Just 20 years ago, the 1999 NBA Draft brought some of the best known names of the 2000s into the pros. Since hindsight is 20/20, who would the first 15 picks of the 1999 NBA Draft be if GM’s could look into a crystal ball?
#1 Chicago Bulls- Manu Ginobili
It’s shocking that Manu Ginobili was taken with the second to last pick in the draft. He would go first overall if the 1999 Draft happened today.
While his individual stats are not as good as some of the others from his class, Ginobili is recognized as one of the best sixth man players in basketball history.
Ginobili wouldn’t join the Spurs until the 2002-2003 season, making a minimal impact off the bench while the Spurs captured the NBA title.
When the Spurs won their next two championships in 2005 and 2007, Ginobili was a key contributor, scoring averaging 16 points off the bench.
Playing 14 years in San Antonio, Ginobili won four championships, made two All-Star appearances, and won the 2008 Sixth Man of the Year award. There is a reason Ginobili just had his #20 jersey retired by the Spurs. Despite barely getting drafted, Ginobili’s ability left a mark on the franchise.
#2 Vancouver Grizzlies- Elton Brand
Brand would fall from first to second given our hindsight of the draft. The 6-foot-8 power forward played 17 seasons in the NBA, and had an immediate impact, earning a co-Rookie of the Year Award with Steve Francis.
Brand averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds his rookie season, and would continue averaging double-doubles after being traded from the Bulls to the Clippers. Brand’s best season came in 2006, where he averaged 25 points and led the Clippers one game short of the Western Conference Finals.
Still productive with the Philadelphia 76ers, the franchise he is now the general manager of post-retirement, Brand has career averages of 15.9 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Making two All-Star appearances in addition to his Rookie of the Year Award, Brand is remembered as one of the most solid big men of the 2000s.
#3 Charlotte Hornets- Baron Davis
Baron Davis stays at the number three pick in the 1999 Draft. With his first and last season as outliers, Davis played 13 seasons in the NBA, 11 of which he scored 13 points per game and up.
Davis became the face of the Hornets franchise upon entering the league and led them to the playoffs multiple times. Davis, a 6-foot-3 athletic point guard, had his best year in 2004, averaging 23 points and 7.5 assists per game.
A fan favorite in Charlotte as well as Golden State, Davis, a two-time All-Star was one of the most consistent stars to come out of the 1999 draft class.
#4 Los Angeles Clippers- Shawn Marion
In 16 NBA seasons, Shawn Marion proved to be one of the best wings in the league during the 22000s Drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the ninth pick, Marion would play nine seasons with the team and become a key piece in many of their playoff runs.
With the Suns, he would average 18.7 points and 10 rebounds, as well as two steals per game. Even past his prime, in a lesser-role with the Dallas Mavericks, Marion was a productive player and helped the underdog Mavs beat the Miami Heat in the 2011 Finals.
Four All-Star appearances, two All-NBA Third Team selections and an NBA Championship make Shawn Marion one of the better players from his era.
#5 Toronto Raptors- Richard Hamilton
‘Rip’ Hamilton, the seventh pick in the draft, was a key contributor to the Detroit Pistons teams of the 2000s as well as one of the most underrated scorers of the era.
The masked shooting guard played three seasons with the Wizards before he would get traded to Detroit. There, Hamilton would establish himself as a fantastic scorer, with a stat line of 21.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and four assists in the 2004 NBA Finals.
Hamilton would make three All-Star games, and have his #32 jersey retired by the Pistons in 2017.
#6 Minnesota Timberwolves- Lamar Odom
The fourth pick in the draft, Lamar Odom played fourteen seasons in the NBA, and was a productive player for both Los Angeles teams.
His rookie year with the Clippers, Odom averaged 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists, earning him a spot on the All-Rookie Team. The next season, he would average a career-high 17.2 points.
After signing with Miami, he was traded to the Lakers after one season in the Shaquille O’Neal trade. Odom would be a key contributor to the Lakers’ back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, while also winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2011.
#7 Washington Wizards- Corey Maggette
Corey Maggette was one of the best scoring journeymen of the 2000s.
