The 2003 draft means Maciej Lampe references.
Welcome back. In anticipation of the upcoming NBA draft, we looked at the second round of another group of players considered "weak," the 2005 draft. What we found was that even in a year that saw Yaroslev Korolev and Wayne Simien taken in the first round, there were still some quality players available if you were willing to look. I thought I'd continue the series with a look at the 2003 draft, but first a discussion of what I'm doing.
First I look at what type of player a team drafted, be it a point guard, three-point shorter or foreign-y tall guy. Then I look at what a team's roster was that year, to see if the draft pick made sense in the context of the team's construction - in this case we're talking about the 2003-2004 season. To a certain extent this isn't totally the best way to go about it, because some of the roster moves were made after the draft, and with the draft pick in mind. Still, I think it's a pretty good way to look at what a team needs/needed. Think of it this way: if a team drafted a point guard, then ended the season with six different point guards having played but only two or three centers (and especially if they're terrible centers), then whatever point guard they drafted must not have been that big of a help anyway and they should've looked at drafting a big man.
Beyond that, there are really only two ground rules - first, nothing changes with the draft's first round. In this case, that means Minnesota still drafted Ndudi Ebi and the Magic are stuck with Reece Gaines. Second (and this one is more for me than for you), a player had to have declared for the draft in order to be picked in the re-draft. First I list the team and who they originally drafted, some discussion of what they were looking for and who was available, followed by the player who I thought they should have drafted.
The purpose of these is to look at who was picked below where they should have been or who went undrafted entirely, and hopefully demonstrate that even in drafts that are considered "weak" or "top-heavy," there are still quality rotation players and bench guys to be found, even in the depths of the second round. The key word here, as always, is upside.
I've split this up into two parts again, with part 2 coming tomorrow and part 1 below the jump.
30. New York Knicks (original pick - Maciej Lampe)
Ah, Maciej Lampe. One of the most notorious European NBA washouts after Frederic Weis and Nikoloz Tskitishvili. I couldn't find video of his name being called, but this will have to do. I'd actually forgotten the Knicks had drafted him, since my memories are of him playing (and not playing) in Phoenix. Before the draft he was seen as someone who could play multiple frontcourt positions and shoot threes. I question, though, why a team that at various times contained Antonio McDyess, Tim Thomas, Kurt Thomas, Keith Van Horn and fellow rookie Mike Sweetney would need to "re-draft" another forward (probably because the forwards included Tim Thomas, Keith Van Horn, and Mike Sweetney). The Knicks traded for Stephon Marbury that year (which is how Lampe ended up with the Suns), but they likely would have done that even if they had drafted a point guard. Center was a relatively solid position for them that year with Dikembe Mutombo and Nazr Mohammed (and if I had forgotten that Lampe was drafted by the Knicks, I realllllly forgot that Deke started 56 games for them that year). I guess I'll stick with the Knicks' thinking and look at big forwards who can shoot, which leads me to Matt Bonner.
31. Cleveland Cavaliers (original pick - Jason Kapono)
After drafting some guy in the first round, the Cavaliers were looking for a complementary shooter. There were a few in this draft, Kyle Korver having ended up as perhaps the best of them, but I think there would be something poetic about the Cavaliers taking Mo Williams. Who knows? Maybe their offense would have been better earlier.
32. Los Angeles Lakers (original pick - Luke Walton)
It was said at the time, but the Lakers and Walton just make sense together. Walton had the best match of skills to what the Triangle offense asks of its complementary players. I see no reason to mess that up.
33. Miami Heat (original pick - Jerome Beasley)
Miami was about five years early in drafting a Beasley. This one ended up getting cut a few games into the season, then went to the CBA and finally the D-League's Dakota Wizards before moving on to Europe. His numbers weren't terrible in Dakota (well, maybe his free throw shooting was), he just didn't do much. The Heat were full up with forwards that year, including Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, and Udonis Haslem. While Grant played a lot of center, their only "true" pivot men were Wang Zhizhi and Loren Woods. While this guy was originally listed as a PF, he's developed into a really solid backup center (who routinely kills the Washington Wizards): Zaza Pachulia
34. Los Angeles Clippers (original pick - Sofoklis Schortsanitis)
Hey, remember this guy? Schortsanitis still hasn't made it over to the NBA, though some items that I read indicated that he might try again after his contract is up in 2010. The Clippers were looking for someone to backup Chris Kaman (what, Melvin Ely wasn't getting it done?), though this draft is pretty weak in the center department. Fellow Greek player Andreas Glyniadakis spent some time in the NBA and the D-League, and won the D-League championship with Albuquerque. This is somewhat of a reach, but as I said (and as you'll find out), this is a weak draft for centers.
