Re-Drafting Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and the Legendary 1996 NBA Draft Class
Ready for a trip through one of the most storied drafts in NBA history?
The 1996 class was a humdinger, one loaded with collective star power previously unseen. And that's not hyperbole. It is a matter of fact.
Three players from the 1996 draft won MVP honors. Including one undrafted-to-star story, eight made at least one All-NBA team. Eleven players earned All-Star bids. And nearly half the class turned in career performances above replacement-level.
This is the type of draft we'll remember forever. It is also one worth doing over.
Like always, every pick in our re-draft will be about grabbing the best player available. Assessing specific team needs nearly a quarter-century later gets a little hairy, and prioritizing fit doesn't always work out, particularly for squads inside the lottery.
To that end, the best player available is determined by looking at careers in totality. Longevity and sustainable peaks are our driving force, and we cannot rewrite resumes that were impacted by injuries or less-than-ideal team situations. Likewise, the assumption will be that each player is sticking with whichever squad takes him, even if said picks were traded later on draft night or thereafter.
Let's party like it's 1996.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Kobe Bryant
Almost every selection hereafter has some grounds for debate. This one does not.
Kobe Bryant belongs at the tippy top of this class. His resume speaks for itself: five championships, two finals MVPs, one league MVP, 15 All-NBA teams, 12 All-Defensive bids and two scoring titles.
There is even some wiggle room to wonder if he left accolades on the table. What happens if he doesn't come off the bench for his for first two seasons? How many titles would he have if the Los Angeles Lakers never disbanded his partnership with Shaquille O'Neal? Does he make another one or two All-NBA teams if he never ruptures his left Achilles tendon in 2013?
Kobe still amassed enough accomplishments to make this an easy decision, even with Allen Iverson and Steve Nash lurking.
He remains the most accurate Michael Jordan facsimile in NBA history (though Kawhi Leonard has some stake in this debate). And by career's end, Kobe was so much more than a decorated champion and the league's third-leading scorer (he's fourth now). He was a basketball movement unto himself, a type of religion, with an influence that stretched between generations and persists even now.
It is an impact both accepted and not fully understood. His basketball legacy has long been a matter of fact, even at its most divisive. But following the death of Kobe, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash, it has become clear the acknowledgement of his reach never doubled as a measure for comprehension.
Players, both past and present, came out in droves after he died, at once reiterating his importance to the game and recontextualizing what it actually meant. Kobe is someone who endeared himself to MJ, his idol, yet remained connected and relevant enough to the present that he forged a real relationship with Trae Young, someone more than two decade his junior.
This isn't outside the realm of re-draft criteria. Kobe's legacy is quantifiable and inordinate. Knowing what we know now, both about his basketball brand and actual basketball, he would definitely be picked first overall. That his hometown Philadelphia 76ers are the team on the clock only further supports a decision that, really, needs no additional defense.
Actual Pick: Allen Iverson
Bryant's Actual Draft Slot: 13th, Charlotte Hornets (traded to Los Angeles Lakers)
2. Toronto Raptors: Steve Nash
Many will take Allen Iverson and his endless scoring barrages over Steve Nash at No. 2. That's perfectly fine. This might be a position of preference.
Then again, on some level, it doesn't quite feel like a coin toss. Nash for so long guaranteed offensive excellence to entire teams. He never assumed the role of a primary scorer, but he was the vessel through which so many of them dominated.
If his teammates weren't dependent upon his vision and crafty calm, they needed him to provide balance and opportunities for the rest of the team. He amplified and simplified some roles; he built many others.
For roughly a decade, to have him was to have the league's best offense. Between 2001-02 and 2009-10, his teams ranked first in points scored per 100 possessions six times—and they never finished lower than second.
Nash's own numbers during that decade defy reason. He averaged around 16.9 points and 9.9 assists per game while basically slashing 50/44/91. Maintaining that production and efficiency for nine years, a span which took him through his age-35 season, is completely and utterly absurd. And by the way: He has four 50/40/90 campaigns to his credit, the most in NBA history—and twice as many as any other player.
