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Celebrate Vinsanity

In which order would Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce go in a 1998 NBA Redraft?

22 years ago, three legends walked across the stage at the General Motors Place in Vancouver, Canada, the scene of the 1998 NBA Draft.

With the No. 5 overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Vince Carter, only to trade him to the Toronto Raptors for Antawn Jamison. Four picks later, the Milwaukee Bucks drafted Dirk Nowitzki, only to trade him to the Dallas Mavericks for Robert Traylor, whose NBA career lasted only seven seasons. Then there was Paul Pierce, who the Boston Celtics selected with the 10th overall pick.

It's clear that those three are the three-best players to come out of the 1998 NBA Draft, but based on how each of their careers played out, which one deserved to go first? What about second and third? And what about everyone else in the draft, such as Jamison, Rashard Lewis, Mike Bibby and Jason Williams?

To answer those questions, I held a redraft with Juan Estévez and Agustín Aboy from NBA Argentina. The rules were simple:

  • We did a snake draft. Estévez had the first pick, I had the second pick and Aboy had the third pick. The order then reversed.
  • Everyone was available. That includes undrafted players.
  • We drafted 15 players. 14 players make up the lottery, but that would've meant that one of us would've only made four picks. That didn't feel right.
  • We drafted the best player available, not necessarily who made the most sense for the team selecting. It's more fun this way. It's also easier because then you don't have to think about whether or not Mike Bibby could've played next to Allen Iverson. (The answer? Probably not).

And with all that in mind, onto the redraft!

1. LA Clippers select: Dirk Nowitzki

Original team: Milwaukee Bucks (traded to Dallas Mavericks)

Original selection: 9

What you need to know: Nowitzki is the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history with 31,560 career points. Only Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are ahead of him.

Reasoning: There are other great options on the table, but Nowitzki was the best player of this class. He was definitely ahead of his time and would be a great player in any era or on any team.

- Juan Estévez (@JuanEstevez90)

2. Vancouver Grizzlies select: Paul Pierce

Original team: Boston Celtics

Original selection: 10

What you need to know: Nowitzki (206.3) is the only player from the 1998 NBA Draft with more career win shares than Pierce (150). Pierce ranks second to Nowitzki in a number of other advanced statistics.

Reasoning: This is between Pierce and Carter. While there's a strong case to be made for either of them, especially when you take into account the impact Carter had in Toronto and the league as a whole, Pierce had the higher peak and was the best player on a championship team. Who knows what would've happened had Carter played on a team as talented as those Celtics, but you can't play the hypothetical game in a redraft.

- Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)

3. Denver Nuggets select: Vince Carter

Original team: Golden State Warriors (traded to Toronto Raptors)

Original selection: 5

What you need to know: Carter led the NBA in All-Star voting four times in his NBA career. Only Michael Jordan (9) and LeBron James (7) have done so more times.

Reasoning: This is a draft with three Hall of Famers and a huge drop after that, so there's no doubt that Carter deserves to go here. He's had an incredible career, all of which started with him winning Rookie of the Year. He's completely reinvented himself in the years since, so extra points for that.

- Augustín Aboy (@AboyAgustin)

4. Toronto Raptors select: Rashard Lewis

Original team: Seattle SuperSonics

Original selection: 32

What you need to know: Lewis played an integral role in Orlando's run to the Finals in 2008-09 as a stretch four next to Dwight Howard. Although the Magic came up short, he later won a championship with the Miami Heat.

Reasoning: Speaking of players being ahead of his time, Rashard Lewis was a pure shooter - over a third of his field goal attempts in his career were 3s - and he would've been more valued in today's NBA.

- Augustín Aboy

5. Golden State Warriors select: Antawn Jamison

Original team: Toronto Raptors (traded to Golden State Warriors)

Original selection: 4

What you need to know: Jamison and Carter were traded for each other on the night of the 1998 NBA Draft, with Jamison going to Golden State and Carter going to Toronto.

Reasoning: Jamison may not have made an All-NBA team in his career, but he proved he could fill a number of roles, making two All-Star teams as well as winning a Sixth Man of the Year award. A stretch four who could rebound at a high rate, Jamison would fit in like a glove in today's NBA.

- Scott Rafferty

6. Dallas Mavericks select: Jason Williams

Original team: Sacramento Kings

Original selection: 7

What you need to know: There are far worse ways to spend 13 minutes than watching the most amazing passes of Williams' career.

