In the second section on a 7-part series reflecting on the first round of the NBA Draft since the 2000 draft, we look at the 2001 Draft
The first round went like this:
1. Kwame Brown, Washington
2. Tyson Chandler, L.A. Clippers
3. Pau Gasol, Memphis
4. Eddy Curry, Chicago
5. Jason Richardson, Golden State
6. Shane Battier, Memphis
7. Eddie Griffin, New Jersey
8. DeSagana Diop, Cleveland
9. Rodney White, Detroit
10. Joe Johnson, Boston
11. Kedrick Brown, Boston
12. Vladimir Radmanovic, Seattle
13. Richard Jefferson, Houston
14. Troy Murphy, Golden State
15. Steven Hunter, Orlando
16. Kirk Haston, Charlotte
17. Michael Bradley, Toronto
18. *Minnesota forfeited*
19. Jason Collins, Houston
20. Zach Randolph, Portland
21. Brendan Haywood, Cleveland
22. Joseph Forte, Boston
23. Jeryl sasser, Orlando
24. Brandon Armstrong, Houston
25. Raul Lopez, Utah
26. Gerald wallace, Sacramento
27. Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia
28. Jamaal Tinsley, Atlanta
29. Tony Parker, San Antonio
- Clippers traded Chandler to Chicago for Elton Brand
- Hawks trade Lorenzen Wright, Brevin Knight #3 pick to Memphis for Shareef Abdur-Rahim
- Nets trade Eddie Griffin to Houston for Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong
- Magic trade Michael Doleac to the Cavaliers for Brendan Haywood
Notable Second Round Selections
Gilbert Arenas (#31), Earl Watson (#40), Bobby Simmons (#42)
This draft was pretty good. There are only three All-Star players here (Arenas, Parker and Gasol) but there are plenty of starting-caliber players who contribute to their teams. Through the first round, this draft is filled with quality role-players.
Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Eddy Curry, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Eddie Griffin, DeSagana Diop, Rodney White, Joe Johnson, Kedrick Brown, Vladimir Radmanovic, Richard Jefferson and Troy Murphy.
Looking at their picks, Kwame, Kedrick Brown, Chandler, Griffin, Diop, White and Radmanovic are busts. Chandler is a strong contributor but he's sucked if you think about the fact that the Bulls gave up Elton Brand (one of the top MVP candidates this year and a perennial 20/10 player who Ds up well) to get him. Kwame has yet to find a consistent role in a team's rotation. Griffin is a contributor but the Rockets gave up WAY too much to get him and then discarded him because of various issues and lack of production. Rodney White and Kedrick Brown aren't even in the league anymore.
Theoretically, Shane Battier might count as a bust if you only look at his statistics but he's been a glue guy for Memphis. He defends well, he can score if he's asked to (see the 14.4 ppg he posted in his rookie season), he nails threes and is a pretty decent free throw shooter, rebounds well, etc. Everything you'd like to see out of this guy, you do. If he ever went to a team that needed his offense, he'd be a 15-18 ppg scorer, easily, but Memphis has other guys (Gasol, Miller, Jones, etc).
Eddy Curry is in a similar situation but given that he started out of HS, you've got to give him a break, since he's at least shown some clear skills as a scorer.
Joe Johnson is the Boston-killer; I cannot believe they traded this guy. He was going to be good no matter how long he had to wait and they traded him... for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk! I can't even wrap my head around how bad a trade that was for Boston in the long-run.
Pau Gasol is the first guy really worth his pick. He's not a world-altering monstrosity of a player but he's going to hover around 20 and 10 for his career and is an underrated shot-blocker. Efficient, hit's his foul shots, passes well (especially this year). He's a little soft and not the greatest man defender but even still, he is one of the best players in this draft class and that's not a concession so much as a truth.
Richard Jefferson and Troy Murphy have both developed into excellent players.
The Mid-Range Picks
Steven Hunter, Kirk Haston, Michael Bradley, Jason Collins, Zach Randolph, Brendan Haywood.
Haston isn't in the league and Bradley might as well not be but Hunter isn't bad as a substitute and Jason Collins a pretty decent role-player. Haywood is pretty good for a 21st overall pick, though he's an uninspiring defensive rebounder and a limited offensive player.
