It’s said that you can’t truly judge a draft class for about five years and that seems like a reasonable statement. What’s also not outside of that logic is that there is bound to be some regret for the selections made by some of these lottery teams.
With that in mind, we’ll take a look at each NBA Draft class from 1990, the year of the first weighted lottery system, through 2007 and do our very own remix of the first five picks. Note that any player that makes a jump into the top five from their original draft position will have the round and pick within that round in parentheses. All remixes are made regardless of position, with each team selecting the best player available.
Here’s part one — the 1990′s.
1. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Coleman remixed to Gary Payton
2. Seattle SuperSonics – Gary Payton remixed to Derrick Coleman
3. Denver Nuggets – Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf remixed to Toni Kukoc (2.2)
4. Orlando Magic – Dennis Scott remixed to Loy Vaught (1.13)
5. Charlotte Hornets – Kendall Gill remixed to Antonio Davis (2.18)
This year was a little tough to remix considering the players available to move around. In the end, Payton has to be considered the top dog of the draft. Coleman is still top two because of talent, however truly untapped, and production. Kukoc was a key member of the Chicago Bulls’ second group of three-peats and was a versatile player on the court. Vaught was somewhat underrated because he played for the Clippers and Davis was a solid member of those Reggie Miller era Pacers teams that did well in the playoffs.
1. Charlotte Hornets – Larry Johnson (no remix)
2. New Jersey Nets – Kenny Anderson remixed to Dikembe Mutombo
3. Sacramento Kings – Billy Owens remixed to Steve Smith
4. Denver Nuggets – Dikembe Mutombo remixed to Kenny Anderson
5. Miami Heat – Steve Smith remixed to Dale Davis (1.13)
It’s possible to put Mutombo at the top because his longevity and defense are noteworthy, but on talent alone, I had to put Grandmama first. If only his back wasn’t so balky. Steve Smith had a pretty good NBA career, although it wasn’t spectacular by any means. Mr. Chibbs could have been so much more, but he wasn’t, and I was a big fan of his since his prep days when he would destroy my high school team. Queens, stand up! Antonio Davis and Dale Davis became a pretty good duo for the Pacers and Dale’s 86.9 Win Shares is second in the draft class after Mutombo’s 117.0.
1. Orlando Magic – Shaquille O’Neal (no remix)
2. Charlotte Hornets – Alonzo Mourning (no remix)
3. Minnesota Timberwolves – Christian Laettner remixed to Latrell Sprewell (1.24)
4. Dallas Mavericks – Jim Jackson remixed to Christian Laettner
5. Denver Nuggets – LaPhonso Ellis remixed to Robert Horry (1.11)
We all know how good Shaq was. If you don’t know, he’ll tell you. Zo was a nasty player whose career was shortened because of a kidney disease, but epitomized being a warrior on the court. Spree was a really good player that didn’t get his props until he left the Warriors. Of course, he’s also known for choking P.J. Carlesimo and fretting about feeding his family. So it goes. Laettner was a very good NBA pro, but not as good as he was at Duke. Horry needs to get props here because he has SEVEN NBA championship rings and has become synonymous with hitting clutch shots to earn those rings.
1. Orlando Magic – Chris Webber (no remix)
2. Philadelphia 76ers – Shawn Bradley remixed to Alan Houston (1.11)
3. Golden State Warriors – Anfernee Hardaway (no remix)
4. Dallas Mavericks – Jamal Mashburn (no remix)
5. Minnesota Timberwolves – Isaiah Rider remixed to Sam Cassell (1.24)
C-Webb was an excellent big man that could do it all. Big fan since the Fab Five days. Houston was a solid scorer (17.3 PPG) and is above the next two because they suffered injuries that shortened their career. Penny was as a big a star as any during his prime and Mashburn was a great scorer that wasn’t shy about shooting the rock. Cassell started off his career pretty well with two titles his first two seasons in the league, before eventually becoming a scoring threat that could find his teammates, making him extremely dangerous whenever he had the pill.
1. Milwaukee Bucks – Glenn Robinson remixed to Jason Kidd
2. Dallas Mavericks – Jason Kidd remixed to Grant Hill
3. Detroit Pistons – Grant Hill remixed to Glenn Robinson
4. Minnesota Timberwolves – Donyell Marshall remixed to Eddie Jones (1.10)
5. Washington Bullets – Juwan Howard (no remix)
This remix seems somewhat appropriate as the five remixed players are the only five from this class to ever make an All-Star team. Kidd is one of the best point guards ever, able to set up his teammates, as well as play top-notch defense. The second and third spots can be argued, but I put Hill second for his perseverance after suffering major injuries and playing for years afterward. However, Robinson does own the best career scoring average from this class, but Hill’s 100.1 Win Shares and longer playing career trumps the Big Dog. Jones has the second-highest Win Shares (100.6) after Kidd’s 133.1, but Eddie actually has the highest Win Shares per 48 at .147. Howard was really good when he first entered the league, but as expected, 40 years later, his numbers have leveled off. Despite that, he finds himself playing for a title this season, which would be the first ring for any of the Fab Five.