Failing to win a ring might hurt Nash in all-time discussions. It has no impact here. And even if you're advocating for Iverson at No. 2 (which, again, fair!), consider the context: If given the chance to do it all over again, would the Toronto Raptors really pass on the greatest Canadian basketball player of all time and his two league MVPs, five assist crowns and seven All-NBA selections?
Actual Pick: Marcus Camby
Nash's Actual Draft Slot: 15th, Phoenix Suns
3. Vancouver Grizzlies: Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson is so often identified as the NBA's greatest pound-for-pound player that this declaration has become a cliche. That doesn't make it untrue.
Everything about Iverson's career lends merit to his hypothetical crown. Sold on the enormity of his scoring abilities, the Philadelphia 76ers took him at No. 1 despite his standing at 6'0", weighing under 170 pounds and leaving college two years "early." Their gamble, insofar as they ever made one, paid off.
Iverson averaged 26.7 points for his career, the seventh-highest mark in league history. Among everyone to appear in at least 15 playoff contests—sorry, Anthony Davis—his 29.7 points per game rank second all-time, trailing only Michael Jordan. Iverson is one of just five players to win four or more scoring titles—Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kevin Durant, George Gervin—and MJ, Wilt, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West are the only others to average at least 30 points for an entire season on four separate occasions.
Legacy discussions are inclined to overlook Iverson in favor of many others despite his Hall of Fame resume, which also includes a league MVP, Rookie of the Year honors, three steal titles and seven All-NBA selections. Criticism rests on his unspectacular efficiency (44.8 percent shooting on twos) and the absence of a championship. Philly made it out of the second round only once with him leading the charge, in 2000-01, the year it earned a trip to the NBA Finals.
How much of the Sixers' protracted mediocrity falls on Iverson is up for interpretation. Also: It probably isn't much. Philly couldn't pin down the head coaching spot after Larry Brown left, and Iverson never enjoyed the luxury of a conventional co-star. Eric Snow is the best running mate the Sixers ever put beside him for any prolonged period of time.
The offensive burden Iverson carried, whether incidental or by choice, is enough to forgive a lot of what hurts him in hindsight. His finishing around the rim was as touch-and-go as it should've been for someone his size, but he brought whole arenas to a standstill with his shot difficulty and handles. There was plenty of escapism to his game, but he more so leveraged a devastating crossover that created dimensions' worth of space by bringing opponents to their knees.
Actual Pick: Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Iverson's Actual Draft Slot: First, Philadelphia 76ers
4. Milwaukee Bucks: Ray Allen
Ray Allen is most revered for his outside shooting. That's not unfair. He remains the NBA's all-time leader in made three-pointers, and his signature moment is the corner trey he hit to force Game 7 in the 2013 Finals.
But prime Ray Allen was so much more than his long-range touch. He uncorked poster dunks, created from-scratch looks off the bounce and shouldered a fair share of his team's playmaking responsibilities. And while his peak was shorter than those of players who contended for MVP awards, it does stand up to the superstar test.
From 1999-00 to 2006-07, Allen averaged 23.3 points and 4.1 assists with 40.2 percent shooting from deep. As it stands, James Harden is the only player in NBA history to clear 20 points, three assists and two made three-pointers per game for an entire season more times (eight) than Allen (seven).
At least part of his prime was also impacted by his trade to the Boston Celtics in 2007. He earned three All-Star appearances in Beantown, but his usage plunged beside Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo and amid a reinvented role.
Whatever prominence he forfeited with the Celtics, though, only helps his placement relative to the rest of his draft class. He is a two-time All-NBA member who could thrive absent circumstances tailored specifically to him. While other marquee players have suffered when transitioning into smaller roles, Allen proved to be plug-and-play before ever entering his twilight—without actually sacrificing his stardom.
Actual Pick: Stephon Marbury (traded to Minnesota)
Allen's Actual Draft Slot: Fifth, Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Milwaukee)
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Ben Wallace
Pushback is coming. I'm ready for it.
Ben Wallace never averaged 10 points per game and wasn't someone who could be counted on to manufacture his own shots in a pinch. How could he, with the benefit of hindsight, be off the board before Jermaine O'Neal? And, to a lesser extent, Peja Stojakovic?
Championship defense, to be more specific.