Zach Randolph was a pretty sweet pickup for the Blazers, he's one of the few respectable things about their franchise at the moment, though it certainly wasn't respectable when he shattered Ruben Patterson's eye socket a few years ago... His own teammate... Ouch.
The Late Picks
Joseph Forte, Jeryl Sasser, Brandon Armstrong, Raul Lopez, Gerald Wallace, Samuel Dalembert, Jamaal Tinsley, Tony Parker.
Forte, Sasser and Armstrong aren't in the league. Raul Lopez was a pretty decent sub, playing for the Jazz last year and is now playing in Spain.
Gerald Wallace has been pretty good in Charlotte, now that he's actually getting a chance to play more than in Sacramento. Buried on those playoff teams, he averaged 8, 12 and 9 minutes per game in three years. Last year, in 70 games, he posted 11 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2 apg, 1.67 spg and 1.3 bpg. This year, he's working the 15 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg, 2.5 spg, 2.1 bpg thing... Wallace's only real issue is that he's injury-prone. His years in Sacramento don't count; while he had some injuries, he also had a lot of DNP-CDs. Last year, he missed 12 games and he's missed around 20 games this year as well though, and that's a concern. He's still pretty young though, only 23, turning 24. For a late pick, he's an outstanding find... though the two other guys have been better.
Dalembert, when healthy, has been a decent rebounder and shot-blocker, better than anything else Philly has had since Mutombo.
Point guards are hard to find and this draft ended the first round with two fine point guards, Jamaal Tinsley and Tony Parker.
Tinsley's another injury-prone player (hasn't played 70 games in a season in 4 years, including this year) but he's improve his shot noticeably and he's a solid playmaker. Pretty good at picking the lanes but a little turnover-prone and struggles with man defense, he raised his level of play last year during the suspensions and injures significantly and has been pretty good whenever he's been healthy. That he was the second-last pick in the round is often forgotten but he's produced a lot for a 28th pick.
Tony Parker... Parker has been a part of two Spurs title teams now and though he's built a reputation for dying in the postseason, he's certainly vital to the Spurs' regular season success and is having an absolutely brilliant year this year. Pretty weak from the foul line, he's improved as a mid-range shooter and is great at finishing in the paint.
Gilbert Arenas, Earl Watson, Bobby Simmons
An All-Star, a Most Improved Player and a tiny point guard who's paid more than he's worth but is still pretty talented... Not bad for the second round.
Gilbert Arenas is a filthy player who has great skills and excellent athletic ability. He's among the top scorers in the league and one of the best passers. He and Antawn Jamison are the two main reasons that Washington does anything, though Caron Butler looks like he's making a big impact. Arenas is one of those success stories everyone likes to hear about and is the only All-Star from this draft class.
Simmons is a good defender and has improved some part of his game every year, adding offense in the last couple of years. He's played in the D-League but he's here to stay now and has established himself as a significant piece in Milwaukee. He's the prototypical hustle player but he's also a pretty disgusting three-point and free throw shooter now (though he's always been a good foul shooter). Not an All-Star now and unlikely to ever make the team, Simmons is still a first round-worthy player and he was a steal for Seattle... too bad they traded him! He ended up in Washington for two years, during which he learned, waited, spent some time in the D-League and then went to the Clippers. There, he honed and refined his game before signing a lucrative deal with Milwaukee, where he continues to play well.
Watson was a good pick for the second round and could have gone late in the first round. He's a competent scorer, an excellent perimeter threat and a pretty good passer as well.
This draft wasn't the best of all-time, it certainly doesn't stack up with '84, '96 or '03 but it has its gems. Guys like Arenas, Gasol, Richardson and Jefferson stand out, as do Parker and Tinsley. There are a number of good role-players in this draft, too.
Overall, it wasn't a spectacular draft and lacks significantly in star power but if you weren't Boston or Houston, this draft was pretty solid. OK, that's a lie, there are at least a half-dozen teams that saw their picks wasted over the last four and a half years but still, this draft had some talent in it, moreso than say the preceding draft.