35. Milwaukee Bucks (original pick - Szymon Szewczyk)
I don't know why, but Milwaukee always seems to be teeming with forwards and thin in the backcourt. Szewczyk was a face-up power forward when he was drafted, but I'm going in a different direction. With a guard rotation that included Brevin Knight, Damon Jones and Erick Strickland...there's really no good way to finish that sentence. I mean, I guess Brevin Knight is solid, or may have been then, but...anyway, the Bucks select previously undrafted Marquis Daniels
36. Chicago Bulls (original pick - Mario Austin)
The Bulls were pretty terrible this year, finishing last in their division. They had Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry (and I guess Marcus Fizer), so it doesn't make sense to look there. The Bulls also had just drafted Kirk Hinrich and had Jalen Rose around, so they didn't really need another point guard. A shooter might have been helpful, and there's a pretty good one available: Kyle Korver
37. Atlanta Hawks (original pick - Travis Hansen)
I don't remember the name (or face) of Travis Hansen at all. At all. Apparently he played in about 40 games for Atlanta, though, before going over to play in Spain and Russia. He was/is apparently pretty athletic and a solid perimeter defender, though in his place may I suggest D-Leaguer Ronald Dupree? His defense isn't terrific, but he can definitely score, and would have made a nice backup to Stephen Jackson
38. Washington Wizards (original pick - Steve Blake)
The Wizards picked Blake largely because he had played at the nearby University of Maryland, the same reason they drafted Juan Dixon in the second round a year earlier. Blake never really got a shot in Washington, nor showed much of a reason to give him one, but he's made himself into a solid starting point guard in Portland. In a move that surprises even myself, I'm going to have the Wizards pick Blake again and let him develop behind Gilbert Arenas.
39. New York Knicks (original pick - Slavko Vranes)
This is kind of sad. Vranes was one of those "foreign-y tall guys" I mentioned up top, 7'4" and not much else. He actually still hasn't developed all that well, averaging 3.5 points and 5 rebounds last year in Europe. I've already gone over what the Knicks had, and since we went (sort of) big last time we'll look at guards with this pick. Matt Carroll has developed into a solid role player for Charlotte after spending a few seasons in the D-League, so let's reward him by sending him to the Isiah Thomas Knicks. "Reward."
40. Golden State Warriors (original pick - Derrick Zimmerman)
Zimmerman has bounced around since being drafted, playing in the NBA, the D-League and is now in Europe, and he became a solid defensive player, being named the D-League Defensive Player of the Year two straight seasons. The Warriors that year had several big-name point guards, though, like Avery Johnson, Nick Van Exel and Speedy Claxton. Other than Troy Murphy, though, this team's power forwards were just no good. I'm looking at you, Brian Cardinal. Jerome Beasley had some okay years in the minors, and might have worked out here.
41. Seattle SuperSonics (original pick - Willie Green)
Green was traded to Philadelphia on draft night, where he still plays, he just doesn't play well. We're going to assume this pick stays with Seattle, though, who had the shooting guard spot pretty well taken care of with Ray Allen, Antonio Daniels, Brent Barry, and others. Center, though, yikes. Jerome James. Vitaly Potapenko. Calvin Booth. Again, yikes. James Lang is available, and while he's been up and down as he's gone from the NBA to the D-League, he would have been a decent option at the time.
42. Orlando Magic (original pick - Zaza Pachulia)
Despite the presence of Tracy McGrady, the Magic this year were terrible, just terrible. Drafting Reece Gaines in the first round didn't help. He plays the same position as McGrady (albeit with a different skill-set), but this is probably too far for Jason Kapono to have fallen.
43. Milwaukee Bucks (original pick - Keith Bogans)
Bogans was traded to Orlando, and I gave some consideration to drafting him with the last pick. As was discussed earlier, the Bucks had a lot of forwards, and we already drafted a shooting guard/wing player for them in Marquis Daniels. We'll go defense with this pick, and Derrick Zimmerman
44. Houston Rockets (original pick - Malick Badiane)
It's another foreign-y tall guy! Badiane's draft rights were traded to Memphis for the rights to fellow FTG Sergei Lishchuk, and Badiane ended up playing 19 games for the Anaheim Arsenal this past season, where he was inconsistent. A double-double in 23 minutes would be followed by a two-point performance. Almost none of Houston's small forwards were good that year, and while I haven't been overly impressed with him, James Jones has shown some ability in starting for Miami this year.