Dikembe Mutombo is the only other player to win four Defensive Player of the Year awards. Wallace pairs that hardware with six All-Defensive selections, two rebounding titles and one blocks-per-game crown. The force and ferocity witch which he hit the glass and hustled on the less glamorous end are the stuff of legend. Wallace could match up against late-Lakers-era Shaquille O'Neal and not get annihilated. Think about that.
Indeed, Wallace's brand of stardom isn't mainstream. But it's just as valuable.
With apologies to Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, Wallace is the closest those early- to mid-2000s Detroit Pistons came to a traditional superstar, as both the face of and basis for a relentless defense that anchored their 2003-04 title run.
Actual Pick: Ray Allen (traded to Milwaukee)
Wallace's Actual Draft Slot: Undrafted
6. Boston Celtics: Jermaine O'Neal
What would Jermaine O'Neal's career look like if he hadn't been buried on the Portland Trail Blazers' bench for his first four years? If you're like me, you think about that a lot, in large part because of what he turned into upon getting real minutes.
Youth worked against O'Neal's initial opportunity, as did the Blazers' depth chart. He entered the NBA straight out of high school, and they had Arvydas Sabonis and Rasheed Wallace and, later, Kelvin Cato and Brian Grant. A fit existed—Portland flipped him and Joe Kleine for Dale Davis, after all—but his timeline never aligned with the team's urgency.
Getting traded to the Indiana Pacers was O'Neal's big break. He joined the starting lineup and logged more than 32 minutes per game, prolonged reps he used to showcase his rebounding, interior disruption on defense, budding face-up game and operable jumper.
Indiana turned him into a focal point one year later, at which time his career took off. Over the next six seasons, O'Neal averaged 20.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.4 blocks—a stat line matched only by Tim Duncan during that span. (Related: Wow.)
All his major accolades were amassed during this window: Most Improved Player honors, three All-NBA selections, six consecutive All-Star selections and a top-three MVP finish (2003-04). The Pacers weren't always title contenders during O'Neal's six-year romp, but they were a postseason constant, and he spearheaded a 61-win effort in 2003-04.
And yet, even at his pinnacle, he suffered knee injuries (plus a 15-game suspension following his involvement in the Malice at the Palace). He made 70 appearances just once after 2003-04, as a member of the Miami Heat. But even as left knee issues and other injuries messed with his availability for the rest of his career, O'Neal gracefully transitioned to small yet impactful roles with the Heat, Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors.
Actual Pick: Antoine Walker
O'Neal's Actual Draft Slot: 17th, Portland Trail Blazers
7. Los Angeles Clippers: Peja Stojakovic
The idea of Peja Stojakovic was enough to exhaust defenses. His movement off the ball bent half-court coverages and opened up the floor for everyone else.
Two bodies could be responsible for tracking him at any given time—most notably during his salad days with the Sacramento Kings—and it wouldn't actually matter. He torched defenders with his limitless range and comfort knocking down off-balance jumpers. If a shot wasn't available on the catch, he could put the ball on the floor and dribble into pull-up jumpers or gimme assist opportunities.
Tack on more time to the heart of Stojakovic's prime, and he has a case to be taken over Jermaine O'Neal and Ben Wallace. He didn't arrive in Sacramento until 1998-99 and then didn't become a mainstay in the starting lineup until two years later.
The five seasons that followed are a blur of unfathomably accurate three-point shooting, offensive detonations and one top-five finish on the MVP ballot (2003-04). Stojakovic averaged 21.1 points and 2.2 assists between 2000-01 and 2004-05 while nailing 50.8 percent of his twos and 40.8 percent of his threes and being more of a presence on the glass and at the defensive end than advertised.
Not surprisingly, no one else hit these statistical touchstones during that time. How Stojakovic didn't make at least one more All-NBA team, for a grand total of two, through this stretch is beyond me. His peak didn't last too long—back, neck and knee injuries along with, perhaps, too many changes of scenery are the culprit—but it was one helluva ride and absolutely worth a top-seven pick.
Actual Pick: Lorenzen Wright
Stojakovic's Actual Draft Slot: 14th, Sacramento Kings
8. New Jersey Nets: Marcus Camby
Marcus Camby will still be too high for some, a nod to just how far under the radar he operated.
