Nets make Martin the pick of the litter
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kenyon Martin of Cincinnati, the consensus
college player of the year, broke down in tears Wednesday night as
he was selected first overall in the NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets.
Stromile Swift of LSU went second to Vancouver, and high
schooler Darius Miles went third to the Los Angeles Clippers.
It was a busy draft night on the trade front, especially for the
Orlando sent two players, Corey Maggette and Derek Strong, along
with the 10th pick (Missouri's Keyon Dooling) and cash to the Los
Angeles Clippers for a future first-round pick. Orlando also traded
the 13th pick, NCAA leading scorer Courtney Alexander, to Dallas
for a future No. 1.
The Magic now have enough salary cap room, approximately $18.5
million, to go after both Tim Duncan and Grant Hill on the free
The Clippers walked away with a nice collection of players, and
general manager Elgin Baylor said the team was working on another
deal for a veteran player.
"This was a heck of a deal for us," Baylor said. "This has
been quite a day and we aren't through yet."
The Chicago Bulls needed a center and picked one, Chris Mihm,
but then traded him to Cleveland for guard Jamal Crawford. The
Bulls also picked a power forward, Marcus Fizer, despite having
co-Rookie of the Year Elton Brand already manning that position.
Nobody was able to make a deal with New Jersey to pry away the
rights to Martin, who hugged his family, pulled on a Nets cap and
then walked onstage with some of the reddest, wettest eyes ever
seen on a No. 1 pick and shook commissioner David Stern's hand.
The Nets had entertained numerous trade offers for the pick, but they
decided to keep it and use it on the teary-eyed Martin.
"People deal with different situations in different ways,"
said the 6-foot-9 center-forward whose collegiate career was ended
prematurely by a broken leg. "That was my way of dealing with
Swift went second to the Grizzlies, keeping a much calmer
demeanor than Martin. A 6-9 power forward who left school after his
sophomore season, Swift has said he won't mind playing in one of
the league's lesser-known outposts.
A year ago, Steve Francis grimaced and put his head in his hands
when Vancouver took him second overall, and he eventually forced a
trade to Houston. The selection of Swift means the Grizzlies could possibly end up trading Othella Harrington, who has gone public with
his distaste of playing in Canada.
The selection of Swift started a string in which the next 10
picks were all underclassmen.
Miles, who is entering the NBA straight out of high school in
East St. Louis, Ill., had committed to St. John's before changing
his mind and deciding to enter the draft after a stellar showing at
the McDonald's All-America game.
Miles, perhaps surprised at being chosen ahead of Fizer from
Iowa State, came onstage and hugged the commissioner -- yet another
draft-night rarity -- before patting Stern on the back of the head.
"Kenyon almost had me crying for him," Miles said. "I almost
got a little teary-eyed myself."
|Michigan native Mateen Cleaves was all smiles when Detroit made him the No. 14 pick.|
Fizer was taken by the Bulls with the fourth pick. It was the
start of what would be a busy night for the Bulls, who owned three
No. 1 picks as well as three consecutive picks early in the second
Fizer, whose average of 22.8 points last season was the highest
of the top four picks, left Iowa State after his junior year. If he
stays with the Bulls, he'll be reunited with his former college
coach, Tim Floyd.
Picking fifth, the Magic went for Florida forward Mike Miller.
The somewhat surprising selection brought a burst of applause from
the bus load of friends and relatives who drove down from Miller's
hometown of Mitchell, S.D., and secured seats in the front three
Atlanta selected Cincinnati guard DerMarr Johnson with the sixth
pick, and Chicago took Mihm seventh and Crawford went eighth to the
"I didn't think I'd go this high. I thought I'd go somewhere in
the lottery, but not eight," said Crawford, who played only 17
games for Michigan because of a 12-game NCAA suspension and
averaged 16.6 points.
"We thought Crawford would be taken as high as fourth -- we
liked him that much," Floyd said. "We've always liked big guards
here. We liked the guard, they wanted the big guy."
But the trade left the Bulls without a center, fueling belief
that they might be able to acquire Jermaine O'Neal from Portland.
Krause made a run at O'Neal last summer when he was a free
agent, but O'Neal opted to sign with Portland.
The selection of Joel Pryzbilla by the Houston Rockets with the
ninth pick brought a different kind of impassioned response from
the crowd at the Target Center. They booed -- loudly -- for the 7-1
sophomore center who played locally at Minnesota and quit the team
late in the season.
Houston later traded Przybilla to Milwaukee for the 15th pick,
Georgia Tech center Jason Collier, and a future No. 1.
