Everyone knows hindsight is always 20/20, and several NBA franchises would love the luxury of retrospection when it comes to the 1998 NBA Draft. Four members of the 1998 draft class scored over 20,000 points during their NBA careers. This new re-draft list includes six different All-Stars.
With hindsight in mind, there are a few individuals missing from the original first 20 selections. The original number one pick doesn't make our top 20 re-draft. Michael Olowokandi's NBA career was derailed from the beginning with poor performances and nagging injuries. The seven-footer from Lagos, Nigeria is considered by many to be one of the greatest busts in NBA draft history. Along that same thought, Mirsad Turkcan doesn't make this re-draft either. As the original 18th pick of the 1998 NBA draft, Turkcan played in a total of only 17 NBA games.
Honorable mentions should go to the three individuals who fall just outside the top 20 re-draft: Rafer Alston, Nazr Mohammed and Pat Garrity.
Rafer Alston was originally drafted with the 39th pick to Milwaukee. Known for his street-ball skills, Alston had a rough transition into the NBA game. Time and practice helped Alston play point guard in the NBA for more than 10 years.
Nazr Mohammed, the 29th pick in the 1998 NBA draft, was the last pick of the first round, and played 17 seasons in the NBA. The former center from the University of Kentucky just retired from the NBA in the fall of 2015.
Despite playing in the NBA for 10 years, Pat Garrity is largely known for being involved in the three-team trade that brought Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash together in Dallas. He was originally drafted with the 19th pick to Milwaukee; however, he started his career in Phoenix after the trades.
In this re-draft, the ripple effect of that trade will not take place, along with several others. The 'What if?' scenarios are endless, but the only place to start is with the new number one selection.
20 Los Angeles Clippers - Dirk Nowitzki
Original selection: Michael Olowokandi
Dirk Nowitzki is arguably the greatest European to play in the NBA, ever. The athletic, sharp-shooting big man has a full resume of almost everything there is to win in the NBA. Nowitzki won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in the 2006-07 season. The 13-time All-Star won the NBA Finals' Most Valuable Player Award in 2011 when he captured his one championship ring. Back in that 2011 NBA Finals, Dirk Nowitzki played more clutch than LeBron James. Remember when Nowitzki put the moves on Haslem to win a game with a layup. More importantly, Nowitzki made free-throw after free-throw to secure the title. The seven-footer was automatic game after game.
19 Vancouver Grizzles - Paul Pierce
Original selection: Mike Bibby
Paul Pierce is known for a lot of things; however, Pierce is largely known for being clutch in big moments. Pierce has an impressive career postseason average of 20 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. The 10-time All-Star was named the Finals Most Valuable Player during the Celtics championship 2007-08 season. Paul Pierce and former teammate Kevin Garnett are the only two active players with 25,000+ career points, 7,000+ rebounds and 4,500+ assists. After the 'Original Big Three' disbanded, the veteran Pierce still had value as a clutch shooter. He validated his position in Washington with a buzzer-beater in the postseason. Paul Pierce is currently wit Clippers roster.
18 Denver Nuggets - Vince Carter
Original selection: Raef LaFrentz
17 Toronto Raptors - Antawn Jamison
Original selection: Antawn Jamison
16 Golden State Warriors - Rashard Lewis
Original selection: Vince Carter
15 Dallas Mavericks - Brad Miller
Original selection: Robert Traylor
14 Sacramento Kings - Mike Bibby
Original selection: Jason Williams
13 Philadelphia 76ers - Raef LaFrentz
Original selection: Larry Hughes
12 Milwaukee Bucks - Robert Traylor
Original selection: Dirk Nowitzki
11 Boston Celtics - Larry Hughes
Original selection: Paul Pierce
10 Detroit Pistons - Jason Williams
Original selection: Bonzi Wells
Jason 'White Chocolate' Williams would have stolen the show anywhere he played. Williams was known for having flashy style and smooth ball-handling skills, which earned Williams his nickname. Williams always made the difficult pass, and he threw it behind his back whenever possible. He once threw a behind-the-back, no-look elbow pass in an All-Star Weekend game. Jason Williams was considered too turnover-prone and eventually traded from Sacramento for Mike Bibby. Williams improved his ball control and ultimately played for five NBA teams.
9 Orlando Magic - Bonzi Wells
Original selection: Michael Doleac
8 Orlando Magic - Michael Doleac
Original selection: Keon Clark
7 Houston Rockets - Michael Dickerson
Original selection: Michael Dickerson
6 Orlando Magic - Keon Clark
Original selection: Matt Harpring
5 Houston Rockets - Matt Harpring
Original selection: Bryce Drew
4 Minnesota Timberwolves - Bryce Drew
Original selection: Rasho Nesterovic
3 Houston Rockets - Rasho Nesterovic
Original selection: Mirsad Turkcan
2 Milwaukee Bucks - Ricky Davis
Original selection: Pat Garrity
1 Atlanta Hawks Tyronn Lue
Original selection: Roshown McLeod
After being selected 23rd overall in 1998, Tyronn Lue also got bumped into the top 20 with hindsight. Denver traded Lue to the Lakers on draft night to send Nick Van Exel to Denver. Lue quickly got noticed for his defensive quickness. The Lakers used him to slow down Allen Iverson during the 2001 NBA Finals. Tyronn Lue played almost 11 NBA seasons for eight different teams. With that game experience, Lue decided to pursue coaching. He's been an assistant in Cleveland since 2014. After David Blatt got fired earlier this year, Tyronn Lue was named the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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