Winners and losers at the '98 draft
by Dan Shanoff
Posted: Thu June 25, 1998
Winner: Roshown McLeod
Go ahead and criticize the Hawks for taking the Dookie small forward far too early, but give McLeod credit for playing his way into first-round guaranteed money.
Loser: Nazr Mohammed
After all the cutaways to a visibly dejected Mohammed in the draft's "green room," you were almost rooting for the guy to get picked. Almost. If Mohammed had dropped into the second round, it would have sent a strong message to other underclassmen thinking about jumping to the NBA.
Winner: No. 1 pick Michael Olowokandi
The affable "Kandi Man" can hungrily eye endorsement deals. Mr. Olowokandi? Hershey's, line one. Mars, line two.
Loser: Houston backup point guard Brent Price
From "The Price is Right" to "The Bryce is Right."
Winner: Jessie Mae Carter, Robert Traylor's grandma
No one at the draft was as happy as the Tractor's biggestand most ubiquitousfan.
Loser: Ron LaFrentz, Raef's dad
If you watched the TNT draft broadcast, what was all his talk about the elk-hunting in Colorado? TNT's bewildered Craig Sager mercifully cut off the interview.
Winner: Rick "Half Full" Pitino
Super swingman Paul Pierce fits perfectly into the Celtics' rabid style.
Loser: Paul "Half Empty" Pierce
Once tabbed to go as high as No. 2, Pierce was still around for the Celtics to nab him at No. 10. In just 40 minutes, he lost millions in guaranteed-contract money.
Winners: International players
Four stars from foreign countries were picked in the first round. "He Got Game" translates nicely into many languages.
Forget "Stay in School." How about "Scared Straight?"
Winners: The Bucks
After trading away No. 4 draft-pick Stephon Marbury last year, the Bucks get it right in '98 by stealing the marketable and talented Robert Traylor from the Mavs for an overhyped foreign prospect.
Losers: The Grizzlies
Didn't Vancouver draft a point guard last year? Antonio Daniels was a bustand got shipped out of town last night. Vancouver GM Stu Jackson is praying Mike Bibby works out better.
Winner: Scoring guard Jason Williams
Soaring stock lifted Florida outcast to No. 7. Thin Sac backcourt means he'll have the shots all to himself. Think of vintage rookie Allen Iversonwith a better knack for passing.
Loser: Scoring guard Larry Hughes
Speaking of The Answer, Sixers coach Larry Brown must face this question: How will he find enough shots to go around for Iverson and this electrifying draft pick?
Winner: TNT analyst Rick Majerus
Brought refreshing candor and levity to the draft broadcast, but he looked uncomfortableand uncharacteristicin a suit.
Loser: Dallas GM Don Nelson
Nellie has revamped the Mavs' roster like an NBA equivalent to recently deposed Sunbeam exec "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap. After a bold draft-night trade with the Bucks, Nelson better pray he can sign Dirk Nowitzki, his enigmatic German acquisition.
Winner: Prep poster child Al Harrington
New Pacer eager to learn. Bird, Mullin, Miller, Jackson will be great teachers. No pressure to perform right away.
Losers: Prep posers Rashard Lewis and Korleone Young
Blame their handlers, blame a get-rich-quick society, blame Li'l Penny. These two second-rounders, just weeks removed from their prep days, gambled on the dream of being an NBA first-round pick and lost.
Winners: Orlando and Houston war rooms
With three picks each in the first round, the pressure was on. These teams delivered: Orlando got big, Houston shored up a shaky perimeter game.
Loser: Bulls draftnik Jerry Krause
Corey Benjamin can dunk, but contrary to popular Chicago belief he ain't no Jordan.
And the Biggest Losers: Grizzlies fans at the draft
After enthusiastic participation, they had to sit by idly as the announcement was made that their hometown hero, Suns point guard Steve Nash, was traded to Dallas, quashing hopes he'd be coming to Vancouver during the offseason.
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