There’s no other way to say it: the 1999 NBA Draft was one of the worst of all time. San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili is the only Hall of Famer coming from it, and don’t expect any others to be added soon.
The class had 58 players selected, and they played a combined 367 seasons in the NBA. Manu counts for 16 of those, more than anyone aside from Ron Artest, Jason Terry, Elton Brand, and Andre Miller. Ginobili appeared in two NBA All-Star games, and the rest of the class combined for 19 appearances in those 351 seasons.
1999 NBA redraft: Is Manu Ginobili first overall?
Elton Brand was selected first overall with the intent of saving Chicago basketball in the absence of Micheal Jordan. Two years later, he was traded to the LA Clippers.
Originally, this was supposed to be a 2,000-word, multiple-slide article outlining an entire redraft of 1999 with Manu somewhere in the top five instead of his original spot of 57th. That’s not going to be the case, as Manu ranks ninth in minutes played, sixth in points, 11th in rebounds (as a guard), fourth in assists, third in three-point percentage (excluding players who rarely shot from deep), third in win shares, first in box plus/minus, and first in VORP.
I’ll have you know that there is not a single player who ranks higher in every category that Manu does not win outright.
Yes, Andre Miller was a better facilitator, but that was all he could do. Elton Brand was a better scorer, but he was not a winner. Manu won at every level he played at. There’s a reason he’s the only one enshrined in Springfield.
I want to return to those All-Star numbers. Only two appearances is not a lot compared to other great players, but he represents 10% of the appearances in his entire draft class. Part of that is due to his greatness, other factors include the poor class overall. Manu was not in charge of that, however.
Compared to the players he was selected with, Manu stands heads and shoulders above them. He is now a Hall of Famer, which no one else drafted that year can claim, and in a redraft, all 29 teams would salivate over him.
Manu Ginobili Week continues here, with the top 10 opponent quotes about the legend from his NBA peers.