Maybe it's because he was picked second overall in a draft loaded with smack-you-in-the-face stars. Perhaps it's because he wants for unbreakable ties to one organization, having suited up for six teams, a fan favorite at every stop but claimed by no singular base. Maybe it's because he wasn't a scorer or an All-Star and therefore lacks some of the most fundamentally celebrated and identifiable virtues and feats.
That all might explain why Camby is, by and large, forgotten in the context of this draft. That doesn't mean he's actually forgettable. Nor does it prove or suggest he's a bust just because, in retrospect, he came off the board ahead of better players.
On the contrary, Camby finds himself in Marvin Williams territory, only with a more impressive resume: a quality player drafted too soon relative to his peers but who cannot go down as a disappointment. He made four All-Defensive teams and snared one Defensive Player of the Year award. His body of work, in a vacuum, is far from a letdown.
Camby also doesn't receive nearly enough credit for stepping outside the wheelhouse assigned to his big-man archetype. As yours truly wrote when ranking him as one of the best players to never make an All-Star team:
"Camby didn't exist solely within those functional nooks and crannies. He took more jumpers than most think. (And what a wonderfully weird, minutes-long form he had.) He put the ball on the floor more often than you remember. His blocks came further away from the rim than they had any business being. ...
"Scalability doesn't amount to stardom, but the punch he packed stretched beyond plug-and-playness. From the moment he entered the league in 1996-97 through his split season with the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers in 2009-10, he averaged 10.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.0 steals—production matched by exactly no one."
This is all to say the New Jersey Nets of yesteryear aren't reaching by taking Camby at No. 8 in our re-draft. They're grabbing the best player available.
Actual Pick: Kerry Kittles
Camby's Actual Draft Slopt: Second, Toronto Raptors
9. Dallas Mavericks: Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury left the NBA after 13 seasons, at the age of 32, in a haze of unanswered questions and potential partially filled. It is easy to look at his resume—five different teams, multiple worn-out welcomes, a precipitous statistical fall after the 2004-05 campaign—and declare him one of the league's great squandered, if overrated, talents. Neither feels quite fair now.
Not only has Marbury since talked about battling depression during his NBA low points, but his peak was pretty damn good. Players don't make two All-NBA teams on accident.
That his best basketball never came for the best versions of his best teams—namely Minnesota, New Jersey and Phoenix—doesn't do much for his legacy. But he still played pivotal roles on playoff-bound iterations of the Timberwolves and Suns. Plus, his career apex is high enough, and the list of organizations he played for incompetent enough, to write off at least some of the collective sub-mediocrity to which his teams were consigned.
To wit: Between 1998-99 and 2004-05, a stretch spanning seven seasons, Marbury averaged 21.7 points and 8.3 assists while burying 47.2 percent of his two-pointers. No one else matched those benchmarks during this time—through which, mind you, he placed 14th overall in win shares.
Marbury's game may have lacked the bandwidth to elevate an entire team on its own, but it also translated across four different organizations (his stint in Boston is a footnote), to varying degrees of individual success. If nothing else, this proves his best basketball was less pomp amid circumstance and more flash with substance.
Actual Pick: Samaki Walker
Marbury's Actual Draft Slot: Fourth, Milwaukee Bucks (traded to Minnesota)
10. Indiana Pacers: Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Shareef Abdur-Rahim is among the NBA's afterthought All-Stars. The combination of headlining truly awful Grizzlies teams and knee injuries that contributed to his leaving the NBA before his 31st birthday puts him in an anecdotal bind.
Nabbing only the one All-Star appearance in 2001-02 doesn't help him, either. It implies something of a one-off bid. But Abdur-Rahim was more than a flash in the pan.
Almost all of his first seven seasons were All-Star-caliber. From his rookie year through 2002-03, he averaged over 20 points per game while canning 47.3 percent of his two-point attempts, which included a steady diet of heavily contested post-ups and unassisted mid-range jumpers.
More impressive still, only seven other players matched his scoring output, defensive rebounding rate and assist percentage during that seven-year period. His company nearly reads like a who's who of perennial All-Stars: Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Grant Hill, Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Antoine Walker and Chris Webber.
