Looking Back At The No.1 NBA Draft Picks Of The Period 1994-2002
In our previous article, we have examined the No.1 NBA Draft picks of the past decade. In this continuation article, we will go even deeper into history, examining five more first overall picks. The period which we will look at is from 1998 until 2002. As we mentioned in the first part of our article, we the No.1 draft picks are always in the center of discussions, no matter how many years pass.
1998: Michael Olowokandi
Olowokandi was selected as the first overall pick back in the 1998 NBA Draft. Due to the 1998-1999 lockout season, he spent the first year in Italy. When he returned to the NBA, he became a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. But he never really met the expectations that follow a No.1 pick in the draft. For his career, he averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds.
1999: Elton Brand
Elton Brand is yet another overall pick, this time by the Chicago Bulls, who proved out to be less impactful than originally expected. Of course, in Brand’s case, we can’t say that he hasn’t been valuable to the teams he has been a member of. On the contrary, he has been very productive. But he never emerged as a true superstar. A career 17.4 point and 9.1 rebound type of player, Elton Brand is still a solid power forward. He will be a member of the Atlanta Hawks next season.
2000: Kenyon Martin
Martin is another player that was selected as the first overall draft pick and didn’t meet the high expectations, at least not at the full scale. Whilst he has managed to retain a good level of productivity throughout his career and was also selected as an All-Star in 2004, he has always been considered as the second or third option of any team he has been a part of.
2001: Kwame Brown
Kwame Brown is one of the biggest disappointments in regards to first overall draft selections. Although the 2013-2014 season will be his 14th as a professional NBA athlete, he never managed to justify the trust the Washington Wizards showed to him back in the 2011 NBA Draft. Brown averaged double-digit points in just one out of the 13 seasons he played in the NBA. At the moment and at the age of 31, he has become an overpaid reserve player.
2002: Yao Ming
The 7’6” Yao Ming out of China is one of the tallest players to ever step on the courts of the NBA. His size solely made him a dominant player, an impervious barricade for any opponent. On offense, all Yao had to do is catch the ball close to the hoop and raise his hands. Even the most skillful and powerful players around the league faced major difficulties playing against the “Great Wall of Yao”, as the Chinese center was nicknamed. Unfortunately, he played only for eight seasons in the league due to severe foot injuries that he couldn’t overpass. He spent his entire career with the Houston Rockets and he was selected eight times to play in the NBA All-Star game.