A Trail Blazers Draft Retrospective, Part 1 “2000”
It’s no secret that my hometown Trail Blazers really aren’t that great at drafts. Even when we seem to get it right, and I’m yelling at the TV because Stephen A Smith says he doesn’t understand what we’re doing, things go awry. So let’s take a look back, all my interested Blazers fans, at the drafts that essentially created the modern Trail Blazers, starting with the 2000 Draft.
1st Round, 28th Pick: Erick Barkley, PG, St. John’s
The 2000 NBA Draft is probably widely remembered as one of the weaker drafts in recent memory. I mean, Kenyon Martin was the top pick. The Rookie of the Year was Mike Miller. Yeah, that’s the quality you’re facing. There were some players of note early on, but you’ll recognize them nowadays as role players. Now these were the days when Portland was regularly in deep playoff runs, so great prospects late in the draft were hard to come by.
So who did we take? Erick Barkley. Remember him? I don’t. I remember seeing him in some ads that ran in a couple issues of SLAM for some obscure urban clothing company, but that’s about it. How’d he do with us? Didn’t play much of anything. Dealt him to the Spurs two years later, and he never saw the NBA hardwood again.
Who could we have taken instead? Like I said, stars were tough to come by early in the draft, so finding one late was next to impossible. There were still some serviceable players that probably would’ve played a bigger role than Barkley. There are some guys who could’ve been good role players on a team in need of some support off the bench. Marko Jaric (30th overall) and Eddie House (37th overall) could’ve supported the backcourt, especially with the departure of Steve Smith and an aging Pippen. There were some other guys, like Eduardo Najera (38th overall), who could’ve played an energy big man role behind Sheed after Brian Grant’s departure.
Obviously, these guys pale in comparison to the second round gem that was Michael Redd (43rd overall). Buried on the bench until Ray Allen’s departure, Redd started to play well given the starting job, becoming a formidable scorer. He signed a huge contract after that, enjoyed personal success for several more seasons, and was poised to be the Bucks centerpiece for years before a freak ACL injury derailed his career.
The promise he showed probably had a lot of GMs kicking themselves. I remember him having a great shot from deep. This really would’ve come in handy once Bonzi and Smith were gone, and relieve the inconsistencies of Derek Anderson, Antonio Daniels, and Juan Dixon. There’s no telling if Rasheed still would’ve been traded, if we still would’ve descended into the NBA basement, or if he would’ve stayed with us. At least we would’ve had a dead-eye shooter to cheer on.