NBA, NBA Draft / Jan 14, 2008 / 8:51 am

1998 Draft Do-Over

IMAGE DESCRIPTIONVince on Dime #21 … as a Nugget?

In a draft class headlined by three potential Hall of Famers, leave it to the Clippers to make the worst possible choice with the #1 overall pick. In all fairness, back in 1998 there didn’t seem to be many sure things in the NBA Draft. Everyone knew Arizona PG Mike Bibby would be a solid pro, everyone knew Paul Pierce would be a solid scorer, and everyone knew Vince Carter would be a highlight-reel fixture. But the Clippers decided to go with the intriguing 7-footer from across the water who would be something of a project … and even then they landed the wrong one; taking Michael Olowokandi over Dirk Nowitzki. But had they known then what they know now, which way would the Clippers have gone? Let’s go back a decade:

(One more thing: We’re assuming that while teams know how these potential draftees will turn out, they don’t know how other players on their roster will turn out. For example, the ’98 Raptors were building around Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby and a young T-Mac. For these purposes, they don’t necessarily know T-Mac will become a League-leading scorer, nor do they know backup PG Chauncey Billups will turn into a Finals MVP.)

1. L.A. Clippers — Dirk Nowitzki, PF/SF, Germany
2. Vancouver — Paul Pierce, SG/SF, Kansas
3. Denver — Vince Carter, SG, North Carolina
4. Toronto — Rashard Lewis, SF/PF, Alief Elsik H.S. (Texas)
5. Golden State — Antawn Jamison, PF, North Carolina
6. Dallas — Mike Bibby, PG, Arizona
7. Sacramento — Jason Williams, PG, Florida
8. Philadelphia — Cuttino Mobley, SG, Rhode Island
9. Milwaukee — Brad Miller, C, Purdue
10. Boston — Al Harrington, SF/PF, St. Patrick’s H.S. (N.J.)
11. Detroit — Larry Hughes, SG/PG, Saint Louis
12. Orlando — Ricky Davis, SF/SG, Iowa
13. Orlando — Nazr Mohammed, C, Kentucky

OTHER NOTABLES: Rafer Alston, Earl Boykins, Pat Garrity, Matt Harpring, Jerome James, Mike James, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Raef LaFrentz, Tyronn Lue, Rasho Nesterovic, Michael Olowokandi, Ruben Patterson, Brian Skinner, Tractor Traylor, Bonzi Wells.

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  • Alex “Robocop” Murphy

    If you’re not FIRST, you’re last!

    Why is White chocolate ranked so high?


    Ricky buckets should be higher and J-Will lower.

  • Jei

    I highly doubt it if the Mavericks would take in Mike Bibby back in ’98. They already had a solid young backcourt combo in Steve Nash and Michael Finley. But then again, Mike Bibby is a more logical choice than Jason Williams.

  • Jei

    Ricky Buckets should be higher than Larry Hughes but not higher than Jason Williams, at that time.

  • Tbeezy

    The crazy thing with Olowokandi being the #1 pick is that Brad Miller went undrafted. He’s been a two time all-star and a solid center for almost a decade in the league. Has to be one of the best undrafted players in league history, especially when you factor in what a bust Olowokandi has been.

  • control

    List of people I would put ahead of Ricky Davis:

    Nazr Mohammed, Rafer Alston, Earl Boykins, Pat Garrity, Matt Harpring, Jerome James, Mike James, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Raef LaFrentz, Tyronn Lue, Rasho Nesterovic, Michael Olowokandi, Ruben Patterson, Brian Skinner, Tractor Traylor, Bonzi Wells


    Yeah Jei, White Chocolate was kinda nice back then that was when they were letting him still play his mixtape game.

