Over and Under: The 2002 NBA Draft

2002 NBA Draft
(Photo by: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

The Over/Under Drafted series is back. Today I will be looking at the 2002 NBA Draft. Here are the links to the 2000 and 2001 drafts if you need to catch up.

The 2002 Draft had a lot of good prospects coming out but many of the top selections failed to meet expectations in the pros. The Draft has produced four All-Stars (Yao Ming at #1, Amar’e Stoudemire at #9, Caron Butler at #10 and Carlos Boozer at #35). Outside of that, there were some players that enjoyed long NBA careers despite not winning any major NBA awards.

None the less, here is what I came up with for my 2002 NBA Over and Under Drafted teams.

2002 Over-Drafted Team

(Photo by: Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images)

Guard: Dajuan Wagner

  • Drafted: #6 Overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Years in the NBA: Four
  • Career Stats: 9.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists
  • NBA Awards: None

Wagner was a star during his high school days in New Jersey. He averaged 42.5 points as a senior and even scored 100 points in a single game. Wagner scored a total of 3,462 points in high school, which is the all time record in the state of New Jersey. After playing for the University of Memphis his freshman year, he entered the draft. Many believed that he would be the next big star and Cleveland believed that when they took him #6 overall. After a decent rookie year with Cleveland, injuries started to follow and was let go in 2005. He signed with the Golden State Warriors after but was let go again in just two months. The Cavaliers were disappointed that they did not get the superstar they had hoped for, but luck did hit their side one year after selecting Wagner in 2003.

(Photo by: Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE/Getty Images)

Guard: Mike Dunleavy Jr.

  • Drafted: #3 Overall by the Golden State Warriors
  • Years in the NBA: 15
  • Career Stats: 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists
  • NBA Awards: None

I was really tempted to put Jay Williams on this list but his draft situation was different than most. Williams had a promising start to his career but unfortunately was involved in a motorcycle accident and severely injured his leg and never played again. Most consider him a draft bust but it is hard to determine with just one season under his belt and a freaj accident like that happening.

Instead, I went with Williams’ college teammate in Mike Dunleavy Jr. Dunleavy was taken third overall by the Warriors. While he did have a decent run with the team, he never averaged more than 14 points and was dealt to the Pacers after four and a half seasons. He improved with Indiana, including a season where he averaged close to 20 points a game. Dunleavy also had stints with Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland and most recently Atlanta. He is still in the league since being drafted but never lived up to the hype of a third overall selection.

(Photo by: Getty Images)

Forward: Drew Gooden

  • Drafted: #4 Overall by the Memphis Grizzlies
  • Years in the NBA: 14
  • Career Stats: 11.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists
  • NBA Awards: All-Rookie Second Team

Gooden has played in the NBA for 14 seasons, which is impressive. Gooden averaged 12.1 during his half season with the Grizzlies before being traded to the Orlando Magic. From there on he spent time with the Cavaliers, Bulls, Kings, Spurs, Mavericks, Clippers, Bucks and Wizards. This guy was a definition of a journeyman and there is nothing wrong with that. However, I put him on this list simply because he was taken #4 overall and did not even last a full season with that team.

Forward: Chris Wilcox

  • Drafted: #8 Overall by the Los Angeles Clippers
  • Years in the NBA: 11
  • Career Stats: 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds
  • NBA Awards: None

Wilcox was able to lead the University of Maryland to a NCAA Championship in 2002 and the Clippers believed that he would do the same for them. He only lasted 3 and half seasons with LA, never averaging more than 9 points a game. He was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in the middle of his fourth season and showed some promise, averaging 14.1, 13.5 and 13.4 points respectively in his three seasons in Seattle, while also being a force on the defensive end. Once the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City, his production took a hit. After, he spent time with the Knicks, Pistons and lastly with the Celtics in 2013.