The extent to which Abdur-Rahim capitalized on playing for crummy squads is worth discussing. His best years came with a Grizzlies franchise that won no more than 23 games and an Atlanta Hawks organization that topped out at 35 victories.
Absent a reliable set jumper and extensive experience in a complementary role, Abdur-Rahim's production trailed off with more competitive teams in Portland and Sacramento. But injuries were a factor, too. Even if they weren't, teams today still drool over players comfortable generating their own looks in volume. Prime Abdur-Rahim, at bottom, cleared that bar.
Actual Pick: Erick Dampier
Abdur-Rahim's Actual Draft Slot: Third, Vancouver Grizzlies
11. Golden State Warriors: Antoine Walker
Who wouldn't want to pick up a three-time All-Star outside the top 10?
Antoine Walker, down five spots from his initial No. 6 slot, gets brought up whenever somebody wants to mention a power forward who jacked threes before it was cool for power forwards to jack threes. And his outside volume, innovative for the era, is definitely part of his mystique.
But Walker did more during his heyday than just chuck threes. He beat defenders in space off the dribble, scooted around them in the post, finished something fierce at the rim, banged in jumpers off the dribble and tossed passes on the move.
Looking back, his peak is kind of, sort of, definitely ridiculous. From 1997-98 through 2002-03, he averaged 21.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals. What his scoring lacked in efficiency it made up for with its dynamism—and, of course, the novelty of his three-point volume.
12. Cleveland Cavaliers: Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Aw, how cute. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is back on the Cavaliers, only eight spots earlier than in real life. This feels right, even if you believe he should be ahead of Walker.
With the exception of the year he played in Miami after LeBron James signed there, Ilgauskas spent his entire career in Cleveland, where he wrote one of recent history's more underrated legacies. Foot injuries impeded his availability early on, and a lot of what he did thereafter was lost to LeBron's shadow.
Still, prime Ilgauskas was, in addition to other things, an offensive treat. He had some semblance of a floor game, sported feathery touch around the basket, flung timely standstill passes and stretched defenses wafer-thin relative to the league's other skyscraping centers.
13. Charlotte Hornets: Derek Fisher
Longevity and scalability give Derek Fisher an airtight lottery case. Sticking him ahead of either Ilgauskas or Walker takes it a bit too far, but that position isn't inarguable. His career spanned 18 years, nearly all of which saw him succeed at a ball-dominant position by being anything but.
Finding point guards who can thrive in service of playmakers at other positions isn't easy. They're groomed to be floor generals. Fisher was more of a complement who dabbled in game management.
He spaced the floor around other ball-handlers—Kobe Bryant in particular—by drilling threes and long twos, and he defended his butt off. He alone never shaped a championship team—though he hit some big shots—but he was, as he showed five times, fit to help one.
14. Sacramento Kings: Kerry Kittles
Kerry Kittles is down six spots from his actual No. 8 slot, but that says more about the depth of this draft than him specifically. If not for knee injuries limiting him to under a decade of NBA experience, he'd be back in the top 10, right around where he was initially picked.
There was a smoothness to Kittles' game. He played brilliantly off the ball, putting pedal to metal in transition and ducking in for baseline feeds. His three-point shooting was vital during the New Jersey Nets' back-to-back Finals runs, giving Jason Kidd the ultimate outlet, and he had a knack for throwing quick second passes that kept the offense humming.
Through his first eight seasons, Kittles averaged 14.3 points and 2.6 assists while splashing in 37.8 percent of his triples. Only three players during that same span matched his benchmarks on as many three-point attempts: Ray Allen, Eddie Jones and Reggie Miller.
15. Phoenix Suns: Erick Dampier
Erick Dampier is probably best known for the seven-year, $73 million contract he landed as part of a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks in 2004. But he actually carved out a viable NBA career. Dropping only five spots from his original No. 10 slot is a win considering everyone in front of him.
Most of Dampier's best moments came on some not-so-great Golden State Warriors teams. He was never granted the same offensive license at any of his other stops. Still, he was a force to be reckoned with around the basket, where he went up hard to contest shots and complete put-backs.
Obscene turnover rates don't help his case, but he was at least a little bit more coordinated and serviceable in the post than you remember.
