Hindsight is 20/20: The 2002 NBA Redraft

I just started a new job, so I won’t have a ton of time to post. In order to still give some material to Metta and in preparation of this potentially monumental 2012 NBA draft, here is a redraft of the 2002 NBA Lottery.

1. Houston Rockets – 2002 Pick: C Yao Ming 2012 Pick: Ming – You can’t fault the Rockets for taking the Giant from China, he had a successful albeit short career. He led the Rockets to multiple playoff appearances, but was severely hampered by foot and ankle problems over his last 6 seasons. 8x Allstar, 5x All-NBA team, career average of 190 points, 9.8 rebounds & 1.9 blocks.

If this draft happened now, Ama’re would be donning a Bulls jersey

2. Chicago Bulls – 2002 Pick: PG Jay Williams 2012 Pick: PF/C Ama’re Stoudemire – This pick turned out to be a disaster, but not for basketball reasons. Williams tragically suffered a career-threatening (and ultimately ending) injury after his rookie season in a motor bicycle accident. While Stoudemire has had microfracture surgery, He would have helped that young bulls team even though they had spent the previous draft on Eddy Curry & Tyson Chandler. You can argue that Stoudemire’s had the best career of any player in the 2002 draft.

3. Golden State Warriors – 2002 Pick: SF Mike Dunleavy Jr 2012 Pick: SF Caron Butler – While Dunleavy has had a solid career, Butler has career averages of 16.6, 5.9, and 2.9 and plays the same position as the Warriors original pick. Known for his leadership, he helped lead the Dallas Mavericks to the 2011 Championship and would fit in nicely with that young Warriors nucleus of Larry Hughes, Gilbert Arenas, Antwan Jamison, and Jason Richardson.

4. Memphis Grizzlies – 2002 Pick: PF/C Drew Gooden 2012 Pick: PF Carlos Boozer – Boozer would have been a nice compliment to the young Pau Gasol and represents the best value. Other options would include Luis Scola and John Salmons.

5. Denver Nuggets – 2002 Pick: PF/C Nikoloz Tskitishvili 2012 Pick: PF Luis Scola – Tskitishvili turned out to be a massive bust, the first huge reach of the modern international players. While the Nuggets would have to wait for Scola to come to the NBA and mature as a basketball player, the Argentinian worth would have been worth it.

Wagner was a bright star who’s career unfortunately ended prematurely… in 2012, he sadly goes undrafted

6. Cleveland Cavs – 2002 Pick: SG Dajuan Wagner 2012 Pick: PF/C Nene– The year before Lebron, Wagner looked like he would have been a great compliment to the King, but he unfortunately never reached his potential due to ulcerative colitis. Nene would have been a great, young low post player that could have run with Lebron and been able to play off Ilgauskas.

7. New York Knicks (originally traded to Denver) – 2002 Pick: Nene 2012 Pick: SG/SF John Salmons – For fun, I kept the pick with the Knicks (they traded Nene & Marcus Camby for Antonio McDyess, I’m sure they would keep the pick now). While they really need a PG, this draft ended up without a premier one once Williams got injured. Salmons would have been a young scorer to help take the burden off of Allan Houston & Spree.

8. Los Angeles Clippers – 2002 Pick: PF/C Chris Wilcox 2012 Pick: C Nenad Krstic – After the 7th pick, the prospects really begin to wane. The Clips starting center was Michael Olowakandi, so having another young center with the potential like Krstic could have been useful off the bench. Krstic has career averages of 10 points and 5.4 boards.

9. Phoenix Suns – 2002 Pick: Ama’re: 2012 Pick: SF Tayshaun Prince – The Suns started Bo Outlaw & Jake Voskuhl a combined 70 games during the 2001-02 season, the Ama’re pick couldn’t have been a better match. While he went off the board at 2, the Suns might want to add one of the last legitimate players in this draft with Tayshaun, he would have been the only one playing defense under D’Antoni.

Prince represents the last of the “elite prospects” (minus Krstic, who’s never been elite)

10. Miami Heat – 2002 Pick: Butler 2012 Pick: Dunleavy – these two switch teams, Dunleavy’s had a decent career, most thought he wouldn’t have lasted this long but he continues to play as he had a solid season with the Bucks in 2012. He has career averages of 12.1, 4.6, and 2.4.

11. Washington Wizards – 2002 PickSF Jared Jeffries 2012 Pick: SG/SF Matt Barnes – Barnes has got more publicity, but Jeffries has had similar roles on worser teams so I’ll give the former Bruin the edge here. Barnes, known as an intimidating defender, can currently be seen playing for the Lakers where he leads their 2nd unit.

12. Los Angeles Clippers – 2002 Pick: C Melvin Ely 2012 Pick: Gooden – While Gooden originally went 4th overall, he slides to the end of the lottery. He’s had a fine career, and I thought about putting him at 8th overall (still to the Clips), but he’s been somewhat of a disappointment since coming out of Kansas. He has career averages of 12 & 7.7. If you have Gooden coming off the bench as your 7th or 8th man, or primary backup, you’re probably not a bad team. If he’s starting and is your 3rd option on offense, you’re probably picking in the loterry.

13. Milwaukee Bucks – 2002 Pick: F Marcus Haislip 2012 Pick: Wilcox – Yeah… we’re at the point where Wilcox remains in the lottery somehow. This is how bad the 2002 draft class was, a guy with career averages of 8.6 & 5.1 gets drafted 13th overall. I was tempted to think maybe guys like Rasual Butler, Roger Mason, Juan Dixon, or Ronald Murray could go here but the 2001-02 Bucks had a deep guard rotation with Sam Cassel, Ray Allen & Michael Redd, so one of those previously mentioned players wouldn’t have gotten minutes.

Uggggh… Chris Wilcox.

I hope you enjoyed, look for more. The next entry will probably be the most exciting as it’s the 2003 Lebron/Dark/Carmelo/Bosh/Wade Class. Should be interesting…