3/27/2005

2002 Draft

Big old update when I return to the salvation of broadband on Monday, until then, here's the draft thing I mentioned:

Heading towards the playoffs, we're about three seasons removed from the 2002 NBA Draft. As is often the case in sports, after three years is a good time to judge whether a player is a waste of a pick or not. There were a number of steals in this draft, as well as a number of large busts. From the top...

1. Houston selected Yao Ming (23.04 PER this season)
There's still a lot of debate about this one. Some think Yao should be Shaq-esque, others think he just needs to mesh with McGrad for a few more years. I fall closer to the latter sentiment, in that I think Yao is just fine now and could be beastly in the coming years.

2. Chicago selected Jay Williams (n/a PER this season)
Last I heard, he was hoping to make a comeback sometime in the next year or two. He showed signs of promise in his first year with the Bulls, but this pick has to be labelled a bust at this point, since he's not with the team. However, unlike a few Bulls picks (like Marcus Fizer), this bust isn't their fault.

3. Golden State selected Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (14.5 PER this season)
Dunleavy's been alright. This year and the previous season have been alright for him, as seen by his PER. He looks like he'll improve to be an average guy in the league, but certainly not third pick worthy. Technically he's a bust, but he's not too terrible

4. Memphis selected Drew Gooden (20.29 PER this season)
Before this year, I would've been shooting "Bust!" from the rooftops. But something in him has made it turn it around. Most would probably say that it's playing with Lebron and Zydrunas, but every time I see the Cavs play, most of his work is done by himself. So, in my opinion, he's done this for himself and I commend him for it. Good pick, even though he's on his third team.

5. Denver selected Nikoloz Tskitishvili (4.50 PER this season)
This one would have be the bust of the draft. Skita ran into some trouble with Carmelo being drafted the year after him and Nene being drafted the same year as him, but you'd think he could play his way into some backup minutes. Apparently not, as it seems. He'll probably be a 12th man for someone after his deal runs out this offseason.

6. Cleveland selected Dajuan Wagner (4.73 PER this season)
Very close runner up for bust of the draft. I know he's been hurt, but he's been pretty useless even when he's avoided the injuries and DNP-CD's. A large waste, to say the least.

7. New York selected Nene Hilario (16.64 PER this season)
Nene was traded to the Nuggets along with Marcus Camby for current Piston McDyess not long after the pick, if you'll recall. The trade's really worked out for Denver so far and so has the pick. Nene's been dinged up this year too, but when he's been in, he's been a nice force off the bench. Denver's resigned him for next year, but don't expect him to stay at a place where he can't start after next year. He's good enough to start for many teams and likely will start for one of them in 2007.

8. LA Clippers selected Chris Wilcox (14.20 PER this season)
A lot of injuries for the 2002 high draft class in 2005. Wilcox currently makes a good sixth man on the ever struggling Clippers, which is about what you'd expect in his third year. Fairly good pick.

9. Phoenix selected Amare Stoudemire (26.89 PER this season)
And here we have the steal of the draft. Amare's been a beast this year, which many claim is thanks to the arrival of Nash, but you have to give this guy some credit for his own success. Hoopsanalyst had a nice article in December about the Suns which featured what was up with Amare, which can be found at http://hoopsanalyst.com/ew9.htm . All in all, a terrific pick.

10. Miami selected Caron Butler (14.57 PER this season)
Caron's fairly similar to Dunleavy, except seven picks lower and with a new team. However, since he was a part of the trade for Shaq, he also takes on similar scrutiny to that which Dunleavy endures. I feel the same about Butler that I do about Dunleavy, except his stats are more suited to the first double digit pick. So, good pick.

11. Washington selected Jared Jeffries (11.58 PER this season)
Jeffries has sort of been a bust so far, but he's showed a bit of promise this year. Of course, he does have Kwame Brown, Etan Thomas and Jamison in his way, so getting minutes are troublesome for him. Nevertheless, he could develop into an alright player. Pick is a bit bad now, but could improve.

12. LA Clippers selected Melvin Ely (11.27 PER this season)
Ely's kind of like Jeffries, except he only has Okafor and Brezec in front of him. My opinion on Ely is pretty much the same as Jeffries, in that this was a bad pick but could be better in the future.

13. Milwaukee selected Marcus Haislip (5.60 PER this season)
This was a bust. Haislip's got some redeeming qualities (he can block shots, for instance) but overall he's nothing special. Currently a 13th man on Indiana, he's probably not going anywhere. Bad pick.

14. Indiana selected Fred Jones (13.95 PER this season)
This pick seems fairly good. I don't particularly like Jones or that dunk he did to win the dunk contest last year, but I'll admit that he's an alright fringe player.

15. Houston selected Bostjan Nachbar (11.59 PER this season)
Bostjan was barely used in Houston, but upon going to New Orleans in the Jimmy Jackson trade, his PT has increased. His PER is still rather weak, but he's a good shooter (40.7% from beyond the arc, 81.7% from the stripe this season) so he has a redeeming quality. As long as he hangs out around the 23'9 line, he'll be an alright fringe guy. So, alright pick.

16. Philadelphia selected Jiri Welsch (11.57 PER this season)
Jiri's kind of like Nachbar, except with Boston and Cleveland and less PT in the new city. His PER sucks and his 3 point percentage (31.5%) has dropped almost 7% from last year (38.1%). If he can get it back up, he'll be pretty similar to Nachbar. Until then, bad pick... but keep in mind that he's been on the roster of Golden State, Dallas, Boston and Cleveland since being in Philly.