16. Charlotte Hornets: Chucky Atkins
Undrafted prospects-turned-household names grab the most headlines, a la Ben Wallace. Less acknowledged, despite being just as impressive, are the undrafted glue guys who stick in the NBA for long periods of time.
Chucky Atkins falls under the latter umbrella. No one selected him after his fourth season at South Florida, and it took him until 1999-00 to make his debut. Once he reached the NBA, he never left. He spent the next 11 seasons serving predominantly as a steadying backcourt presence off the bench for eight different teams.
At times, though, his role belied his journeyman status. He played a sizable part for playoff teams in Boston, Detroit and Memphis and was decidedly ahead of the curve as a three-point shooter.
17. Portland Trail Blazers: Malik Rose
Advanced metrics tend to paint Malik Rose in complicated, if fuzzy, if outright unflattering, terms. But his career was still one big model of expectations exceeded. He lasted 13 years after being taken 44th overall.
Watching his career highlights is like tuning into two different players. He entered the league with some vertical pop at both ends. Later on, he leaned more on feel and know-how. He didn't shy from putting the ball on the floor and was always good for a few nifty finishes around the hoop.
By the time Rose left San Antonio after getting traded to New York, he operated at the cross-section of force and finesse. In retrospect, given everything he wound up doing, he's probably someone who should've been leaned on for more table-setting and tried his hand at firing up some three-pointers.
18. New York Knicks: Tony Delk
Tony Delk gets a few arbitrary fist bumps for being among the most random 50-point scorers in NBA history. He went kaboom as a member of the Phoenix Suns while facing the Sacramento Kings in 2001, dropping 53 points on a ridiculous 20-of-26 shooting performance inside the arc through 50 minutes of action. (Shout-out to him for having zero assists in that one.)
The rest of Delk's career isn't nearly as rosy. Aside from that singular nuclear performance, he never scored more than 27 points. He played for eight teams over his 10-year career, occupying that oddball role as a reserve score-first guard who couldn't be trusted to run the offense.
To his credit, he operated in a perpetual state of unafraidness. It didn't matter how cold he might be. He kept probing and shooting.
19. New York Knicks: Jerome Williams
Jerome Williams played as you would expect anyone nicknamed Junkyard Dog to play: gritty and physical with an energy level that charmed pretty much every one of the four fanbases he represented over nine years.
Hustle was his functional currency. He wasn't a scorer—he dropped 20 or more points fewer than a dozen times—but he ran the floor and often existed to capitalize on second-chance opportunities. He was by no means a lockdown defender, but he got after the ball and relished diving on the floor. You know, real junkyard-dog stuff.
20. Cleveland Cavaliers: Lorenzen Wright
Lorenzen Wright, who was murdered in 2010, never lived up to his billing as the No. 7 pick. A double-double machine in two years with Memphis, he didn't really find his NBA footing until his fifth season, during which he averaged 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds for the Atlanta Hawks.
Following that standout year, he was traded to the Grizzlies ahead of their first season in Memphis. It was there that he enjoyed the most stable stretch of his career, posting 12.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per 36 minutes across five seasons.
His value on the glass was a given—he finished in the top 20 of defensive rebounding percentage twice—but he needed to hit more of his mid-range jumpers to be an actual offensive force.
21. New York Knicks: Shandon Anderson
That's 2006 NBA champion Shandon Anderson to you.
Though he never excelled at the offensive end, Anderson carved out a nice 10-year NBA career on the back of his wing defense. His teams would routinely throw him on the opposition's top perimeter alpha or sub him in during crunch time to try picking up extra stops.
The height of his offensive powers came with the Houston Rockets in 1999-00 when he averaged 12.3 points and 2.9 assists while putting down 52.3 percent of his twos and 35.1 percent of his threes.
22. Vancouver Grizzlies: Jeff McInnis
Jeff McInnis is built for the NBA's Disney World bubble. His NBA career was a roller coaster. He played for seven teams over the course of 11 seasons, during which time his role and minutes fluctuated from one stop to the next.
He hit his stride with not-good, not-terrible versions of the Los Angeles Clippers, averaging 13.8 points and 5.8 assists through 2000-01 and 2001-02 while draining a respectable 45.8 percent of his looks inside the arc as their starting point guard.
