Grading the '99 draft

We watched what seemed like everyone but the manager from Duke get picked in the first round. We saw a run on point guards like never before in the lottery. And we were baffled by the Sonics' deal of a lottery pick and three veterans for an aging power forward.

So now it's time to make sense of the 1999 NBA draft. has reviewed the performances of all 29 teams and compiled its complete report card on the Class of '99.

Bulls B+ Chicago was Brand loyal at No. 1 when Elton measured at a true 6-foot-8. We still say he'll be a tweener in the pros, but the Devil's low-post game measures up. Ron Artest gives Jerry Krause another solid block for his rebuilding project. Of course, that also means Krause might ship out his favorite project, Toni Kukoc.
Grizzlies B Steve Francis is the type of point guard who will finally give the Griz some bite. Vancouver will be extremely young and small, but the backcourt of Francis and Mike Bibby will keep opposing defenses catching their breath for years to come. Second-round pick Obinna Ekezie was a bit of a reach at No. 37.
Hornets B The Baron will own the floor in Charlotte, where the Hornets had just about everything but a solid point guard. Davis will fill that role with his explosive quickness -- as long as his knee continues to hold up following that ACL injury.
Clippers C Lamar Odom is the type of talent who could turn into an NBA superstar. Of course, he's also the type of head case who could become a total bust at the next level. Given the Clips' draft history, the odds are firmly stacked against this kid.
Raptors D Toronto desperately needed a point guard to get the ball to Vince Carter and run the show for this up-and-coming team. With two picks in the top 12, the Raptors passed on Andre Miller, Jason Terry and William Avery. They ended up by getting rebounder Antonio Davis in exchange for prep phenom Jonathan Bender -- that's not enough for the No. 5 pick. The Raptors used their other lottery pick on a project center from Europe.
T-Wolves A Wally's world will be a very happy place, especially with the high-scoring Szczerbiak teamed on the frontline with the explosive Kevin Garnett. Then, the Wolves added Duke's William Avery with the 14th pick, providing either a backup to Terrell Brandon or much-needed insurance if Brandon should leave town.
Wizards B- Richard Hamilton should rip the nets in Washington, helping to pick up the scoring load if Mitch Richmond should leave via free agency. Second-rounder Calvin Booth might surprise.
Cavaliers B Andre Miller is the type of polished point guard who should flourish with the Cavs' surrounding young talent. Trajan Langdon went a little high at No. 11, but Cleveland still added the best shooter in the draft.
Suns B- Shawn Marion will be a rarity in Phoenix -- a guy who actually plays defense. Of course, his outside shot is a bit suspect, and that might make him a difficult fit in the Suns' perimeter-based offense.
Hawks C- With four picks in the top 27, Atlanta should have come away with more. Jason Terry should be a solid replacement for Mookie Blaylock at the point, but Cal Bowdler was a big reach at No. 17. Dion Glover should help Atlanta's transition to a high-tempo attack. Jumaine Jones has the look of an NBA scorer, but he was dealt to Philly for a future first-rounder.
Sonics F Horace Grant will be 34 on Sunday. Corey Maggette won't be 34 for nearly 15 years. The franchise that traded Scottie Pippen is risking a repeat of that move by dealing the young, talented Maggette. Moves like this won't do much to save the jobs of Wally Walker or Paul Westphal. The one bright side is Seattle did unload the contracts of Billy Owens and Don MacLean, creating big-time cap room.
Knicks D It's a good thing New York had enough talent to make the Finals with its current roster. French product Frederic Weis is battling a back injury and probably won't contribute much. The 7-2 center is a finesse player -- a very strange combination.
Nuggets B+ In picking James Posey, Denver landed a talent who could have gone in the bottom of the lottery. That's a real steal at No. 18. The Nuggets took a big chance on troubled guard Chris Herren of Fresno State in the second round because they were impressed with his workout.
Jazz B As usual, the Jazz fared well with some low picks. Quincy Lewis and Scott Padgett are two shooters who should fit well in Utah's precision attack. Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko is a bit of an unknown commodity.
Warriors B The draft can be considered a success because of the deal to land Mookie Blaylock. The Warriors then added a future No. 1 pick in a deal with Indiana and also ended up with Vonteego Cummings.
Rockets C- Despite all the rumors about trades for Pippen and Dream, draft day was relatively quiet in Houston. Top pick Kenny Thomas is a talent when he's on the floor -- unfortunately for Houston, that wasn't often enough during Thomas' days at New Mexico.
Lakers C- Devean George might be the best player to ever come out of Augsburg College. Only Jerry West can tell you if that actually means anything.
Heat B Local product Tim James is the type of player Pat Riley loves -- a guy who thinks defense first and hits the boards hard. The 6-7 power forward should continue to be a presence at Miami Arena.
Pacers B For the second consecutive year, Larry Bird comes away with a prep phenom on draft day. Unlike Al Harrington, Jonathan Bender appears to be a star in the making. There's a reason so many teams wanted to trade up to land the kid from Picayune, Miss., and the Pacers didn't hesitate to deal Antonio Davis to get him.
Spurs D The Spurs are world champions, and they landed two players from the other side of the world -- dealing for Croatian guard Gordan Giricek and Italian guard Emanuel Ginobilli. We'll admit we don't know a whole lot about these guys because the boss won't spring for scouting trips to Europe.
Nets C- Many projected Evan Eschmeyer as a first-round pick, so New Jersey can't be criticized for grabbing him at No. 34. But the Nets really didn't need another 7-footer, and their fans still haven't forgiven Willis Reed for Yinka Dare.
Bucks C- Former UNC Charlotte star Galen Young could be a real find at No. 48. Of course, George Karl doesn't play rookies, so it doesn't really matter.
Mavericks F Don Nelson just doesn't get it. First, he drafts a 7-footer from China who was originally said to be 20, but is now found to be 22. Then, he deals a second-round pick (read: a guy with no guaranteed contract) for high schooler Leon Smith, who was the last pick of the first round and is guaranteed a three-year deal. Forward Antwain Smith of St. Paul College sounds more like a Buffalo Bills running back to us.
Magic B+ Orlando gave up an aging power forward for one of the most draft's most intriguing talents, Corey Maggette. Of course, the Magic did have to take on some of Seattle's bad contracts. Still, that's great for a team that entered draft day with only the No. 38 pick. Second-rounder Laron Profit could pay off, too.
Kings D Well, they got the steal of the '98 draft in Jason Williams. As for the '99 class, Kansas product Ryan Robertson, the 45th pick, will be hard-pressed to make the Kings' roster.
Sixers C- The Sixers have the league's fastest player in Allen Iverson. Now, they have one of the slowest in 7-foot glacier Todd MacCulloch. While he doesn't have foot speed, the big guy from Washington is a solid low-post scorer and rebounder.
Pistons C- The athletic Melvin Levett is a great leaper and solid defender, but he's a bit of a tweener in the NBA. Of course, he's not a bad pick at No. 54.
Celtics D Bad news for Celts' fans: The trade for Vitaly Potapenko ended up giving the Cavs the pick that became Andre Miller. That's not a great deal. Thus, Boston ended up with Texas guard Kris Clack as its only member of the Class of '99.
Blazers Inc. The Blazers didn't have a draft pick, but they did buy second-rounder Roberto Bergersen from Atlanta. That's the type of move you can make when you have Paul Allen's type of cash.

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