(Photo by: Garrett Ellwood via Getty Images)

Center: Nikoloz Tskitishvili

  • Drafted: #5 Overall by the Denver Nuggets
  • Years in the NBA: Four
  • Career Stats: 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds
  • NBA Awards: None

Tskitiishvili (good luck trying to pronounce his name) had the potential. Seeing a 7-footer from Europe always gets the scouts attention but he never transitioned well in the NBA. His best season came his rookie year, where he averaged only 3.9 points a game. He had stops in Golden State, Minnesota and Phoenix before heading back overseas. He attempted multiple comebacks in the NBA, most recently with the LA Clippers in 2015, but has never played a regular season game since 2006 and it is safe to say he will never be in another NBA uniform again.

2002 Under-Drafted Team

Guard: John Salmons

  • Drafted: #26 Overall by the San Antonio Spurs *traded to Philadelphia
  • Years in the NBA: 13
  • Career Stats: 9.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists
  • NBA Awards: None

There is a thin line of guards to choose from in this class to consider “under-drafted.” Salmons was drafted late in the first round and spent 13 years in the NBA between the 76ers, Kings, Bulls, Bucks, Raptors and the Pelicans. Salmons was pretty much viewed as a role player during his career and had a few good years where he averaged close to 20 points a game.

Guard: Ronald “Flip” Murray

  • Drafted: #42 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks
  • Years in the NBA: 9
  • Career Stats: 9.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists
  • NBA Awards: None

The former Division II Player of the Year from Shaw University was a journeyman for his NBA career. Murray had a few decent seasons for a few teams in his career, including a 12.2 scoring average in during the 2008-09 season as the Atlanta Hawks sixth man. Much like Salmons, the guard selections were very minimum, with this two guys having longer NBA careers than any other last first round or second round guards in this draft.

(Photo by: Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

Forward: Tayshaun Prince

  • Drafted: #23 Overall by the Detroit Pistons
  • Years in the NBA: 14
  • Career Stats: 11.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists
  • NBA Awards: 2004 NBA Champion, 4X All-Defensive Team (2005-2008)

In my opinion, Tayshaun Prince is the most underrated player in the 2002 NBA Draft. He was a key member during the mid to late 2000s Detriot Piston teams and was one of the better defenders during his time with the team. Though he was never an All-Star for the Pistons, he is still one of the more popular players to wear a Pistons jersey.

Forward: Carlos Boozer

  • Drafted: #35 Overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Years in the NBA: 13
  • Career Stats: 16.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists
  • NBA Awards: 2X All-Star (2007, 2008), All-NBA Third Team (2008), All-Rookie Second Team

While Boozer had more success with the Utah Jazz, his first two seasons were impressive with the Cavaliers, averaging 10.0 and 15.5 points respectively. Boozer is the only second round selection in this draft class to have an All-Star appearance and an All-NBA selection.

(Photo by: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Center: Udonis Haslem

  • Drafted: Undrafted (signed with Miami Heat in 2003)
  • Years in the NBA: 14
  • Career Stats: 7.8 points and 6.9 rebounds
  • NBA Awards: 3X NBA Champion (2006, 2012, 2013), All-Rookie Second Team (*2004)

Haslem went undrafted in 2002 and played overseas for a year before signing with his hometown team the Miami Heat in the summer of 2003 and has been with the team ever since. While he has been more of a veteran role presence for Miami in recent years, Haslem for a main part of the 2006 Finals run and contributed for 2012 and 2013 Championship teams. 14 years with one team and three championships for an undrafted guy? Not a bad career for Haslem. If this draft had been re-done, he certainly would not have been undrafted. Down the line, I can see Miami have his number #40 hanging in the rafters.

The 2002 NBA Draft had a few bright spots with some players with players mentioned earlier like Ming, Stoudemire and Butler in the first round being named All-Stars. Other players in the lottery (Dunleavy Jr., Gooden, Wilcox, Nene [#7 overall], Jared Jefferies [#11] and Melvin Ely [#12]) have had decent NBA career, but never lived up to the draft status of being a lottery selection. The later round selections outside of the guys mentioned before in the under-drafted team had long but average NBA careers, like Roger Mason Jr. (#31), Matt Barnes (#46), Rasual Butler (#53), Jannero Pargo and Reggie Evans (both undrafted).

Next, I will do my over and under drafted teams for the famous 2003 NBA Draft.


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