Tale of Two Drafts
The 1984 class is often viewed as the greatest of all-time. That Draft featured Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton. But, with several players continuing to compete for NBA titles – (including five players from in this year’s Finals) – the jury is still out on 1996 and 2003.
Two of the Cavaliers veteran pillars over the past few seasons – Zydrunas Ilgauskas and LeBron James – are products of the dual draft classes. LeBron was obviously tabbed with the top overall pick in 2003; Big Z at No. 20 overall in 1996.
Both classes have featured their share of booms and busts and the 1996 class featured two straight picks (Mark Hendrickson and Ryan Minor – No. 31 and 32) who had more success in baseball than basketball. And the one player that wasn’t drafted that year – Ben Wallace – has had a career that would rival most of his classmates.
LeBron’s class is still in its relative infancy, with only Dwyane Wade – among its top-tier superstars – claiming an elusive NBA Championship. And right now, many of those top-tier superstars, including Wade, are poised to possibly reshape the league in the biggest free agent bonanza the NBA has ever seen.
So while we get set for Thursday’s NBA Draft, here’s a look at two classes that have affected the league, in general, and the Cavaliers, specifically …