That's right, we're going to keep going with these. Up next, the 2002 draft, which saw Yao Ming, Tayshaun Prince, Amar(')e Soutdamire and Caron Butler drafted in the first round. Oh, and Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Fred Jones, Jiri Welsch and Dan Dickau.
As we've seen in 2005 and 2003, there are usually some quality players still around in the second round, even in drafts considered weak. In 2002 Carlos Boozer, Luis Scola and Udonis Haslem (among others) were still on the board once the second round began. So let's get to re-drafting.
29. Golden State Warriors (original pick - Steve Logan)
Well my pick isn't going to be Steve Logan, I can tell you that. The Warriors drafted Mike Dunleavy Jr. in the first round, and had Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Jason Richardson on their 2002-2003 roster. If you put that team together now people would talk about making a deep playoff run. The Warriors that year finished 38-44. Ah, time. Golden State is set (or set enough) at center and their forwards were okay, but after Arenas and Richardson the Warriors' backcourt situation was kind of rough. Hence Logan, I guess. I'm going to stay with a guard but draft Roger Mason Jr. and make this even more of a Wizards reunion.
30. Chicago Bulls (original pick - Roger Mason Jr.)
Mason took a few years to round into form as a player, but he developed into a solid three-point shooter with the Washington Wizards and broke several teams' hearts this year with the Spurs. The Bulls didn't really need a guard, though, as they had just drafted Jay Williams and had Jalen Rose and Jamal Crawford on the team (don't laugh, that's a solid rotation). Plus, as you'll find out, the guard crop in this draft is terrible. The Bulls didn't really have any decent forwards that year, relying mainly on Marcus Fizer and Donyell Marshall. We can certainly do better than that here, and will pair Williams up with his Duke teammate Carlos Boozer. Boozer's gotten somewhat of a rep as an unreliable producer in the last year or two, but the numbers are (or at least were) there.
31. Memphis Grizzlies (original pick - Robert Archibald)
I'm not really sure why Memphis wanted another forward (especially a tall one), since they already had Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Drew Gooden, Stromile Swift and Lorenzen Wright. And remember, this was the time when people still expected things from Swift and Wright. Now I'll name their guards: Jason Williams, Michael Dickerson, Brevin Knight, Earl Watson and Gordon Giricek. That's, uh...that's not good. The best guard available is probably Ronald "Flip" Murray.
32. Denver Nuggets (original pick - Vincent Yarbrough)
I don't even know where to begin with how much of a mess this Denver roster was. Just take a look for yourself. The guard situation is probably worse off, but it's not really surprising that team only won 15 games, is it? Guards, guards...let's see...at this point we're looking at Jannero Pargo, Smush Parker, or Milos Vujanic. And Juan Carlos Navarro if we're being generous. I told you this was a thin guard crop. I don't really see many guys on that roster who can score, so let's roll the dice with Vujanic, who was the Euroleague's leading scorer in 2002-2003.
33. Milwaukee Bucks (original pick - Dan Gadzuric)
Milwaukee got this pick from a trade with Houston, and we won't undo that. Drafting a center wasn't a terrible idea, since the Bucks were relying on Ervin Johnson with Joel Przybilla as a backup, and they had Sam Cassell and Michael Redd all season and Ray Allen for part of it at guard. The team's power forwards included Jason Caffey, Marcus Haislip and Anthony Mason so we'll look there, and lucky for Milwaukee there are a few good ones available. He's not absolutely the best available, but Udonis Haslem worked himself into a very good rebounder and decent offensive option. He also doesn't need the ball a lot, which is good, because did I mention Sam Cassell, Ray Allen and Michael Redd played for this team?
34. Cleveland Cavaliers (original pick - Carlos Boozer)
Boozer's gone, and power forward was definitely a position of need for the Cavaliers. Luis Scola should be able to replace whatever production they would've gotten from Boozer, with even better defense.
35. New York Knicks (original pick - Milos Vujanic)
The center position for this team is pretty gross. Travis Knight, Michael Doleac, and sort-of Othella Harrington. Vujanic is a talented player, but he's gone from our board and would be more of a luxury anyway. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Dan Gadzuric is probably as good as it gets for the center position, at least for guys who could make an immediate contribution.
