The 2000 NBA Draft may be viewed as one of the worst in recent history, maybe even in the same class as the drug infested 1986 NBA draft. But during the summer of 2000, as GM's looked to the abundance of youth and potential, many believed this group of prospects had great promise.
The battle for number one remained anything but a mystery although the Nets wouldn't go as far as to announce that they were taking Kenyon Martin. Few thought they would choose anyone else. Stromile Swift, with his dazzling athleticism and potential, was viewed as the only true competitor to Martin for the top spot. At the time, Darius Miles was the highest among high schoolers ever taken in the NBA Draft by going to the Los Angeles Clippers with the third pick. Interestingly enough, Miles would only hold this distinction for a year as Kwame Brown would go number one the very next year. Marcus Fizer had an amazing junior year leading Iowa State to the elite eight in the NCAA tournament. Some labeled him a player with Karl Malone’s ability. Unfortunately, this ability was left undeveloped as Fizer never found a true forward position to play in the pros. Dermarr Johnson seriously thought about entering the 1999 NBA Draft out of high school but ended up playing one year in college. This decision didn’t cause his stock to take a hit although it certainty didn't move up either. Johnson was slowed by immaturity and injury problems. In 2003 he was involved in a serious car accident in which he cracked four vertebras in his neck. Moving on to Mateen Cleaves, the hometown hero was selected by the Detroit Pistons. Unfortunately, the selection would prove to be one of Joe Dumars worst draft moves as Cleaves lasted only one year. Cleaves moved between four teams before his final NBA season in 2005-06. He then had a short stint with a Russian team before joining the D-League.
Talk about a spoiled celebration. The draft’s second high school draftee DeShawn Stevenson’s was definitely cut short. Hours after the Utah Jazz selected him with the 23rd pick overall, five young men physically attacked him as he left the gym. One of the men involved was a former high school teammate. Shaking it off, Stevenson called the attack an act of jealously. Unfortunately, this wouldn't be the last of his troubles. Later that summer, Stevenson was accused of statutory rape with a 14-year old girl. To make matters worse he admitted to the mother of the girl that he had sex with her and even served her alcohol. This resulted in Stevenson's no contest plea to the misdemeanor charge. He was sentenced to two years of probation, including fines and community hours. To his credit, there have been no further off-court issues, legal or otherwise.
As an underclassman, Jamaal Magloire declared for the 1999 NBA Draft. But despite his solid play, Magloire was still projected as a high to mid second round pick. Not happy with this status, Magloire took the advice of scouts and returned to school to work on his offensive game. On draft night he became the third center selected in the first round, going number nineteen with Charlotte.
Keyon Dooling and Jamal Crawford were in the same boat. Many GM's knew they had talent but few were sold on their development. Crawford, who played for Michigan, had his season cut short by the NCAA. He was suspended for declaring for the NBA as a senior in high school and for his connection to a business man who provided certain items for Crawford while he was still in high school. Despite all this Crawford showed solid ball handling and passing skills to match his 6-6 frame. Although he had the look of a combo guard, his shooting was sub par and he lacked experience. Keyon Dooling on the other hand was blessed with explosive athleticism and experience, but didn't possess great court vision or the ability to setup teammates. Through workouts and camp play both prospects found themselves hot commodities on draft night. Crawford went number eight with the Chicago Bulls while Dooling went number ten with the Orlando Magic.
One the biggest slides of draft night was Iakovos Tsakalidis. Despite his great strength and raw potential, he couldn't convince any of the high teams in the draft to select him. When Tsakalidis first declared, his draft status looked pretty good. Most labeled the big center a top fifteen pick. Then questions arose on how to secure a buyout of his current contract with his Greek team, AEK Athens. There were rumors that the team might be difficult. Tsakalidis’ contract didn't expire until the 2004-2005 season and they weren't happy to part with one of their most promising stars. With these issues, many NBA teams passed over Tsakalidis on draft night, but after finally being selected, Tsakalidis, with mantra like zest said, "I will not return to Greece. I am NBA now."
Michael Redd is considered by many to be one of the biggest 2nd round steals in the last decade. On draft night many knew he was a solid scorer, but few were sold on his ability to make consistent jump shots from the perimeter and three point line. Redd made a 2004 All-Star appearance and has been a consistent league leader in points per game.
Primoz Brezec traveled a long road. While with the Indiana Pacers he had trouble gaining confidence and playing time. His disappointing play led Indiana to leave him unprotected for the expansion draft of the newly formed Charlotte Bobcats. Brezec enjoyed a bried resurrection of his basketball career during the Bobcats inaugural season where his play earned him a multi-year contract that helped bring stability to the youthful franchise.
Automatically Eligible for Draft: All NCAA seniors, International players born in the year 1978, or players that transfered from a college team to a professional team in the same calendar year are automatically entered.
Draft Order: 15-29 Order is determined by season records and tiebreakers per team.
Early Entry: High school seniors and International draftees are eligible for the draft if they are in the same year in which they turn 18. All other candidates 18 and over such as H.S. Seniors, Freshmen, Sophomore, Juniors, Seniors and Internationals prospects born 1979-1981 can apply.
Lottery Picks: 1-13 Order is detremined by ping pong balls with the team with the worst record getting the most chances.Each team in the lottery is assigned a certain number of combinations, such that teams with worse records are assigned more combinations increasing their odds of landing a top-3 pick. There are a total of 1,000 combinations that are assigned, one of the combinations does not belong to any team and the 4 balls are redrawn if it is encountered. Having 1,000 combinations makes it easier to calculate the probability of receiving the first pick in the draft.
Total Rounds: Two