…so far (draft included!).
Though the 2001 NBA draft will always be defined by the Kwame Brown debacle, it has actually turned out to be a very talented class. Though the four high schoolers that were taken in the lottery – three in the top four – have failed to live up to expectations, the class has produced five All-Stars and multiple others who’ve turned out to be better than most expected. The class also produced some absolute gems in the late first (Tony Parker and Gerald Wallace) and second round (Gilbert Arenas and Mehmet Okur).
The 2002 NBA draft was arguably the worst draft for guards in league history. First of all, the only two guards taken in the lottery were Jay Williams (No. 2 overall) and DeJuan Wagner (No. 5), and neither of them last more than a few seasons in the league. Surprisingly, there also weren’t any sleeper guards in the class, other than John Salmons (No. 26), that would have snuck into the lottery in a do-over.
When we think of the 2003 NBA draft, we think of the names LeBron, D-Wade, Melo, Bosh … and even the infamous Darko. Draft enthusiasts generally regard the ‘03 draft class as the group with the most star power over in the last decade. And according to EWA, it was the best rookie class we’ve had over the past 20 years.
Evidence shows that the 2004 NBA draft was one of the most successful in recent league history. Some of the league’s best young talents came from this class, and there are strengths at nearly every position. At the time, there was much debate over whether the Orlando Magic should go with a savvy college veteran – Emeka Okafor – or a high school phenom – Dwight Howard – with the first overall selection. Ultimately, the Magic decided to go with Howard, though Okafor went on to win NBA Rookie of the Year honors. But looking back, there’s little doubt which player has turned out to be the premier player in the class.
With so few teams looking at significant cap space and most of the big name free agents becoming available next summer, most thought this would be a rather uneventful summer around the league. But since the NBA’s free agency period started on July 1, there’s been a flurry of activity and several teams have made some momentous moves with an eye towards the immediate future.
As we’ve done in year’s past, we’re here to size up some of the moves and how some of them have changed the landscape around the league.
Now that restricted free agent Paul Millsap has signed an offer sheet with the Portland Trailblazers, the next seven days will be critical for Jazz GM Kevin O’Conner. While O’Conner says that re-signing Millsap is his top priority, he’ll have to find a way to move Carlos Boozer in order to do it.