1. Golden State Warriors – Joe Smith remixed to Kevin Garnett
2. Los Angeles Clippers – Antonio McDyess remixed to Rasheed Wallace
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Jerry Stackhouse remixed to Antonio McDyess
4. Washington Bullets – Rasheed Wallace remixed to Jerry Stackhouse
5. Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Garnett remixed to Michael Finley (1.21)
Is there any question that Garnett takes the top spot here? KG is one of the best NBA players to ever grace the hardwood and is probably the best help defender ever. He’s no longer 20-10-5, but the career numbers are right there. Sheed played hard when he felt like it, but was still one of the most talented big men of his generation. The third and fourth spots can be switched dependent on preference and I just dug Dice since his college days. However, there’s no questioning Stackhouse’s ability to put the ball through the net. I almost went with Damon Stoudemire for the fifth spot and I’m sure some of you would say I should have included this draft class’ Rookie of the Year, but I had to go with Finley because of longevity, consistency, and having the third-best Win Shares (85.2) of the class after Garnett (181.6) and Sheed (104.5).
1. Philadelphia 76ers – Allen Iverson remixed to Kobe Bryant (1.13)
2. Toronto Raptors – Marcus Camby remixed to Allen Iverson
3. Vancouver Grizzlies – Shareef Abdur-Rahim remixed to Steve Nash (1.15)
4. Milwaukee Bucks – Stephon Marbury remixed to Ray Allen
5. Minnesota Timberwolves – Ray Allen remixed to Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Kobe is arguably the second-best shooting guard of all-time and is an easy choice for this remix to be the first overall pick. Iverson is the greatest scoring little man to ever play the game, and while he was great, I feel like he could have given more. Both Nash and Allen could make arguments to jump into AI’s spot, but I kept them at third and fourth here. Nash is one of the best offensive point guards to ever take the court, but his defense, well … you know. Allen is a great scorer and one of the best perimeter shooters ever, particularly behind the three-point arc. Abdur-Rahim was an excellent player that basically played in anonymity throughtout his career.
1. San Antonio Spurs – Tim Duncan (no remix)
2. Philadephia 76ers – Keith Van Horn remixed to Tracy McGrady
3. Boston Celtics – Chauncey Billups (no remix)
4. Vancouver Grizzles – Antonio Daniels remixed to Stephen Jackson (2.14)
5. Denver Nuggets – Tony Battie remixed to Tim Thomas (1.7)
Duncan is the best power forward to ever play, so, yeah he can stay where he is. McGrady was a supreme offensive force at one point during his career and has had a pretty good career overall. Billups a.k.a. Mr. Big Shot was never a true superstar, but it seems like he was always on the cusp because all he did was win (119.8 Win Share; one championship ring). Jackson’s actions during the Malice in the Palace will probably trump anything he does or did for his career, which is too bad because he turned out to be a solid player, especially as a second round draft pick. Next up is Thomas — a classic underachiever — which says a lot for this kind of horrible draft class.
1. Los Angeles Clippers – Michael Olowokandi remixed to Dirk Nowitzki (1.9)
2. Vancouver Grizzlies – Mike Bibby remixed to Paul Pierce (1.10)
3. Denver Nuggets – Raef LaFrentz remixed to Vince Carter
4. Toronto Raptors – Antawn Jamison (no remix)
5. Golden State Warriors – Vince Carter remixed to Rashard Lewis (2.3)
Nowitzki showed that the “soft” European big man could not only play in the NBA, but excel and lead his team to a championship. Pierce should go down as one of the all-time best Celtics and that says a lot. Vince Carter was yet another “next Michael Jordan” type of players, but he was his own man (see: attending his college graduation the day of a crucial playoff game) and not like Jordan (see: no rings). At one point, he captivated the masses with his dunking ability, but also did more than just throw it down, eventually scoring more than 21,000 points. Jamison has put up some impressive numbers in his career, but always seemed underappreciated. Lewis came straight out of high school and became one of the more consistent scorers and three-point threats while with the Seattle SuperSonics. He is now consistently mentioned when it comes to bad contracts, so there’s that.
1. Chicago Bulls – Elton Brand (no remix)
2. Vancouver Grizzlies – Steve Francis remixed to Manu Ginobili (2.28)
3. Charlotte Hornets – Baron Davis remixed to Shawn Marion (1.9)
4. Los Angeles Clippers – Lamar Odom (no remix)
5. Toronto Raptors – Jonathan Bender remixed to Andre Miller (1.8)
Brand gets to stay where he is because he put up some excellent overall numbers and is second behind Marion (113.6) with 101.8 Win Shares. Brand was always a candidate to average 20-10, achieving that mark in six of his first seven seasons. I just love Manu’s ability to do everything, both offensively and defensively. Plus, he’s a winner and will do anything it takes to get a victory. Marion is another one of those jack-of-all-trades type of players, and if you played fantasy basketball during his time with the Suns, you were probably the only one among your friends that knew who he was and how well he played. Odom sticks at four as he’s very talented, capable of doing many things on the floor and, of course, a two-time champion. Miller slides in at five as his stats can stand on their own when compared to the two guards that were the second and third picks of this draft. Also, unlike Baron and Bibby, Miller is still productive to this day.