36. Atlanta Hawks (original pick - David Andersen)
Another roster that's all over the place. Look at those guards, though. Jason Terry and a lot of Dan Dickau and a lot of Dion Glover. We'll give the Hawks Jannero Pargo and let he and Terry sort out the ballhandling duties.
37. Houston Rockets (original pick - Tito Maddox)
Drafting a point guard wasn't a terrible idea, but drafting Maddox kind of was. The Rockets needed a backup to Steve Francis, but Maddox spent large parts of the season on the injured list, then was out of the league the next year. Smush Parker had some decent moments with the Lakers before moving to the D-League and finally to Europe.
38. Washington Wizards (original pick - Rod Grizzard)
Ugh, so many bad draft memories from that period in Wizards history. It wasn't just the Kwame Brown pick that sunk the Jordan-as-Wizards-GM era. I guess they wanted a scoring guard, but their frontcourt was really terrible that year. Look it up for yourself (http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/WAS/2003.html), I can't bear to type the names. If they had drafted a forward in real-life it probably would've been Lonny Baxter or something, but while I reallllly wanted to go back and move everything around so the Wizards could draft Scola, Darius Songaila is the best PF available. He's established himself as a good passer and a solid man defender with the Wizards (against other forwards anyway), though he's not a great rebounder.
39. Washington Wizards (original pick - Juan Carlos Navarro)
See what I meant about a top-to-bottom poor draft record from that era? Navarro was sort of like a proto-Jose Juan Barea, a small Spanish point guard who scores more easily than he plays point guard, only Navarro was less successful at it. This isn't favoratism, the Wizards really did have two consecutive picks, and Matt Barnes is the best available player. I'm sure Jordan would've let him develop as a small forward, right?
40. Los Angeles Clippers (original pick - Mario Kasun)
Kasun was drafted as a center, though he's more of a power forward. His list of basketball heroes includes Drazen Petrovic, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber. The Clippers certainly didn't need another power forward, as they had Elton Brand, Lamar Odom and Chris Wilcox. They had the right idea, though, as their centers that year were Michael Olowokandi and Melvin Ely. Jason Jennings didn't make it in the NBA, though he was the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 and had two seasons with at least 100 blocks, and would've been an intriguing pick here at least.
41. Milwaukee Bucks (original pick - Ronald Murray)
Everything I said about the Bucks still applies, though Murray would've been a decent pick if he were available to give Milwaukee a backup point guard option. He's not, though. Drafting a center still wouldn't have been a terrible idea, so we'll let them get a jump on the whole Australian thing and draft David Andersen. Andersen averaged 11 points and four rebounds last year in the Eurloleague, which is better than Gadzuric has given them.
42. Portland Trail Blazers (original pick - Jason Jennings)
This was the downslope of that era's Portland teams, a few years removed from the Western Conference finals. There was still talent there, though, and no completely obvious holes except maybe backup center. That was already a thin position in this draft, though, and we've just given away several of them. So I'll stretch things a little bit and say Rasheed Wallace and Dale Davis can be the backup centers (I think they might've been anyway), and instead look at small forwards. Rasual Butler is still around, and could've provided a formidable three-point shooting tandem with Wallace as well as a nice complement to Bonzi Wells' post-up game.
43. Chicago Bulls (original pick - Lonny Baxter)
We'll end part 1 of this re-draft where we (sort-of) started, the Bulls. Boozer-Fizer-Marshall is a better forward rotation, but not much. I guess the Bulls could afford to go with the best available player here, and I was tempted to have them roll the dice on Juan Carlos Navarro, though with Jay Williams they didn't need another point guard. Whaddya say we make it interesting and draft Mario Kasun here. Kasun had a decent pre-draft camp, though he played in Europe for a few years before returning and playing parts of a few seasons with the Magic (he's now playing in Turkey). Kasun's free throw shooting needs work, and his field goal percentage isn't great for where he plays on the floor, but maybe with some more development in the NBA he could have become a decent backup option. And anyway, the Bulls drafted Lonny Baxter in the real thing, so it's not like they had any better ideas.