Reasoning: Well, now it gets a little harder, but I'll go with Williams here. There's a point to be made that Mike Bibby had a better career, but I love the excitement that Williams brings to the table. He was one of the most creative players of his time and would be amazing playing next to good shooters.

- Juan Estévez

7. Sacramento Kings select: Cuttino Mobley

Original team: Houston Rockets

Original selection: 41

What you need to know: Mobley took 5.2 3-pointers per 36 minutes in 2004-05 and made them at a 43.9 percent clip. He would've thrived in today's NBA.

Reasoning: Speaking of shooters, I'll go with Cuttino Mobley, who was a 37.8 percent career 3-point shooter and had a couple of great years with the Rockets. He never was an All-Star, but he was a very solid role player who, again, could've played in any era and on any team.

- Juan Estévez

8. Philadelphia 76ers select: Mike Bibby

Original team: Vancouver Grizzlies

Original selection: 2

What you need to know: Bibby averaged 20.3 points, 5.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds over 16 games in the 2002 playoffs.

Reasoning: How is Bibby still on the board? He's arguably the best point guard in this draft. In only his fourth season, Bibby helped the Kings push the Lakers to seven games in the 2002 Western Conference Finals. While they never quite got over the hump, he was a big reason for Sacramento's success in the early 2000s.

- Scott Rafferty

9. Milwaukee Bucks select: Larry Hughes

Original team: Philadelphia 76ers

Original selection: 8

What you need to know: Hughes led the NBA with 2.9 steals per game in the 2004-05 season.

Reasoning: He was always injured, but Hughes was a good defensive player and solid starter in his prime. He played alongside a number of greats, including Allen Iverson, Gilbert Arenas and LeBron James.

- Augustín Aboy

10. Boston Celtics select: Rafer Alston

Original team: Milwaukee Bucks

Original selection: 39

What you need to know: A streetball legend, Alston is said to be the reason behind the AND1 Mixtape Tour.

Reasoning: Alston had a couple good seasons with the Rockets and Magic. A flashy player who could space the floor, he was a walking highlight reel.

- Augustín Aboy

11. Detroit Pistons select: Brad Miller

Original team: Undrafted

Original selection: Undrafted

What you need to know: One of six players in the 1998 NBA Draft to make an All-Star team, the others being Nowitzki, Pierce, Carter, Lewis and Jamison.

Reasoning: I can't believe Miller, who went undrafted in 1998, has fallen this far either. In his prime, Miller was a solid scorer, rebounder and passer. He even flashed some potential as a stretch five later in his career. Apologies to Al Harrington, who would've been my pick if Miller wasn't available.

- Scott Rafferty

12. Orlando Magic select: Al Harrington

Original team: Indiana Pacers

Original selection: 25

What you need to know: Harrington shot 35.2 percent from 3-point range in his NBA career.

Reasoning: Well, I'm glad Harrington fell to me because I think he's the steal of the draft at this point. He was a great scorer and was incredibly versatile, capable of playing SF, PF and even C as he proved on the Warriors. He had some problems on defence, but he could score 20 points easily on any given night.

- Juan Estévez

13. Orlando Magic select: Ruben Patterson

Original team: Los Angeles Lakers

Original selection: 31

What you need to know: Patterson's nickname is "Kobe Stopper." Did he deserve that nickname? I'll let you be the judge.

Reasoning: This will be a little surprising I think, but I'm taking Patterson. He provides no shooting at all - Patterson made 17.9 percent of his 3-point attempts in his career - but he was a great defensive player who could defend multiple positions. Give me the "Kobe Stopper"!

- Juan Estévez

14. Houston Rockets select: Bonzi Wells

Original team: Detroit Pistons

Original selection: 11

What you need to know: Wells once scored 45 points in a playoff game.

Reasoning: Hmm. This is tough. I think I'll go with Wells. He wasn't a particularly good 3-point shooter, but he's someone who could get you a bucket, peaking in 2001-02 with a career-best 17.0 points per game.

- Scott Rafferty

15. Orlando Magic select: Nazr Mohammed

Original team: Utah Jazz

Original selection: 29

What you need to know: In addition to winning a championship in the NBA, Mohammed won two championships in college as a member of the Kentucky Wildcats.

Reasoning: I've left Ricky Davis waiting for his triple-double, as well as a stretch five in Raef LaFrentz. I'll go with Nazr Mohammed, a smart and gritty player who won an NBA championship with the Spurs as a starter in 2005.

- Augustín Aboy

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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