McInnis never found a role quite as prominent at any of his other stops and definitely didn't have the playmaking instincts to pilot an entire offense, but he added some microwave scoring off the bench in Cleveland and Portland—albeit not without some publicized drama.
23. Denver Nuggets: Othella Harrington
Save for a few standout blips here and there, Othella Harrington's career is most memorable for its longevity. He chiseled out a 12-year tenure after getting drafted with the first pick of the second round, endearing himself to teams with his defensive work ethic around the rim, a medium-sized bag of post moves and a certain slipperiness off the ball.
Toward the tail end of his career, Harrington expanded his in-between jumper to include more long twos, giving the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls what was, at the time, a genuine floor-spacer at the 4 and 5 spots.
24. Los Angeles Lakers: Walter McCarty
Walter McCarty's draft stock doesn't shift much with the benefit of hindsight. He drops from No. 19 to No. 24, and he might still have a case to leap-frog Harrington and McInnis.
McCarty never averaged double figures or cleared 30 minutes per game for a single season, but he became a staple of the Boston Celtics bench after getting traded from the Knicks in 1997. He was good for a few scoring detonations every season, attacked the rim with surety and had a knack for making the occasional—and electric—above-the-rim play.
25. Utah Jazz: Moochie Norris
Moochie Norris makes the jump from the second round (No. 33) into the first pretty handily. A career reserve, his skill set came together in an eclectic way.
Offenses could trust him to manage the second unit, but he also didn't play with an abundance of caution. If he wasn't on a permanent heat check, he was on the next closest thing. He didn't hesitate to put the screws to defenders in one-on-one situations and had zero qualms about launching contested jumpers.
This bizarre balance sort of worked, particularly during his time in Houston. Between 1999-00 and 2001-02, he was the only player who started fewer than 35 games to average more than 11 points and six assists per 36 minutes across multiple seasons while downing 45 percent of his twos.
26. Detroit Pistons: Adrian Griffin
After spending four years at Seton Hall, Adrian Griffin went undrafted in 1996. He didn't actually make his NBA debut until 1999-00.
Cracking the first round of a re-draft is a huge win for what got him to—and then kept him in—the league for nine seasons: excellent rebounding on the wings, understated passing and a try-hard mentality at the less glamorous end.
27. Orlando Magic: Vitaly Potapenko
Vitaly Potapenko is a name Clevelanders won't soon—read: ever—forget. The Cavs selected him at No. 12, just in front of names like Kobe Bryant (No. 13), Peja Stojakovic (No. 14), Steve Nash (No. 15) and Jermaine O'Neal (No. 17).
Just writing that hurts. It hurts even more knowing Cleveland would pick a better big man at No. 20 (Zydrunas Ilgauskas).
Anyway...Potapenko, who would later return to the Cavaliers as an assistant coach in 2013, eked out a solid 11-year career, the vast majority of which saw him contribute as a heavily used reserve. He never blossomed into anything resembling a household name, but he had a floor game and some range on the offensive end and cut his teeth jockeying for position and contesting entry passes on defense.
28. Atlanta Hawks: Samaki Walker
Samaki Walker went at No. 9 in the actual 1996 draft. We don't need to rehash what that meant for the Dallas Mavericks and who they missed out on. You already know.
Walker ended up typifying a journeyman's career.
After spending three years with the Mavericks, he suited up for five different teams over the next seven seasons. He could throw down some hammers at the rim and was an imposing presence around the basket for someone standing under 6'10", but with the exception of the 2001-02 campaign, which he spent on the Lakers, he struggled to sustain both playing time and a clean health bill.
29. Chicago Bulls: Erick Strickland
Give it up for our fourth undrafted name of this first-round do-over. Erick Strickland never matched the offensive pizzazz he showed during his final two seasons at Nebraska, but he was a rotation staple off the bench for almost his entire nine-year career.
His best season came in 1999-00, his last go-round with Dallas. He started 67 of the 68 games he played and averaged 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals. Only one player matched his defensive rebounding, assist and steal rates that year. His name? Jason Kidd.
Dan Favale covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @danfavale.