|Labeled by many to be the most important pick in the short tenure of Michael Jordan's campaign as Wizards general manager, Kwame Brown initially seemed far from being an early entry candidate. He was steadfast in his commitment to the University of Florida Gators and since his high school sophomore year, looked forward to becoming a part of the great collegiate basketball program under the leadership of Coach Billy Donovan.
But things quickly changed within the span of a month after Kwame’s impressive play and display of skills in all-star games. What was once a birth right for fellow prep to pros Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry became a golden opportunity to not only be rated the top high school player in America, but to also become the first high school basketball player to go number one overall. Despite his preference to be a regular student athlete, he could no longer stand by as his family struggled. Kwame's mother, suffering from a degenerative disc in her back, was unable to generate income for the family. Brown entered the draft seeing an opportunity to gain solid financial footing for his family. His work ethic and maturity caused everyone from Michael Jordan to Wizards owner Abe Pollin to ooze with praise, but on draft night Kwame didn't appear fazed by the expectations that came with this honor. Now the very things that many praised in Brown are reportedly the things he lacks. To the surprise of none, the plugged was pulled on the Kwame Brown era. Wizards management agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would send Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2006-07 season in exchange for small forward Caron Butler and point guard Chucky Atkins, but after failing to perform with the Lakers, Brown was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in the February 2008 season for fellow draftee and star Pau Gasol.
Chicago Bulls Vice President Jerry Krause established his NBA reputation as a scouting genius when he helped build the Bulls' championship dynasty in the early and mid-nineties; and it was one NBA Draft in particular that helped to solidify this reputation. In 1987 Krause acquired small school gem Scottie Pippen in a trade with Seattle and tough nosed defender and rebounder Horace Grant. In 1999 Krause was at it again as the Bulls (who had lacked any serious winning talent since the retirement of Michael Jordan and the free agency departures of Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen) picked up two talented young players in Ron Artest and Elton Brand. But it was clear that no one on the team was untouchable. In a move many questioned on draft night and still do till this day, the Bulls traded Elton Brand for the draft rights to high schooler Tyson Chandler and power forward Brian Skinner. This was a shock to many as Brand was not only co-rookie of the year, but consistently put up solid numbers of 20 PPG and 10 RPG during his first two seasons. The Bulls prep show continued as Eddy Curry was selected with the 4th pick. Now the team had youth and potential, but did it work? Fast forwarding through time it seems that Jerry Krause's power of observations and scouting didn't pan out. Chandler and Curry have developed into quality players on other teams.
The case of Eddy Curry is even more interesting. Although talented, he’s been plagued with health issues over the past couple of seasons. With missed games during the regular season and playoffs, he was alleged to have a benign heart arrhythmia. Several prominent cardiologists cleared Curry as healthy to play, but the Bulls were still concerned. GM John Paxson went on to ask Barry Maron, another prominent cardiology specialist in the field of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, for his opinion on Curry’s condition. Several prominent athletes had already died from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, most notably former Boston Celtic great Reggie Lewis and the collegiate star of Loyola Marymount, Hank Gathers. Curry was finishing off a career year were he would demand big money and Paxon found himself not only trying to protect the team's financial future, but also the player’s health. Dr. Maron suggested that the Bulls do a DNA test to see if Curry was predisposed to the disease. What proceeded was a round of legal counsel and media controversy, as many said the right to one's privacy preceded any employer from asking for this kind of test. In the end Eddy Curry denied this request under the right of privacy. A frustrated GM John Paxson grudgingly traded Curry to the New York Knicks.
Big steals on draft night were late round picks Samuel Dalembert, Jamaal Tinsley and Tony Parker. Dalembert was a solid choice at #27, but question marks were still there. Having only played organized basketball for 5 years, Dalmbert was unpolished despite his athletic ability and great potential. He’s now viewed as one of the best young players at his position. Tinsley and Parker have played big roles in getting their teams to elite level status. Notably, Parker has won 3 NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs. Interesting enough, both players were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Tinsley was deemed too old with not enough potential while Parker was deemed too young with loads of potential.
Who was the biggest draft day steal? Gilbert Arenas, who at Arizona played the majority of his basketball career at the shooting guard position. Many skeptics viewed him as a guy who would struggle in the NBA and it was thought that he lacked the ball handling and court vision to play point guard. Many doubted if Gilbert could even make Golden State's team, but by the end of his rookie season, Arenas started in 30 of the 47 games he played. Even more impressive, he was the first 2001 NBA Draftee to make the All-Star team. Earl Watson, Bobby Simmons, Trenton Hassell and Mehmet Okur round out the list of draft day steals in the second round.
Every draft features players that made the decision to actually declare for the draft. Here are a few that should have held off, as they fell on draft night. Omar Cook had an impressive freshmen season with St. John's, but his perimeter shooting and questionable maturity level kept him out of the first round. The same goes for sophomore Kenny Satterfield and fellow freshman Alton Ford. The two biggest sliders of the draft were injured senior Loren Woods and prep star Ousmane Cisse. Rumors were rampant that Woods' bad back would require surgery to correct. He went from being a potential top 20 draft pick to sliding all the way down to 46. Ousmane Cisse tore his anterior cruciate ligament during his senior season. To compound this issue, Cisse shrunk in height. Although listed at 6-9 before the draft, he measured at 6-7 on draft night. Needless to say, GMs didn’t think he could play the power forward position.
Kedrick Brown made draft history by being the first player ever drafted in the lottery out of a junior college. Before the draft many in the media said that Brown had been promised by the Boston Celtics. Charlotte University returned to the first round as alum Rodney White went 9th in the lottery. It had been twenty-one years since a Charlotte alum went in the first round. Previously it was Chad Kinch, who went 22nd in the 1980 NBA Draft. Eastern Illinois returned to the draft with Kyle Hill. The last Eastern Illinois graduate to be drafted was 15 years prior with Kevin Duckworth drafted 34th in 1986. At the time, the 2001 NBA Draft had the most high school players drafted in the first ten picks, four in all.
|Automatically Eligible for Draft: All NCAA seniors, International players born in the year 1979, 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 1980-1982 can apply.
Irregularities: The Minnesota Timberwolves have forfeited there first round draft pick. Would have been the 18th overall selection.
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