17. Washington selected Juan Dixon (17.50 PER this season)
Dixon's been quite good off the bench for the soaring Wizards. This pick is looking like a steal at this point, as he seems to be quite talented for such a selection. Nice move, Wiz.

18. Orlando selected Curtis Borchardt (10.10 PER this season)
He didn't play the year he was picked and he was hurt for all but 16 games of last year, so this is like a rookie year for him... so there's no real point in debating this pick at the moment, as his career is currently 73 games old.

19. Utah selected Ryan Humphrey (12.30 PER this season)
Humphrey's been alright for Memphis, but he happens to have Gasol, Swift and Cardinal ahead of him in the depth chart, so his playing time is limited. He seems decent, but it's hard to say. Alright pick, I suppose.

20. Toronto selected Kareem Rush (11.00 PER this season)
Remember when there was a big deal about this guy because he had that one nice shooting game in the playoffs last year (I believe he was 6-7 from behind the arc in the clincer versus Minnesota)? He was later traded for a second rounder. Yeah. He can shoot well (37.2% from beyond the arc) and he looks like Lindsey Hunter, so he has a pair of redeeming qualities. Thus, he's in a similar boat to Nachbar and Welsch. But, since he was a bunch of picks deeper, he's a better pick.

21. Portland selected Qyntel Woods (n/a PER this season)
Despite having been on two different rosters this year, Q has a grand total of zero playing time. But if you'll recall, there are reasons for this. Portland got rid of him for the dogfighting thing and Miami hasn't played him yet... could be because they also have Eddie Jones, Rasual Butler, Dorell Wright and Shandon Anderson on the roster, all of which play similar position to Q. One thing Q did have going for him was that he could shoot triples (34.2% on the career, though he did only take 42 of them). Other than that, zilch. Perhaps if teams can look past his troubles, he'll be a 13th man somewhere. Even so, bad selection.

22. Phoenix selected Casey Jacobsen (10.77 PER this season)
Pretty much like Nachbar, but with a 36.7% 3 point percentage. Seems like a lot of similar players were taken around here, huh? Like Rush, since his selection was lower, the pick is alright.

23. Detroit selected Tayshaun Prince (16.17 PER this season)
Another steal of the draft right here. This season, Tayshaun's improving almost across the board (+1.8 FG%, +3.2 FT%, +0.6 RPG, +0.7 APG). His offense punch is good, his defense is great and he's often taking on the other team's top scorer if they're a 2 or a 3. He's very vital to the Pistons at the moment and they'd really be in trouble at the moment, with Dupree behind him. Excellent pick.

24. New Jersey selected Nenad Krstic (13.15 PER this season)
Like Borchardt sort of is, Krstic is a rookie at the moment, so there shall be no judging. However, he does look like he's talented.

25. Denver selected Frank Williams (1.35 PER this season)
He almost came to the Pistons earlier this year for Smush Parker and Horace Jenkins... now Parker's gone and Jenkins barely plays. Doesn't really matter, Pistons got their backup PG anyway. The guy's played 69 minutes on the year, so it's hard to judge him. However, his season in NY last year as alright (11 points and 6.2 assists per 36 minutes, despite an ugly 38% from the floor). Thus, again hard to pass judgment when he's barely played. Blame Chris Duhon, I guess.

26. San Antonio selected John Salmons (10.86 PER this season)
He shoots 33.3% from behind the arc, is 6'6, 207 and plays his best offense at the point (15.6 PER there, as opposed to 8.2 PER at the 2 spot). Strange. Like Jacobsen et al, he's an okay pick because he was picked so low.

27. LA Lakers selected Chris Jeffries (n/a PER this season)
According to the internet, he's playing ball in Ireland this season... nice place for a former first round pick. Obviously, not a good selection, but he was traded to the Raptors with something small for Rush anyway, so it mattered not for LA.

28. Sacramento selected Dan Dickau (16.80 PER this season)
He's certainly blossomed in New Orleans. Of course, like Primoz Brezec's numbers, you have to figure they're kind of inflated playing on such a bad team. I mean, someone has to get some of the boards in Charlotte, just like someone has to throw the ball around in the the Big Easy/Sweet Lady Gumbo/Old Swampy. Nevertheless, the times I've seen him play, he's looked like he could be an effective guy in the league. So, nice pick my the Kings, even though he was passed to Portland, Dallas and New Orleans already.

Second round highlights:

33. Milwaukee selected Dan Gadzuric (17.64 PER this season)
Talk about larceny! Danny G is second in the league in boards per minute (I think I mentioned this recently already) with and blocks shots as well, the numbers being 13.13 and 2.37 per 36 minutes respectively. Great year for him and a wicked steal for the Bucks.

34. Cleveland selected Carlos Boozer (19.59 PER this season)
Second biggest steal of the draft would be this. An even bigger steal than Gadzuric, we all know how this one worked out with Cleveland. No need to explain it.

41. Milwaukee selected Ronald Murray (12.10 PER this season)
I know I posted the other day that he wasn't a good option and as you can see by his PER, he isn't. But, he's still a nice pickup for 41st overall.

49. Boston selected Darius Songaila (14.71 PER this season)
This was a great pick. Songaila's having a nice year off the bench of the Kings and looks like he'll keep improving. Good times.

All in all, an interesting draft. A 7'6 guy from China, a potential 2005 season MVP (though I wouldn't place a wager on that one), an 18-9 guy with the 34th pick, a board machine with the 33rd pick and the Pistons' current 3 with the 23rd pick. Beautiful!

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