5 (Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis)
Biggest Bust: Michael Olowokandi, Los Angeles Clippers, pick No. 1
Second Round Steal: Rashard Lewis, Seattle, pick No. 32
Winning Team (in the long run): Orlando Magic (Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis)
Career Scoring Leader: Dirk Nowitzki
Career Rebounding Leader: Dirk Nowitzki
Career Assist Leader: Mike Bibby
Pick No. 1 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Michael Olowokandi
Draft 365 Remix: Dirk Nowitzki (9)
Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest European player of all-time, a nine-time All-NBA selection as well as the League’s MVP in 2007. With another First Team All-NBA selection last season, it appears like he isn’t slowing down yet. So what was the greater crime – the Clippers picking Michael Olowokandi over Dirk Nowitzki or the Bucks picking Nowitzki and then shipping him to Dallas for Tractor Traylor?
Pick No. 2 | Vancouver Grizzlies
Actual Selection: Mike Bibby
Draft 365 Remix: Paul Pierce (10)
Mike Bibby might be one of the NBA’s best “non-All-Stars”, but he is no Paul Pierce. The Truth solidified his legendary status by leading Boston to the 2008 NBA title and has the Finals MVP trophy to show for it. No doubt his number will be raised to the rafters by the Celtics once he hangs up his Nikes.
Pick No. 3 | Denver Nuggets
Actual Selection: Raef LaFrentz
Draft 365 Remix: Vince Carter (5)
Vince Carter has made the swing from overrated to underrated over the past few years. He is still a very formidable player – an explosive scorer, solid rebounder and superb passer. He is just not a franchise player, which, luckily, Orlando won’t be counting on him to be. Raef LaFrentz was actually an alright player his first few years in the NBA – honest.
Pick No. 4 | Toronto Raptors
Actual Selection: Antawn Jamison
Draft 365 Remix: Antawn Jamison (4)
Antawn Jamison is the rare example of a tweener that excels in the NBA. Not big enough for power forward, and not a natural small forward, somehow Vince Carter’s brother-in-law gets the job done. He also stays healthy, another rare attribute for a Wizards player.
Pick No. 5 | Golden State Warriors
Actual Selection: Vince Carter
Draft 365 Remix: Rashard Lewis (32)
Rashard Lewis will carry a couple of dubious honors into next season – he is the highest paid player the League to have never been named to an All-NBA team, plus he is NBA’s resident roid head. Has Lewis opened up a PED Pandora’s box?
Pick No. 6 | Dallas Mavericks
Actual Selection: Robert Traylor
Draft 365 Remix: Mike Bibby (2)
As mentioned above, Mike Bibby is one of the League’s best players to have never been named an All-Star – the dude came 16thin MVP voting in 2002. However, his under-the-radar, steady presence fits in perfect with the Hawks. If the NBA had ever held a vote to crown the MVP eater, Tractor Traylor would have come higher than 16th in the voting, that’s for sure.
Pick No. 7 | Sacramento Kings
Actual Selection: Jason Williams
Draft 365 Remix: Al Harrington (25)
It took him a few years to get the hang of things in the pros, but after getting over the prep-to-pro learning curve, Al Harrington has proven to be a fairly dependable NBA pro. A fun fact – he led the League in fouls in 2006 (knowing that fact should greatly enhance your quality of life).
Pick No. 8 | Philadelphia 76ers
Actual Selection: Larry Hughes
Draft 365 Remix: Cuttino Mobley (41)
A very solid second round selection, Cuttino Mobley had his best years as second-in-command to BFF Steve Francis in Houston. However, things started going slowly downhill for him after blowing out the candles on his 30th birthday cake (but the same can be said for all of us).
Pick No. 9 | Milwaukee Bucks
Actual Selection: Dirk Nowitzki
Draft 365 Remix: Larry Hughes (8)
Larry Hughes is another entry in the long list of names of players who have failed as LeBron James’ vice president. When everything was clicking for him, Hughes was a game-changer at both ends of the floor.
Pick No. 10 | Boston Celtics
Actual Selection: Paul Pierce
Draft 365 Remix: Jason Williams (7)
Apparently White Chocolate doesn’t like his ranking on this list, as he is making an NBA comeback to try to improve his standing. The fact that he was the starting point guard on a NBA championship team must keep John Stockton up at night.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Rafer Alston, Ricky Davis, Matt Harpring, Bonzi Wells.
Next on the Remix: A Big Three enter the NBA via the 1997 draft and make permanent impressions on the League’s landscape.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.