Revisionist history is something that permeates throughout sports. "What could have been" resonates when another scenario could have been better than the chosen reality. This is especially true years after draft classes have been selected. TSFJ scribes Johnathan Tillman and Matt Whitener have set forth not only on redrafting the past two decades of the NBA, but also changing how it history will play via our NBA Re-Draft series.
This will be different than simply determining the ranking of the best players of each class like most other redraft posts. We will still draft based on need at the time, accounting for positional depth as well as incorporating what those players turned out to be. Some players whose careers ended due to extraordinary circumstances (a la Jay Williams' motorcycle accident or the untimely death of Eddie Griffin) will still be accounted for, but balanced between their career merit and their standing among their peers. Most importantly though, the picks made throughout this series will influence the following picks that are made as well. The draft is a crapshoot, but not as much as one if you already know how it is going to play out.
Up first: the 2000 NBA draft class. One of the least significant drafts in history, producing a total of three All-Star appearances, combined. Sites like the CashBet Sportsbook would've likely listed the amount All-Star selections from the class way higher, so this makes the perfect place to hit the reset button than here? But because of the Sahara of talent this class wielded, we are only re-drafting the Lottery as it gets pretty ugly later on. Although it would've been great to work Mark Madsen in somewhere, it wasn't worth re-imaging the NBA exploits of Dalibar Bagaric or Dan Langhi to get there.
Note: All original trades are being honored and noted during selections. Matt and Till are alternating picks, with Till going for first this year.
1. New Jersey Nets: Kenyon Martin, Cincinnati (Same)
Original Pick: Same
With the first pick, the New Jersey Nets select Kenyon Martin out of Cincinnati. I believe the number one pick would still stay the same. Matt and I are old enough to remember how good Martin was in college. He was the unquestioned best prospect that year. While he may have been solely a power forward in the pros, he was the intimidating interior presence on defense and the active body on offense. That team, with Stephon Marbury, Keith Van Horn and a very young Stephen Jackson, had enough scoring for the early 2000s Eastern Conference. Martin brought rebounding and athleticism to a slow-ish frontcourt.
2. Vancouver Grizzlies: Michael Redd, Ohio State (+42)
Original Pick: Stromile Swift, LSU
Here is where the spirit of an NBA Re-Draft shows its teeth the sharpest. Of everyone in this class, Redd was the best 'peak player' of the group and fits in perfectly at #2 on the re-do. Between 2003 and 2009, he averaged 23.5 PPG, was an All-Star once and was elected Third Team All-NBA in 2003-04. Along the way, he scored 40+ points 11 times, including a 57-point performance in 2006. Unfortunately, his career sort of flickered like shooting star after twice tearing his ACL. But he’d be a great fit here with Michael Dickerson, Mike Bibby and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
3. Los Angeles Clippers: Jamal Crawford, Michigan (+5)
Original: Darius Miles, East St. Louis HS
This was a tough choice between two players, but I think the Clippers needed backcourt firepower more than they needed the loaded potential of Miles. Crawford lasted the longest in the Association of anyone in this class and should still be on a roster today. He was among that initial wave of tall combo guards who could be either a playmaker or a flat scorer.
4. Chicago Bulls: Mike Miller, Florida (+1)
Original Pick: Marcus Fizer, Iowa State
If a top-five pick isn’t going to be a superstar or even an All-Star, you want him to be Mike Miller. Miller is everything that the Bulls needed at this time: a consistent contributor, just a solid as a starter as he was off the bench. He peaked at 18.5 PPG in his seventh season, but reached double-digits in nine of his first 10 seasons, before becoming a key part of a Miami Heat team that won two titles and made three straight Finals.
5. Orlando Magic: Jamaal Magloire, Kentucky (+14)
Original Pick: Mike Miller, Florida
If this draft were ten years later, I would have added Hedo Turkoglu to the Magic. A hopefully healthy Grant Hill and sublime scoring from Tracy McGrady would have gone well with Turkoglu's height, playmaking and shooting. Instead, plodding centers were still highly valued, this the Magic select Jamaal Magloire. While he's an antique model now, Magloire is one of three players from this class to make an All-Star game. Teams were searching for interior answers to Shaq and Tim Duncan. The Magic had its perimeter sewn up. They would have been looking for some form of paint dominance.