Taken by Seattle at the 13th spot and then traded to Orlando, Maggette had a long career alternating between a starter and a sixth man role.
Despite no major accolades, Maggette was a swingman who averaged 16 points and five rebounds in his career, with his career-high coming in 2005, averaging 22 points per game.
#8 Cleveland Cavaliers- Jason Terry
Jason Terry, drafted 10th in 1999, was one of the better sixth men in NBA history. ‘The Jet’ played three seasons in Atlanta, before being traded to Dallas, where he would win the 2009 Sixth Man of the Year Award, and help the Mavs win the 2011 title.
Terry has career averages of 13.4 points and 3.8 assists, with his best scoring seasons coming earlier in his career. A great outside shooter, Terry is fifth on the NBA’s three-point list.
#9 Phoenix Suns- Andre Miller
Andre Miller falls from the eighth to the ninth spot in this draft. In his 17 NBA seasons, Miller was one of the most consistent point guards in the league.
Miller played for nine different teams in his career. His career averages are 12.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game, earning him a spot on the All-Rookie First Team in 2000 as well as leading the NBA in assists in 2002.
#10 Atlanta Hawks- Steve Francis
The second pick in the 1999 NBA Draft would fall to 10th today. In his prime, Steve Francis was a fantastic scorer for the Rockets, making the All-Star Team three times.
‘The Franchise’ has some of the best career averages from the ’99 class, and shared the Rookie of the Year Award with Elton Brand.
Francis has a career stat-line of 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, six assists and 1.5 steals per game. In his best year, he averaged 21.6 points per game on 42 percent shooting.
Despite his talent, Francis was only able to make one playoff appearance. He drops on this list because of his short-lived career of nine seasons, due to injuries and issues off the court.
#11 Cleveland Cavaliers- Metta World-Peace
One of the most controversial players in NBA history, Metta World-Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, was taken 16th overall. Coincidentally, World-Peace played on an AAU team with fellow 1999 draftees Elton Brand and Lamar Odom.
In his career, World-Peace was a key member of the Indiana Pacers’ playoff teams, as well as winning a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. The forward’s best season came in 2004, winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and getting selected to his sole All-Star Game.
Despite his disciplinary issues he would become known for, World-Peace has career averages of 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
#12 Toronto Raptors- Wally Szczerbiak
Wally Szczerbiak was taken with the sixth pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. While he was selected far before better players, Szczerbiak was a serviceable player in his 10 seasons.
Szczerbiak would have a solid rookie season for the Timberwolves, making the All-Rookie First Team.
In 2002, he would make the All-Star Game, his only appearance, on a career-high 18.7 points. Szczerbiak would remain a solid contributor until his retirement, averaging 14 points and four rebounds over his career.
#13 Seattle Supersonics- Andrei Kirilenko
Utah selected the Russian-born Andrei Kirilenko with the 24th pick. Kirilenko proved to be one of the better players from his draft class, primarily in his 10 seasons with the Jazz.
Kirilenko made the All-Star Game in 2004, off a career-high season in both points and rebounds, with 16.5 and 8.1 respectively. ‘AK47’ was a strong defender as well, averaging 3.3 blocks per game the next season.
#14 Minnesota Timberwolves- Kenny Thomas
Despite no professional accolades, power forward Kenny Thomas had a productive NBA career. Taken 22nd overall by the Houston Rockets, Thomas played 11 seasons in the league for three different teams.
The 6-foot-7 Thomas has career averages of 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds. As a starter for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2004, Thomas averaged a double-double with 13.6 points and 10.1 boards.
#15 New York Knicks- James Posey
James Posey was taken by the Denver Nuggets 18th overall in the ’99 Draft. Despite average numbers, Posey was a member of two NBA Championship teams: the 2006 Miami Heat and the 2008 Boston Celtics. After retirement, Posey won another championship as an assistant coach with the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers.
Posey averaged 8.6 points and 4.7 rebounds over his 12 seasons in the league, having a standout year in 2004 with 13.7 points. Posey made the All-Rookie Second Team in 2000.
Featured image credited to Getty Images.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.