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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 biggest—and most ubiquitous—fan.

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.

Losers: Preps

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 bust—and 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 Iverson—with 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 uncomfortable—and uncharacteristic—in 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.

Related information
1998 NBA Draft coverage
Clippers take Olowokandi with first pick
L.A. trades Van Exel to Nuggets
Mavs GM wheels and deals; finally gets his man Nowitzki
Toronto sends Jamison to Warriors for Carter, cash
High School star Harrington anxiously waited for Pacers to call his name
Pistons find backcourt help with Wells
Sixers bypass Pierce, take Hughes with 8th pick
Pitino stunned, thrilled to get Pierce
1998 NBA Draft Board
Your Turn
You Be the GM: Who would be your top pick?
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