6. Atlanta Hawks: Hedo Turkoglu, Turkey (+10)
Original Pick: DerMarr Johnson, Cincinnati
If not for the uncertainty that existed around international guys at the turn of the century, Turkoglu made a lot of sense here the first time around. A rangy shooter that checked in at 6’10, Hedo could have easily fit the part of guy that was slated to learn the ropes, but instead crashed the party. Instead he played a support role for the Kings' playoffs squads, before playing a bigger role for the Magic. Overall, he scored the third-most points of anybody in this class.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Chicago): Chris Mihm, Texas (Same)
Original Pick: Mihm
As you will see with the other drafts from early in the 2000s, being tall matters. Mihm turned out to be a serviceable player during his tenure in the NBA. But Cleveland needed interior height like most teams did, and the seven-foot Mihm still makes sense for them. He may not have been as productive as his pick suggests, but he did last a few years in the Association.
8. Chicago Bulls (via Cleveland): Morris Peterson, Michigan State (+13)
Original Pick: Jamal Crawford, Michigan
The Bulls landed a come up here the first time in Crawford. While Peterson doesn’t represent the same thing, he still fits in well on this rebuilding squad. He played 11 seasons overall, seven of which came with the Raptors, where he posted averages in double-figures four times. If the Bulls walked away with him and Miller IRL, they’d have been in a much better place in rallying during the post-Jordan hangover.
9. Houston Rockets: Joel Pryzbila, Minnesota (Same)
Original Pick: Same
Where were the guards in this draft pool? So many teams were in the market for the next great center and failed at selecting him. This is no fault to Pryzbilla, who would prove to be useful as a backup center to take the beating that came along with 2000s basketball. Pryzbilla did play 15 seasons, so he more than proved his worth as a player.
10. Los Angeles Clippers (traded from Orlando) : Keyon Dooling, Missouri (Same)
Original Pick: Dooling
Nothing changes here. The Magic pick up Dooling and flip him to the Clippers, alongside Corey Maggette, Derek Strong and some cash for a future first. That future pick ended up becoming Marcus Williams six years later. One of the more confusing decisions of all-time, especially considering how light the draft is.
11. Boston Celtics: Etan Thomas, Syracuse (+1)
Original Pick: Jerome Moiso, UCLA
The only thing that kept Etan Thomas from going higher was the fact that he's about 6'9" playing center. He didn't have much of a perimeter game and it was a little tough for him to score inside on the block. But he was a high-energy athletic big, though not as explosive as Kenyon Martin, who would provide the toughness that Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker could use in Boston.
12. Dallas Mavericks: Quentin Richardson, DePaul (+6)
Original: Etan Thomas, Syracuse
Richardson was essentially a power forward in college, which led a lot of teams to not know what to do with him. However, he fit in well as a power guard/small forward in the league, averaging single-season highs of 17.2 points (2003-04) and 7.2 rebounds (2006-07). He fits in here for a Mavs team that needed size, but could have easily worked Q-Rich’s unique skill in as well.
13. Dallas Mavericks (via Orlando): Eddie House, Arizona State (+24)
Original Pick: Etan Thomas, Syracuse
This is probably the best value pick of the draft. Eddie House is perfect for the 2000s bench. He came in and played next to a pass-heavy point guard and was only out there to shoot. And he absolutely could shoot it (career 39% on threes). He may not have started for Dallas, but he would have played a lot of minutes and been perfect on a team when Steve Nash or Michael Finley went to the bench.
14. Detroit Pistons: Darius Miles, East St. Louis HS (Illinois) (-11)
Original Pick: Mateen Cleaves, Michigan State
It’s not that Miles didn’t have the talent; he was a supremely talented shot blocker and full-court athlete for high schooler. He jumped to the league at the height of the skipping college phase, when realistically, a year of polishing his game against higher competition could have done him wonders. Although Miles was selected to the All-Rookie team, he never really rounded into what he could have been, especially surrounded by an equally young crew with the Clippers and Cavs. Perhaps if he landed with the vets that would show up in Detroit, he’d have reached that potential.
Biggest Risers: Micheal Redd (+42 slots), Eddie House (+24), Jaamal Magloire (+14)
Biggest Falls: Stromile Swift (out of lottery), Marcus Fizer (out of lottery), DerMarr Johnson (out of lottery)
Because you love TSFJ as a staff, record label, and as a *bleeping* crew!