  • ldawg23

    Paul Pierce wouldnt have been so good IF he went drafted so high. He became good becuase of that chip on his shoulder. Or Denver taking VC wouldnt happen. They needed a BIG, not another SF/SG, Denver woulda been blasted for using that pick on a guy who might not help them right away. So Maybe B Miller at the 3rd pick, since they needed a big. Im not sayin he’s better than VC but they need a BIG and VC wasnt a big…Remember most teams draft FOR NEED on that day, not best player available. So when DIME does the redraft, they should try and redraft the order with prior position taken in the spot. Like Denver needing a BIG, Dallas needing a BIG. Dallas wouldnt take Bibby waste of a pick, and becuase of Bibby not being able to play right away he sucks, loses confidence and is labeled a bust

  • K-Dizzle

    Nash was behind JKidd AND KJ and he turned out all right and Pierce was gonna be good regardless. It made no sense for him to last to the 10th pick cuz his HIGH SCHOOL workouts on the beach were legendary for a prep baller and he did nothing but complete his all around game at KU. It’s just the NBA GM mentality of drafting for potential instead of the player’s actual skill level, which is usually how players like Pierce, Boozer, Josh Howard, Michael Finley stay on the board too long

  • Myrie

    In the real draft, didn’t Raef LaFrentz go before Paul Pierce?

    And what….no mention of Felipe Lopez? I think Keon Clark and Miles Simon were both part of this draft.

    DIME: Is it illegal to mention a player from past drafts who isn’t playing today but had a decent run?

  • http://www.dimemag.com T.M.P.B.W.O.T.P.

    If the Nuggets could look into the future and know that:

    (A) Vince will be a 25-ppg scorer.
    (B) He’ll sell a TON of jerseys and be one of the NBA’s most popular players.
    (C) They’ll be on national TV because of reasons #1 and #2…

    I definitely think they would take him even though they needed a big that year. Besides, Denver had another first round pick (#23) that they could have used on a big or traded for a veteran big.


    I thought Denver did know that but appearantly not? Carter had a crazy buzz coming into the league.

  • K-Dizzle

    I think Raef was too good to pass up comin into the league. A big man with a post game, can shoot the three, rebound and block shots; kinda like a white Sheed. If he coulda stayed healthy, it woulda been a great pick, but once his ACLs became linguine, he lost a lotta his athleticism and all his game

  • doc

    Pauly would of balled the same if he was the 1rst or last pick. You are what you are. If Olawakandi would of been 10th pick he would still stink. It just gives the player and media something to talk about.

  • srb

    haha good point doc. it’s true, he’d be horrible no matter where he gets drafted.

    dime should make a list of these like with the H.O.F. watch with links to the previous entries in the latest post.

  • ldawg23

    The media plays a BIG part on how teams draft…If a Team A drafts for need, and Team B drafts best player available, and Team A’s rookie sucks, they hear why didnt you take the best player, BUT before where saying they dont need THAT, they have a need. If Team B who drafted best player, and he SITS, doesnt help the team, you hear the medie cry WHY DIDNT THEY FEEL THERE NEED…Watch the draft this year, and all the media attention leading up to it..And everyone will be talking about “team needs”. Thats the reason Jordan went 3rd, both teams head Rockets Blazers already had SG/Sf and had a NEED for Bigs.

  • M Intellect

    Are you lot DUMB.

    The whole point of this, is that the player stills produces what he has in the past and THE FUCKING TEAMS KNOW THIS.

    That said, Jason Williams over Larry Hughes? I would prefer Larry running the point then J-Will.

  • ldawg23

    Thats actually what im saying…If a team has a need for a guard, they would still draft a guard PG/SG they wouldnt ALL of a sudden draft a BIG because he “MIGHT” be the better pro for them…Dont you think the HAWKS are still kicking themselves for not taking Paul or Williams, even no that Marvin is having a pretty decent year…The media RAPPED them for not drafting for NEED instead of taking the “best” player available

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    The problem was that Marvin wasn’t a need, nor was he the best player available. The best thing you could say was that he had the most potential out of anyone on the board, but at the end of the day, he was the 6th man on his college team. Granted it was a loaded, national-championship college team, but still. The reason ATL got killed in the media for taking Marvin is that Chris Paul/Deron Williams would have filled both “need” and “best player” categories for ATL that year and Marvin didn’t fill either one.

  • ldawg23

    TRUE…But saying Rashard Lewis turns out good, is a stretch…If he didnt get dropped into the second round as a Highschooler coming into the draft, he coulda ended up like D Miles, or worse Bender…Playing next Jesus, prolly helped him elevate his game, and how to take care of his body…

  • johnsacrimoni

    Rashard Lewis over Jamison and Bibby? Uh, no.

  • johnsacrimoni

    Plus I would take Harpring over half the guys in your lottery.