Dooling went 10th and UCLA power forward Jerome Moiso went at
No. 11 to Boston.
The Mavericks had the next two picks -- their own and the one
they got from Orlando -- and took Syracuse forward Etan Thomas and
Alexander. Thomas was one of the best shot-blocking forwards, while
Alexander led the nation in scoring with a 24.8 average.
The Detroit Pistons selected Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves
with the 14th pick, keeping the captain of the national champions
"I'm still pinching myself from that championship, and now I
have to continue pinching myself for getting picked by Detroit,"
Cleaves said. "I feel like I'm in a fairy tale. I'm getting
spoiled. It's like everything is going my way."
At No. 16, 21-year-old Hidayet Turkoglu of Istanbul, Turkey,
went to Sacramento. Seattle took Oklahoma State swingman Desmond Mason, the Clippers got DePaul guard Quentin Richardson, Charlotte
took Kentucky center Jamaal Magloire, and Philadelphia took Hofstra
guard Craig "Speedy"
Claxton at No. 20.
Toronto selected Michigan State forward Morris Peterson at No.
21 despite needing a point guard.
The New York Knicks grabbed Florida forward Donnell Harvey -- but later traded him to Dallas -- and the Utah Jazz followed by taking a 19-year-old,
DeShawn Stevenson of Washington Union High School in Fresno, Calif.
Next came the four foreign big men: 7-1 Dalibor Bagaric of
Croatia to the Bulls, 7-foot-2 Iakovos Tsakalidis of Greece to
Phoenix, 7-foot Mamadou N'Diaye of Auburn by way of Senegal to
Denver and 7-foot Primoz Brezec of Slovenia to Indiana.
Erick Barkley of St. John's went 28th to Portland, and the NBA
champion Los Angeles Lakers took Stanford forward Mark Madsen with
the final pick of the first round.
The Bulls got Connecticut guard Khalid El-Amin and center Jake
Voskuhl with two of their three second-round picks. Oklahoma
forward Eduardo Najera of Mexico who was taken by Houston at No. 38
and then traded to Dallas for the No. 31 pick, Vanderbilt forward
Duke guard Chris Carrawell dropped to the Spurs at No. 41, and
Nigerian center Olumide Oyedeji fell to No. 42 and was picked by
Seattle. The host team, the Timberwolves, didn't select until No.
51 and took Yugoslavian guard Igor Rakocevic -- a choice that was
Dallas traded Rooks to the Clippers for guard Eric Murdock.
"As brain dead as the Clippers have been in the past, they end
up getting Miles, Richardson, Derek Strong, Corey Maggette, Dooling
and money," Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said, failing to
Thu, June 29
Looking back at Wednesday night's NBA draft, it was one of
P-O-T-E-N-T-I-A-L, baby! Marty Blake said that the it has become a
"developmental draft", where you pick players to develop them. Just
look at the youth selected, including 10 of the first 11 coming from the
Kenyon Martin was the only senior among the top 11 choices. Then
again, that is nothing new. If You look back at recent drafts, the
majority of the top 10 picks have been underclassmen.
I was surprised to see the Bulls' trade Chris Mihm, but Jamal Crawford
has tremendous upside. Marcus Fizer is an outstanding prospect, and it
will be interesting to see how he performs up front with Elton Brand.
Chicago improved its backcourt depth with the second-round selections
of A. J. Guyton and Khalid El-Amin. These two players are flat-out
winners. I really feel El-Amin will work hard to prove his doubters
Two underclassmen did not fare particularly well. Michael Redd of
Ohio State said he heard projections placing him around the top 15.
Instead, the former Buckeye fell down to the 43rd selection, where he
will try to fit in with George Karl's Bucks. Redd was fortunate
compared to JaRon Rush of UCLA. I guess the advice to have him enter
the draft was questionable since he was not chosen.
Think about some of the underclassmen over the years who did not get
picked. Players like Scotty Thurman of Arkansas, Jason Osborne of
Louisville, Chris Kingsbury of Iowa and Anderson Hunt of UNLV are
among the players who stand out. Remember, there are so many good
players out there and less than 60 get picked for the draft. Then again,
the undrafted free agents can pick the best situation for them to try out.
There were a number of outstanding college players who did not hear
their names called. North Carolina's Ed Cota, Temple's Pepe Sanchez,
Bootsy Thornton of St. John's, Auburn's Doc Robinson, Miami's
Johnny Hemsley and Gonzaga's Matt Santangelo will have to work
hard to try to make it via the free agent route.